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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn N to Z] [Donald E Tate and crew 103 Sqn]

P/O Donald E Tate RCAF and crew – 103 Squadron – RAF Elsham Wolds – 1944

Failed to Return – 24/25th May 1944 – Avro Lancaster III – ND624 – Op Aachen.

103 Squadron Tate D E

Donald Tate ( pictured above ) and his crew were posted to 103 Squadron at RAF Elsham Wolds in April 1944. They were lost on their 5th operation which included a harrowing baptism to Mailly-le-Camp on the 3/4th May 1944. See below :-

03-May-44 – Mailly-le-Camp – Lancaster – ND632 – F/S DE Tate

07-May-44 – Rennes-St-Jacques – Lancaster – ND624 – F/S DE Tate

21-May-44 – Duisburg – Lancaster – ND624 – F/S DE Tate

22-May-44 – Dortmund – Lancaster – ND624 – F/S DE Tate

24-May-44 – Aachen – Lancaster – ND624 – F/S DE Tate – FTR - Night fighter victim. Crashed at Sistig, Germany.

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Claim by Oblt Josef Kraft 7/NJG6 - Sistig 10km South of Gemund (PN 3): 5,500m at 02:24.

(Nachtjagd Combat Archives 1944 Part 3 - Theo Boiten)

Crashed at Sistig 5 km SSE of Schleiden.

The crew were initially buried in a mass grave 305-311 in Sistig Cemetery.

Reinterred 24 July 1947. Per John Jones

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P/O Donald Elgin Tate RCAF – Pilot – 21 – 103 Sqn - Son of Harry Elgin Tate and Mary Leone Tate of Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada - Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany

Sgt William McCulloch RAFVR – Flight Engineer - 19 – 103 Sqn - Son of Williamina Williamson McCulloch and the late Nathaniel Alexander McCulloch of Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland - Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany

F/S Edward Hilary Calvert RAFVR – Air Bomber - 103 Sqn - Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany

Sgt Joseph Williams RAFVR – Navigator - 29 – 103 Sqn - Son of Joseph and Edith Alice Williams, of Bridgwater, Somerset - Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany

Sgt David John Jones RAFVR – Wireless Operator / Air Gunner - 27 – 103 Sqn - Son of Charles and Blodwen Jones; husband of Nellie Jones of Gwaun-cae-Gurwen, Glamorgan - Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany

Sgt Robert Holmes RAFVR ( pictured below ) – Air Gunner - 103 Sqn - Son of William Ferguson Holmes and Isabella Jane Holmes of Murton Colliery, Co. Durham - Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany

Sgt William David Kirton RAFVR – Air Gunner - 103 Sqn - Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany

441 Holmes

Sgt Robert Holmes RAFVR

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24-May-44 – Aachen

103 Squadron detailed 13 aircraft for this attack on the German city of Aachen. All aircraft took off safely in good weather which held throughout the route and over the target. The target was well marked and a good attack developed. The Musical Paramatta method was employed by the Pathfinders. Bombing from was between 20000 ft and 23000 ft. There was heavy flak over the target and many fighters. Crews reported several combats on the homeward route. F/S Tate failed to return from this operation. All other crews returned to base.

For this attack on to attack 2 railway yards at Aachen Command detailed a total of 442 aircraft - 264 Lancasters, 162 Halifaxes, 16 Mosquitos - of all groups except No 5 - Aachen-West and Rothe Erde (east of the town). These were important links in the railway system between Germany and France. 18 Halifaxes and 7 Lancasters lost, 5.7 per cent of the force. The Aachen report duly records that the 2 railway yards were the targets attacked, with the railways to the east of Aachen being particularly hard hit. But, because this was a Nazi town, Bomber Command sent more aircraft than normal for railway raids and many bombs fell in Aachen itself and in villages near the railway yards.

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Lancaster – ND624

This machine was lost on its 9th operation. See below:-

30-Apr-44 – Maintenon – Lancaster – ND624 – F/O GA Morrison

03-May-44 – Mailly-le-Camp – Lancaster – ND624 – F/O GA Morrison

06-May-44 - Aubigne Racan – Lancaster – ND624 – F/L TG Leggett

07-May-44 – Rennes-St-Jacques – Lancaster – ND624 – F/S DE Tate

10-May-44 - Heligoland Bight – Lancaster – ND624 – P/O KW Mitchell

19-May-44 – Orleans – Lancaster – ND624 – P/O JR Gibbons - Unable to hear Master Bombers instructions. Brought all bombs back

21-May-44 – Duisburg – Lancaster – ND624 – F/S DE Tate

22-May-44 – Dortmund – Lancaster – ND624 – F/S DE Tate

24-May-44 – Aachen – Lancaster – ND624 – F/S DE Tate – FTR - Night fighter victim. Crashed at Sistig, Germany.

Item compiled by David Fell with photo courtesy of the Holmes family. Tate photo courtesy of the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Also thanks to John Jones for his input

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