RAF 550 Squadron Lancaster JA712/BQ-H
P/O E C Purney and Crew
RAF 550 Squadron Lancaster JA712 / BQ-H was shot down by a German night-fighter during the night of 27/28 May 1944 when it was coming back from a bombing mission over Aachen. The aircraft crashed at Rebecq-Rognon (Brabant), 25 km SW of Brussels.
The following crew members were killed and are buried in the cemetery of Brussels-Evere:
- P/O E C Purney RCAF (P)
- Sgt J L Sheahan RAFVR (F/Eng)
- Sgt T E Flanagan RCAF (Nav)
- Sgt P C M King (W/Op)
- Sgt K H F de Lengerke (R/AG)
Their entries on the 550 Squadron Roll of Honour can be viewed here.
Other information about the flight and the target available here.
Two members of the crew survived:
For more information and photographs of the crew see: here.
The Rebecq Story23/06/2011
The story of the events that took place on the night of 27/28 May 1944 and the consequences for crew and villager alike
The pictures below are from the Rewisbique archives (Rewisbique is the name of the history and genealogy society in Rebecq).
Many thanks to Wilfred Burie for making these and the full text above available.
The Hospice in 1945
The Hospice’s chapel and it bells-tower where
was the Lancaster rudder hidden during more then 30 years.
The village of Rebecq in Belgium dedicated a memorial, erected at the place where the plane crashed, to the military and civilian victims of the loss of the aircraft; the unveiling ceremony took place on the 7 May 2011. The formal ceremony was attended by civil authorities, Belgian military and diplomatic authorities and British, Canadian and Italian military invitees. RAF 550 Squadron Association was represented at the ceremony.
Below are a selection of photographs taken on the day of the memorial unveiling; many more are available at the Rebecq Memorial Association web-site: http://www.rebecq-memorial.eu/ which also contains a wealth of information about the crew, the crash and the aftermath as well as information about other 550 Squadron aircraft and crews lost on Belgium territory.
A link to video reporton Belgium TV (in French) is also an excellent review of the day.
An exhibition at the local museum in Rebecq runs through until 29/5/11. Included in the display is the part of the tailplane on which the MU/AG was carried to the local hospital, which was found in a loft when part of the building was demolished recently (this can be seen in the first photo.
The following photographs have kindly been made available by Don Kentish. At 3Mbytes each they are quite large and therefore clicking on the thumbnails to see the full size picture will take a few seconds.
The group photo are relatives of the people from Rebecq who were taken by the Gestapo, three of whom died.
Don Kentish and George Turner of 550 Squadron Association lay a wreath on behalf of the Association.
Wilfred Burie (grey suit) and Jean Finges (brown jacket) lay their wreath.
The lady in the black dress is the Canadian Embassy representative.
The British Ambassador in the red shirt.
The following photographs have kindly been made available by Louis Michiels.
The Memorial and Wreaths
Memorial Information (historical)
[This was the information posted up during the planning stages for the creation of a lasting memorial in Rebecq.]
The village of Rebecq in Belgium is dedicating a memorial military and civilian victims of the loss of the aircraft. The monument will be erected at the place where the plane crashed. The date of the inauguration is set for Saturday 7 May 2011. A formal ceremony to be attended by civil authorities, Belgian military and diplomatic authorities and British, Canadian and Italian military invitees is planned.
|Information about the crew, those killed and the survivors|
|Information about the Memorial Project, in particular detailing the military and civilian losses and describing the memorial itself.|