75 NZ018

A close up of the H2S radar dome of ME450 from the photo album of Albert ‘Titch’ Halliday, Mid Upper Gunner with the Kilpatrick crew

Air Historical Branch: Air Movement Cards

Air Historical Branch: Air Movement Cards – ME450

Date Target Notes Code Pilot Duration
1 29/01/45 Krefeld M/Y AA-W F/O Crawford 05:30
2 01/02/45 Munchen Gladbach AA-W F/S Thorpe 05:43
3 03/02/45 Dortmund AA-W P/O Watson 05:01
4 09/02/45 Hohenbudburg AA-W F/O Watson 04:34
5 13/02/45 Dresden AA-W F/O Zinzan 08:19
6 14/02/45 Chemnitz AA-W F/L Plummer 07:55
7 16/02/45 Wesel AA-W F/O Zinzan 04:57
8 18/02/45 Wesel AA-W F/L Banks 05:10
9 19/02/45 Wesel AA-W F/O Zinzan 05:17
10 20/02/45 Dortmund AA-W F/O Zinzan 05:43
11 22/02/45 Osterfeld AA-W W/C Baigent 05:05
12 25/02/45 Kamen AA-W F/O Thorpe 05:20
13 26/02/45 Dortmund  Crashed on return whilst formatting to land. AA-W F/O Thorpe 05:18
Total Op hours 73:52

The crash scene of ME450 showing the utter destruction of the aircraft on impact – The Chatteris gas tower can be seen on the horizon
© Ray Francis


Another view of the crash, showing the complete destruction of ME450 forward of the Mid Upper Gun turret
© Ray Francis

ME450 arrived over base in formation then broke off with the intention of landing. It appeared that a loss of power then occurred in both starboard engines, with smoke coming from the starboard outer. The aircraft lost height in a gentle right turn and crashed NW of the airfield near the village of Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, at 16.10hrs. Four of the crew died in the crash, including the pilot, navigator, air bomber and M/U gunner. The wireless operator (F/S Francis), flight engineer, (Sgt Duke), and the rear gunner, (Sgt Hark), escaped injured. But Sgt Duke died from his injuries two days later.

F/O Noel Humphrey Thorpe, RNZAF NZ428168 – Pilot.
Killed age 21.
Son of Humphrey and Lilian Winifred Thorpe, of Auckland City New Zealand.
Buried Ilford (Barkingside) Cemetery, Essex, England.
Grave location – Grave 2856.

Sgt. George William Mcmanus, RAFVR 1806217 – Navigator.
Killed age 35.
Buried Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire, England.
Grave location – Grave 15515.

F/S Joseph McKenzie Alfred, RAFVR 1800280 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 23.
Son of Bertha Alfred, of Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Buried Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire, England.
Grave location – Grave 15516.
‘In loving memory
Of my own darling,
Gone but not forgotten.

F/S Allen Francis, RNZAF NZ427272 – Wireless Operator.

Sgt. John Lawrence Duke, RAFVR 2210530 – Flight Engineer.
Died of injuries 2 days later age 19.
Son of John Horace and Gladys Duke, of Stockport.
Buried Stockport Crematorium, Cheshire, England.
Grave location – Panel 3.

Sgt. Frederick Henry Saffill, RAFVR 1882066 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 29.
Son of Henry and Alice May Saffill, of Maldon; Husband of Eva Joan Saffill, of Maldon.
Buried Maldon Cemetery, Essex, England..
Grave location – Row 62. Grave 95.
‘So young, so active
So full of life;
He gave his life
That we might live’

Sgt. H. Hark, RAFVR – Rear Gunner.