Aimé Thiévin’s Memoirs – Excerpt 1

This is the first of seven posts about the memoirs of Aimé Thiévin who was a wireless air gunner with 425 Alouette. Of all the  research I  have done on 425 Alouette Squadron, these seven excerpts seem to be the most realistic account of what these airmen went through during the war. The veterans I have met since 2010 have told similar stories, but never wrote them down. I have written parts of their stories on my blog, but never the whole story.

Last week, both Aimé’s son Denis and his granddaughter Dana left comments on the blog. They both offered pictures and what you are going to read for the next six Sundays on this blog. Some of the pictures are taken from Antoine Brassard’s personal collection, and are shared by his daughter. Most  pictures are being shared for the first time.

Danielle, who is a personal friend, wrote a touching homage to her father on November 11, 2012.


Antoine  Brassard

You can read it here.

Three years later, Tony and Aimé are getting together again for the first time since they said au revoir in 1945.

Aimé Thiévin’s Memoirs – Excerpt 1


Pilot Antoine “Tony” Brassard from Strickland, Ontario

Navigator Johnnie Bourke from Montreal, Quebec

Bomber aimer Louis “Bernie” Bernatchez from Baie-Comeau, Nova Scotia

Wireless air gunner Aimé Thiévin from Benson, Saskatchewan

Mid upper gunner Gérard “Gerry” Lalonde from Valleyfied, Quebec

Rear gunner George “Blondie” Alarie from St. Jerome, Quebec

Flight engineer Sergeant Reginald Fuller, RAF



We were now always to fly together. This we did ending there [No 22 Operational Training Unit at Wellesbourne Mountford] with about 85 hours. We flew Wellingtons and we were there three months.


Vickers Wellington

Here too we had a very nice time and were in a very nice spot in England. Quite in the central part. Stratford-Upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace) was our nearest town. We all bought a bicycle and went to town every opportunity we had. That was very often. It was only four miles.

Brassard collection 2

Aimé Thiévin

collection Antoine « Tony » Brassard

There was a nice river right through town and we could hire boats and use them all day if we chose. We spent most of the time in them as it was the best sport and was ever so peaceful out there on the water with our feet dangling over the side. We had great times. There was a little pub about two miles north of town where we would go for our parties. « The Stag » it was called.

I thought I’d go to Birmingham this time as I’d heard it was a nice place for leave. So I went. It turned out to be very nice and there was a lot to do there. The city itself was quite a bit smaller than London and much neater. There was a very nice dance hall, and while there was nothing else to do, I would go quite often as I enjoyed myself there. During the day and instead of going to dances, I went to shows. Many of them. Sometimes three a day. Leave was just a chance to rest and prepare for more work. And it did good. I slept till noon every day and went either at a show, dance or the pub. The fourteen days there soon went, and once again, I was on the train to my new station. This time, headed for Dalton in Yorkshire. This was just a holding unit where we would be re-posted elsewhere. We were there only two weeks and then posted to a conversion unit. This was our last stage of training before we would actually go on our operations.

 ( from 6 September to 1 November 1944 )

Here, we would fly the big four engine bombers we would use on operations. We had an addition to the crew here. He was the Flight Engineer. An Englishman, Reginald (Reg) Fuller. Although I never did like an Englishman, I got to like Reg very well as he was a very nice fellow. He was also a smart, well-educated man and really knew his stuff.

Once again, we took ground school for two weeks and then began our flying. The work was much easier now as that was all we did. We usually slept in the morning and flew a few hours in the afternoon when the weather was fit. Then, the rest of the time was ours. Anyway, it gave me plenty of time to write my letters and keep my correspondence, so to say. There was always some mail for me. Most everyday. And it was so appreciated and kept me from getting too lonesome.

Our flying consisted of practice bombing and evasive action from fighters. Sometimes, we flew what they called: ‘cross-countries’, which was just a long trip, usually at night, and used navigation only as our guide.

At night, after the letters of the day had been written, we usually took our parcels and made a snack before bed. Each one had his turn at making the supper. But it was always good as we had many kinds of canned meat and fruits. We never went out because it was about 10 miles to the nearest town. There was a station theater with shows every night. So, we went whenever we pleased. We also had a very nice bar in the mess where we spent a lot of time drinking and usually coming in pretty pie-eyed.

However we got to know each other well and to our advantage too as we were to fly together all the time and this, our friendship would be to our advantage. When we finished here we had 14 days leave and each went his way.

Brassard collection 1

Aimé Thiévin

collection Antoine « Tony » Brassard

On the last night there, we decided to go to town to a little black market restaurant we knew, for a meal of eggs and ham. We all took the bus and went after having made some arrangements. After supper, which turn out quite good, we all went down to the pub for a bit of celebration. We certainly had a party. Reg did the ‘comedian’ act. What a card he was when he got feeling quite good. We almost split our sides from laughter. When the evening was over we took our bus back and went to bed.
The next morning, we got up, packed up our belongings and loaded them in the truck that was to take us to our next station. We piled in and headed for the No. 425, the Alouette Squadron, where we would at last begin our job.

This was the 1st of November 1944.

The first thing we did was meet the Wing Commander and then the Adjudant. Then we got settled in our new barracks. Our new home it was to be.

Brassard collection 3

In the middle, Tony with Aimé on the right

collection Antoine « Tony » Brassard

That same night [1 November, 1944] Tony was on ops. He had to do one trip with an experienced crew, before he could take his own on operations. Every pilot did this upon arriving at the Squadron*. We were all so excited and went to watch them take off. After they had gone, we went back to the mess where we met most of our old friends we had known at the training stations before. We talked about ops and what it was like to some of the experienced boys and it sounded so fantastic to hear all about their experiences.

The next morning we saw Tony.

Papa - Aviation - Bang On copy

collection Antoine « Tony » Brassard

He had done his first trip O.K. and how anxious we were to know all about it and how he had liked it. The following two weeks we did more training in preparation for the real thing coming up. The other boys were on ops almost every day and at that time we had practically no losses

Once in a while one or two crews were missing and as we were getting to know most of the boys on the stations, we felt pretty bad when they went and never returned.

One night [November 15, 1944] when the « Battle Order » came out, there we were listed among those who would be on this next operation (Jülich). Boy, were we excited! We had to go to bed early for an early call the next morning. The Op was to be a daylight. But this made us feel better as we heard they were much easier and we wouldn’t get so nervous as if it had been at night.

We were awakened at four A.M. and told to rush over for breakfast. My heart jumped all over with excitement as I hurriedly ate my breakfast and went down to the Crew Room. Here we were to prepare for the trip and this was called the Briefing. We were shown all our Trip or route and target, also all the tactics which were rules to follow in order to get there and back with the rest. There was a large map of Germany and England on the wall and the route was marked on it with a colored ribbon showing all turning points and courses to follow.

Map showing targets since D-Day

collection Marcel Baillargeon

Each navigator had this marked on his map the same way as it was on the board, therefore there were no errors.

1944-10-15 Wilhemshaven Map02b

collection Roger St-Amour

We all listened intently as the Intelligence Officer gave us all the details about this certain target its importance etc., and what we could expect in the line of resistance from the enemy. This was all flack guns and fighter stations along the route where we could expect to be fired at or chased by fighter planes.

Then there was Mr. Weatherman who gave us the forecast and weather conditions along the route (usually wrong). And lastly the WingCo. had to read us the tactics and throw in his little line about the whole thing to sort of encourage us I guess.

I was really excited. My heart pounded so fast just to think that today I was actually going on a bombing Trip to Germany, and drop a real load of bombs on a real target. When briefing was finally over, we went into the other room and there awaiting us was tea and sandwiches which we readily ate to hurry and get into flying suits, and get out to our aircraft. The bomb-bays were full of bombs. There was a big 2000lb « Cookie » and the rest composed of smaller ones. We checked everything in the « Kite » and prepared to take off. We even started the motors and checked them and then, when everything was in order, we taxied to take-off point and stopped to wait the signal. There was still a half hour yet before we would leave so we all got out for a smoke. The big shot came around in his car and asked if everything was in order to which we replied all O.K. Then along came the padre, Father Laplante who gave us his blessing and wished us all luck.

Aumônier Laplante

collection Jacques  P. Lamontagne via Laurent Lamontagne

Ahead and behind us were rows and rows of aircraft all waiting for the last signal.



Then it was time and we all got in and started our motors in preparation to go. The first kite pulled up to the end of the runway. The light from the caravan glowed green and his motors started and he was away! Everyone moved up a few feet and thirty seconds later, the light glowed green again and another one was away. Then another and another till we were next to go. When the light told us it was time we did the same and away we went. Just as Tony saw the green light he notified us with a « Ready for Take-off » and he opened his four motors to their capacity and released the brakes. Down the runway we bounced while the engines roared. Any little thing could happen. If an engine should stop or a tire blow out it meant the end of us all. Especially with this bomb load under us.

Halifax crash


But we were soon lifting from the ground and were airborne.

Geroge RCAF Plane -2

Collection Georges Tremblay via Gerry and Sharon Tremblay

We circled and climbed over base till set-course time. At that time when Johnnie the navigator said it was time–now– we set course for Germany to do our little bit in this devastation. Everywhere we looked in the sky, above, below ahead, behind and on our sides were aircraft. Hundreds of them and all were heading in the same direction.


collection Rodolphe Lafrenière DFC via André Lafrenière

We pushed on. I listened on my radio and got time checks and messages which I passed on to the navigator. In two hours we were crossing the French coast. It hardly seemed believable but there on our starboard was Paris. We could see it so plainly. Pretty soon we were crossing the German boundary. Johnnie told us so. It really wasn’t necessary that he told us as we all knew by the little black puffs of smoke. All deadly flack. Now I really was scared. I didn’t think it would affect me as it did but I tell you I was so scared I couldn’t say a word for a few minutes. I just thought now if one of those millions of shells ever touches us or our bomb load, well—it was no use to think about it. But we steered through. The target was only twelve miles inside of Germany and we soon found it. There it lay ahead of us. Already there were signs of dust and explosions from the aircraft who were already there bombing.

Bernie was in the nose and beginning to give corrections to Tony. We were on the run up to the aiming point « Left left » and then « Right steady » he said and then « Bomb doors open » and Tony pushed the lever that opened the bomb doors. Bernie pressed the button and said with satisfaction, « BOMBS GONE »

Brassard collection 4

Tony on the left with Aimé on the right

collection Antoine « Tony » Brassard

What a relief to know that that deadly load was on its way down and had left us. Still millions of black puffs around us all over but we put on speed and left the place as quickly as we could. Then we were over France again and coming home. Gee but it felt nice to be in safety again. One of our 30 trips was finished. It seemed quite an accomplishment but the future sure looked plenty dull.

* About this mission

Date: November 1, 1944
Target: Oberhausen

Oberhausen: 288 aircraft – 202 Halifaxes, 74 Lancasters, 12 Mosquitos – of 6 and  8 Groups. 3 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost. The target area was cloud-covered and the bombing was not concentrated.49 Mosquitos to Berlin, 12 to Cologne and 4 each to Karlsruhe and Mülheim, 28 RCM sorties, 46 Mosquito patrols, 25 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.


Tony Brassard was flying as a second dicky with pilot Lucien Marcotte DFC.


La traduction de ce premier extrait devrait suivre cette semaine.

Additional notes

About the operations flown by the RAF in November 1944

1 November 1944

226 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of No 5 Group, with 14 Mosquitos of No 8 Group attempted to attack the Meerbeck oil plant at Homberg. The marking was scattered and only 159 of the Lancaster crews attempted to bomb. 1 Lancaster lost.

2 RCM sorties, 1 Hudson on a Resistance operation.

1/2 November 1944

Oberhausen: 288 aircraft – 202 Halifaxes, 74 Lancasters, 12 Mosquitos – of 6 and 8 Groups. 3 Halifaxes and 1 Lancaster lost. The target area was cloud-covered and the bombing was not concentrated.

49 Mosquitos to Berlin, 12 to Cologne and 4 each to Karlsruhe and Mülheim, 28 RCM sorties, 46 Mosquito patrols, 25 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

2 November 1944

184 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack on the oil plant at Homberg. Large fires and a thick column of smoke were seen. 5 Lancasters lost.

2 Wellingtons flew RCM sorties without loss.

2/3 November 1944

992 aircraft – 561 Lancasters, 400 Halifaxes, 31 Mosquitos – dispatched to Düsseldorf. 11 Halifaxes and 8 Lancasters were lost, 4 of the losses being crashes behind Allied lines in France and Belgium. This heavy attack fell mainly on the northern half of Düsseldorf. More than 5,000 houses were destroyed or badly damaged. 7 industrial premises were destroyed and 18 were seriously damaged, including some important steel firms. This was the last major Bomber Command raid of the war on Düsseldorf.

42 Mosquitos to Osnabrück and 9 to Hallendorf (only 1 aircraft reached this target), 37 RCM sorties, 51 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 1,131 sorties, 19 aircraft (1.7 per cent) lost.

3 November 1944

1 Wellington flew an RCM sortie and returned safely.

3/4 November 1944

55 Mosquitos to Berlin and 9 to Herford but only 3 aircraft reached Herford. No aircraft lost.

4 November 1944

176 Lancasters of No 3 Group were dispatched to Solingen but the raid was not successful and the bombing was badly scattered. 4 Lancasters lost.

2 Wellingtons and 1 Halifax flew RCM sorties.

4/5 November 1944

Bochum: 749 aircraft – 384 Halifaxes, 336 Lancasters, 29 Mosquitos – of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 23 Halifaxes and 5 Lancasters were lost; German night fighters caused most of the casualties. No 346 (Free French) Squadron, based at Elvington, lost 5 out of its 16 Halifaxes on the raid. This was a particularly successful attack based upon standard Pathfinder marking techniques. Severe damage was caused to the centre of Bochum. More than 4,000 buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged. Bochum’s industrial areas were also severely damaged, particularly the important steelworks. This was the last major raid by Bomber Command on this target.

Dortmund-Ems Canal: 174 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. 3 Lancasters lost. The Germans had partly repaired the section of the canal north of Münster after the No 5 Group raid in September, so this further attack was required. The banks of both branches of the canal were again breached and water drained off, leaving barges stranded and the canal unusable. A report from Speer to Hitler, dated 11 November 1944, was captured at the end of the war and described how the bombing of the canal was preventing smelting coke from the Ruhr mines reaching 3 important steelworks – 2 near Brunswick and 1 at Osnabrück. In his post-war interrogation, Speer stated that these raids on the Dortmund-Ems Canal, together with attacks on the German railway system, produced more serious setbacks to the German war industry at this time than any other type of bombing.

43 Mosquitos to Hannover and 6 to Herford, 39 RCM sorties, 68 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost. The No 100 Group Mosquitos claimed 4 Ju88s and 2 Me110s destroyed and 2 other night fighters damaged, possibly their most successful night of the war.

Total effort for the night: 1,081 sorties, 31 aircraft (2.9 per cent) lost.

5 November 1944

173 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid on Solingen. 1 Lancaster lost. Results of the raid were not observed, because of the complete cloud cover, but German reports show that this was an outstanding success. Most of the bombing fell accurately into the medium-sized town of Solingen. 1,300 houses and 18 industrial buildings were destroyed and 1,600 more buildings were severely damaged.

1 Wellington flew an RCM sortie and returned safely.

These 3 near-perfect raids in 24 hours – the area-bombing raid on Bochum marked by Pathfinders, the selective attack on the Dortmund-Ems Canal by No 5 Group and the No 3 Group G-H raid on Solingen – are good examples of the versatility and striking power now possessed by Bomber Command. All groups had taken part, dispatching 1,098 sorties and dropping 5,130 tons of bombs accurately on the targets. The loss of 28 bombers from the Bochum raid also shows, however, that the German defences could still be effective.

Solingen – Before and After5/6 November 1944

65 Mosquitos to Stuttgart – in 2 waves – and 6 to Aschaffenburg. No aircraft lost.

6 November 1944

Gelsenkirchen: 738 aircraft – 383 Halifaxes, 324 Lancasters, 31 Mosquitos. 3 Lancasters and 2 Halifaxes lost. This large daylight raid had, as its aiming point, the Nordstern synthetic-oil plant. The attack was not well concentrated but 514 aircraft were able to bomb the approximate position of the oil plant before smoke obscured the ground; 187 aircraft then bombed the general town area of Gelsenkirchen.

1 Wellington flew an RCM sortie.

6/7 November 1944

235 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attempted to cut the Mittelland Canal at its junction with the Dortmund-Ems Canal at Gravenhorst. The marking force experienced great difficulty in finding the target. The crew of a low-flying Mosquito – pilot: Flight Lieutenant LCE De Vigne; navigator: Australian Squadron Leader FW Boyle, No 627 Squadron – found the canal and dropped their marker with such accuracy that it fell into the water and was extinguished. Only 31 aircraft bombed, before the Master Bomber ordered the raid to be abandoned. 10 Lancasters were lost.

128 Lancasters of No 3 Group to the new target of Koblenz, making a night G-H attack. 2 Lancasters lost. This was a successful raid with most of the damage being caused by a large area of fire in the centre of the town. The British Bombing Survey Unit later estimated that 303 acres, 58 per cent of the town’s built-up area, were destroyed.

48 Mosquitos to Gelsenkirchen, 18 to Hannover, 11 to Rheine and 8 to Herford, 32 RCM sorties, 82 Mosquito patrols, 12 Lancasters minelaying off Heligoland. 4 aircraft lost – 1 Mosquito from the Gelsenkirchen raid, 2 Mosquito Intruders and 1 RCM Fortress.

7 November 1944

1 Wellington flew an uneventful RCM sortie.

8 November 1944

136 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked the Meerbeck oil plant at Homberg. 1 Lancaster lost. The raid opened well and 2 large fires were seen but smoke then concealed the target and later bombing was scattered.

1 Wellington RCM sortie.

8/9 November 1944

59 Mosquitos to Herford and 50 to Hannover, 4 RCM sorties, 24 aircraft on Resistance operations. 2 Stirlings on Resistance work were lost.

9 November 1944

256 Lancasters and 21 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups to attack the Wanne-Eickel oil refinery. Cloud over the target was found to reach 21,000 ft and the skymarkers dropped by the Oboe Mosquitos disappeared as soon as they ignited so the Master Bomber ordered the force to bomb any built-up area. The town of Wanne-Eickel reports only 2 buildings destroyed, with 4 civilians and 6 foreigners killed. It must be assumed that other towns in the Ruhr were hit but no details are available. 2 Lancasters lost.

9/10 November 1944

6 Mosquitos each to Gotha and Pforzheim, 4 to Schwelm (which was not reached) and 3 to Kassel, 22 aircraft of 100 Group on a Window feint to draw up German fighters, 8 Mosquito patrols, 3 Stirlings on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

10 November 1944

2 Wellington RCM sorties, 2 Mosquito Rangers. No losses.

10/11 November 1944

59 Mosquitos to Hannover and 4 each to Gotha and Erfurt (Erfurt was not reached), 30 RCM sorties, 40 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito from the Hannover raid was lost.

11 November 1944

122 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack on the synthetic-oil refinery at Castrop-Rauxel. The bombing was believed to be accurate and no aircraft were lost.

2 Wellington RCM sorties.

11/12 November 1944

Harburg: 237 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. 7 Lancasters lost. The aiming point for this raid was the Rhenania-Ossag oil refinery, which had been attacked several times by American day bombers.

Dortmund: 209 Lancasters and 19 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups. No aircraft lost. The aiming point was the Hoesch Benzin synthetic-oil plant in the Wambel district. A local report confirms that the plant was severely damaged. Other bombs hit nearby housing and the local airfield.

41 Mosquitos to the Kamen oil refinery, 12 to Osnabrück, 9 to Wiesbaden, 6 to Gotha and 3 to Erfurt, 36 RCM sorties, 59 Mosquito patrols, 26 Lancasters and 24 Halifaxes minelaying off Oslo, in the Kattegat and in the River Elbe. No aircraft lost.

12 November 1944

30 Lancasters of Nos 9 and 617 Squadrons and a No 463 Squadron Lancaster with cameramen on board flew from Lossiemouth to attack the Tirpitz, which was still moored near Tromso. The weather was clear. Tirpitz was hit by at least 2 Tallboys and then suffered a violent internal explosion. She capsized to remain bottom upwards – a total loss. Approximately 1,000 of the 1,900 men on board were killed or injured. German fighters which were stationed near by to protect the Tirpitz failed to take off in time and only 1 Lancaster, of No 9 Squadron, was severely damaged, by flak; it landed safely in Sweden with its crew unhurt.

2 RCM sorties, 2 Mosquitos on Ranger patrols. No losses.

13 and 14 November 1944

1 Wellington flew an uneventful signals patrol on each of these days.

15 November 1944

177 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H attack on the oil plant at Dortmund. The raid, through thick cloud, was believed to have been accurate. 2 Lancasters lost.

5 RCM sorties, 2 Ranger patrols to the Copenhagen area. No losses.

15/16 November 1944

36 Mosquitos to Berlin, 6 each to Gotha and Wanne-Eickel, 5 to Karlsruhe and 4 to Scholven/Buer, 29 RCM sorties, 30 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito lost from the Berlin raid.

16 November 1944

Bomber Command was asked to bomb 3 towns near the German lines which were about to be attacked by the American First and Ninth Armies in the area between Aachen and the Rhine. 1,188 Bomber Command aircraft attacked Düren, Jülich and Heinsburg in order to cut communications behind the German lines. Düren was attacked by 485 Lancasters and 13 Mosquitos of Nos 1, 5 and 8 Groups, Jülich by 413 Halifaxes, 78 Lancasters and 17 Mosquitos of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups and Heinsberg by 182 Lancasters of No 3 Group. 3 Lancasters were lost on the Düren raid and 1 Lancaster on the Heinsberg raid. 1,239 American heavy bombers also made raids on targets in the same area, without suffering any losses. More than 9,400 tons of high-explosive bombs were dropped by the combined bomber forces. The American advance was not a success. Wet ground prevented the use of tanks and the American artillery units were short of ammunition because of supply difficulties. The infantry advance was slow and costly.

18 November 1944

479 aircraft – 367 Halifaxes, 94 Lancasters, 18 Mosquitos – of Nos 4, 6 and 8 Groups to Münster. 1 Halifax crashed in Holland. The raid was not concentrated and bombs fell in all parts of Münster.

3 Halifaxes flew RCM sorties.

18/19 November 1944

Wanne-Eickel: 285 Lancasters and 24 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups. 1 Lancaster lost. The intention of the raid was to hit the local oil plant. Large explosions seemed to erupt in the plant and post-raid reconnaissance showed that some further damage was caused to it. The local report does not mention the oil plant but states that the Hannibal coal mine was destroyed.

31 Mosquitos to Wiesbaden (a ‘spoof’ raid), 21 to Hannover and 6 to Erfurt, 29 RCM sorties, 44 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

19 November 1944

1 Hudson Resistance flight.

20 November 1944

183 Lancasters of No 3 Group made a G-H attack on the oil plant at Homberg but the weather was stormy and many aircraft were not able to maintain formation with the G-H aircraft on the bombing run. The bombing, through cloud, was believed to have been scattered. 5 Lancasters lost.

3 RCM sorties, 2 Mosquito Ranger patrols, 3 Hudsons on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.

20/21 November 1944

43 Lancasters of No 8 Group made an unusual Pathfinder solo raid on Koblenz without loss. The purpose of the raid was not recorded. It is possible that either the large road and rail bridges over the Rhine and Mosel or the local railway yards were the targets. Only high-explosive bombs were carried. Koblenz was completely covered by cloud and all bombing was by H2S from 15,000 ft. The local report states that some bombs fell in the town, blocking several roads and railways and scoring hits on a road and a rail bridge, although these remained usable.

63 Mosquitos to Hannover, 14 each to Homberg and Castrop-Rauxel oil plants and 9 to Eisenach, 17 RCM sorties, 17 Mosquito patrols. No aircraft lost.

21 November 1944

160 Lancasters of No 3 Group to attack the Homberg oil refinery. 3 Lancasters lost. The bombing was scattered at first but then became very concentrated, culminating, according to the Bomber Command report, in ‘a vast sheet of yellow flame followed by black smoke rising to a great height’. This was a very satisfactory raid after several previous attempts by Bomber Command to destroy this oil refinery.

2 Wellingtons on RCM sorties.

21/22 November 1944

This was a night of mainly good visibility in which Bomber Command operations were directed strictly according to priorities given in recent directives.

Aschaffenburg: 274 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups. 2 Lancasters lost. The object of this raid was to destroy the local railway yards and lines. The local report says that 50 bombs fell in the railway area, causing much damage to the marshalling yards and railway workshops but the: main through lines were not cut. Many other bombs fell in the centre and north of the town. About 500 houses were destroyed and 1,500 seriously damaged. Many old buildings were hit, including the local castle, the Johannisburg, which was hit by 5 high-explosive bombs and had a 4,000lb ‘blockbuster’ burst near by; the roof and upper storeys of the castle were burnt out.

Castrop-Rauxel: 273 aircraft – 176 Halifaxes, 79 Lancasters, 18 Mosquitos – of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups. 4 Halifaxes lost. The target was the oil refinery. The local report says that 216 high-explosive bombs, 78 duds and many incendiaries hit the oil plant and caused such a large fire that the fire-fighters could do little more than allow it to burn itself out. It is believe that the refinery produced no more oil after this raid. Bombs fell in many other places, including some important industrial and coal-mining premises.

Sterkrade: 270 aircraft – 232 Halifaxes, 20 Mosquitos, 18 Lancasters – of 4 and 8 Groups. 2 Halifaxes lost. The target was again the synthetic-oil refinery. Bomber Command’s report says that the plant was not damaged, though some labour barracks near by were hit.

Mittelland Canal: 138 Lancasters and 6 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. 2 Lancasters lost. The canal banks were successfully breached near Gravenhorst. Later photographs showed that water drained off over a 30 mile stretch and that 59 barges were stranded on one short section alone.

Dortmund-Ems Canal: 123 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. No aircraft lost. The canal near Ladbergen was attacked, some of the Lancasters coming down to 4,000ft to get beneath the cloud. A breach was made in the only branch of the aqueduct here which had been repaired since the last raid and the water once again drained out of the canal.

29 Mosquitos to Stuttgart, 26 to Hannover, 19 to Worms and 4 to Wesel, 38 RCM sorties, 80 Mosquito patrols, 24 Halifaxes and 18 Lancasters minelaying off Oslo, 9 aircraft on Resistance operations. 4 aircraft were lost – 2 Mosquitos and 1 Halifax of No 100 Group and 1 Lancaster from the minelaying force.

Total effort for the night: 1,345 sorties, 14 aircraft (1.0 per cent) lost.

Mitteland Canal Breached

22 November 1944

1 Wellington RCM sortie and 1 Hudson Resistance flight. No losses.

The Fellowship of the Bellows22/23 November 1944

171 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group were dispatched to attack the U-boat pens at Trondheim but the target was covered by a smoke-screen and the Master Bomber ordered the raid to be abandoned after the illuminating and marking force had been unable to find the target. 2 Lancasters and 1 Mosquito lost.

17 Lancasters minelaying off Heligoland and in the mouth of the River Elbe without loss.

23 November 1944

168 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid through cloud on the Nordstern oil plant at Gelsenkirchen. The bombing appeared to be accurate. 1 Lancaster lost.

4 Mosquitos on Ranger patrols in the Heligoland area, 1 Hudson on a Resistance operation. No aircraft lost.

23/24 November 1944

61 Mosquitos to Hannover, 9 to Eisenach and 6 each to Gottingen and Hagen, 43 aircraft of No 100 Group on RCM and Mosquito operations (separate figures not available). 1 Mosquito lost from the Hannover raid.

24 November 1944

1 Wellington RCM sortie and 1 Hudson Resistance flight.

24/25 November 1944

58 Mosquitos to Berlin and 6 to Gottingen, 13 Halifaxes minelaying off Denmark. No aircraft lost.

25/26 November 1944

68 Mosquitos to Nuremberg, 10 to Hagen and 9 each to Erfurt and Stuttgart, 36 RCM sorties, 38 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito lost from the Nuremberg raid.

26 November 1944

75 Lancasters of No 3 Group were sent on a trial raid to attack the railway centre at Fulda to establish whether G-H signals could reach to this distance, 160 miles from the German frontier. The distance was too great, however, and the bombs were scattered over a wide area. No aircraft lost.

1 Hudson flew a Resistance operation.

26/27 November 1944

Munich: 270 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitos of No 5 Group. 1 Lancaster crashed in France. Bomber Command claimed this as an accurate raid in good visibility with much fresh damage, particularly to railway targets. It has not been possible to obtain a local report.

7 Mosquitos to Erfurt and 6 to Karlsruhe (a ‘spoof’ raid), 20 RCM sorties, 20 Mosquito patrols, 31 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Intruder Mosquito was lost and 1 Hudson on a Resistance flight crashed behind Allied lines in Belgium.

27 November 1944

169 Lancasters of No 3 Group carried out a G-H raid on the Kalk Nord railway yards at Cologne. Good results were observed. 1 Lancaster lost.

27/28 November 1944

341 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups despatched to Freiburg. 1 Lancaster lost. Freiburg was not an industrial town and had not been bombed before by the RAF It was attacked on this night because it was a minor railway centre and because many German troops were believed to be present in the town; American and French units were advancing in the Vosges, only 35 miles to the west. The marking of the medium-sized town was based on Oboe directed from caravans situated in France. Flak defences were light and 1,900 tons of bombs were dropped on Freiburg in 25 minutes. Photographs showed that the railway targets were not hit but that the main town area was severely damaged.

290 aircraft – 173 Halifaxes, 102 Lancasters, 15 Mosquitos – of Nos 1, 6 and 8 Groups to Neuss. 1 Mosquito lost. The central and eastern districts of Neuss were heavily bombed and many fires were started.

67 Mosquitos to Berlin, 7 each to Hallendorf and Ludwigshafen and 5 to Nuremberg, 35 RCM sorties, 61 Mosquito patrols, 18 Halifaxes and 12 Lancasters minelaying off Danish and Norwegian coasts. No aircraft lost.

Total effort for the night: 853 sorties, 2 aircraft (0.2 per cent) lost.

28/29 November 1944

Essen: 316 aircraft – 270 Halifaxes, 32 Lancasters, 14 Mosquitos – of Nos 1, 4 and 8 Groups. No aircraft lost. Bomber Command documents claim further damage to industrial areas, including the Krupps works. An interesting little item in the local fire brigade report congratulates the team working in the burning headquarters of the local Gestapo for saving valuable documents.

145 Lancasters of No 3 Group and 8 Lancasters of No 1 Group carried out a mainly G-H attack on Neuss. No aircraft lost.

75 Mosquitos to Nuremberg and 9 to Hallendorf, 35 RCM sorties, 3 Mosquito patrols. 1 Mosquito lost from the Nuremberg raid.

Total effort for the night: 623 sorties, 1 aircraft (0.2 per cent) lost.

29 November 1944

Dortmund: 294 Lancasters and 17 Mosquitos of Nos 1 and 8 Groups. 6 Lancasters lost. Bad weather caused the marking and resultant bombing to be scattered but fresh damage was caused in Dortmund.

30 Mosquitos of No 8 Group attempted to bomb a tar and benzol plant in the Meiderich district of Duisburg, using the Oboe-leader method for the first time on a German target, but 2 of the 3 formations of Mosquitos failed to link up with their Oboe leaders and bombed on timed runs from the docks south of Duisburg. Most of the bombs were believed to have fallen beyond the target. No Mosquitos lost.

1 Hudson flew a Resistance operation.

29/30 November 1944

67 Mosquitos to Hannover and 4 to Bielefeld, 27 RCM sorties, 38 Mosquito patrols, 19 aircraft on Resistance operations. 6 Mosquitos of No 5 Group to lay mines in the River Weser were unable to carry out the operation because of 10/10ths cloud over the target area. No aircraft lost.

30 November 1944

60 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked a coking plant at Bottrop without loss.

60 Lancasters of No 3 Group attacked a benzol plant at Osterfeld. 2 Lancasters lost.

39 Mosquitos of No 8 Group attacked the oil plant at Meiderich without loss.

30 November/1 December 1944

Duisburg: 576 aircraft – 425 Halifaxes, 126 Lancasters, 25 Mosquitos – of Nos 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups. 3 Halifaxes lost. The target area was completely cloud-covered and the attack was not concentrated but much fresh damage was still caused.

53 Mosquitos to Hamburg and 7 to Hallendorf, 88 aircraft of No 100 Group on RCM and Mosquito operations (separate figures not available), 9 aircraft on Resistance operations. 1 Intruder Mosquito lost.

Total effort for the night: 733 sorties, 4 aircraft (0.5 per cent) lost.



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18 réflexions sur “Aimé Thiévin’s Memoirs – Excerpt 1

    • You know how trust is fragile sometimes with my bad sense of humor…, but I have learned.

      This story is so poignant, and is similar to stories you post on your blog.

      I know this is a true story because the veterans I have met since 2010 told the same stories, but never told anybody for fear of acknowledging they were scared as hell…

    • Cette histoire mérite d’être largement publiée. Elle est l’histoire de ces jeunes Canadiens qui sont allés défendre l’Angleterre qui vivait des jours sombres.

    • Since Aimé’s son doesn’t read French, you can comment in English so he can read your comments.

      When I translate this story in French then you can comment in French for people who don’t read English.

      Merci beaucoup John.

  1. I just opened a letter from Jean-Paul Corbeil. His words found me pondering an odd text message exchange with my daughter a few days ago. She wrote « was grandpa in the war? » «  »No » I replied. « He was born in 1935, but his father lost 2 brothers in the war. Why? » Her response – « did he talk about his brothers? » Me – « truth is, not once. It wasn’t ever a topic of conversation. Why are you asking? » Response – « I was talking to my friend. She told me her grandfather had a crude tatoo on his back that read Nazi Killer, and he wouldn’t talk about it ». Then I went back to work with tears in my eyes and determination to « talk about it ». 🙂

  2. About the training unit Aimé Thiévin wrote about at the beginning…
    Half a century ago, over two hundred acres of prime farmland, six miles east of Stratford-upon-Avon, was requisitioned by the authorities giving its owners, the Littler family, immediate notice to remove their dairy herd and leave their farmhouse to the bulldozers.
    From this moment, life in and around the two villages of Wellesbourne Hastings and Wellesbourne Mountford was never to be the same again. Twelve months later on April 14th 1941, R.A.F. Wellesbourne Mountford opened, which over the next four years was to train British and Commonwealth aircrews, day and night, for the dangerous task of wartime operations.
    Today, the airfield is a busy centre for civil aviation and two resident flying schools still teach future pilots the basic skills of flying modern aeroplanes, some going on to fly airliners to all parts of the globe.
    It’s a far cry from those dark days of the 1940’s ..
    The first Wellington bombers arrived at Wellesbourne following twelve months of hectic work by John Laing and Co constructing the three runways and hangers. Locals suddenly found they could no longer travel freely along the roads as the R.A.F. police were on patrol moving on anyone inquisitive enough to stand and stare at the amazing scenes. It wasn’t long into the war, before all three roads surrounding the airfield were closed and barbed-wire barriers placed across each end. This was not only done for security reasons, but also to protect the over enthusiastic public from the danger of low flying aircraft.
    Using large old hand held cross-cut saws and axes, many trees were felled around the airfield boundary to allow the bombers more height for climbing away from the runways with their heavy bombloads. The surrounding area was not ideally situated, with hills to the south (Red Hill) and Atherstone airfield to the West directly in line with runway 06/24.
    On the 14th April 1941, No 22 Operational Training Unit was formed at Wellesbourne Mountford, being part of No.6 Group Bomber Command (Later transferred to No. 91 Group). It’s purpose was to train United Kingdom and Commonwealth aircrews, pilots, navigators, bomb aimers, wireless operators and air gunners, and have them ready to move on to operational squadrons, fit for the grim task of war.
    Flying training began in earnest, day and night around the clock with circuits and bumps, cross-country navigational exercises, air to air gunnery and bombing missions on various practice ranges on land and at sea. At the end of each eight week course, the crews had to carry out at least one ‘Nickel’ raid which was a leaflet dropping sortie over occupied Europe. The first training course consisting of six pilots, three observers, three air gunners and five wireless operators/air gunners began on the 6th May 1941. At its peak in March 1944, 22 O.T.U. would be turning out thirteen aircrews a month and it was destined to become the largest Operational Training Unit in the United Kingdom and the main unit for all French Canadians.
    The domestic area, (now covered by the Dovehouse housing estate) consisted of mostly wooden huts and a few brick built buildings for accommodation blocks, and airmen, N.C.O.’s and officers messes.
    One hut was converted into a Roman Catholic chapel of St. Bernadette, and another into the station cinema called ‘The Dominion’. This was a very popular place as there wasn’t a great deal of local entertainment in the evenings. Many of the popular films were shown such as ‘Fury’ starring Spencer Tracy, ‘Highway Patrol’ and ‘Down Mexico Way’ featuring Gene Autry. Seats cost 9 pennies (4p) for the best seats at the rear and 6 pennies (2 1/2p) for those at the front.
    An R.A.F. vehicle, known as the Liberty Bus, was available several nights a week to transport personnel into local towns such as Warwick, Stratford and Leamington for an evenings entertainment at the dance halls, cinemas or public houses.
    Wellesbourne also provided a lot of sporting activities such as football, rugby, tennis, softball and hockey, all of which were played against local teams in the area. There was also an R.A.F. band which marched through Wellesbourne village and local towns, on such appropriate occasions as ‘Wings for Victory’ week.
    There were several more dispersed accommodation sites, three on Redhill and another amongst Wellesbourne Woods.
    Atherstone airfield (Stratford) was officially taken over as the satellite for Wellesbourne Mountford on July 5th 1941 with Fit. Lt. W.P.T. Vear taking command. ‘C’ Flight eased the congestion at Wellesbourne when they moved over to the new airfield in September.
    The same month saw the arrival of two V.I.P.’s in the shape of Rt. Hon. P Fraser, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who visited the station to meet all his fellow countrymen and Air Marshall Sir Arthur Longmore who, in his role as Inspector General of the R.A.F., inspected the airfields of both Wellesbourne and Atherstone.
    July was also to see the first W.A.A.F. personnel posted to the station being one Corporal and thirteen airwomen. They were all billeted in Wellesbourne House but the Officers were later accommodated in Little House, Chestnut Square, Wellesbourne.
    The construction of the airfield had not gone on undetected by the Germans, for in 1940 Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft had taken high-level aerial photographs of Wellesbourne Mountford and Atherstone.
    Nearly all major airfields had a dummy airfield known as a ‘Q’ site which were decoy areas of land, laid out with lights to represent a landing ground. They were usually approximately three to four miles from the parent airfield and were lit up at night to draw the enemy bombers away from the real target which would be blacked out. Wellesbourne’s ‘Q’ site was at Pillerton Priors, north of the Banbury to Stratford road where several bombs have been found and defused on various occasions since the war.
    Despite this, the reality of war was soon to arrive as on the 8th May 1941 eleven bombs were dropped by an enemy bomber, fortunately causing only slight damage to the windows and roof of the fire tender building which was situated close to the control tower. Two nights later at 01-10 hours, three bombs exploded between the north barriers at Kings Mead corner and the huts of No 1 dispersal point with only slight damage being caused to a Wellington by flying earth.
    On the 12th May, enemy aircraft again dropped twelve bombs across the North East corner of the airfield with two Wellington bombers being rendered unserviceable and Anson No 9846 receiving a direct hit on the gun turret which blew the aircraft in half.
    Mr. Sid Cunliffe, now living in Withington, Manchester, was on duty when Anson No 9846 was lost. Here he recalls the incident:-
    « I was on a night shift in the battery room when I heard a low flying aircraft going over about midnight. I ran outside to see what was happening to find a searchlight had located the aircraft and I could plainly see the swastikas on the tail. At the same time it released its bombs, fortunately most of them falling on soft ground, but one did wreck an Anson. The area where I stood was showered with mud and clods of earth but I was not hurt.
    Half an hour later the station fire brigade arrived with two aircraftsmen pushing a two-wheeled contraption supporting a couple of dustbin sized containers full of water and a stirrup pump. They asked me whether I !new where the bombs had dropped! They were relieved to find out their ordeal was over for they had been pushing this thing all over the station and they were really exhausted. It was like something out of a Laurel and Hardy comedy ».
    On the 26th June 1941, Wellesbourne had its first fatal accident when Wellington R1586, unable to maintain height due to an engine problem, hit a row of trees near Loxley while trying to get back to the airfield to make an emergency landing.
    The five man crew were all killed and interred with full military honours on the 30th June at 15-15 hours in Stratford-upon-Avon War cemetery. The Commanding Officer, Group Captain E.A.Healey and Chief Flying Instructor Wing Commander L.G.Harman D.F.C. both attended the funeral and the Station Chaplain, Squadron Leader Hillary officiated at the service.
    Sgt. T.L.Kirk Pilot R.C.A.F. R7/72.0
    Sgt. F.J.Venn Pilot R.C.A.F. R59770
    Sgt. D.R.White WO/AG R.C.A.F. R56085
    Sgt. A.Bush WO/AG R.A.F. 633380
    Sgt. J.G.Smithson AG R.A.F. 1378146
    Most of the Wellington bombers allocated to Training Units were ex-squadron aircraft which were somewhat worn out and weary having been passed from station to station. The normal life of their Bristol Pegasus XVII engines gradually rose from 240 hours to 320 hours. Repeated periods of ground running and take-off at maximum boost meant that they were subject to as much stress in 200 hours of training as 320 hours of operations. This was much of the reason for the many accidents that were beginning to occur.
    As 22 O.T.U. grew in size, sadly the loss of aircraft and personnel rose accordingly. In total some 90 aircraft were destroyed with 80 airman injured and 299 killed. Of these 244 were Canadians. One such accident, typical of dozens that were to befall Wellesbourne, occurred on 7th December 1941. It was a Sunday evening and the Midlands was suddenly engulfed in severe snowstorms. Two aircraft were carrying out circuits and landings. At 18-30 hours Wellington T2566 of ‘B’ Flight was on finals approaching runway 24 when the pupil pilot, P/0 J Lynas aged nineteen, completely lost visual sight of the runway lights. He dramatically lost height and hit a row of trees in line with the flarepath. The aircraft burnt out in the ensuing crash by Heath Spinney on the Newbold road, killing P/0 Lynas, P/Instructor Turner and WO/AG Sgt Chancellor and badly burning P/0 Jackson and AG Sgt Lane. Five minutes later, Wellington X9625 of ‘A’ Flight was unable to line up with the runway due to the snow and in trying to overshoot caught the trees on Loxley Hill finally crashing into the top of Red Hill, near Woodfield farm quite close to the station wireless building. Two of the crew, PO Alien and WO/AG Sgt Cuthbert died in the crash with the Pilot, Sgt Cox and AG Sgt Allen being injured.
    It wasn’t until the end of August 1941 that Wellesbourne received it’s first stocks of heavy bombs which came by rail to Ettington station and then by R.A.F. transport. The bomb dump was situated south of the airfield and can still be seen today at the bottom of Wellesbourne wood on the Loxley road. A large field near Priors Hardwick was used by 22 O.T.U. as a practice bombing range. Small practice bombs were dropped onto a marker in the shape of a white cross, and the results were monitored by observers who were positioned in a brick tower some safe distance away. During the month of October, a record was achieved when 1100 practice bombs were dropped and 85000 rounds of .303 ammunition fired in both day and night practices. On 25th February 1942 22 O.T.U. dropped its first ‘live’ bombs on the Stert Flats in the Bristol Channel using 80 high explosive bombs.
    The following message came from Commander in Chief of Bomber Command, to all bomber stations on 30th May 1942;… »You have an opportunity to strike a blow at the enemy which will resound not only throughout Germany but throughout the whole world. »
    Orders were first received on the 27th May for the ‘Thousand’ plan, as it was dubbed, although officially named Operation Millennium. By 13-30 that afternoon all personnel at Wellesbourne had been confined to camp and those that lived outside were accommodated inside the airfield boundaries. Rumours were rife throughout the camp about the forthcoming operation. Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris had planned to execute the ‘Thousand’ plan for propaganda purposes as much as for its destructive capability. To achieve the magic thousand he had to take crews from O.T.U.’s the length and breadth of the country to fly against Germany with fully trained Squadron crews. To this end, eleven Wellingtons were transferred from Atherstone to Elsham Wolds and thirty-seven in total stood by from 22 O.T.U., in anticipation of the coming action. At 14-40 hours the operation was postponed due to poor weather conditions and for the next two days the crews stood by in nervous anticipation only to find the operation was cancelled again. They didn’t have to wait long, for on the 30th May, they flew. The Operations Book of 22 O.T.U. records the events as follows:-
    ‘Stood by for « Thousand’ plan – Operation carried out. 35 Wellingtons (14 parent station, 11 satellite, 10 Elsham) took part. 15 crews briefed at parent station at 1800 hours and 13 at satellite 19-30 hours. Very heavy rainfall at time of take-off. First aircraft airborne at 22-47 hours. Two aircraft returned early, one owing to sickness of Captain, the other due to generator failure. Four aircraft failed to return …… Reports of a very successful attack on Cologne received from aircrews’ Altogether, 1046 aircraft had taken off, of which 898 claimed to have found the target dropping 540 tons of high explosive and 915 tons of incendiaries. The casualty rate was only 3 8 per cent or 40 aircraft, although another 116 were damaged – 12 of them beyond repair. Thirty -three more suffered ‘serious’ damage.
    To the surprise of all, the bombers from O.T.U. stations such as Wellesbourne had suffered less than those flown by the more experienced crews, although the following still went missing:-
    F/0 H. R. Blake R.N.Z.A.F. P/0 D. S. Mclean R.C.A.F.
    Sgt. N. Gratton R.C.A.F. F/Sgt R. J. Wanbon R.A.F.
    Sgt. R. N. A. Creswell R.C.A.F. F/O L. J. Tait R.A.F.
    P/0 W. A. Fulleterton (D.F.M.) R.A.F. F/Sgt. R. M.Saunders R.A.F.
    F/Sgt. J. K. Napier (D.F.M.) R.A.F. Sgt. P. G. Barclay R.C.A.F.
    Sgt. R. A. Armstrong R.A.F. P/0 W. F. Caldwell R.A.F.
    P/0 D. A. R. Tallis R.A.F. F/Sgt. C. J. Matthews R.A.F.
    Sgt. D. H. Edwards R.A.F. F/0 A. C. Hammon R.A.F.
    w/o E. Neeson N.Z.R.A.F. F/Sgt. W. S. Hawkins R.A.F.
    Sgt. R. R. Harrison R.C.A.F. Sgt. K. P. E. Monk R.A.F.
    Many of these men paid the supreme sacrifice.
    The target had been Cologne, and half of the city, 600 acres, had been devastated. At least 250 factories had been destroyed, many of which had turned out materials essential to Germany’s war effort. As put by the official Air Ministry publication, ‘Bomber Command Continues’ –
    « The hammer had fallen, one thousand bombers had been over Cologne »
    This raid and many others which followed over the next few weeks against Bremen, Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Essen, were later compared to such military horrors as the Somme and Passchendale – such was the loss of life and destruction.

    22 O.T.U. was to lose a further ten crews on these operations


  3. No 22 Operational Training Unit

    Formed at Wellesbourne Mountford on 14 April 1941 within No 6 Group. Equipped with Wellingtons, it trained night bomber crews for the rest of the war. On 11 May 1942 it was transferred to No 91 Group and in July was raised to 1 ¼ OTU status. Reverting to normal OTU status in February 1943 it concentrated on training RCAF crews, being expanded to 1½ OTU status when ‘B’ Flight of No 23 OTU was absorbed, until disbanding 24 July 1945

    Codes used: –

    DD Apr 1941 – Jul 1945
    LT Apr 1941 – Jul 1945
    XN xxx 1941 – Jul 1945
    OX xxx 1943 – xxx xxxx

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