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Branch, Howard John (Pilot Officer)

Prisoner of War 1944-06-29

Male Head

Age:

Service
RCAF
Unit
424 (B) Sqn- Squadron
Castigandos Castigamus (Chastise those deserving)
Rank
Pilot Officer
Marshal
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
SergeantSGT
CorporalCPL
Senior AircraftmanSAC
Leading AircraftmanLAC
Aircraftman 1st ClassAC1
Aircraftman 2nd ClassAC2
Position
Rear Gunner
Service Numbers
J/90144
555

Halifax B.Mk.III LV910

Bombing Metz France 1944-June-28 to 1944-June-29

202 Halifaxes of 4 and 6 Groups with 28 Pathfinder Lancasters attacked yards at Blainville and Metz. Both targets were hit. 20 aircraft were lost, 1 I Halifaxes of 4 Group and I Lancaster from the Blainville raid and 7 Halifaxes of 6 Group and 1 Lancaster from Metz. The combined loss rate was 8·7 per cent.

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

Crashed near Bermricourt, near Reims, during mission to Metz on 28 / 29 June 1944.

Took off from Skipton-on-Swale at 22:22 in Halifax Mk III (Sqn code QB-Y Bomber Command) on an operation to bomb the rail yards at Metz France.

Aircraft shot down (Cause not found) and crashed (crash location not found).

POWs includes Branch: F/O Eric Brown RCAF J/24772 POW camp not listed. F/O H Weller RCAF J/number POW camp not listed. F/Sgt G Johnston RCAF R/number POW camp not listed.

Evaders: F/O V W McCreight RCAF J/28361 Evader. Sgt H Brown RCAF J/24772 Evader. Sgt M S Lindsay RCAF R/203549 Evader.

Target
Google Map Metz France

Crew on Halifax B.Mk.III LV910

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.Mk.III LV910

QBRAF RoundelY


1940-06-29 Accident Crash Crashed near Bermricourt, during mission to Metz. 2019-08-20

424 (B) Sqn- Squadron Castigandos Castigamus ("Tiger")

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

424 Squadron was the sixth RCAF bomber squadron to be formed overseas in WWII, at Topcliffe, Yorkshire, UK on October 15, 1942, originally as part of No 4 Group of RAF Bomber Command. It remained at Topcliffe when it was transferred to the newly-formed 6 (RCAF) Group on January 1, 1943. It moved to Leeming, Yorkshire , and then Dalton, Yorkshire , flying Vickers Wellington Mk III and X aircraft before being dispatched on June 22, 1943 to No 331 (RCAF) Wing of No 205 Group in Tunisia (Kairouan/Zina and Hani East airfields), from where it flew in support of the invasions of Sicily and Italy. It returned by sea to Skipton-on-Swale, Yorkshire in October/November 1943. It re-equipped with Handley Page Halifax Mk III aircraft, which it flew until January 1945, when it re-equipped with Avro Lancaster I and III aircraft. After the termination of hostilities in Europe, the squadron was transferred to No 1 Group, and was employed in operation DODGE, the repatriation of British and Canadian troops from Italy. It was disbanded at Skipton on October 15, 1945, 3 years to the day since its formation.

In the course of hostilities, the squadron flew 3257 sorties for the loss of 52 aircraft. 8776 tons of bombs were dropped. Crew members were awarded 1 DSO, 49 DFC's and 1 Bar to DFC, 1 CGM, 11 DFM's and 1 MiD. Battle Honours were: English Channel and North Sea 1943-45, Baltic 1944-45, Fortress Europe 1943-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Biscay Ports 1943-44, Ruhr 1943-45, Berlin 1944, German Ports 1943-45, Nornamdy 1944, Rhine, Bisacy 1943-44, Sicily 1943, Italy 1943, Salerno.Wikipedia, Kostenuk and Griffin

Squadron History (Bomber Command Museum PDF)

Maps for Movements of 424 Squadron 1942-45

MAP 1: 424 Squadron Movements 1942-45 (right-click on image to display enlarged in new tab)
MAP 2: 424 Squadron Movements 1942-45 (detail of Map 1)
MAP 3: 424 Squadron Movements in North Africa 1943
MAP 4: 6 Group Bomber Bases in Yorkshire and Durham, 1943-45

424 Squadron History Summary 1942-45

424 Squadron History Summary 1942-45 Page 2

History of the Squadron Post-WWII (Aircraft: Harvard II, Mustang IV, Silver Star 3, Expeditor, Otter, Griffon, Hercules)

The squadron was re-formed at Mount Hope, Hamilton, Ontario on 15 April 1946, as a light bomber unit. It was redesignated as an auxiliary fighter unit on 1 April 1947. It flew North American Harvard II and Mustang IV aircraft in a fighter role, as well as Canadair Silver Star aircraft until 1 September 1957 when it was then reassigned as a light transport and emergency rescue role and re-equipped with Beechcraft Expeditor and de Havilland Otter aircraft. On 21 October 1961 the unit received its Squadron Standard for 25 years’ service as No. 119 and 424 Squadron. A reduction of the Auxiliary Force resulted in the squadron being disbanded on 1 April 1964. On 8 July 1968, with unification of the Canadian Forces, the squadron was reactivated as 424 Communications and Transport Squadron, operating from CFB Trenton, Ontario . The squadron has flown more than 14 different types of aircraft during its history.

424 (Tiger) Squadron is now a Transport and Rescue Squadron based at 8 Wing Trenton. To fulfil its roles, 424 Squadron operates the CH-146 Griffon helicopter and the CC-130H Hercules. 424 Squadron and 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron provide primary search and rescue response for the Trenton Search and Rescue Region (SRR), the largest in Canada. The Trenton SRR extends from Quebec to the British Columbia/Alberta border, and from the Canada/United States border to the North Pole. The Squadron crews one aircraft of each type on standby response posture in order to respond to distress cases as tasked by Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton.

In addition to providing SAR response through a para-rescue capability, the CC-130H Hercules allows the squadron to conduct its transport role in Canada and around the world. The CH-146 Griffon enables rescues and medical evacuations from locations on land and over water. Both aircraft carry Search and Rescue Technicians onboard in order to provide urgent care to those in need. The members of 424 Squadron provide SAR response to incidents under the federal SAR mandate; all aircraft incidents and all marine incidents in waters under federal jurisdiction. They also support humanitarian missions and other SAR organizations when able. Wikipedia and www.canada.ca/en/air-force/corporate/squadrons/424-squadron.html

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