The Canadian Airmen
No 427 (Lion) Squadron R.C.A.F. was based at R.A.F. Leeming in north Yorkshire. On 24th November, 1944 five Halifax planes were detailed to lay mines ( sometimes referred to as “gardening”) in the Kattegat off the coast of Norway. Bad weather and poor visibility may have contributed to the fact that only 2 aircraft were able to drop their mines. On the return journey the aircraft were diverted to a field in northern Scotland but one MZ 304, piloted by F/L J.T. Hardy, crashed into the sea off Kingston. (One other aircraft is reported landing at Dallachy). Of the six Canadian crew members who perished, five are buried in Bellie Churchyard and one at Chigwell in Essex. An R.A.F Flight Sergeant ( M. Rowntree ) was also on board. He is buried in Preston Cemetery, Tynemouth.
COOK, HOWARD JOHN Pilot Officer (Air Gunner) J92982. Son of George and Beatrice Sussanah (Barr) Cook. Was farming with his family when he enlisted at Saskatoon in 1941. From Hillmond, Saskatchewan. Killed In Action Nov. 25/44 age 25. 427 Lion Squadron (Ferte Manus Certas).
HARDY,JAMES THOMAS Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) J13731. From Merrit, British Columbia. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Hardy of Merrit. Killed In Action Nov. 25/44 age 22. 427 Lion Squadron (Ferte Manus Certas).
PATTERSON, JOHN WILLIAM LYLE Pilot Officer (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) J92920. From La Riviere, Manitoba. Son of Mr. and Mrs. John Patterson of La Riviere. Killed In Action Nov.25/44 age 22. 427 Lion Squadron (Ferte Manus Certe).
POLLOCK, JOHN ROBERT Flying Officer (Bomb Aimer) J38253. From Union Bay, British Columbia. Son of Mr. and Mrs. John Pollock of Union Bay. Killed In Action Nov. 25/44 age 20. 427 Lion Squadron (Ferte Manus Certas).
WARBURTON, JOHN Pilot Officer (Air Gunner) J92960. From Toronto, Ontario. Son of Mr. and Mrs. James Warburton, Toronto. Killed In Action Nov. 25/44 age 19. 427 Lion Squadron (Ferte Manus Certas).
HALL, STANLEY GEORGE Flying Officer (Navigator). From Shaunavon, Saskatchewan. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Norman Hall, Shaunavon. Killed In Action Nov. 25/44 age 22. 427 Lion Squadron (Ferte Manus Certas). Flying Officer Hall is buried in Buckhurst Hill, St. John The Baptist Churchyard, Chigwell, Essex, England near his birthplace.
ROWNTREE, MATTHEW Flight Sergeant Engineer RAF is buried at the Preston Cemetery, Tynemouth.
The Australian Airman
Flying Officer Easterbrook was a member of a ten-man crew of a liberator bomber from Tain which was on a Leigh-Light night-time anti-submarine training flight operating at a height of 250 feet above sea level. It crashed into the sea some 11 miles NE of Banff just before mid-night on the 18th November 1944.
The crew consisted of 3 R.A.F, 6 R.A.A.F., and 1 R.N.Z.A.F. Only two bodies were recovered; one Australian, the other R.A.F. The funeral of the Flying Officer Sidney Easterbrook took place at 14:00hrs on the 24th November 1944.