Personnel Index - Detail
18. D. 4.
L G Alexander photographed on the 28th December 1940
Leo Alexander (circled) photographed during aircrew training
Sgt Alexander on the Air Gunner's Course 1942........It is not known if any of the others served with 49sqn.
(L to R): Hiam Magder and Leo Alexander
A slightly fuzzy image of (L to R)....Emile Dunand, Robert Jackson, Albert Lane, Hiam Magder, Leo Alexander
With thanks to John McMahon (Paddy Mac) for his help with identification
A prayer at the graveside
The temporary grave in the cemetery near Venlo
2/3 February, 1943; COLOGNE:
On the night of Tuesday 2 February, 7 Lancasters climbed out of Fiskerton through layers of thick cloud. Over the North Sea they were still in cloud at 21,000ft with temperatures down to -40 degrees.
A force of 161 four-engined bombers converged over a cloud-covered Cologne where Pathfinders had dropped markers by using both Oboe and H2S. Damage reports show that the city sustained bombing over a wide area, but with no serious concentration. Bomber Command lost 5 aircraft in total; 3 Lancasters, 1 Halifax and 1 H2S equipped Pathfinder Stirling. The Stirling, along with its secret H2S set had literally 'fallen' into the Germans hands. Eventually the Germans were able to develop a device which enabled their night fighters to home in on a bomber using H2S. The squadron suffered the loss of a crew this night; F/Lt Bob Jackson (ED440) and crew had taken-off at 18.51hrs flying their first operation from Fiskerton. Their aircraft was shot down by a night fighter and crashed between Kessel and Helden in Holland. Six of the crew are buried in Nijmegen Cemetery.
The crew were on their first operation and the Lancaster Mk III, ED440 (EA-L) was flying its 4th operation.
The full story of Sgt J.R. McMahon and additional details of the crash can be read in "Almost a Lifetime" by John McMahon.
F/L R.A Jackson Pilot (Killed)
F/S H.M. Magder RCAF NAV (Killed)
F/O E.J.F Dunand RCAF W/AG (Killed)
Sgt A.J. Clover A/G (Killed)
P/O A.W. Lane B/A (Killed)
Sgt J.R. McMahon F/E (P.o.W.)
Sgt L.G. Alexander A/G (Killed)
Mike Alexander (son of Leopold Alexander) flew from Australia to meet Paddy McMahon (Flight Engineer and only survivor).
Click this link to open a new window and read this amazing story (256k)
During the same visit Mike Alexander (son of Leopold Alexander) attended the 2009 Reunion and was able to "follow in his father's footsteps" courtesy of the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby .
At the reunion Mike and his wife Lynne laid poppies on the runway at Fiskerton (one for each crew member who perished)
The final part of their tour took them to Holland; to the cemetery and the crashsite.
Mike Alexander recalls:
My wife Lynne placed a rose on the headstones of all six crew members. All had the head of the rose on the right. Then we stepped back to photograph them, and as we watched, the rose on Lane’s headstone swung through 180 degrees as shown above .
The photograph below shows it put back the ‘right’ way. There was no wind. It was very chilling and mysterious.
We cannot see how the rose could balance on one thorn and swing around.
The photograph below shows the crashsite of ED440
This is the house where the only survivor (John McMahon) was given shelter after he bailed out. He landed in the field behind this property. The rear half of the aircraft broke off and landed here also. This is where Mike's father died........and probably where P/O Lane died too.