Flight Sergeant, 223 Squadron
Service number 1375700
Died 25 Oct 1943
Commemorated on Malta Memorial
Louis was born as Louis Vrachtdoender on 2 August 1921 in Mile End Old Town, London. His father Joseph was born in Amsterdam and his mother Betsy Haring was born in London. Louis had two sisters Eva and Betty and their father worked as a waiter. In 1939, the family were living at 150 Stepney Green, London and Louis was working as an optical stock assistant. Louis’s great grandparents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins had remained in Amsterdam at the beginning of the war and were all murdered at Sobibor concentration camp, Poland in 1943.
Louis was the wireless operator/air gunner on Baltimore FA587 which departed from Malta to bomb the town of Formia in Italy. Their target was to create a road block. The operational record book states: ‘Aircraft 587 was formatting No. 2 in the second box. Heavy A/A bursts were seen by the leading pilot of the box ahead and on the starboard side over the target area. Five bombs were seen dropped from 587 when a flash and a sheet of flame came from the port engine. The aircraft broke formation, (the fifth bomb was then jettisoned) and passed over the rear o the box to starboard. The aircraft then dived steeply though not obviously out of control into cloud. One parachute was seen to open before the aircraft disappeared from sight.’
All the crew are commemorated on the Malta Memorial.
Pilot, Ronald Maclean Adam, 133749
A/G, Stanley William Garbutt, 1388893
Nav, Bernard Harold Horscroft, 1392478