W.O.2 Neil McIntyre Stewart, RCAF, 1923 – 1944

In memory of
Warrant Officer
Neil McIntyre Stewart
who died on February 20, 1944

Netherlands

The Crew Of Halifax JD271 from RCAF 428 ‘Ghost’ Squadron

Gerald SmithTook off at 23.56 hrs from R.A.F. Middleton St. George. County Durham (then North Yorkshire) to attack the city of Leipzig together with 822 other aircraft (561 Lancaster’s, 255 Halifax’s. 7 Mosquitoes). Crashed in the IJsselmeer off Andijk. F/Sgt Stewart was found near Andijk on the 29th April 1944 and buried there in the Eastern General Cemetery at the beginning of May 1944. On 17th June, the body of F/O Woolverton was washed ashore; he is buried in Enkhuizen General Cemetery.

One other crew member, F/Sgt Lister, was taken from the water and until 1984 he was buried in Wervershoof Protestant Cemetery. His grave is now located in the Groesbeek Canadian Cemetery. The rest have no known graves.

Neil Stewart1Alan Whamond Woolverton was born (1921) in Penticton, British Columbia (B.C.), West-Canada (Vancouver – area); but brought up in Winnipeg, more to the East, near the U.S. border.

He had a brother Ralph, who related – ” He considered Winnipeg as his home town. And he was a real pre war RCAF – man, officially an Air Force photographer, in Camp Bordon. He retrained as a pilot and went overseas to the European Theatre in 1943.”

Halifax JD 271 was intercepted and shot down by Lt. Friedrich Potthast (1) from 12./NJG1 at 3,700 mtrs at Ijsselmeer 15 km South East of Medemblik at 06.30 hrs.

He was a Luftwaffe night fighter ace (this was his 6th confirmed claim of the war) and went on to make a total of 8 night victories and a further 3 daylight confirmed claims – he was killed on the 21/22 May 1944 in a crash near Sourbrodt (Malmedy) after an air combat.

On this raid the Halifax loss rate was 13.3 per cent of those dispatched and 14.9 per cent of those which reached the enemy coast after ‘early returns’ had turned back. The Halifax IIs and Vs were permanently withdrawn from operations to Germany thereafter.

The crew were
Pilot – F/O Alan Whamond Woolverton – RCAF – age 23. Son of John & Alice Woolverton of London, Ontario.
Navigator F/O Gerald Alfred Smith – J / 21556 – RCAF – age 21 – Runnymede Memorial, panel 248
Flight Engineer – Sgt Arthur William Gotham – 1275643 – RAF(VR) – age 22 – Runnymede Memorial, panel 230
Wireless Operator/AG – F/Sgt Herbert Sutton Lister-RAAF – age 24. Son of Frederick Lister of Hill End, NSW
Air Gunner – Sgt Cecil William Sherratt – 1577535 – RAF(VR) – age 22 – – Runnymede Memorial, panel 237
Air Gunner – Sgt. Edward Charles Webb – R / 180232 – RCAF – age 20 – – Runnymede Memorial, panel 256
Air Gunner – W/O Neil Mcintyre Stewart – R /161156 – RCAF – age 21

Two other planes of 428 Sqdn. returned early, in that “night of the falling stars”, due severe icing (the extreme cold indeed, as you can see in the weather report). And another couple of Lancasters of the Ghost squadron returned damaged, after fighter attacks of a Fw-190 and a Ju-88 over Germany. They landed safely without injuries of the crew, on another (emergency?) base on the coast.

Neil McIntyre Stewart was from Paris, Ontario, Canada. He was born in 1923 in Compeer, Alberta. He had six brothers and four sisters. His family moved from a family farm to Paris, Ontario during the depression in the 1920’s. Neil attended Central public school and Paris High School both in Paris. He was very much a sportsman, especially in hockey and golf. He was working for Sanderson and Harold Company Ltd, when he enlisted in to the RCAF in May 1942.

Australian crew member Herbert Lister was recovered and first buried at Wevershoof, but is now buried at the Canadian Military Cemetery in Groesbeek, near Nijmegen. F/O Woolverton is buried at Enkhuizen General Cemetery.

IJsselmeer dike

Photo shows IJsselmeer dike where the body of W.O. Neil Stewart was recovered.


Aircrew & Groundcrew of 428 Squadron RCAF in front of Lancaster KB760 in August 1944‎.

RCAF 428 Ghost Squadron

Commonwealth War Grave Andijk, Netherlands

Handley page Halifax bomber

Handley Page Halifax bomber

Notes for Neil McIntryre Stewart

Stewart Family genealogy

1. Paris Star News Paper, February 24, 1944
Missing – Flt.-Sgt. Neil Stewart, air gunner, son of Mr. and Mrs. Neil Stewart, Capron Street, Paris, is reported missing in action, according to word received by his parents Tuesday, Flt.-Sgt. Stewart received his wings at Mont Joli, Quebec, on January 22, and went overseas in March 1943, There are two brothers Gordon and Russell, serving in the R.C.A.F., and one brother, Lawrence, in the Army.
2. Paris Star News Paper: July 6,1944
W.O.2 N. Stewart Died in Action, Missing Since February – Germans Recovered his Body at Sea.
Word was received on Tuesday night by Mr. and Mrs. Neil Stewart, Capron Street, that their son W.O. 2 Neil Stewart, 21, who has been missing following a flight over Germany on February 19th, was officially killed in action. His body was recovered from the sea by the Germans.
The night of the raid, heavy icing conditions prevailed and it is thought that Neil’s plane, of which he was an Air Gunner was forced down at sea. Neil was a popular member of the Paris younger set and will be greatly missed. He was an ardent hockey player and golfer. Before enlisting he was employed at the Sanderson – Harold Co. Ltd.

Descendants of Andrew and Mary (nee McCrigart) Stewart, Circa 1751, Wigtown, Scotland

Neil Stewart

Paris Cemetery, Paris, Ontario, Canada.

I never knew my Uncle Neil.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them

Neil Stewart

Veterans Affairs Canada, Book of Remembrance: Page 453 

Canadian Virtual War Memorial: Neil MacIntyre Stewart

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2 Responses to W.O.2 Neil McIntyre Stewart, RCAF, 1923 – 1944

  1. Lynne says:

    Good Morning Les,

    Norm and I are in St. Augustine just getting ready to attend the Remembrance Day Ceremony at a Spanish fort. It was eerie reading your article but shed light on why we make the effort to honour the warriors. My Dad was a rear gunner, he lived to 92 and never spoke of his flights over Germany. A few years ago he was presented a specially struck medal for his squadron’s valour while dropping supplies into Poland. The Polish Minister of Defense actually drove to Inverness(Scotland) to present the medal as my Dad couldn’t make the drive to London.

    Regards, Lynne and Norm Stewart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Les Stewart says:

    Thanks Lynne, It’s really true that that generation didn’t speak very much about their experiences.

    Regards, Les

    Like

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