On April 18th 1944 over the village of Ly-Fontaine in France two MK III Halifaxes one from RAF Lissett and another from RAF Snaith collided, all 14 crew perished in the tragerdy.

Halifax LW522  (coded MH-J) of 51 Sqdn & Halifax LV946 (coded NP-K) of 158 Sqdn both took part at the Operation on Tergnier's marshalling yard 18/19th April 1944.

Both aircrafts collided after the bomb run, but not sure as witnesses said that when they collided causing a big explosion in air.

The Crews


51 Sqdn. Halifax  LW522 MH-J

Sgt. Colin Shackleton                              Pilot                             1398483                     Age 21

Sgt. Charles Christie                         Flight Engineer          1049057                      Age 21

F/S Eric O.D. Yorke                           Navigator                   1439296                      Age 21

Sgt. Desmond W. Kennedy              Air Bomber                 1620864                     Age 20

Sgt. Philip Latchford                          W.Op/Air Gnr                        1038622                      Age 23

Sgt. William J. Gilchrist                    Air Gunner                 1824389                     Age 26

F/S Fred Taylor                                 Air Gunner                 1549593                     Age 32


158 Sqdn. Halifax LV946 NP-K

F/O William A. Hughes RCAF         Pilot                             J/14859                Age 31

Sgt. Owen M. Brown                         Flight Engineer          1822937               Age 19

F/S Frank Salmond                           Navigator                   657616              Age 28

F/O Bertram A. Trewin RCAF          Air Bomber                 J/25701               Age ?

W/O James A. Leaver RAAF                      W.Op/Air Gnr                        412455        Age 22

F/S James Heyes                              Air Gunner                 547937                                    Age ?

F/O Ronald Stakes                            Air Gunner                 132016                         Age 23


Reports from Ly-Fontaine (Aisne) France indicate that Halifax LV946 had crashed there at 23:34 hours of April 18, 1944.  The Germans authorities took away the bodies of the members of the crew as well as their personal effects.  However, the report also indicated that local individuals had retrieved a “wrist-watch” and a “gold ring” from the crash site.  The bodies were later turned over by the Germans to the Mayor of Seraucourt le Grand who arranged for the burial of the bodies in the local cemetery on April 21, 1944. However, another report, from Mr. Charles Voyeux, Mayor of Seraucourt le Grand, indicated that the bodies of the crew members were buried in the “..Seraucourt le Grand British Cemetery on June 3, 1944.”


Although both Squadrons listed each bomber carrying a crew of 7 for a total of 14 airmen, it appears that actually 15 bodies were recovered from the crash site. Later an RAF investigation officer (Feb. 26, 1945) made the assumption that  ”…someone stole a ride on that trip, probably Sergeant Kemady.” It was presumed that this individual must have been from 51 Squadron.

Recently the community of Ly-Fontaine in France held a special ceremony to unveil a memorial to the crews of two Halifax bombers.


The Memorial


Pilot William A. Hughes RCAF personal card and head stone



Thanks to Chuck Tolley for info/pictures