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  • Memorial Cross Group to Air Gunner Fraser
  • Memorial Cross Group to Air Gunner Fraser

Item: C0391

Memorial Cross Group to Air Gunner Fraser


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Memorial Cross Group to Air Gunner Fraser

1939-1945 Star; Air Crew Europe Star; and Canadian Memorial Cross (F.S. AIR GUNNER I. FRASER R4236A). Naming is officially engraved on the Cross. Original ribbons, CMC is in its original case of issue, extremely fine. Accompanied by copies of his Attestation Paper, Service Records, General Conduct Sheet, Medical Records, Casualty Records, Death Certificate, Investigative Reports, correspondence from RCAF Headquarters in Ottawa and research papers. Footnote: Iain Fraser was born on June 8, 1920, the son of John and Hannah Fraser of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He signed his Attestation Paper on April 12, 1940 in Winnipeg stating that he was single and that his trade was that of Unskilled Labourer. He had had previous military experience with the RCAF in Winnipeg as a Fitter but was discharged due to the serious illness at the time of his father. After re-applying and being accepted to the RCAF on January 3, 1941 for war service, he spent time training at bases in Brandon, Manitoba, Calgary, Alberta and Trenton, Ontario, achieving the ranks of Sergeant and Flight Sergeant, before his departure for England. He disembarked in the United Kingdom on March 23, 1942, training with various squadrons, until he settled with No. 50 Squadron of the Royal Air Force. Fraser was admitted to Station Sick Quarters, Swinderby on September 9, 1942 and treated for emotional shock, after his aircraft crashed near RAF Station, Swinderby, while returning from an operational sortie. Once he returned to good health in October, he agian began flying sortis to various European locations. He was aboard his aircraft on the night of January 16/17, 1943, scheduled to go to Berlin but they failed to reach their objective and bombed Sylit on the return trip instead, due to haze and thick cloud cover over the German capital. Fraser's crew consisted of three members of the Royal Canadian Air Force (including himself), three members of the Royal Air Force and one from the Royal Australian Air Force. The following night of January 17/18, 1943, 170 Lancasters and 17 Halifaxes repeated the raid on Berlin, with the weather better than it had been on the previous night. The routes taken by the bombers to and from Berlin were the same as those followed on the previous night, with the German night fighters able to find the bombing stream. There were 19 Lancasters and 3 Halifaxes lost, about twelve percent of the force. His Lancaster III ED.471 crew of seven was declared missing from operations when it did not return to base after their scheduled bombing raid on Berlin, the night of January 17, 1943. It was later discovered from German records that the plane had crashed and burned at 2150 hours, 2 km west of Ellingstadt, which is 11 km south west of Schlesweig, Germany, about 350 km from their intended target of Berlin. The International Red Cross acknowledged the identities of four of the five found dead, with the fifth being confirmed as Fraser after the war, when the bodies were moved to the Kiel War Cemetery, from their original resting place at the Military Cemetery in Schleswig. The remaining two crew members were later found buried with the aircraft in swampy ground, as they were in the nose of the aircraft and were at the initial point of impact. Fraser was credited with having flown twenty-two operational trips, including sortis over Wismar, Kiel, Le Crousot, Genoa, Hamburg, Turin, Stuttgart, Duisberg and Essen. He is buried in the Kiel War Cemetery and his death was officially registered with the Province of Manitoba, with official information to confirm his death from the RCAF Records Officer in Ottawa. His mother, Hannah, received the Canadian Memorial Cross in his honour, as he had no spouse.
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