KB735 was built in August 1943 at Victory Aircraft in Malton Ontario, delivered to 419 squadron
in May of 1944.
It had a total of 314 hours on it when it crashed on returning.
On May 4th of 1944 the members of F/O Chalcraft's crew were posted to
419 squadron. The crew was comprised of :
F/L William Robertson Chalcraft DFC
of Calgary Alberta -Pilot
F/O James Edgar Taylor DFC
of Fillmore Saskatchewan - Navigator
Sgt. John Robert "Ben" Gunn RAF
of Great Dunmon Essex. England- Flight Engineer
F/O Charles Donald Christian DFC
of Victoria British Columbia - Bomb Aimer
P/O Paul Emile Bourassa DFC
of St. Remi Quebec - Wireless Operator
Sgt. G R Daigle - Air Gunner
F/S Harold Ceal Annable DFM
of Lindsay Ontario - Rear Gunner
The crew had lost their original Rear Gunner during a taxiing accident at No. 1666 HCU,
Halifax crashed in the rear of aircraft they were aboard.
Sgt. Ward Thomas Falan was killed in the accident.
The 21 year old native of Collins Bay Ontario was buried
in Stonefall Cemetery, Harrogate, Yorkshire.
The crew had series of different Upper Middle gunners during the period leading up to September
18th where the
the Upper Middle gunner was Sgt. E G Legault ( later P/O),
on this night the whole crew was involved in a accident during landing.
The squadron was an operation to Donburg which had been
postponed in the morning and took place later in the afternoon.
On arriving over the target the cloud cover was too dense
to properly hit the designated target area. On the return trip heavy fog
rolled into their base at Middleton St. George, they were
directed to Eastmoor where they over ran the runway crashing through a
drainage ditch which tore of the undercarriage. The aircraft was
written off. VR-Q also had a crash landing that night at another base so the squadron
was now two aircraft short. Luckily both crews were not injured.
Sgt. "Ben" Gunn was transferred to No. 1664 HCU as instructor on November 1st 1944
P/O E. G. Legault. F/L Chalcraft, F/O Christian were posted to "R" Depot for Repatriation on November3rd 1944.
The descriptions for the DFC and DFM awarded to members of the crew are listed in the 419 Honors page.
The descriptions are taken from the London Gazette, the write up for F/S Annable's DFM has an additional
paragraph regarding attacks on the Chalcraft crews for the nights of May 24th and May 27th, involving
3 enemy aircraft on each of these operations. Ops Log shows no mention of these attacks on the aircraft
F/L Chalcraft was flying those two nights
and the only Combat Report shows that the aircraft involved with a triple attack by enemy fighters was actually KB716 , VR-D
on the night of May 27th. Maybe being the same squadron and the same target the Gazette had a mix-up.
Thanks to S. Taylor for sharing his photos
Pilot Officer John Robert "Ben" Gunn
Later Flight Lieutenant
Completion of Tour November 1944
Transferred to Instructor Duties then posted India