During the night of 27 to 28 May 1944, an Allied bomber was shot down here by a German night fighter. The Handley Page Halifax Mark III with serial number LK865, from No. 640 Squadron, Royal Air Force, had taken off from Leconfield, Yorkshire. The target was the Leopoldsburg military camp, which was bombed by more than 300 bombers shortly after two hours. On the way back their plane was intercepted by a Messerschmitt Bf 110 of the IV. Gruppe van Nachtjagergeschwader 1 with Oberleutnant Hermann Greiner and Feldwebel Rolf Kissing on board. The Halifax was set on fire and crashed at the Brandven in Wortel-Kolonie. Three of the seven crew members were killed. The four survivors - one Canadian, one Australian and two British - tried to stay out of German hands with the help of the local population, but were eventually all arrested. They survived the war.
This plaque is dedicated to the crew of this aircraft and to the people who helped the survivors. For most of the crew, the attack on Leopoldsburg was their fifth operational mission. Pilot Frank Williams and flight engineer Ken Lambert, however, were highly experienced aviators with dozens of dangerous bombing missions to their credit. However, fate struck above our border area. The three fallen crew members were initially buried in Fort III near Borsbeek, but now rest in the Schoonselhof cemetery in Antwerp.
The Halifax LK865 crew consisted of:
Flying Officer Frank Williams DFM (UK) pilot, killed in action
Flying Officer Kenneth James Lambert DFC (UK) Flight Engineer, killed in action
Flight Sergeant Roy Olsen (Aus) navigator, killed in action
Sergeant Stewart White (Can) Air Gunner, POW
Sergeant Thomas Riley (UK) bomb aimer, prisoner of war
Sergeant Ian Crawford (UK) radio operator, POW
This memorial plaque is an initiative of Erfgoed Hoogstraten vzw and the City of Hoogstraten.
This location is located in the middle of a nature reserve and can only be reached on foot.
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