April 17 – Roll of Honour

OTD in 1934 the Fairey Swordfish biplane, which would become famous for its WW2 Royal Navy service, made its first flight. It would be involved in many FAA actions against enemy units including the Bismarck and Taranto, destroying more enemy tonnage than any allied aircraft. OTD in 1943 three RAF aircrew from Ni died on a raid on the Skoda munitions plant at Pilzen. Two were in the same Handley Page Halifax. Their graves are in France.

Representing their comrades who died on this day

1917

+BEST, David
North Staffordshire Regiment, 5th Bn. formerly (5094) Lowland Division. Private. 34775. Died 17/04/1918. Aged 20. Son of Andrew and Ann Best, of 31, Taylor St., Townhead, Glasgow. Links with Dungannon. Reninghelst New Military Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

1941

+McMURRAY, William
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Quartermaster. 6983653. Died 17/04/1941. Aged 30. Son of George and Annie and Husband of Susan Elizabeth, Bessbrook, County Armagh. Bessbrook Methodist Cemetery, Bessbrook. Bessbrook WM

1943

+AXTELL, Dennis
RAF. Flight Sergeant. 626794. DFM. Died 17/04/1943. Age 22. Handley Page Halifax Mk.II HR784 of 51 Sqn. The aircraft left RAF Snaith at 20.42 on Ops to Pilzen, and crashed at Eppeville, on the Somme. WO W R Kiernan was taken Prisoner of War. All the remaining crew were killed and are buried at the village cemetery in Maucourt. They include William Robert McBriar, Flight Engineer, from Belfast. Son of Allan and Vera Axtell; Husband to Agnes Axtell nee Smyth, Belfast. Married on 13/12/1941, in St Helen’s Church, St Helens, Isle of Wight. Agnes was the daughter of Mr & Mrs Smythe (both deceased of Lisburn). Maucourt National Cemetery, France. St Helen’s WM, Ryde Borough WM (Marriage – Isle of Wight County Press – December 20, 1941. Missing Saturday, April 24, 1943, Page 3 )

+BAMFORD, Charles Glendinning
RAF. Sergeant. (Flight Engineer) 575897. Died 17/04/1943. Aged 19. Sqd 49. In the light of a full moon on16/17 April, 327 heavy bombers went after the Skoda armaments works at Pilzen. Aircraft from 49 squadron pressed home their attacks with great determination. But sadly, back over at RAF Fiskerton in the bright light of an early spring morning two dispersal points lay empty: Sgt Dave Penry and crew had failed to return on this their 12th operation; their Lancaster ED441 (EA-D) had crashed in the Amiens area, only the air gunner Sgt Kerr survived, becoming a POW; the rest of his crew including Charles Bamford, are buried in France. Son of James and Grace Bamford, Belfast. Camon Communal Cemetery, Somme, France

+DAVIES, John Albert
RAFVR. Sergeant. 2204830. Died 17/04/1944. Aged 19. Son of Flt. Lieut. Albert Edwin Davies and Caroline Isobel Davies, Glengormley. Runnymede Memorial, Panel 228

+McBRIAR, William Robert
RAF. Pilot Officer. (Flight Engineer) 51909. Died 17/04/1943. Aged 23. Handley Page Halifax Mk.II HR784 of 51 Sqn. The aircraft left RAF Snaith at 20.42 on Ops to Pilzen, and crashed at Eppeville, on the Somme. WO W R Kiernan was taken Prisoner of War. All the remaining crew were killed and are buried at the village cemetery in Maucourt. They include Denis Axtell, husband to Agne nee Smythe formerly of Lisburn. Son of William James Norwood Owens McBriar and Cathrine Stewart McBriar, Belfast. Maucourt French National Cemetery, France

1945

+BROOKE, Henry Alan
Royal Armoured Corps. 10th Royal Hussars. A Sqn. Lieutenant. 259934. MC. Died 17/04/1945. Aged 21. Son of Capt. the Rt. Hon. Basil Stanlake Brooke, 1st Viscount Brookeborough, P.C., C.B.E., M.C., 10th Royal Hussars, and of the Viscountess Brookeborough (nee Sergison), of Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh. His brother Basil Julian David Brooke also fell. Ravenna War Cemetery, Italy. Portora WM

NOTES

17/04/1918 – North West of Dixmude, the Belgians take 700 German prisoners and 42 machine guns.

17/04/1934 – the Fairey Swordfish biplane, which would become famous for its WW2 Royal Navy service, made its first flight. It would be involved in many FAA actions against enemy units including the Bismarck and Taranto, destroying more enemy tonnage than any allied aircraft.

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