The crew of Sgt. MacLeod (mis-spelt in squadron logs as McLeod ) arrived at 419 squadron from No. 1664 CU
at Croft on October 28th 1943.
His crew were:
Navigator P/O John R Piper
Bomb Aimer Sgt. John L Beattie
F/E Sgt. Martin B Leboldus
WAG Sgt. Thomas Gettings RAF
M/UG Sgt. Donald Lewthwaite R/G Alfred Hackbart
419 Squadron Operations
The crew would take part in additional training at Middleton St. George with their captain MacLeod while they awaited
MacLeod's completion of 2nd. Pilot operations, which were completed on November 18/19th. The next squadron operation
was on the night of November 22/23 to Berlin. This would be the first full operation working as a crew.
Their very next operation, Leipzig gave them taste of what can happen over heavily defended enemy targets. Flak
port wing, damaged the engine covers on the port inner engine. But the worst damage was to the port outer engine area
where the flak punched a hole through the oil tank, causing loss of much needed oil for the engine. The aircraft was
brought safely back to the base located at Weatting Common.
Return to Leipzig
Sgt. Hackbart would then be rear gunner on two operations over the German capital of Berlin. Then the crew once more
were faced with
an operation to Leipzig on their fifth operation, a former target that had caused them problems back in the beginning of December.
At 2312 hours on the night of February 19th, JD114 with Sgt. Hackbart in the rear gunner's position left base for
Leipzig, to join up with 823 other aircraft. A smaller diversionary force was to have attracted the enemy fighters
from the main force.
But German controllers only sent part of the available night-fighters up to meet the diversion aircraft. They then
called back that
force of fighters when they saw what the main target was. Bombers were attacked all the way to the target, things
were not any better over the
target, winds brought bombers too early and had to wait for the Pathfinders. Four aircraft were lost to mid air
were lost to the heavy flak over the city. In all 78 bombers were lost.
419 would loose two crews in this disastrous raid, one of them was the Halifax carrying Alfred Hackbart. No details
of what actually happened to his aircraft
was ever found. He and the other crew men are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.
JD114 had served her crews well over the 50 previous operations she was on, she may have been the Halifax with the
operations carried out. Nick named "Medicine Hat" complete with the art work of Walt Disney's Goofy, most likely supplied by
the Disney Studios who did many wartime requests for mascots. Goofy
would return to the squadron
later on as a Lancaster, partly as repect for JD114.
Sgt. Leboldus was one of three brothers killed in the service of their country, all were in the RCAF. F/S John Leboldus
was with 142 squadron when he was killed on November 24th 1943. F/O Peter Boldus was with 418 squadron when he was killed
on February 13th 1943. Leboldus Island is named in honour of Sgt. Martin Leboldus, Leboldus Lake is named after his brother
Peter and Leboldus Channel is named after John Leboldus.
Mount Beattie in British Columbia is named after WOII John Beattie.