On February 9, 1945, Lancaster I, HK620 LS-W of 15 Squadron took off
at 0313 hr.. from Mildenhall for an operation against a specific target
in the Krefeld area. In the Operational Record Book of 15 Squadron, the
following was noted :
Several T.I.'s were seen and were well grouped, Flak was moderate but accurate, and searchlights were also active. Soon after the attack started the searchlights remained stationary, as if assisting fighters. Crews reported a good attack with most of the bombing slightly to port of the T.I.'s. Several large fires were seen in the target area. One aircraft has been posted as missing from this attack. The remaining nine aircraft who successfully attacked the primary returned to base." (note : T.I. = Target Indicators).
The missing crew consisted of nine airmen :
What actually happened, remains a mystery. The people of Wauthier-Braine, a village roughly situated ten miles south-west of Brussels, woke up when a burning bomber lit the night. A report stated two engines were on fire. Flying very low, it just missed the castle of the family d'Oultremont, and finally crashing into the woods, locally known as "le bois d'Hautmont". Many fallen trees led to the site, where the remains of Lancaster HK620 were lying scattered around. An Allied team recovered the remains of eight airmen, probably not knowing this plane had the exceptional number of nine people on board - this seems understandable as the above mentioned Operational Record Book only mentions eight - it seems the debriefing officer did not knew there was a second pilot on board, as F/L McQueen's name is not mentioned. However, after the war he was identified, together with the rest of the crew, except the wireless operator, Sgt A. Dobson. The remains of the crew rest at Evere/Brussels cemetery. The missing airman, 23 year old Sgt Alan Thomas Dobson is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
This year, members of the Belgian Aviation History Association decided
to find our more about this particular incident and started their search
in the surrounding areas. A large part of the wing, with a clear view
of the camouflage pattern and RAF roundel still remarkably well preserved,
was recovered from the garden in the neighborhood.