The Search is On for Descendants of a Halifax Bomber Crew

On March 2, 1943 a Halifax bomber was shot down over the village of Voorst in the Netherlands.  According to an eyewitness, the pilots made a conscious effort not to crash into the village itself, and missed all of the houses.  The crew did not survive, and is buried in the Voorst Cemetery.  In 2019 a memorial was erected to this crew, and placed at the exact spot where the plane went down.

Now the villagers of Voorst are seeking descendants of the crew, to invite them to attend a memorial of this sacrifice, on March 2, 2020, in Voorst.  A villager from Voorst posted a message on the Facebook group Somerset, Devon and Cornwall Ancestry, asking for anyone who might be related to one of the crew members to get in touch.  eWeekly reader Leslie Chisholm noted that one of the crew members was a Canadian, and suggested we try to help with the search!

The Halifax was shot down on March 2, 1943, on its way back after a raid on Berlin that began March 1st.  It was part of the 51st Squadron, RAF base Snaith.

The crew is listed as:
C. (Cyril) Avery, Sergeant, UK
A. (Alfred) Beauchamp, Sergeant, UK
W. (William) Colangelo, Flight Sergeant, Canada
J.B. (John) Duncan, Flying Officer, UK
A. (Amos) Howe, Sergeant, UK
J.D.W. (John) Stenhouse, Flight Sergeant, 21, UK (Forest Gate)
R.A.B. (Ronald) Willmott, Pilot Officer, UK

If you are related to these courageous men, or know someone who is related, please send an email to

If you would like more information, there is an article here about the mission – it is written in Dutch but can be translated using Google Translate.

Website for Gillespie records world-wide