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Short Stirling - LJ864 Help Needed!

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:03 am
by K4KittyCrew
Hi folks,

Had an email from a new member, Barry ............... regarding LK864 losted on the 23 July 1944.

I had a quick look through The Stirling Story volume and found serial numbers for LK864 only went up to LK624, so i had a look at the LJ series and found it there.
Details as listed ..........

LJ864 620 Sqn 7.2.44, Failed To Return 22.7.1944 ( typo on the 22, should read 23rd ............ no ops on the 22nd ) from SOE ( SOE operations - Operations under the control of the Special Operations Executive ) crashed at Brillac, France.

I've had a look through Chorleys RAF Losses 1944 but failed to find any details. If anyone can shed some light on this aircraft it would be appreciated.


Barry's email reads as such ............
Hello John

You helped me before with a query and now I have another one - perhaps you
can help?

I live in France and today I visited a war grave of 6 crew members (2 RAF
and 4 Royal Canadian Air Force) of a Stirling - belonging to 620 squadron
that crashed near Brillac, Charente, France on the 23rd July 1944. I really
want to find some information about what happened - I've looked and found
very little -only a bit on a french site. It's not clear why the aircraft
crashed and why they were flying there. Were they on some sort of special

Canadian Flight Sergeant (Air Gnr.) Royal Canadian Air Force 620 (R.A.F.)
Sqdn Date of Death: 23/07/1944 Service No: R/197348 (5)

Canadian Flight Sergeant (Nav.) Royal Canadian Air Force 620 (R.A.F.) Sqdn
Age: 21 Date of Death: 23/07/1944 Service No: R/178884 (2)

Canadian Flight Sergeant (Air Bomber) Royal Canadian Air Force 620 (R.A.F.)
Sqdn Age: 27 Date of Death: 23/07/1944 Service No: R/154170 (3)

United Kingdom Flying Officer (W.Op.) Royal Air Force 620 Sqdn. Age: 25
Date of Death: 23/07/1944 Service No: 53253 (4)

Canadian Flying Officer (Pilot) Royal Canadian Air Force 620 (R.A.F.) Sqdn
Age: 22 Date of Death: 23/07/1944 Service No: J/25965 (1)

United Kingdom Sergeant (Flt. Engr.) Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 620
Sqdn. Date of Death: 23/07/1944 Service No: 1818642 (6)

The nearest places they would have been bombing would have been Limoges or
Bordeaux - I don't think there would have been any flak or night fighters
anywhere near the place they crashed.

Any light you or any other members can shed on this for me, I'd be really
grateful. It seems there's a whole forgotten local story there and I want
to bring it to light if possible. Many thanks, Barry.

Re: Short Stirling - LJ864 Help Needed!

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:35 am
by AlanW
Operation Stationer 117. Beleived shot down by flak near Le Havre, crashed NW of Limoges. page 277, under Listing of Allied Aircraft lost on SD Operations

Re: Short Stirling - LJ864 Help Needed!

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:59 am
by K4KittyCrew
Many thanks. Alan. I've copied and pasted here.

Re: Short Stirling - LJ864 Help Needed!

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:33 pm
by wmjoke
Good day;

I am coming in a few years later on this topic, but I have a special interest in this Stirling loss as F/O E.C. Oke, the pilot, was a distant relative of mine.

I am wondering if anyone can provide additional details about the mention of DZ Stationer 117 (where was it, etc.) and the suggestion that the aircraft was hit by flak near LeHavre (presumably was on the inbound cost crossing probably 250 miles to the north, an hours flying time or more away).

I have F/O Oke's RCAF service record sheet and it indicates that he joined 620 Sqn on 7 Jun 44, the day after D-Day. I wonder how many Ops he flew during his 6 weeks with the Squadron? He was born in Toronto on 23 July 1922 and so died on his 22nd birthday, sad but hardly untypical of WW2 aircrew service.

A few years ago, I too was able to visit the cemetery at Brillac where F/O Oke and his crew are buried. The actual crash site is located a few kilometers to the east at a hamlet/farm called Pleuvit. Local lore has it that the aircraft was flying very low, and struck a barn on a hill which caused the aircraft to go down and catch fire. Afterwards a local Resistance group showed up to salvage what supplies and equipment they could. Were they the expected recipients (at DZ Stationer 117) or were just in the area by happenstance?

It was some time after the war before the fate of the crew was confirmed, probably due to the nature of SOE Ops and the rural nature of the crash site. The official newspaper casualty list appeared in September 1945 for instance.

Was there any official follow-up for wartime losses in the form of a post-event investigation (even after the war) that attempted to identify the course of events and cause factors in a loss? Would there be an RAF report somewhere in the archives about this loss?

Would be glad to hear more of this Stirling loss.

Wm. J. (Jim) Oke
Winnipeg, Canada

Re: Short Stirling - LJ864 Help Needed!

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:53 pm
by AlanW
Afraid this crew only flew on three ops, (missing on third) after being posted in from 1665 CU. The first was a Supply Drop on 23rd June. The second is listed as Airborne Ops over Normandy battlefront, and could mean dropping supplies or para's. The third, as we know, was a Supply Drop from which they never returned. Another crew from 620, were attacked by two JU88's but escaped, this might point to another cause of loss of LJ864.

Re: Short Stirling - LJ864 Help Needed!

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:26 am
by wmjoke

Many thanks for the additional information about F/O Oke and his crew's operational flying record. Yes, it was a short time only from their joining 620 Sqn until their third and final sortie. Sad but again not untypical of WW2 aircrew service.

Some of the earlier information in this thread hinted at a DZ for the stores delivery not too far away from the crash site and had some thoughts on a possible cause (e.g., flak in the Le Havre area) but I wonder how much was speculation and how much was fact.

No one survived the loss and it all happened so long ago, so what sort of records or reports might survive?


Re: Short Stirling - LJ864 Help Needed!

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:51 am
by Bighig
It's been several years since this post, but I have just become aware of this site. I know there are some accounts of the crash from french citizens at the site. One is written by Annie Grandjean, a 24 page account of the crash. There is also a report now in the "Aircrew Remembered " site.
My uncle, dad's brother, Luke Higgins, was a flight sergeant on this flight. He and his fiancee, Mickey, were supposed to have been my godparents, as I was born later in October, 1944.
The many family tragedies of war!

Re: Short Stirling - LJ864 Help Needed!

Posted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:58 am
by K4KittyCrew
Some updated details that may or may not be known on the members here.
A complete detail on the aircraft & crew. A lovely effort by family members. ... 1050595239