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Newspaper Cuttings . . Halifax bombing of Caen

January 20 2006 at 10:53 PM
Terri  (Login terrihopkin)
from IP address

I dont know if this is of interest to anyone, so I thought I would put it out there anyway . . . .

Amongst my dad's papers I came across a cutting from a 1944 newspaper . . it is entitled Front Line View of a City's Destruction and it refers to the raid on Caen in July 1944. (My dad's log shows his involvement, so it was of obvious significance.)

It starts . . .

My dearest Mother, Since it is now fourteen days after the one and only really exciting thing that happened here . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

At about 9pm on the Friday I was coming out of my office, and I noticed that the air was rather more full than usual of the sound of planes. The sound was different; not the swift swish of the fighters which are always with us, but the pulsing drone of the heavy stuff.

So I looked out to sea. And there a sight met my eyes which you wont believe. As far as the human eye could see there were four engined bombers. They came in a long slow procession, slowly, deliberately, tier upon tier. In front of them were the pathfinders, the planes that drop flares and what not............

It seemed to me, standing watching that no living thing could ever pass through that barrage alive. It seemed that there was no part of the sky that was not riddled with fire.

I looked back towards the sea and the big bombers were just pouring in, just as slowly and for all the world like old men, going for a stroll. Only they were rather sinister old men.

I cant deny that I closed my eyes for two seconds and prayed hard. I prayed that some of them might be spared through the frightfulness of all that death being hurled up at them . . . . . .

The above is just an extract, give me a shout if anyone wants the full article.

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Neil Anderson
(no login)

Can i have a copy please

April 20 2006, 5:21 PM 


A relative of mine belonging to 51 Sqn was on a mission to Caen 18th July 1944

would love to read what you have.


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John K. Stenwig
(no login)

Bombing of Caen

April 24 2006, 10:15 PM 

I don't want to disappoint you, but I am afraid we are talking about two different raids here. A large proportion of Caen was destroyed on July 7th. That was a Friday, and the raid took place in the afternoon as the newspaper article reads.

The raid on July 18th took place early in the morning and marked the opening of Operation Goodwood. Bomber Command attacked five German strongpoints just east of Caen. The aiming points were at Colombelles, Mondeville, Sannerville, Manneville and Cagny. This bombing was ment to give British and Canadinan armoured forces a clear way, attacking from north east of Caen and south against the Bourgu├ębus ridge. The bombing was very accurate, even if the armoured forces ran into stiff resistance and suffered heavy losses later in the day.

At Manneville a battalion of the German 21th panzer division with pzkw IV and the 503rd heavy tank battalion with Tiger and Kingtigers was hit, loosing some 20 tanks between them due to the bombing.

I do not know in detail which squadrons that participated at the different aiming points, but if anyone have information about this I would be grateful if they would share their knowledge.
I know that 35 sqn marked the target at Manneville, as my father was bomb aimer with the deputy master bomber, and according to Chorley 76 sqn, my fathers former squadron, attacked there as well. But in all Bomber Commands effort was 942 planes against the five aming points, so where did they all come from ?

Best wishes

John K. Stenwig

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R. Fulford
(no login)

Canadian contribution to the effort ...

April 25 2006, 2:03 AM 

the Caen raid of July 18 is considered one of the best examples of Bomber Command's aerial support for the advancing ground forces.

I believe the 6 Group contribution for the day was something in the order of 42 Lancs from 408, 419 & 428 squadrons
and 155 Halifax from 420, 424, 425, 426, 427, 429, 431, 432, 433, 434 Squadrons. The balance of the 942 aircraft then came from the RAF Groups.

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John K. Stenwig
(no login)

Operation Goodwood

April 25 2006, 10:46 PM 

Thanks a lot,

every little bit of information helps.
Do you happend to know if the hole of 6th group had the same target?
And if so, does anybody know if it was done in that way when Bomber Command had more than one "Target for tonight"? I know that it was not the case for 8th group, as they provided pathfinders for the other groups. And 5th group operated often on their own.

I would guess that route planing and raid preperation would be easier
that way.

Best wishes

John K. Stenwig

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(Login RBeetham)


May 31 2006, 4:31 PM 

By coincidence I finally remembered about this site. Been a long while. I note that you were looking for any info on CAEN for July 18/44. I checked my Dad's log book and it shows that his aircraft (Halifax R - Pilot F/O Heron) from 420 Squadron flying out of Tholthorpe, hit the Mondeville Steel works & Mortar Concentration with 16x500. . It was a daylight raid with 4.05 hours flying time.

They unfortunately collided with a Lancaster over the target (noted in log book)

I recall my Dad telling me that the Lanc came up in front of them, at the last moment they veered away in opposite directions. The tip of his Halifax wing was sheared off, while the unfortunately Lancasters wing was sliced between the engines and it spiralled down out of control.

Hope the bit helps

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trs johnson
(Login trsjohnson)


August 21 2011, 8:48 PM 

I suspect that Halifax R piloted by F/O Heron collided with Lancaster ND 517 KMU which my late father in law was WOP/AG. The Lancaster of 44 Sqd took off from Dunholm Lodge. whilst over the target area it was engaged by flack. One entering the mid upper turret killing Sgt K.D Burroughs. the aircraft sustained numerous hits prior to the colision although the other crew members bailed out and were taken POW.

Hope this is of interest to you.

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Alan Geoffrey Wells
(no login)

Re: Goodwood

August 26 2011, 2:59 PM 

If you have not already had access to the 44sqdn ORB at Kew, i have a copy of it if you want anything from it.

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Terence johnson
(no login)


August 22 2016, 5:49 PM 

Greetings Allan.
I have just returned from a long secondment overseas and after much searching have finally found this site. I realise it is quite a long time but I would really appreciate any information from the 44 squadron ORB with reference to the daylight raid over Caen July 1944

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