- RAF Gransden Lodge during the Second World War -
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RAF Gransden Lodge
Gransden Lodge opened as a satellite of Tempsford early in 1942. A typical wartime station, well dispersed and unusually set away from roads and amidst fields, it had the customary three runways,'036'of 2,000yards and two of 1,400yards. There were two'T2'hangars and a 'Bl', along with 36 hardstandings.
Trials of Gee, the navigation aid, were conducted from Gransden Lodge. The airfields was home to No 1474 Flight from July 1942 who were later renames 192 sqd. they flew Wellingtons, Halifaxes, Mosquitoes and Ansons in in the role of enemy signal investigation.
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Those known to have served at
RAF Gransden Lodge
during the Second World War 1939-1945.
- Campbell A. P..
- Lane Eric Arthur. Sgt. (d.14th January 1944)
- Smedley Ivan Edward. Flt.Sgt. (d.31st Jan 1944)
The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List
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Flt.Sgt. Ivan Edward Smedley 405 Squadron (d.31st Jan 1944)My brother, Ted Smedley, joined the RAF in February 1943 aged 19. After training at 14 Training Wing, then Rootes Securities and 1659 Conversion Unit in Yorkshire. He joined 405 RCAF Pathfinder Squadron at Gransden Lodge, Bedfordshire England on 29th November as a Flight Engineer.
On the 30th of January 1944, 13 Lancaster aircraft were detailed for bombing raid on Berlin.a 25 minute air test was all that was carried out on the flying programme for the day, as preparations for operations prevented further progress on the ground. Ten aircraft successfully returned but 3 were missing, including Lancaster ND 462.
My brother was the Flight Engineer on ND 462 which took off in fairly fine weather from Gransden Lodge on the night of 30th/31st January 1944. Lancaster bomber ND 462 was part of a force of 534 aircraft consisting of 440 Lancasters, 82 Halifaxes and 12 Mosquitoes which caused widespread damage to the City of Berlin. Although the raid was a success, 33 bombers, including ND 462 failed to return. Many aircraft of which were lost to enemy night fighters.
ND 462 crashed in the District of Magdeburg as a result of enemy fire. The full crew of seven who were killed are buried in the Berlin War Cemetery, Brandenburg, Germany.Peter G Smedley
A. P. Campbell 405 Sqd.Accident Investigation Branch; Precis of Investigation No. W.1653 Halifax II H.R.910, Merlin XXII, Bomber Command, No. 405 Squadron Pilot: P./O. A.P. Campbell – Uninjured, crew of seven – Uninjured at Croft 12.9.43 at 1607 hrs.
The pilot A.P Campbell, took off from Gransden at 1410 hrs. on the 12th September 1943, for a cross-country flight of three hours duration. Route: Bass Rock – Bradford – Base. Shortly after passing Newcastle on ther outward journey at a height of 14,000 ft. there was a loud report and the starboard inner engine started vibrating. About two minutes later, this engine became completely detached.
The aircraft was being flown at a speed of 125 knots indicated. The engines were running at 2400 r.p.m., boost about plus 1½ lbs; throttles were up to the gate and the superchargers under M gear. The auto-pilot was in operation. The pilot eventually made a successful landing at Croft about thirty minutes after the first sign of engine vibration. The starboard inner engine was found five miles south of Amble. The reduction gear and hub casing with two propeller blades attached were lying near the engine. No. 3 blade was missing and it has not yet been found. The hub casing locating No. 3 blade bearing housing was fractured along the eighth thread down and about half the circumference of the flange. This had allowed the propeller blade and bearing housing to become detached in the air. The damaged hub has been subjected to 1022 action by the Unit.
The starboard inner engine, Merlin XXII No. 118537/A.403058, was installed in the aircraft on 24/5/43. It had completed about 110 hours running up to the date of the accident and was fitted with Rotol propeller type R7/35/54 No. 49431.
Conclusions: The forced landing was due to No. 3 propeller blade of the starboard inner engine becoming detached during flight owing to the fracture of the hub. Note: A similar propeller hub failure is at present under investigation by the R.A.E. There has been a large number of cases in which a propeller blade has become detached on Halifax aircraft. The majority of failures is attributed to the fracture of the blade bearing housing.
C.I. (Accidents). Illegible signature 14/10/43. for C.I. (Accidents).
Distribution: Bomber Command. R.A.E. A.M. File No. G.33249.Gilles Bachand
Sgt. Eric Arthur Lane 405 Squadron (d.14th January 1944)Eric Arthur Lane was my father's cousin who, had it not been for a passing comment by my father about "wanting to pay a visit to Eric's grave "before his days were up", I would have known nothing about him. This has led me into a field of research I never even realised existed which has brought a whole new world, and many new friends, into my life. As Eric was an Englishman attached to the RCAF Pathfinders, very little is documented about him as an individual although, through various research avenues, I have managed to piece together information relating to the flight and raid in which he lost his young life. Eric was the Flight Engineer of a crew piloted by Gordon Drimmie DFC (RCAF), that took off from Gransden Lodge at 16:57 on 14th January, 1944. They were part of a large raid of c.650 aircraft on the Brunswick/Braunschweig area of NW Germany. The raid was far from successful and resulted in the loss of c.36 Lancasters with minimal damage to the intended targets. Eric's Lancaster was intercepted en route at 18:45 by a Night Fighter, believed to be that of Oberst Helmut Lent of NJG3 based on Luftwaffe claims for that date, and crashed at Uepsen in the district of Diepholz. All seven members of the crew were KIA and were buried in Hoya Cemetery before being interred in Hannover War Cemetery after the War. Eric's plane, Lancaster III ND423, was transferred to 405 squadron on 8th January, 1944 and this was it's maiden operational flight. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of my Uncle's passing, I and my father will be travelling to Germany to pay our respects to Eric at his grave and will also be visiting the reported crashsite in Uepsen.Dave Lane
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