Brest

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Construction of the U-boat pens at Brest started in the first month of 1941 and by September of that year it was ready for it’s very first submarine. The bunkers themselves were constructed from reinforced concrete with a roof thickness of nearly 7 metres, they had an overall length of 333 metres and a width of 192 metres

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Commanding Officer at the time was Wing Commander J.B Tait.
brest3The first attacks on the U-boat pens by 617 & 9 Squadrons was on the 5th August 1944.  Previous attacks had failed to inflict any damage on the pens due to their massive construction.
15 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitos attacked the Pens and six direct hits were reported. Three hits penetrated the pens and the break water outside the pens was also damaged. Lost on this attack was Lancaster JB139 KC-V Piloted by Flying Officer Don Cheney, RCAF. After the aircraft was hit by flak two of his crew Flight Sergeant Reginald Howard Pool and Pilot Officer Robert Welsh sustained severe injuries. After a short time F/O Cheney gave the order to bale out of the aircraft. P/O Welsh was shot by the Germans while still descending on his parachute, F/S Pool’s body was found on the shore by the French underground and the body of P/O William Noel Watt was found in the sea. Three other crew members managed of survive and were looked after by the French underground. The final crew member, Curtis, was captured by the Germans and sent to a POW camp.
F/O D Chesney RCAF (Evaded Capture)
F/S J Rosher (Evaded Capture)
P/O R Welch (Killed)
F/S A Curtis (POW)
F/S R.H Pool (Died)
WO2 K.R Porter RCAF (Evaded Capture)
P/O W.N Watt (Died)
In Memory of Robert WelchPilot Officer 175644 Nav. 617 Sqn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Died: Saturday, 5th August 1944.
Age: 21.
Additional Information: Son of William Turnbull Welch and Isabel Welch, of Greenock, Renfrewshire
Commemorative Information: Douarnenez communal cemetery, Finistere, France
Grave Reference/ Panel Number: Grave 2.

In Memory of Reginald Howard Pool

Flight Sergeant 1382229 W.Op./Air Gnr. 617 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died: Saturday, 5th August 1944.
Age: 21.
Additional Information: Son of Reginald Kingsley Pool and Rose Mabel Pool, of Hornsey, Middlesex
Commemorative Information: Douarnenez communal cemetery, Finistere, France
Grave Reference/ Panel Number: Grave 3.

LocationDouarnenez is a well known tourist resort on the coast of Brittany. From the town centre travel south in the direction of Quimper. The communal cemetery will be found near the church of Ploare – a church easy to find as the steeple is very high. At the lower right section of the cemetery, within a kerbed area against the wall, are the 3 Commonwealth war graves and a memorial to four French war casualties. 

12th August 1944 

Saw the second attack on the pens by 617 squadron & 9 squadron. This time no aircraft were lost but four were hit and damaged by flak. The result of this attack was more damage to the pens and two tanker ships the Rade and Wat Kross were sunk. 

27th August 1944 

The attack for today was to be a merchant ship at anchor in the docks, it was thought by the British it was going to be used as a block ship to be sunk in the harbour entrance to prevent its use by the Allies. 9 Sqn sank it at anchor and reported no flak fire at all.