Milan War Cemetery
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Name: Rank: Service No: Service: Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Date of Enlistment: Place of 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, 1925 Shelburne May 28, 1942 Halifax, NS 5 feet, 7½ inches 117 lbs. fair blue brown Student Single Church of England Milan War Cemetery, Italy U.S.A. Coll. grave VI. C. 5-6. September 12, 1944 21 Milan British Empire Cemetery 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. Shelburne, NS) and Eva Mary (Cunningham) Crowell (b. Kent, England). 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 on August 15, 1944. The Squadron was based at Derna, Libya Between September 3, 1943 and January 31, 1944 and carried out supply drops to resistance groups across the Balkans On the night of September 11/12, 1944, Halifax aircraft BB.412 departed 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 flames in the Don Minzoni Region. A search party patrol from the Don Minzoni group was sent out and found the wreckage. The plane had apparently caught fire in the air and crashed into the side of the mountain about twenty-five meters below the summit. 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 below the summit of Monte Calvaria, 29 miles north of Tourin and 16 miles west of Ivrea, Northern Italy. In 1946 the crew members were re-interned in the Milan War Cemetery, Italy.