LW412 KW-Q

That’s the serial number and the call sign of the Halifax that took off from RAF Tholthorpe at 19h55 the night of July 7, 1944.

This is a picture of a similar Halifax with 425 Alouette stationed at RAF Tholthorpe.

The call sign is KW-Y.

KW-Y Halifax

We don’t have pictures of flight engineer Ronald T. Bailey, but we have a picture of Sergeant T.D. Newton.

Tommy Newton

Tommy Newton was the flight engineer with Jacques Terroux’s crew. All flight engineers were RAF personnel since there was not enough time to train Canadians to do this job.

425Terroux_crew

Jean-Paul Corbeil (top row, right side) talked at length about Tommy Newton. Tommy was the shy type and he did not talk a lot. He was well accepted by all the others. He once invited Jean-Paul Corbeil to visit his family, but then he changed his mind. Maybe Tommy who came from a poor family had second thoughts.

I have met Mr. Corbeil about ten times since 2010.

Jean-Paul Corbeil 1

I know him well. We never talked that much about the war, we talk mostly about his crew.

Jacques Terroux was the pilot. A good one who did not talk a lot.

Jacques Terroux

Pierre Gauthier, the navigator, who was scared as hell like all the others.

Pierre Gauthier

Maurice Bernier, the wireless operator/air gunner.

Maurice Bernier

François Bernier, the bomb aimer.

François Bernier

Romuald Pepin, the tail gunner, who saved the crew on their first mission over Bourg Leopold.

Romuald Pepin

So what about Ronald T. Bailey  and his crew, and the mission they flew over Caen on the night of July 7/8, 1944?

I will tell you next time.

What I can tell you though is that Terroux took off at 20h00, 5 minutes after Paul-Nazaire Poirier took off on LW412.

KW-Q

Sergeant R. T. Bailey: 7 July 1944

Sergeant R. T. Bailey took part in that raid on July 7th, 1944.

7 July 1944

467 aircraft – 283 Lancasters, 164 Halifaxes, 20 Mosquitos – of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups in a major effort to assist in the Normandy land battle. The Canadian 1st and British 2nd Armies were held up by a series of fortified village strongpoints north of Caen. The first plan was for Bomber Command to bomb these villages but, because of the proximity of friendly troops and the possibility of bombing error, the bombing area was moved back nearer to Caen, covering a stretch of open ground and the northern edge of the city. The weather was clear for the raid, which took place in the evening, and two aiming points were well marked by Oboe Mosquitos and other Pathfinder aircraft. The Master Bomber, Wing Commander SP (Pat) Daniels of No 35 Squadron, then controlled a very accurate raid. Dust and smoke soon obscured the markers but the bombing always remained concentrated. 2,276 tons of bombs were dropped.

It was afterwards judged that the bombing should have been aimed at the original targets. Few Germans were killed in the area actually bombed, although units near by were considerably shaken. The northern suburbs of Caen were ruined. No German fighters appeared and only 1 Lancaster, of No 166 Squadron, was shot down by flak. 2 further Lancasters and 1 Mosquito crashed behind the Allied lines in France.

How do I know he took part in that raid?

Simple, I have some pages of the Operational Record Book for 425 Squadron. Not all the pages, but I was able to find who were the other crew members who flew with Sergeant R. T. Bailey, a flight engineer, in the R.A.F.

Who was the pilot?

I wonder if Ronald Bailey remembers…

You can use this contact form to reach me.

Is this a good idea?

I have found a lot of information on flight engineer Ronald T. Bailey, Gary’s grandfather. Gary has not replied to my personal message yet.

Is it a good idea to bring back old war memories?

Hi there,

I have recently found out that my grandad was part of bomber command and have been told that he (Ronald Bailey) was a flight engineer based with 425 Sqn in Tholthorpe. I cannot find much information on him but for his 90th birthday this year I would like to make a little presentation and maybe some contact addresses and so on from this part of his life. All I have been able to extract is all the above information and that he lied about his age to join up.

I’d like to mention he is British and not Canadian. Any info would be great. Regards Gary.

I know my wife’s uncle did not want to talk much about the sinking of HMCS Athabaskan.

The kind of comment I like to receive…

Hi there, I have recently found out that my grandad was part of bomber command and have been told that he (Ronald Bailey) was a flight engineer based with 425 Sqn in Tholthorpe. I cannot find much information on him but for his 90th birthday this year I would like to make a little presentation and maybe some contact addresses and so on from this part of his life. All I have been able to extract is all the above information and that he lied about his age to join up.

I’d like to mention he is British and not Canadian. Any info would be great. Regards Gary.

Maurice et Paul en 1943

425 Aouette Afrique du Nord Maurice Bélanger.2

Photo retouchée de la collection de Danielle Bérubé qui avait si gracieusement partagé les photos de son père.

Voici l’original prise en 1943, il y a 70 ans.

425 Aouette Afrique du Nord Maurice Bélanger

Maurice Bélanger n’a que de bons souvenirs du père de Danielle.

La photo où votre père est assis sur un baril, je suis à sa droite. Je me souviens très bien de votre père, et j’ai de très bons souvenirs.

Afrique du Nord 1943: Prise 2

Un commentaire fort intéressant de monsieur Maurice Bélanger…

La photo où votre père est assis sur un baril, je suis à sa droite, et la suivante où nous sommes quatre je suis à droite.  Je me souviens très bien de votre père, et j’ai de très bons souvenirs.

photo afrique du nord

Maurice Bélanger est à gauche sur la photo.

afrique du nord 2

Maurice Bélanger est à droite sur la photo.