Milan War Cemetery
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Name: Rank: Service No: Service: Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Date of Enlistment: Place of Enlistment: Address at Enlistment: Age at Enlistment: Height: Weight: Complexion: Eye Color: Hair Color: Trade: Marital Status: Religion: Next of Kin: Date of Death: Age at Death: Cemetery: Grave Reference:
Richard Alvinzie Crowell
Richard Alvinzie Crowell Flight Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) R/153348 Royal Canadian Air Force 148 RAF Squadron January 18, 1923 Shelburne, NS May 28, 1942 Halifax, NS 112 Sherman St, Cambridge, Mass., US 17 5 feet, 7½ inches 117 lbs. Light Blue Brown Student Single Episcopalian Robert Crowell (Father) Cambridge, Mass., US September 12, 1944 21 Milan War Cemetery, Italy Plot 6, Row 6, Graves 5 and 6 Commemorated on page 283 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on June 18 Richard was the only son of Robert (b. 1896 Shelburne, NS; d. 1966) and Eva Mary (Cunningham) Crowell (b. 1897 Northfleet, Kent, England, d. 1989). He was the brother of Roberta and Louise. One of his sisters named her son, his nephew after him. The family moved to the United States in 1923 and lived in Cambridge, Mass., US; however, Richard was born in Shelburne, NS in 1925. He held both Canadian and American citizenship at enlistment with the RCAF. In 1941, between August and November, he was employed as a Shipper and Finisher at A. H. Hews Pottery Company. Richard completed his grade 12 in Boston, Mass. and completed four months of Pre- entry RCAF Aircrew Educational Training at Truro, NS as part of the Dominion Provincial Youth Training Programme where he studied English, Math, and Physics. He officially enlisted with the RCAF at Halifax, NS on May 28, 1942. Richard completed training at Lachine, Quebec between June 15, 1943 and September 11, 1942; No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School at Jarvis, Ontario between September 12, 1942 and October 23; and at Wireless School at Guelph, Ontario between October 24, 1942 and May 16, 1943. He continued training at RCAF Mossbank, Sask. between May 17, 1943 and June 28, 1943. He qualified as Wireless Operator on May 17, 1943 and obtained his Air Gunner’s Badge on June 28, 1943. He embarked at Halifax on July 7, 1943 and disembarked in the United Kingdom on July 29, 1943. There, he was taken on strength with the RAF Training Pool. On March 24, 1944 he departed the UK for North Africa were he served with 614 RAF Squadron before being taken on strength with 142 RAF Squadron between July 7, 1944 and August 15, 1944. Flight Sergeant Crowell was taken on strength with 148 RAF Squadron (Special Duty Operations) on August 15, 1944 at RAF Brindisi, Italy. The Squadron was based at Derna, Libya between April 5, 1943 and September 2, 1943; Tocra, Taucheira, Libia between September 3 and January 31, 1944; Brindisi, Italy between January 31, 1944 and June 28, 1945 and carried out supply drops to resistance groups across the Balkans. On the night of September 11/12, 1944, Halifax aircraft BB.412 departed RAF, Brindisi on a supply dropping mission for partisans operating in the area of Val Grande, a mountainous region in the north of Italy. The supplies to be dropped included weapons, ammunition, food, clothing and money. The aircraft with its crew of eight, including Flight Sergeant Crowell, and five passengers failed to return and was presumed lost. A report received from partisans of the Garibaldi Brigade in July, 1945 reported that on September 12, 1944 a partisan patrol reported that on the night of September 11, a Halifax aircraft had crashed in in the Don Minzoni Region. A search party patrol from the Don Minzoni partisans was sent out and found the wreckage. The plane had crashed into the side of the mountain about twenty-five meters below the summit and had caught fire. Ten bodies were discovered within the wreckage and three thrown clear were identified. All thirteen bodies were recovered and buried near the site of the crash. The crash occurred in the mountains 25 miles north-east of Turin near Evrea, Italy. (Read: In Defence of Freedom - Northern Italy The Story of Halifax II BB412 In 1946 the crew members were re-interned in the Milan War Cemetery, Italy.