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Commonwealth War Graves Aardenburg

Aardenburg General Cemetery contains the graves of seven Commonwealth airmen who were shot down on 12/05/1944.

On May 12th 1944 a raid over Leuven was flown by the British 'Bomber Command' to bomb the crossroads around Leuven. During this mission with 126 Lancasters and 6 Mosquito's, four Lancasters got lost. Of these four Lancasters, the first one was shot down in Holland on the way to Leuven, all these crewmembers are buried on this cemetery in Aardenburg. It's the crew of Lancaster III ND919. The next two of these Lancasters crashed in Wilsele, probably due a mid-air collision between the two Lancasters. There were no survivors, these crewmembers are buried on the churchyard of Wilsele. The Fourth Lancaster crashed in Leuven, the crewmembers of this Lancaster are buried the communal cemetery of Leuven.

Text ANWB sign next to the graves:

During the Second World War collapsed the night of Thursday 11 at Friday, May 12, 1944 around half past one a bomber of the Royal Air Force came burning down near the Elderschans. The crew, three Englishmen, two
Canadians, an Australian and an Englishman who lived in America, were killed. They are buried here. `Commander' was Derek Warren.

Text of the seven stones from left to right read:

1st stone
1193544 Flight Sergeant
D. Clough
wireless operator / air Gunner
Royal Air Force
12th may 1944 age 21

The Lord is my Shepherd

2nd stone
Sergeant 1094980
H. Dewhurst
air Gunner
Royal Air Force
12th may 1944 age 23

At evening dear Harold
A Longing for you
steals into our hearts.
Mother & Family

3rd stone
Pilot Officer
D.I. Gage
air bomber
Royal Canadian Air Force
12th may 1944

4th stone
419311 Flight Sergeant
H. M. Hewett
Royal Australian Air Force
12th may 1944 age 21

His duty nobly done
Ever remembered

5th stone
Flying Officer
A. E. Irving
Royal Canadian Air Force
12th may 1944 age 23

"Thy purpose Lord,
we cannot see
but all is well
that’s done by thee"

6th stone
1584169 Sergeant
F.C. Riley
flight engineer
Royal Air Force
12th may 1944

7th stone
flight lieutenant
D. Warren
Royal Air Force
12th may 1944 age 20

He gave his life
That we might live in peace.
Sleep on, dear son,
until we meet

The fourth photo shows four of the seven crew members that rest in Aardenburg, they are from left to right : Flt. Sgt. D. Clough, wireless operator/air gunner; Flt. Lt. Derek Warren, pilot; Flying Officer Arnold Irving, navigator; and Pilot Officer Donald Gage, air bomber.

The fifth photo shows Flt. Lt. Derek Warren, pilot.

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  • Text: Mia van den Berg & TracesOfWar.nl
  • Photos: Arjan Vrieze (1, 2), Mia van den Berg (3), Donna David-Millward (4), Philip Warren (5)