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Dakota Mk III KG424

233 Squadron - Operation ROB ROY ONE

Note - both Dakota KG424 and KG329 are involved in the same operation and loss at the same time

Both KG424 and KG329 are shot down by allied shipping on approach to Normandy coast, over the Orne River Estuary area

  • Squadron Leader C Wilburg Wright AFC (Captain) – POW remains with Alexander, injured

  • Flying Officer Errol Quarter Semple RCAF (Second Pilot) – ESCAPED – RETURNED TO UNIT 4 WEEKS LATER

  • Flying Officer Bruce ‘Kiwi’ Cowie RNZAF (Navigator) – POW remains with Alexander, injured taken to Stalag Luft 1 – died in 1957 of a heart attack as a result of his injuries (shrapnel near his heart)

  • Flying Officer Clifford John ‘Cliff’ Williams (Radio Operator) - ESCAPED – RETURNED TO UNIT 4 WEEKS LATER

  • Driver F ‘Sandy’Alexander RASC – POW - wounded

  • Driver Harold Ackley- ESCAPED – injured in the crash, hospitalised at Renne then Stalag 344, liberated by the Americans RETURNED TO UNIT

  • Driver A “Lofty” Allen - ESCAPED – RETURNED TO UNIT 4 WEEKS LATER (Though without anger) POW (Francecrashes)

  • Corporal William Owen – ESCAPED – captured on 14/07 he escapes, joins the Resistance and returns to the UK on 13/09/1944


“Though Without Anger”, Colin Cummings

JL Maillet joebaugher

Take off of aircraft at 22:25, drop scheduled for 23:35.    Weather clear.    Return crossing of the Riva Bella coast sheduled.


Dropping 371 baskets – gasoline, food, batteries for radio, explosives, two wicker medical trunks.

Allied Navy opens fire on unarmed aircraft, KG329 is hit and immediately crashes into sea.   KG424 is hit in the instrument panel. 


F/O Semple is hit in the right leg then P/O Cowie launches a distress rocket – the intensity of the attack decreases immediatlely.

Squadron Leader Wright strives to keep his altitude at 1600 metres.   The aircraft, now under German fire, follows the Orne towards Caen.   Hit in the wing, the fuel ignites and the C47 loses altitude.   As the on board radio no longer works, the release order for the panniers is not transmitted.


The aircraft is now too low, so evacuation is impossible.   A plot of land is found but is planted with anti-glider poles.   At 11:55pm the aircraft crash lands next to the railway tracks not far from the Societe Metallurgique de Normandie, near Giberville.


The right wing detaches on impact.

An approximation of the crash area based on written evidence and modern satellite imagery - the railway lines are to the west of the factory site, but older lines may have been in place during WW2 and since been lost.

424 crash site.jpg
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