HK567

 

Air Historical Branch: Air Movement Cards

Air Historical Branch: Air Movement Cards – HK567

Date Target Notes Code Pilot Duration
1 02/07/44 Beauvoir AA-C P/O White 03:05
2 05/07/44 Watten AA-C P/O White 02:18
3 09/07/44 Linzeux AA-C P/O White 02:53
4 10/07/44 Nucourt AA-C F/S Moore 03:30
5 12/07/44 Vaires AA-C F/S Moriarty 03:45
6 15/07/44 Chalons Sur Marne AA-C F/S Adolph 05:59
dnc 17/07/44 Vaires AA-C F/S Mackay 01:25
7 18/07/44 Aulnoye AA-C P/O White 04:05
8 18/07/44 Cagny AA-C F/S Mackay 03:35
9 20/07/44 Homberg AA-C P/O White 03:17
10 23/07/44 Kiel AA-C P/O White 04:55
11 24/07/44 Stuttgart AA-C P/O White 07:24
12 28/07/44 Stuttgart AA-C P/O White 07:30
13 30/07/44 Amaye Sur Seulles AA-C F/S Moore 03:45
14 07/08/44 Mare De Magne AA-C F/O Brunton missing
 Total Op hours 57:26

 

07/08/1944 – Attack Against Mare De Magne
The target was enemy troops and armour concentrations at Mare De Magne, being made in direct support of the Allied Armies advance in the Caen area. Seventeen aircraft were detailed, all of which took off and dropped their bombs with the aid of markers, and a concentrated raid developed. Opposition from A.A. fire was very slight, but a few enemy fighters were active. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat and another (Captain 150278 .F/O. G. Brunton) failed to return.

Lancaster Mk.I HK567 AA-C

F/O Godfree Arnold Brunton, RAFVR 1396875/ 150278 – Pilot.
F/O James Stewart Wilkinson, RNZAF NZ4211042 – Navigator.
F/O Bernard Charles Baker, RNZAF NZ425447 – Air Bomber.
F/O Jack MacGregor Elliotte, RNZAF NZ427969 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Kenneth Birt Board, RAFVR 3030159 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. Thomas John Hall, RAFVR 1895157 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Edwin John Hayler, RAFVR 1892380 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed missing
Flight Time Missing

Lancaster Mk.I HK567 AA – C crashed in the target area, having been attacked by a JU.88. The crew were unable to extinguish the starboard outer engine which had been set alight as a result of the attack. At his point, F/O Brunton, the Pilot, gave the order to abandon the aircraft.

The two RAF Air Gunners did not survive the crash and were buried in the St-Valery-en-Caux Cemetery. All the remaining five crew survived and 4 successfully evaded capture.

F/O Godfree Arnold Brunton, RAFVR 1396875/ 150278 – Pilot.
Evader.

The following is the transcript of F/O Brunton’s debrief with M.I.9 (M.I.(/S/P.G.(-)2154).

“I was pilot of a Lancaster which left R.A.F. MEPAL to bomb a tank concentration in a wood near CAEN (France, 1:250,000 Sheet 8, U 06) at 2200 hrs. on 7 Aug 44. We had dropped our bombs when we were attacked by a JU.88, which set the starboard outer engine on fire, we failed to extinguish the fire. I then gave the order to abandon aircraft. I baled out and landed near a farm five miles West of CORMEILLES (N.W. EUROPE 1:250,000, sheet 7, Q6598). This was about midnight. I sprained my ankle on landing and had previously been deafened by the explosions.

As soon as I landed a farmer came running up to me and told me to come with him to his house, where he gave me food and drink and civilian clothing. He then went back to the field and collected my parachute, harness and mae west, which he hid in a loft and subsequently, I think, burnt. I spent that night there.

The following morning the farmer came in with Sgt. Board (S/P.G.(-)2192). The farmer said that he and his daughter were going to CORMEILLES to try to contact the Maquis. The daughter came back about 1100 hrs. and told us that the Gestapo were looking for us, and that they had shot ten Frenchmen in CORMEILLES in reprisal for their having shot two Germans. She said that her father had been taken by them but he was released about 1500 hrs. the same day. We left the farm and hid in a ditch in the bottom of a nearby valley.

About 1900 hrs. another Frenchman appeared and told us to come with him to another farm just East of CORMEILLES, where we spent the night in a barn. This barn appeared to be the local hide-out for the Maquis. Here we were questioned very thoroughly. Next morning (9 Aug) at about 0300 hrs. the farmer’s son guided us to a little shack on the outskirts of ST. SYLVESTRE-DE-CORMEILLES (@6697) about 2 kms. East of CORMEILLES. There was a member of the Maquis (an Alsation) living there with his wife, and sheltering two members of the 9th Parachute Div., Sgt. Smith, E., and Cpl. WILSON, G., and F/Sgt. CHARTERIS, 57 Sqn., R.A.F. We stayed in this shack for about three days. The head of the local resistance group fed us during this time, bringing the food up from his house. We spent the nights hidden in the surrounding woods merely going into the shack for meals.

On 12 Aug the whole resistance group, with their wives, families, and belongings mustered at the shack, because we had been betrayed to the Gestapo by a woman collaborator in return for the freedom of her son. I do not know whether she gave them out names or not. We all left that night and walked about 7 or 8 kms. Through the woods in an Easterly direction, having an armed guard and patrols out to watch for Germans. We arrived at the barn where we stayed for the remainder of that night and the following day. The next night we moved on to another barn about ½ km. away where we stayed for nearly a week.

On the night of 19 Aug, when I was on patrol I came across a German tank crew who were repairing their tank in the wood. On the following Monday (21 Aug) some German artillery officers came and sited a gun close to us in the wood, so we decided to move back to the shack near ST. SYLVESTRE. We moved that night, travelling across country. It was raining very hard so we spent the remainder of the night in the shack. The next morning ( 22 Aug) a German battalion moved into the village, so we took to the woods again. During the day a captain of the Maquis came and told us that we had better give ourselves up as he thought we could not get through, and the resistance group were dispersing. I, being the only one who spoke French, went to the head of the resistance group and told him we would try and walk to the British lines by ourselves. He would not hear of it and said that he and his family and another young couple would continue to look after us.

The young couple took us to a barn where we stayed for about an hour, when the head of the resistance group came rushing up to say that there were some German troops coming up the valley towards us from ST. SYLVESTRE. We crept out to his house on the outskirts of the village, where he hid us in a secret loft which communicated with his bedroom. On 23 Aug the Germans retreated from ST. SYLVESTRE, leaving a mortar platoon with their gun about 100 yards below the house. We spent that day and the following night in the loft. The next day (Aug 24) we crept out into the woods and I spent the following night in a dry cattle pond on top of a hill. Meanwhile the battle was taking place all round us. The next day (25 Aug) we walked down into CORMEILLES and found it had been taken by British troops”.

Date of return to United Kingdom: 28th of August 1944

F/O James Stewart Wilkinson, RNZAF NZ4211042 – Navigator.
Evader
Prison Camps:
Date of return to United Kingdom: 17th of August 1944
From F/O Wilkinson’s MI.9 debief:
After baling out well behind enemy lines F/O Wilkinson went into hiding for the best part of a day to avoid the search parties combing the vicinity of the crash. Then, estimating his position from his own navigation in flight, he began to move westwards, walking across country by night and sleeping in hedgerows by day. Travel was difficult as German troops were everywhere. Near St. Aubin he almost walked into a stationery truck full of German soldiers and shortly after he was forced to ‘go to ground’ in a drain pipe. On another occasion he found himself in a German camp and had to worm himself out on his stomach. Eventually gun flashes indicated the direction to the front line but the way was barred by a river and sentries patrolling the bridges. Undaunted he swam across, picked his way through the swamps on the other side and reached the shelter of some woods. This was on his sixth night night and he was soaked, cold and very hungry. As he moved he nearly stumbled on some Germans lying in a forward observation post. Fortunately one of the Germans coughed when he was only a few yards away and on hearing a rifle bolt being pushed home he hit the earth quickly and crawled slowly away making for the far side of the field. Later, feeling badly in need of a drink he crept into a bomb crater to find some water. On lifting his hear he saw two rifles pointing at him and he put up his hands and crawled out. To his great relief the men behind the rifles were members of the Durham Light Infantry.”

F/O Bernard Charles Baker, RNZAF NZ425447 – Air Bomber.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 86437
Prison Camps: Stalags XIIA and Luft I
Date of return to United Kingdom: 14th of May 1945

F/L Jack MacGregor Elliotte, RNZAF NZ427969 – Wireless Operator.
Evader
Date of return to United Kingdom: 25th of August 1944

Sgt. Kenneth Birt Board, RAFVR 3030159 – Flight Engineer.
Evader
Date of return to United Kingdom: 28th of August 1944
From Sgt. Board’s MI.9 debief:
“My flight and experiences are the same as F/O Brunton up to the time that I baled out. I landed north-east of St.Sxlyestae Le Co  about 03:00 hrs on the 8th of Aug 1944. I hid my harness, mae west and parachute, and then lay up in some thick brambles on the hillside nearby. A few hours later I came down from the hillside and sat on a fence near a farmhouse. Shortly afterwards a young girl came up to me and told me that F/O Brunton was sheltering in the farmhouse. She took me to meet F/O Brunton and from this point my story is the same as his.”

Sgt. Thomas John Hall, RAFVR 1895157 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 19.
Son of Thomas Patrick and Ada Alice Hall, of Ilford, Essex.
Buried St.Valery-En-Caux Cemetery, France..
Grave location – Joint grave B, 23-24.
‘You live with us
In memory still,
Not just today
But always will’

Sgt. Edwin John Hayler, RAFVR 1892380 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 19.
Son of Frank and Alice Rose Hayler, of Burpham, Sussex.
Buried St.Valery-En-Caux Cemetery, France..
Grave location – Joint grave B, 23-24.
‘Our beloved son.
He gave his life
For his Country.
Father, mother and family’