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Cuffe, George Leonard (Pilot Officer)

Prisoner of War 1944-July-29

Male Head

Birth Date: unkown date (age unknown)

431 (B) Sqn- Squadron
The Hatiten Ronteriios Warriors of the Air: Iroquois
RAF Croft
Pilot Officer
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
Mid Upper Gunner
Service Numbers
PoW: 508

Halifax B.Mk.III MZ859

Bombing Hamburg Germany 1944-July-28 to 1944-July-29

(B) Sqn (RCAF) Croft

Battle of Normandy

307 aircraft - 187 Halifaxes, ro6 Lancasters, 14 Mosquitoes - from 1, 6 and 8 Groups. German fighters again appeared, this time on the homeward flight, and 18 Halifaxes and 4 Lancasters were lost, 7·2 per cent of the force. The Halifax casualties were 9·6 per cent; 431 (Canadian) Squadron, flying from Croft airfield in Co. Durham, lost 5 of its 17 aircraft on the raid.


This was the first heavy raid on Hamburg since the Battle of Hamburg just a year earlier. The bombing on this raid was not well concentrated. The Germans estimated that only 120 aircraft bombed in the city area, with no recognizable aiming point, though western and harbour areas received the most bombs. A large proportion of the attack fell on areas devastated in 1943 but 265 people were killed and more than 17,000 had to be evacuated from homes damaged in this raid, many of which were probably only temporary wooden accommodation at this stage of the war. Brunswig (p. 339) describes how a panic developed at the large Reeperbahn air-raid shelter when a lone aircraft came in to bomb after the all clear had sounded and nearby Flak guns opened fire. 2 women were trampled to death and others were badly hurt.

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

Halifax BIII aircraft MZ 859 SE-A was lost during a night operation, an attack against Hamburg, Germany. Homeward-bound, the Halifax was shot down by night fighter pilot Leutnant Rolf Ebhardt of the 8/NJG 1,out of Twente airfield in the Netherlands, flying Bf 110 G-4 G9+ES. The bomber crashed at Büsumer Deichhausen, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

Pilot Officer GE Sidebottom (RCAF), Flying Officer GR Miles (RCAF), Pilot Officer GR Baumann (RCAF), Pilot Officer J Smith (RCAF), Sergeant WF Windsor (RCAF), and Pilot Officer JT Evans (RAFVR) were killed in action

A single crew member, Sergeant GL Cuffe (RCAF), survived and was taken Prisoner of War

There were four other 431 Squadron Halifax III aircraft lost in the same area on this date. Please see Aldred, WM for information on Halifax LK 833 SE-R, Sorel, WG for information on Halifax MZ 589 SE-H, Miller, RJ for information on Halifax LK 845 SE-J and Mills, AM for information on Halifax MZ 597 SE-B

Twenty-two 6 Group aircraft and crews failed to return from this operation

General Daily Operations

General Aviation Safety Network

Took off from Croft at 22:32 in Halifax Mk III (Sqn code SE-A Bomber Command) on an operation to Hamburg Germany.

Shot down by Flak and crashed at 01:30 at Deichhausen 5 km N of Delmenhorst, Germany.

Killed: Pilot Officer George Robert Baumann RCAF J/86940 pilot KIA Kiel War Cemetery grave 2. F. 17. Flying Officer Gordon Ralph Miles RCAF J/28979 KIA Kiel War Cemetery grave 2. F. 20. Pilot Officer George Elswood Sidebottom RCAF J/87992 KIA Kiel War Cemetery grave 2. F. 19. Pilot Officer John Smith RCAF J/88301 KIA Kiel War Cemetery grave 2. F. 18. Pilot Officer William Frederick Windsor RCAF J/88512 KIA Hanover War Cemetery grave 10. E. 12. Pilot Officer John Thomas Evans RAF KIA Kiel War Cemetery grave 11. F. 21.

POW: Sergeant George Leonard Cuffe RCAF R/251894 POW Stalag Luft VII, Bankau.

Google MapHamburg Germany

Halifax MZ859

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 La

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 (1590), RCAF 400 Squadron (1403), Canadian Aircraft Losses (1566), Canadian Museum(2)
last update: 2023-12-08 20:34:11

Halifax B.Mk.III MZ859

SERAF RoundelA

431 (B) Sqn The Hatiten Ronteriios ("Iroquois")

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

The Squadron was formed in November 1942 as the RCAF's 11th bomber squadron to be formed overseas, at Burn, Yorkshire, UK , as a bomber unit of No 4 Group of RAF Bomber Command. With squadron code letters SE it flew Vickers Wellington Mk X aircraft. In July 1943 it moved to Tholthorpe, Yorkshire , to become part of No 6 (RCAF) Group, at the same time re-equipping with Handley Page Halifax Mk V bombers. It moved again in December 1943 to become part of No 64 (RCAF) Base at Croft, Yorkshire , where it remained until the end of the war. Another change of aircraft, to Halifax Mk. III was made in March of 1944, and finally the squadron was equipped with Canadian-built Avro Lancaster Mk X aircraft from October 1944. After the termination of hostilities in Europe, it was earmarked to form part of the Tiger Force to attack Japan and left for Canada in June 1945. The Japanese surrender following the dropping of the atomic bombs made Tiger Force redundant, and the squadron was disbanded at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in September of 1945.

In the course of operations the squadron flew 2584 sorties (including 11 bringing PoWs back to England) at a cost of 72 aircraft destroyed. Approximately 14000 tons of bombs were dropped. Aircrew awards were 1 DSO, 63 DFCs, 10 DFMs, 2 CGMs and 1 MiD. Battle Honours were: English Channel and North Sea 1943-44, Baltic 1943-44, Fortress Europe 1943-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Biscay Ports 1943-44, Ruhr 1943-45, Berlin 1943-44, German Ports 1943-45, Normandy 1944, Rhine, Biscay 1944.Moyes, Kostenuk and Griffin

Squadron History (Bomber Command Museum PDF)

Maps for Movements of 431 Squadron 1942-45

MAP 1: 431 Squadron Bases 1942-45 (marked in green). Right-click on image to display enlarged in new tab

431 Squadron History Summary 1942-45

History of the Squadron Post-WWII (Aircraft: Tutor)

No. 431 (Fighter) Squadron re-formed at RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec on 18 January 1954, using the new Canadair Sabre. The squadron was formed on a temporary basis until there were enough new CF-100s available to fulfill RCAF squadron needs. No. 431's duties included aerial combat training and displaying the capabilities of jet operations to the public at air shows: the team from No. 431 Squadron consisted of four Sabres and a solo aircraft. This was the first Sabre team to be authorized to perform formation aerobatics in Canada. 431 squadron was disbanded on 1 October 1954.

In 1969, Colonel O.B. Philp, base commander of CFB Moose Jaw and former leader of the defunct Golden Centennaires aerobatic team, considered using several of the leftover Golden Centennaire CT-114 Tutor aircraft for another team. These Tutors were still fitted for aerobatic flying. Philp, at this point, did not receive approval to form the new team; however, approval had been given for single Tutors to provide simple flypasts at local football games. To further the cause of an aerobatic team, Philp began informal enhanced formation practice for the instructors at 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School with the aim of providing multi-aircraft flypasts at special events. In 1970, four-aircraft formations began providing flypasts at fairs and festivals, as well as Armed Forces Day at CFB Moose Jaw . In July 1970, a white Tutor was introduced to the formation for flypasts. Four white Tutors were finally flown together at the Abbotsford Air Show, followed by a flypast in Winnipeg. Known as the "2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School Formation Team", or informally as the "Tutor Whites", the team grew in size to seven aircraft in 1971 using eleven pilots, and gradually gained recognition. Formation flypasts were replaced with more complicated manoeuvres, and more aircraft were added as the team matured. A contest to give the air demonstration team a formal name was held at Bushell Park Elementary School at CFB Moose Jaw, and resulted in the name "Snowbirds”, which was formally adopted on 25 June 1971. The Snowbirds were officially authorized to be designated the "Canadian Forces Air Demonstration Team" on 15 January 1975, and were formed into their own squadron by reactivating 431 Squadron (renamed 431 Air Demonstration Squadron) on 1 April 1978. .Wikipedia

And the rest is history……………………

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