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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 172738
Last updated: 4 December 2021
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Time:01:12 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic hlfx model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Handley Page Halifax Mk III
Owner/operator:1664 HCU Royal Air Force (1664 HCU RAF)
Registration: NA612
Fatalities:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Helperby, near Brafferton, North Yorkshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Dishforth, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:RAF Dishforth
Halifax NA612 was built by Fairey Aviation and delivered to the RAF on 2nd August 1944 and was first used by 415 Squadron. It was damaged by flak on 14th October 1944 on an operational flight over Duisburg, the then pilot was able to make a safe return and land at East Moor airfield with damage to the port wing, aileron and flaps. The flak damage was quickly repaired and it continued to serve with 415 Squadron before being tranferred to Dishforth on 30th November to join 1664 HCU. This Halifax was shot down on the night of 3/4th March 1945 by a Junkers Ju88 piloted by Lt Arnold Döring, of 10/NJG3 as the bomber was approaching RAF Dishforth.

There is slight confusion surrounding the events prior to Döring attacking Halifax NA612, he gave an account of this night in 1945 which is printed in William Chorley's Bomber Command Losses Book 1945. Döring stated that he flew in low from the North Sea over Scarborough and then headed inland until he located the morse lights at Dishforth airfield to direct their aircraft home. In his account he only claimed to have shot down a "B17" and a "Lancaster" and possibly damaging another bomber before heading back out over Scarborough.

Doring's first victim was almost certainly 10 Squadron Halifax HX332 which was attacked by a night-fighter and crashed at Spellow Hill, near Boroughbridge with the loss of most of the crew but with the pilot keeping enough control to allow some of his crew to bale out. Döring's account fits for what is believed to have happened to Halifax HX332. Doring's account then states he attacked a "Lancaster" and watched this catch fire in the air before crashing "in a big fire", this aircraft is almost certainly Halifax NA612.

NA612 was badly damaged in his attack, it was seen to turn on its back and dive into the ground near Brafferton. All 7 crew were killed when it came down into a field near Brafferton, about half-way between the Swing Bridge and Burton Grange to the west of the village. On impact a large fire took hold of the wreckage and the aircraft was completely destroyed.

Doring stated that he also attacked another bomber at low level and head-on and had to pull his aircraft up to avoid hitting it, he did not see this aircraft crash. This third aircraft was probably Halifax MZ654 which was coming into land at Dishforth, the pilot of this aircraft was able to keep control and make an emergency landing. Halifax MZ654 was badly damaged, the damage was later assessed and it was not repaired.

The crew of Halifax NA612 (all killed) were...
Pilot - P/O Kenneth William Griffey RCAF (J/92644), aged 20, of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Buried Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire.
Flight Engineer - Sgt Sidney Forster RAFVR (1589967), aged 21, of Newcastle upon Tyne. Buried St.Nicholas Cemetery, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Navigator - WO2 John William Buttrey RCAF (R/123964), aged 21, wife of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Buried Pulverbatch Churchyard, Shropshire.
Bomb Aimer - F/O George Henry Lloyd RCAF (J/42728), aged 19, of Wingham, Ontario, Canada. Buried Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire.
Wireless Operator / Air Gunner - WO2 Lawrence Theodore Chevrier RCAF (R/180951), aged 23, of Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. Buried Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire.
Air Gunner - Sgt Leonard Boardman RCAF (R/89500), aged 27, of St.Catherine`s, Ontario, Canada. Buried Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire.
Air Gunner - F/Sgt John Edward Fielder RCAF (R/278513), aged 20, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Buried Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire.

The scene of the crash of NA612 must have been horrendous, the police record listed only four dead so either three others had attempted to bale out at a low height and were killed or, (probably more likely) the aircraft was completely gutted in the resulting fire and identifying those on board was not initially possible when the police record was compiled.

68 years later, a Memorial to the crew of a Royal Canadian Air Force, Halifax bomber was unveiled and dedicated, at a Service by the Lych Gate of St Peter’s Church, Brafferton, on Sunday 12th May 2013. (see links #1,2,3)




Revision history:

06-Jan-2015 22:45 Dr. John Smith Added
06-Jan-2015 22:47 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code]
02-Nov-2018 18:17 Nepa Updated [Operator, Nature, Destination airport, Operator]
05-Oct-2020 15:04 tachel Updated [Cn]
05-Oct-2020 15:07 tachel Updated [Nature]

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