From the Commonwealth Wargraves Commission Website

In Memory of

Howard Hadfield's Grave

Sergeant 1450378
620 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
who died on Monday, 26th July 1943. Age 23.

Additional Information: Son of Harry and Helen Hadfield; husband of Winifred Ilona Hadfield, of Cleveleys, Lancashire.

More Wargrave Information

620 Squadron lost three aircraft on this night. Howard was on Stirling EE906, QS-C which was shot down while on ops to Essen by Major Werner Streib of I/NJG1 based at Venlo. The plane crashed at 00.28 hours on farmland owned by the Bekx family, at Lieshout in the Noord-Brabant province.

Badge of 620 Squadron

The Mark I Stirling flew from Chedburgh, Suffolk, 620 Squadron's base until 23 November 1943.

It was formed on 17 June 1943 as a heavy bomber squadron and began operations almost immediately. Their motto was "Dona ferentes adsumus" (We are bringing gifts) and their badge (left — click for larger image) had a flash of lightning in front of a demi-pegasus

Major Werner Steib

Major Streib (right — click for larger image) was known as the father of the German night fighters. He was born on June 13th, 1911 in the Black Forest town of Pforzheim, near Stuttgart. After the war, he married in 1947, and over time built a very successful career in the food business. He died on June 15th, 1986 and is buried in Munich.

Iron Cross
He was awarded the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords on 11 March 1944 and by 1943 had more 'kills' than any of the allied pilots managed throughout the war. His aircraft was the 'Owl', the Heinkel He-219.

There is much information about Streib's military career on the web. The two sites I recommend are Luftwaffe Experten and Lorenz Baermann's Pauke, Pauke! (Pulse, pulse!) pages. I have also added these pages as PDFs just in case they disappear at some point in the future. Click for Luftwaffe Experten and Pauke, Pauke!

Of the seven crew of the Stirling, five died that night — Sgt J R G McDonald, RCAF, Sgt G Jones, Sgt J B Lamont, Sgt H Hadfield and Sgt J McLauchlan — the first mentioned was Joseph Roderick Gerald McDonald from Kindersley, Saskatchewan and the McDonald Falls in Northern Saskatchewan are named in his memory. Sgts C H Mutton and J Daly bailed out and became prisoners of war, the former at Stalag Muhlberg (PoW 83655) and the latter at Stalag Moosburg (PoW 83667). Both details from RAF Commands.

My thanks to contributors to the RAF Commands website who provided me with much of the above information extremely promptly.

Commemorative Information
Grave Reference/Panel Number: Plot EE. Coll. grave 78-82.

Location: Eindhoven is located 31 kilometres south-east of s'Hertogenbosch and 14 kilometres south-west of Helmond. The Cemetery is in the suburb of Woensel in the northern part of the town. Approaching from Helmond on the A270, follow signs for Eindhoven. At the third set of traffic lights after Helmond turn right onto the road connecting Eindhoven to Valkenswaard. Approximately 1.5 kilometres along this road signposts will be seen indicating the route to Woensel War Cemetery.

Historical Information: Almost four-fifths of the men buried here belonged to the air forces, and lost their lives in raids over this part of Holland or in returning from Germany, between 1941 and 1944. Men of the land forces who are buried here died between September 1944 and May 1945. The 79th and 86th British General Hospitals were located at Eindhoven during almost all that period. There are now nearly 700, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site.

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