KNOWLES – Wilfred Martin

P/O Wilfred Martin Knowles – 172412  – from Barbados

Pilot of a Lancaster that was killed with his crew on 1 July 1944 over Vierzon (France)

[Courtesy Alain Charpentier]

Lancaster ND975, crashed June 30/1st July 1944, all crew killed
[Source:, read the complete story there, with many details provided by Mr. Charpentier and others, picture below taken from the website]

Knowles 625-squadron



CHIN – Noel Jocelyn

605698 – later Pilot Officer  199984

Noel Jocelyn Chin (cropped)

Born 15 April 1925, Kingston Jamaica.  Attended Kingston College.

In WW2 Noel Jocelyn Chinn was a bomber navigator with RAF Coastal Command, stationed in Scotland.  After the war he obtained a degree as a civil engineer from Loughborough University and returned to Jamaica where he had a distinguished career as a civil engineer, becoming a partner with Hue Lyew Chin Consulting Engineers.  In 1978 he moved to the United States becoming a citizen in 1983.  He continued his career as the City Engineer for Coral Springs until his retirement in 1988.

Noel Chin died on 1 March 2002, leaving his wife Dorothy (whom he married in 1953), three children and six grandchildren.

Noel’s older brother, Arthur Chin survived service in Europe throughout the war but was killed in a flying accident in India in November 1946.  [See separate entry]

[Source: AD]











Servicemen and women from the West Indies pictured in a BBC studio broadcasting messages home on the weekly overseas service, 19 October 1943. From left to right: Private Norma Marsh and Aircraftman Arthur Chin (both from Kingston, Jamaica); Private Nellie Forrester (from Montego Bay, Jamaica), Sapper Darnley Watts (of St Michael’s, Barbados); Nurse Vernice Lewis and Aircraftman Edwin Angus (both of Kingston, Jamaica); Pilot Officer Charles Egerton-Eves (of Stann Creek, British Honduras). On the far left of the photograph is Una Marson of the BBC.

[Source: Imperial War Museum]






















[Source: Unknown pulication, courtesy Nadia Cattouse via Audrey Dewjee]


HARDING – Oscar Leonard Harrington

J/88359 – P/O – Oscar Leonard Harrington Harding –  air bomber 433 Squadron – KIA 25/02/1944

RCAF Casualty List 1033 shows P/O Harding as hailing from Georgetown, British Guiana

Chorley’s 1944 BCL shows him as aircrew on a 433 Sqn Halifax lost on Schweinfurt 24/25 February, 1944

[Source: CWGC, RCAF Casuality List 1033, Chorleys’s; courtesy Alieneyes]

HUNTER – Robert Cyril Adair

J3754 – P/O – MBK – RCAF – POW #1633, Stalag Luft III

[Sources: RCAF Casuality list 0058, Ross’ POW list, courtesy Alieneyes]

On the night of 15/16 July 1941, after a successful attack on Duisburg, the Wellington aircraft was caught in a belt of searchlights, was struck by flak then attacked by an enemy fighter. Bullets and cannon shell struck the aircraft and exploded in the cabin and blasted open the mid-under turret hatch…..The observer, P/O Robert Cyril Adair Hunter, when proceeding aft to render assistance to the rear gunner, fell through the damaged under-turret hatch.

Astonishingly P/O Hunter survived and was captured on landing.  He spent the rest of the war as a prisoner before being repatriated 11th May 1945.

[Source: website 75 NZ Squadron, courtesy AD]

SAWYER – John Patrick Anthony

PO    Sawyers    J

Reported as KIA but no entry found on CWGC. Trinidad Guardian 12 Mar 1942 quoting 22nd List of West India Committee Circular, listed as KIA, RAF, Bahamas. Possibly POW?


207 Squadron (Sawyer, not Sawyers)

[Source: Safarikovi]

LOTHIAN – Thomas James

Aircrew  PO  Thomas James,  LOTHIAN
Service No: J92380  Service: RCAF
Trade/Branch:   Air Gnr Squadron(s): 622 Sqn
Station/Unit/Ship: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk
Group: 3     Command:   Bomber
Nationality: Bahamas   Disposal:   KIA   Age  26  yrs   Date Died:    12 Feb 1945
Aircraft 3: Lancaster  GI-?
Bob Baxter’s Bomber Command has no Lancaster Raids for 10-12 Feb 1945
Buried At: Brookwood Military Cemetery
Grave/Memorial : 56.H.3
Next of Kin: Son of Albert J. Lothian and Mary H. Lothian, of Fort Charlotte Heights, Nassau, Bahamas.

[Source(s): CWGC – courtesy Jerome Lee]

UPGRADE to Thomas James Lothian J 92380, he died when he accidently fell from a window of 6th floor of Nell Gwynne House in London whilst on leave awaiting repatriation after completing a tour of operations

[Source: accessed 05/04/2021]

Thomas James Lothian RCAF (2)


TJ Lothian







[Pictures from]



WAIGHT – Cassian Henry

1396398 – C.H. Waight – British Honduras – attested 16.9.41 – Ach/W/Op.Air
172841 – P/O – commissioned 3.2.44

[Source: NA AIR 2/6876 – Nominal Roll of Coloured Candidates, October 1944]

F/S – Henry Cassian Waight – British Honduras (Belize), born 1912

Bomb Aimer on Lancaster DV 267, 101 Squadron, SR-K
KIA 19/20-2-44 on raid to Leipzig

This aircraft was one of 109 from an order for 200 from Metropolitan Vickers built as Lancaster BIII with Merlin 28 engines and delivered between May and November 1943

Pilot: W/O LAURENS John  171908 DFM
Buried in Leek (Tolbert) Protestant Cemetery, Row K Grave 2

Pilot2: Sgt KIBBLE W A G
POW – Prisoner No 3848 at Stalag Kopernikus

Engineer: F/Sgt BURTON  L
POW – Prisoner No 3843 at Stalag Kopernikus

Navigator: Sgt AITKEN R N
POW – Prisoner No 609 at Stalag Luft Bankau – Kreulberg

B/Aim: Sgt WAIGHT Cassian Henry – 172841
Buried in Noordijk Protestant Cemetery. Row 27 Grave 10

POW – Prisoner No 698 at Stalag Luft Bankau – Kreulberg

POW – Prisoner 1902 at Stalag Kopernikus

AG: Sgt BOLT William Frederick Donald 1587851
Buried in Leek (Tolbert) Protestant Cemetery, Row K Grave 1

Took off from Ludford Magna at 23:38. Crashed near Tolbert, 17 km WSW of Groningen, Holland. A report claims that Sgt Waight died from a broken neck, his body was discovered at Noordijk.

W/O Laurens immediate DFM was gazetted on 25/01/44

[Source: Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Volume 5 1944 by W R Chorley]

In other source Listed as P/O, Wop/AG


















[Source: Unknown publication, courtesy Nadia Cattouse via Audrey Dewjee]

Cassian Henry Waight: Remembrance Day in Noordwijk (the Netherlands)

A moving report of the Dutch Rememberance Day (May 4th) in the town of Noordwijk. The yearly commemoration includes a memorial service which honours Cassian Henry Waight and all the men and women who sacrificed their lives during the Second World War. The local people lay flowers at the grave of Mr. Waight and stand in silence as The Last Post is played.

[Movie by Idse van der Donk aka soopy movie on YouTube]


The Raid on Leipzig, 19/20 February 1944

Leipzig: 700.000 inhabitants, 5th biggest city of Germany, 12 aircraft factories, 8 machine and weapons factories, other war-related industries, including production of textiles and synthetic oil. Also one of the most important railway hubs of Central Germany.

Cassian Waight route to Leipzig - bare2









[Route to/from Leipzig and diversionary attack on Berlin, 19/20 February 1944]


Among the attack force were 21 Lancasters of 101 Squadron. This unit was one of Britain’s special assets in the so-called ‘war of the airwaves’. It flew special Lancasters with a crew of eight, the extra man speaking German fluently. These ‘specials’ operated a receiver and a powerful transmitter. After picking up a German radio-communication between a ground-station and fighters in the air, the ‘special operator’ interfered and created confusion by broadcasting false information about the route of the attackers. These Lancasters also performed regular bombing missions. But since they were breaking radio-silence all the time, the were more exposed and likely to draw German attack-fighters. This squadron needed very good gunners.

One of the Lancasters of 101 Squadron did not return to their base Ludford Magna that night and came down in the northern part of the Netherlands. This aircraft, Lancaster DV267 ‘K for King’ had taken off at 23:38 with the usual crew of eight. At the base they were known as the ‘League of Nations Crew’, because they represented multiple nations.

Cassian Waight+crew

[The crew of Lancaster DV267 SR-K (K for King, 101 Squadron), known als ‘The League of Nations Crew’, ready to go on a mission. Cass Waight on the right. Picture taken at Ludford Magna]


The captain, Pilot Officer John Laurens DFM, 26 years old, tall, well-built and a native of Cape Town, South-Africa, was a peculiar mix of a practical joker and a serious human. After leaving school he went to sea. 18 Months later he went to England and joined the Grenadier Guards, where he served until he was wounded in Dunkirk in 1940. Then he applied for transfer to the RAF and was sent to Canada for his training. He received his ‘wings’ in 1943 and ended up at the helm of a heavy Lancaster on its way to Leipzig, his 20th mission.

Next to the skipper was the position of the 22 years old Flight Sergeant Leslie – ‘Crash’ to his friends – Burton, the navigator. A tall, quiet lad from Calverley in Yorkshire. He was one of the original crewmembers and also flew his 20th mission.

Sergeant Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Aitken, the blond bomb-aimer, came from Oldfield; he stood in for French-Canadian Sergeant Jacques Marchand, who had reported ill, and had flown only one mission with the crew of ‘K for King’.

Sergeant William Alexander George Kibble, the mechanic, was English as well. He came from Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

The radio-operator, Pilot Officer Cassian Henry Waight, came from Belize, British-Honduras.

The mid-upper gunner was Sergeant William Frederick Donald Bolt and Sergeant Albert Edward Royston from Darfield was the tail-gunner.

The eighth crew-member was Sergeant James Arthur ‘Jim’ Davies, the ‘Special’. A tall, slim and gifted bloke with a boyish face from Wales. He was also new in the crew and made his second operational flight that night. Concentrated he sat bent over his most secret apparatus, known to the few as the A.B.C. or ‘Air Borne Cigar’ and soon found himself talking to a German fighter-guiding officer on the ground.

On their way to Leipzig they were attacked near Oldenburg. Suddenly they heard a drum-roll like sound and the sky lit up by flames. When they noticed that the fuel tank in the port wing was on fire, they realised they had to return to base. They dropped their bombs and headed west. Burning parts of the wing fell of and they obviously weren’t going to make it to England, so they hoped they could ditch the plane in sea and escape in their dinghy. Not an inviting prospect in the cold of a Winter’s night. The fire was spreading however and Captain Laurens ordered the men to bail by parachute. Royston and Bolt had to use an axe to open the rear escape door, keeping Davies waiting to jump. Bolt did not survive the jump. Up front Aitken and Kibble struggled to open the little forward escape hatch. Burton helped the pilot to put on his parachute before attaching his own. He noticed Waight was not wearing his harness and ordered him to put it on, but couldn’t tell if the radio-operator heard him.

At that moment the port wing broke off causing the plane to spin and Burton fell on top of the two men in the front. In Burton’s own words: “When the wing broke off I had no hope of survival. I must have fallen into the narrow passage to the nose of the bomber. The front must have broken off from the fuselage, because I fell free from the airplane. For a brief moment I saw Cass Waight in the light of the flames, probably a meter or so away from me but he did not wear his parachute gear. I have never forgotten. We had had a pretty good time together, as far as that was possible in those days.”

Burton survived his fall and was rejoined with his comrade Kibble in the home of a Dutch family. Three other crew-members survived as well. Jim Davies and Ronnie Aitken were hidden by Dutch people, but Albert Royston was handed over to the police and arrested. Burton was later arrested in The Hague and ended up in a POW camp. Three men died that night: Don Bolt, Cass Waight and Captain Jack Laurens who tried to keep the Lancaster under control till the end.

Extraordinarily and unexplicable when Waight’s body was found near Noordwijk (more that 100 km to the southwest of his crashed Lancaster) his opened parachute was there right next to him.

[Source: Gevleugeld Verleden, Ab A. Jansen (a documentary about ±200 shot-down RAF airplanes and their crews above Holland), ISBN 90 235 8099 0; Read the original pages here: Cassian Waight – Gevleugeld Verleden Ab Jansen (in Dutch)]










McCOY – Lacombe Alphonsus

[Picture: Dominica Legion, a branch of the Royal Commonwealth Ex Servicemen League, courtesy Gabriel Christian]

1394216 – L.A.A. McCoy – Leeward & Windward Islands – attested 17.7.41 – Ach/Obs
P/O – commissioned 17.10.42- Missing believed killed

[Source: NA AIR 2/6876 – Nominal Roll of Coloured Candidates, October 1944]

This stamp was issued in 1998 to mark the 80th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force. It reflect the portraits of Dominicans who served with Honor as RAF Aircrew. From left to right; Wallace Wordsworth Plenderlieth, L.A. McKoy, Harold Cherberd Bryant, DFC, Clifford Severin, Edward Dyrample (AKA Edward Scobie). McKoy, Bryant and Osmunde St. Claire Alleyne were killed in action. Their names are on the cenotaph on Victoria Street Roseau next to the battlements of the old British Army Fort Young (within which a modern hotel now nestles – cannons and all). Every year the aged veterans (very few left), the Police, Scouts, Girl Guides and Army Cadets of the Dominica Cadet Corps parade by in honor to men who are considered heroes for the gallant service rendered in the fight for democracy and freedom.



McCOY, Pilot Officer, LACOMBE ALPHONSUS, 130839. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 11 April
1943. Of Dominica.
Commonwealth War Dead (1939-1945)

Grave Reference: Panel 7, Column 1.

[Courtesy Gabriel Christian]

SMITH – Frank Dudley

1800672 – F.D. Smith – Jamaica – attested 30.12.41 – Ach/Pilot
P/O – commissioned 20.8.43

[Source: NA AIR 2/6876 – Nominal Roll of Coloured Candidates, October 1944]

Service no. on Commission  153220

[Courtesy AD]

F/Lt Frank Dudley Smith (MBE)

[Picture courtesy Smith Family]

Frank Smith left his home in Kingston, Jamaica to go to war in 1941. Trained initially at Greenwood, Nova Scotia, the RCAF and RAF base that was part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, he passed all the necessary tests to become a navigator and was commissioned as a Flight Lieutenant in early 1943. A further period with the Air Navigation School in Hamilton, Ontario followed, and his logbook suggests he first flew as a Mosquito navigator on 14 September 1943 with pilot Flight Lieutenant Ross Gray. Frank was finally signed off as having “V. G. all round ability and an above average pupil in all respects”.

On 17 April 1944, still with Flight Lieutenant Gray, he was assigned to the RCAF’s 418 Squadron – Canada’s highest-scoring squadron in World War II for both air-to-air and air-to-ground kills, in day and night operations over occupied Europe, according to one authority. He flew in action in France over the Seine Region, Chartres, St. Michel, Amiens, Clermont Ferrand and the Meuse-Rhine area, as well as Denmark and Brussels and, on 6 June 1944, the Normandy beaches, according to his logbook, which is extant.

For his service, Flight Lieutenant Smith was awarded the 1939–1945 Star, which was the overseas war service star for WW II. To earn this star soldiers had to complete six months of active service. He was also awarded the France and Germany Star, granted for operational service on land in France, Belgium, Holland or Germany after the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944 until 8 May 1945, the date of the end of active hostilities in Europe.

[Text Donna Wynter]

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