Help with Bomber Command KIA


A friend of mine is researching the death of his cousin in 1945, he has uncovered a lot of information so far but would like to know if anyone can help him with extra detail, for example was the aircraft shot down by flak or a fighter, does anyone have a photo of the aircraft before or after the crash, a photo of the crew?. I told him the members of this forum were legends at this type of thing so if you could add ANY extra to the information below no matter how small it would be greatly appreciated.

Regards Paul

Thomas Neville DOWNES Flying Officer 434453 RAAF

KIA over Belgium 2nd March 1945

625 Sqn RAF Lancaster Mk3 PB 158 CF-G

Based at RAF Kelstern in Lincolnshire

Last mission to Koln, Germany 2/3/1945

858 aircraft - 531 Lancasters, 303 Halifaxes, 24 Mosquitos - raided Cologne in 2 waves. 6 Lancasters and 2 Halifaxes were lost and 1 Halifax crashed in Belgium.

The first raid was carried out by 703 aircraft and the second by 155 Lancasters of No 3 Group.

The main raid was highly destructive, with the Pathfinders marking in clear weather conditions.

This was the last RAF raid on Cologne, which was captured by American troops 4 days later


Member for

10 years 5 months

Posts: 1,737

Your friend may have already found this:

More information form the AWM here, including a PoW-report from the bombardier F/O Bloy:

On the 2nd March 1945, Lancaster PB158 took off from RAF Kelstern, Lincolnshire, at 0730 hours to bomb Cologne, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base.

RAAF 434453 FO Downes, T N Captain (Pilot)
RAF PO Blackley, (Flight Engineer)
RAAF 428162 FO Murray, L E (Navigator)
RAAF FO Bloy, A J (Air Bomber)
RAAF 428620 Flt Sgt K T Brown, (Wireless Air Gunner)
RAF Sgt A J Sayers, (Mid Upper Gunner)
RAAF 29904 Flt Sgt W W Foy,(Air Bomber)

The aircraft exploded in the air. Six of the crew were killed and FO Bloy was a POW. Those killed are buried in the Hotton War Cemetery, Belgium. In a POW Report FO Bloy stated : “ The aircraft was hit by ack-ack over the target and
put the two port engines out. The Pilot said “stand by”. The Rear Gunner remained in the rear turret for a while to ascertain whether approaching fighters were friendly or otherwise. No one was injured. The others five were still in the aircraft when I and PO Blackley baled out. at 4000 feet. The aircraft was under control falling rapidly and a fire broke out in the wing. The bale out order was given immediately the fire was seen. The wing eventually blew off and the aircraft spun in and crashed near Stotzheim, south west
of Cologne. Only two escaped the crash and the others in the aircraft were killed.”
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Member for

12 years 6 months

Posts: 832

Thanks ericmunk

My friend had not actually found the PoW report so is very happy.