From RAF Post War Investigation of crash and graves of crew of Halifax JD410
My Thanks to John Jones for forwarding this report as a valuable addition to 419 Squadron's history.
(Investigation report, 26 November, 1946)
A visit was made to the cemetery at Esthal. The graves of six airmen were found buried here. And one cross
surrounded the graves. The graves were well tended, not registered, situated under the north wall of the
The Town Hall was visited and witnesses interrogated. Roman Catholic priest Mr Vatter;
He stated the Aircraft was shot down by flak at 0.100 on 6 Sep.1943. The Aircraft came down in two
pieces on two sides of a hill about 5 km from Esthal in a forest at Erfenstein.
The Aircraft was partially burned. And four bodies were found on one side of the hill, three being
identified as Burke, Nuttall, Slaney and the body of an unknown Australian Sergeant was found in the
cockpit nearby (this would be Sgt. Allan).
These bodies were buried on 8 Sep.1943. Two unknown bodies were recovered later in the fuselage,
which fell on the other side of the hill. They were buried 13 Sep.1943 (these would be the bodies
of Kilpatrick and Hudson). The priest Vatter conducted the funeral services on both days.
The ex. Nazi Burgomeister was interrogated and confirmed Vatter’s statement. Adding that the bodies were buried
in separate coffins in the following order: grave 1 – Burke, grave 2 – Nuttall, grave 3 – Slaney, grave 4 –
Unk.Aus.Sgt, and grave 5 and 6 – Unknown ". Statement F/O Harris, 25/10/1944)
From Survivor P/O John Harris
" … On the night of 5/6th Sep, 1943, we were hit as a result of enemy action. I do not know what hit us.
Suddenly staggered and quivered as if the aircraft was losing control.
Sgt. Allan said "Bale out". I clamped my parachute on and the aircraft went into a spin. All this happened
within a few seconds and I was thrown about in the fuselage. Some time later I could see stars overhead and
I know that I was out of the aircraft. I then pulled the ripcord and soon landed.
The Germans told me later that three of my crew were killed. I was shown a laundry tag with Sgt. Allan’s name
on it and saw an envelope with Sgt. Stanley’s name on it and the word "todt" on it.
I did not see anything of the rest of the crew … ".