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Aitken, George Edward (Flight Sergeant)

Prisoner of War 1943-July-04

Male Head

Birth Date: unkown date (age unknown)

419 (B) Sqn- Squadron
Moosa Aswayita Beware of Moose
Middleton St George
Flight Sergeant
Air Chief MarshalA/C/M
Air MarshalA/M
Air Vice MarshalA/V/M
Air CommodoreA/C
Group CaptainG/C
Wing CommanderW/C
Squadron LeaderS/L
Flight LieutenantF/L
Flying OfficerF/O
Pilot OfficerP/O
Warrant Officer 1st ClassWO1
Warrant Officer 2nd ClassWO2
Flight SergeantFS
Senior AircraftmanSAC
Leading AircraftmanLAC
Aircraftman 1st ClassAC1
Aircraftman 2nd ClassAC2
Service Numbers

Halifax B/GR.Mk.II JD159

Bombing Cologne Germany 1943-July-03 to 1943-July-04

419 (B) Sqn (RCAF) Middleton St. George

Battle of the Ruhr

653 aircraft - 293 Lancasters, 182 Halifaxes, 89 Wellingtons, 76 Stirlings, 13 Mos¬quitoes. 30 aircraft - 9.Halifaxes, 8 Lancasters, 8 Wellingtons, 5 Stirlings - lost, 4·6 per cent of the force


The aiming point for this raid was that part of Cologne situated on the east bank of the Rhine. Much industry was .located there. Pathfinder ground marking was accurately maintained by both the Mosquito Oboe aircraft and the backers-up, allowing the Main Force to carry out another heavy attack on Cologne. 20 industrial premises and 2,200 houses were completely destroyed, 588 people were killed, approximately 11000 were injured and 721000 bombed out,

This night saw the first operations of a new German unit, Jagdgeschwader 300 equipped with single-engined fighters using the Wilde Sau (Wild Boar) technique. In this, a German pilot used any form of illumination available over a city being bomber - searchlights, target indicators, the glow of fires on the ground - to pick out : bomber for attack. Liaison with the local Flak defences was supposed to ensure that the Flak was limited to a certain height above which the Wild Boar fighter was free to operate. R.A.F. crews were not used to meeting German fighters over a target city: and it was some time before the presence of the new danger was realized. The report on this night from 4 bombers that they had been fired on over the target by other bombers were almost certainly the result of Wild Boar attacks. The new German unit claimed 12 bombers shot down over Cologne but had to share the 12 available aircraft found to have crashed with the local Flak, who also claimed 12 successes.

source: The Bomber Command War Diaries, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt

419 Moose Squadron (Moosa Aswayita). Target - Cologne, Germany. Halifax II aircraft JD 159 VR-Y was enroute to the target and had just crossed the enemy coastline when it was attacked several times by two German ME-109 fighter aircraft. it was shot down by night fighter pilot Unteroffizier Rudolf Frank of the 2/NJG 3 (detached to 2/NJG 1), flying Bf 110 G-4 D5+BH from Gilze-Rijen airfield, the Netherlands. The Halifax was extensively damaged with the starboard outer fuel tank on fire and the aircraft had to be abandoned It crashed at Miuzen, a suburb of Mechelen, Belgium. P/O Bell stayed in the aircraft and tried to make a landing because he had two wounded on board and they could not bail out, all three perished. This was P/O Bell's twenty-ninth operation. P/O AH Bell (RCAF), P/O WB Taylor (RCAF) and FS JA Anderson (RCAF) were killed. Five of the crew, Sgt JDH Arseneau (RCAF), Sgt AO Simpson (RAF), Sgt JF Graham (RAF), FS RO Williston (RCAF), and Sgt GE Aitken (RCAF) were taken Prisoner of War.

Took off from Middleton - St. George at 22:30 in Halifax Mk II (Sqn code VR-Y Bomber Command) on an operation to Belgium.

Killed: F/Sgt John Albert Anderson RCAF R/number KIA Schoonselhof Cemetery Belgium garve not listed. P/O Angus Hugh "Bob" Bell RCAF J/number KIA Schoonselhof Cemetery grave not listed. P/O William Bryce Taylor RCAF J/number KIA Schoonselhof Cemetery grave not listed.

POWs: Sgt A Simpson RAF POW Stalag 357

Google MapCologne Germany

Halifax JD159

Handley Page Halifax

(RAF Photo, 1942)(Source Harold A Skaarup Web Page)A Royal Air Force Handley Page Halifax Mk. II Series I (Serial No. W7676), coded TL-P, of No. 35 Squadron, RAF, based at Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire in the UK, being piloted by Flight Lieutenant Reginald Lane, (later Lieutenant-General, RCAF), over the English countryside. Flt Lt Lane and his crew flew twelve operations in W7676, which failed to return from a raid on Nuremberg on the night of 28/29 August 1942, when it was being flown by Flt Sgt D. John and crew.

The Handley Page Halifax is a British Royal Air Force (RAF) four-engined heavy bomber of the Second World War. It was developed by Handley Page to the same specification as the contemporary twin-engine Avro Manchester.

The Halifax has its origins in the twin-engine HP56 proposal of the late 1930s, produced in response to the British Air Ministry's Specification P.13/36 for a capable medium bomber for "world-wide use." The HP56 was ordered as a backup to the Avro 679, both aircraft being designed to use the underperforming Rolls-Royce Vulture engine. The Handley Page design was altered at the Ministry to a four-engine arrangement powered by the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine; the rival Avro 679 was produced as the twin-engine Avro Manchester which, while regarded as unsuccessful mainly due to the Vulture engine, was a direct predecessor of the famed Avro Lancaster. Both the Lancaster and the Halifax would emerge as capable four-engined strategic bombers, thousands of which would be built and operated by the RAF and several other services during the War.

On 25 October 1939, the Halifax performed its maiden flight, and it entered service with the RAF on 13 November 1940. It quickly became a major component of Bomber Command, performing routine strategic bombing missions against the Axis Powers, many of them at night. Arthur Harris, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Bomber Command, described the Halifax as inferior to the rival Lancaster (in part due to its smaller payload) though this opinion was not shared by many of the crews that flew it, particularly for the MkIII variant. Nevertheless, production of the Halifax continued until April 1945. During their service with Bomber Command, Halifaxes flew a total of 82,773 operations and dropped 224,207 tons of bombs, while 1,833 aircraft were lost. The Halifax was also flown in large numbers by other Allied and Commonwealth nations, such as the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Free French Air Force and Polish forces. Wikipedia

YouTube Halifax Heavy Bomber WWII

General Harold A Skaarup Web Page

Wkikpedia Wikipedia Halifax Bomber

Museum National Air Force Museum of Canada

CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
RCAF On Strength (5), RCAF 6 Group (1596), RCAF 400 Squadron (1443), Canadian Aircraft Losses (1562), Canadian Museum(2)
last update: 2023-12-08 20:34:11

Halifax B/GR.Mk.II JD159

VRRAF RoundelY
Operated by No. 419 Squadron, RCAF, coded "VR*Y". Failed to return from attack on Cologne on 3 / 4 July 1943, shot down by a night fighter of 7/MJG 4. 3 crew were killed, including pilot F/Sgt. J.A. Anderson and 5 POW, including Sgt. G.E. Aitken.
1943-07-04 Failed to Return Failed to return from attack on Cologne, shot down by a night fighter. 3 crew were killed and 5 POW. 2019-08-20

419 (B) Sqn Moosa Aswayita ("Moose")

History of the Squadron during World War II (Aircraft: Wellington IC, III, Halifax II, Lancaster X)

419 (Bomber) Squadron formed at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, UK in 1941 as part of No 3 Group of Bomber Command. It got its name from its first commanding officer, Wing Commander John "Moose" Fulton, DSO, DFC, AFC. The squadron operated Vickers Wellington, then Handley Page Halifax and finally Avro Lancaster bombers through the course of WWII, with the squadron code letters VR. It was the third RCAF bomber unit to be formed in England. It started operations in January 1942, converting almost immediately from Wellington Mk ICs to Wellington Mk IIIs and then moving north to Leeming, Yorkshire, as part of 4 Group Bomber Command in August 1942. After short stays at Topcliffe and Croft , it moved to Middleton St. George, County Durham in November 1942, from which it flew until the end of hostilities. Here in November 1942 it was re-equipped with Halifax Mk IIs, which it flew for the next 18 months on the night offensive against Germany. In January 1943 it joined the newly formed 6 (RCAF) Group of Bomber Command.

In April 1944 the squadron began to convert to the Avro Lancaster Mk X, which was produced in Canada and flown across the Atlantic. The squadron remained continuously on the offensive until 25 April 1945, when it flew its last sortie. Squadron personnel flew a total of 4,325 operational sorties during the war from Mannheim to Nuremberg, Milan to Berlin and Munich to Hanover, inflicting heavy damage on the enemy. On completion of the war in Germany, the squadron was earmarked to become part of the proposed "Tiger Force" to continue the war against Japan. However, the Japanese surrender in August 1945 led to the disbandment of the squadron in at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia September 1945.

As a result of its wartime record, 419 Squadron became one of the most decorated units under the RCAF during the war. Over a span of roughly three-and-a-quarter years it logged 400 operational missions (342 bombing missions, 53 mining excursions, 3 leaflet raids and 1 "spoof") involving 4,325 sorties. A total of one hundred and twenty nine aircraft were lost on these operations. Members of the squadron accumulated 1 VC, 4 DSO's, 1 MC, 150 DFC's, 3 bars to DFC, 1 CGM, 35 DFM's: the VC was awarded posthumously to Flight Sergeant Andrew Mynarski for his attempts to help a fellow crew member escape from their burning aircraft. Battle Honours were: English Channel and North Sea 1942-44, Baltic 1942-44, Fortress Europe 1942-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Biscay Ports 1942-44, Ruhr 1942-45, Berlin 1943-44, German Ports 1942-45, Normandy 1944, Rhine, Biscay 1942; 1944. Wikipedia, Kostenuk and Griffin

Museum Squadron History (Bomber Command Museum)

Maps for Movements of 419 Squadron 1941-45

MAP 1: 419 Squadron Movements Dec 1941-Aug-42 (right-click on image to display enlarged new tab)
MAP 2: 419 Squadron Movements Aug 1942-Jun 1945
MAP 3: 6 Group Bomber Bases 1943-1945

419 Squadron History Summary 1941-45

419 Squadron History Summary 1941-45 Page 2

History of the Squadron Post-WWII (Aircraft: Canuck, Silver Star, Freedom Fighter, Hornet)

The squadron was reactivated on 15 March 1954 at North Bay, Ontario , as an all-weather fighter squadron flying the CF-100 Canuck. It moved to the NATO Air Division base at Baden-Soellingen, Germany shortly after being formed. The squadron remained there until its disbandment in December 1962.

The squadron was again re-formed in December 1970, when it relocated to Cold Lake, Alberta as No. 1 Canadian Forces Flight Training School. It initially flew the T-33 Silver Star but then transitioned to the Canadair CF-5 Freedom Fighter. The squadron was on full active duty in November 1975 but disbanded again 20 years later when the CF-5’s were retired in June 1995.

The squadron was again reactivated as 419 Tactical Fighter (Training) Squadron on 23 July 2000. The squadron has since conducted Phase IV of the NATO Flying Training Canada (NFTC) program for the air forces of Canada, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. This program trains basic jet pilots to become fighter pilots and prepares them for training on CF-188 class aircraft through instruction in Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground combat tactics over a six month period.

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