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No. 51 Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

No. 51 Squadron Royal Air Force



 

3rd Sep 1939 Night Ops  On the first night of the warm 3rd/4th September 1939m three of the squadron's Whitleys were part of the first 'Nickel' or leaflet raid over Germany.

3rd Sep 1939 Night Ops

28th Oct 1939 51 Squadron Whitley lost

24th Nov 1939 

9th Dec1939 Move

20th March 1940 Aircraft Lost

5th April 1940 Aircraft Lost

23rd April 1940 Aircraft Lost

12th May 1940 Bombing Raid

12th May 1940 Massed raid

18th May 1940 Aircraft Lost

22nd May 1940 Aircraft Lost

11th June 1940 First attack on Italy

10th February 1941 Operation Colossus

7th Apr 1941 Aircraft Lost

24th Apr 1941 Aircraft Lost

9th May 1941 Aircraft Lost

8th Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost

16th Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost

19th Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost

22nd Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost

4th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost

19th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost

6th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

14th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

18th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

24th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

25th Aug 1941 51 Squadron Whitley lost

7th Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost

15th Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost

29th Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost

22nd Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost

24th Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost

31st Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost

7th Nov 1941 Aircraft Lost

8th Nov 1941 Aircraft Lost

15th Jan 1942 Aircraft Lost

17th Jan 1942 Aircraft Lost

28th Feb 1942 Raid

6th May 1942 

27th Oct 1942 

28th Jan 1943 51 Squadron Halifax lost

26th May 1943 51 Squadron Halifax lost

19th June 1943 Explosion

21st Nov 1943 Aircraft Lost

14th Jan 1944 Detachment

21st Jan 1944 Ops

22nd January 1944 51 Squadron Halifax lost

30th Mar 1944 Aircraft Lost

18th Apr 1944 Halifax Lost

6th June 1944 

30th June 1944 Aircraft Lost

11th Sep 1944 51 Squadron Halifax lost

5th Jan 1945 Bomber Command

5th January 1945 Ops

6th Jan 1945 51 Squadron Halifax lost

6th Jan 1945 51 Squadron Halifax lost

14th Jan 1945  Aircraft Lost

21st Mar 1945 51 Squadron Halifax lost

20th April 1945 Ops

7th May 1945 


If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.



Those known to have served with

No. 51 Squadron Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Brown Alfred. Sgt. (d.26th May 1943)
  • Burgum Robert Edward. Sgt. (d.28th April 1944)
  • Busby Stanley. Sgt. (d.26th May 1943)
  • Chambers William John. Sgt. (d.26th May 1943)
  • Cope Eric. Flt Sgt.
  • Davies William Price. Sgt. (d.26th May 1943)
  • Emlyn-Jones .
  • Farmer Daniel Gilfillan. Flt.Sgt. (d.4th April 1941)
  • Flanagan John. LAC. (d.1st Sep 1940)
  • Gray Robert. F/O
  • Groves Harold Arthur.
  • Groves Harold Arthur.
  • Hampson Royston Percy. P/O. (d.21st July 1945)
  • Hebblethwaite Arthur. Flt Lt.
  • Howse Derek. F/O. (d.26th Jun 1943)
  • James William Birdsall. W/O (d.10th Nov 1944)
  • Jefferis Douglas John Frederick. Flight Sergeant (d.16th June 1941)
  • Keen Geoffrey Frank. Sqn Ldr.
  • Kinerman Edward Frederick. Sgt. (d.13th May 1943)
  • King Danny. F/O
  • Lane Gerald Arthur. Wing Commander
  • Leach Alan. P/O (d.5th Jan 1945)
  • Leach Alan. P/O (d.5th Jan 1945)
  • Leithead Thomas. F/Lt. (d.26th Feb 1944)
  • MacPhedran James Cumming. F/Sgt. (d.26th May 1943)
  • Maine Reginald. Sgt.
  • Matthews Wilf.
  • McLaughlin Thomas. Sergeant (d.24th July 1943)
  • Milliken Douglas Wilson. WO II (d.4th Dec 1943)
  • Myers Stanley George. Sgt. (d.18th Apr 1944)
  • Neve James Arthur. Flt.Lt.
  • Norton Douglas Sidney Joseph. W/O. (d.13th March 1945)
  • Pawell Joe. F/Lt.
  • Pope Percy William S. Sqd.Ldr.
  • Reid Willaim. Sgt. (d.26th July 1943)
  • Richardson Christopher Arthur. Sgt. (d.26th May 1943)
  • Rigby John Edward. PO (d.24th May 1943)
  • Thompson Charles Harold. WO.
  • Thompson Norman. Sgt. (d.27th April 1943)
  • Thomsett Donald. Sgt
  • Thomsett Donald Edward. F/Sgt
  • White Reginald James. Sgt. (d.16th Jan 1942)
  • Worden Arthur Cephas. F/Sgt. (d.26th May 1943)

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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Harold Arthur Groves 51 Squadron

I am trying to trace any information about my father, Harold Arthur Groves, who was based at Snaith with 51 Squadron during the 39-45 conflict. I would be most grateful if anyone could furnish me with information as I seem to be drawing a blank. My father never spoke to me about what he did in the war as most airmen did, so it is very difficult to gain such information.

Do any of you have any history or photos of Snaith or any records of raids etc? He once told me he was based in the Faroe islands for a short time with the Short Sunderland flying boats, that is all I know of his exploits.

Malcolm Groves



Harold Arthur Groves 51 Squadron

I am trying to trace any information about my father, Harold Arthur Groves, who was based at Snaith with 51 Squadron during the 39-45 conflict. I would be most grateful if anyone could furnish me with information as I seem to be drawing a blank. My father never spoke to me about what he did in the war as most airmen did, so it is very difficult to gain such information.

Do any of you have any history or photos of Snaith or any records of raids etc? He once told me he was based in the Faroe islands for a short time with the Short Sunderland flying boats, that is all I know of his exploits.

Malcolm Groves



WO II Douglas Wilson Milliken 51 Sqd. (d.4th Dec 1943)

I am the nephew of Doug Milliken. If anyone knew of Doug or any of his crew while at Snaith squadron 51 from July to Dec 1943 I would love to hear from you. Prior to squadron 51 he was stationed at 1663 heavy conversion unit in Rufforth and prior to that 10 OTU in Abingdon then St. Eval. While at Snaith their Halifax, HR732, was lost without trace on the Leipzig raid of Dec 4 1943. All are memorialized at Runnymede.

The crew were;

  • P/O A.J.Salvage
  • Sgt W.W.B.Hamilton
  • P/O F.J.Baker
  • F/S I.G.Davies
  • Sgt M.Hampson
  • Sgt R.J.Edwards
  • F/S D.W.Milliken RCAF
During the crews brief time together Doug was the best man for the marriages of both Auther Salvage and Maurice Hampson. Doug was engaged at the time of his death and although his fiancée returned the ring to my grandmother we have no idea who she was.

Rodger Milliken



Flight Sergeant Douglas John Frederick Jefferis 51 Squadron (d.16th June 1941)

Douglas John Frederick Jefferis was born on 6th November 1919 in Bristol. He was my mother's elder brother and thus, my uncle. At the outbreak of War he left his job as a lithographic printer and joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, adding a year to his age in order to gain entry. By 1941 he was a Flight Sergeant serving as Tail Gunner on Whitley V's with 51 Squadron stationed at Dishforth in North Yorkshire. At 2243 on 16th June 1941 Whitley Z6479 MH-M took off as part of a 105 strong bombing raid on the railway yards of Cologne. The crew were: -
    902482 F/Sgt. Douglas John Frederick JEFFERIS (Tail Gunner) -
  • Sgt. Thomas James BASTON (Pilot) -
  • P/O. Cecil Ernest CRICHTON -
  • Sgt. James Leonard EVANS -
  • P/O. Kenneth N. HOLLAND (Navigator)
Having dropped their bombs,they were intercepted on the return journey by two German night-fighters. Apparently F/Sgt. Jefferis shot one of them down but was heard to say over the intercom, "Damn the searchlights - they're blinding me!". Shortly afterwards they were hit. Jefferis said, "I've had it!", and then seconds later, "That's it!". No further contact was made with him and he was assumed dead. Sgt. Baston managed to crash land the Whitley on the Tenhaagdoorn heathland near Houthalen, Limburg, Belgium at 0226 on 17th June 1941. Sergeants Jefferis, Baston and Evans were found dead. Their bodies were washed and prepared for burial by local people, who then tended the graves in defiance of the Germans. My family is still in contact with one of these courageous young women. Originally buried in the town cemetery in Houthalen, the airmen were exhumed on 6th April 1961 due to subsidence caused by mine workings. They were subsequently re-interred at the Canadian War Cemetery in Adegem, Belgium. Their graves can be found at the following locations: -
    Sgt. Jefferis: Plot 1, Row AA, Grave No. 10 -
  • Sgt. Evans: Plot 1, Row AA, Grave No. 9 -
  • Sgt. Baston: Plot 1, Row AA, Grave No. 8.

Also commemorated on the Warkworth War Memorial in Northumberland. Pilot Officer Holland survived the crash and was on the run with a bad head wound for several days before stumbling into a German sentry. He spent the rest of the war as a POW, but returned to duty on being repatriated in 1945. He visited my grandparents, Sgt. Jefferis's parents, and it was he who related the details of my uncle's and the Whitley's demise. After a period as an interpreter in Japan, Ken Holland was stationed in Surrey. He died as a passenger in a car crash, travelling with several other officers to the Officers' Mess one morning. Eyewitnesses reported than the Germans escorted another man from the crash site. This must have been P/O Crichton. Nothing has been heard of him since that day. There appears to be no record of him as a POW, nor is there a record of his burial. He is commemorated on Panel 32 of the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey. Later research revealed that Whitley Z6479 MH-M was brought down by Oberfeldwebel Reinhard Kollak, 1./NJG1. Kollak and his Radio Operator, Hans Hermann, had taken off from Venlo in the Netherlands. It is believed this was amongst the first of Kollak's 49 kills in WWII, all of them at night. He went on to become one of the Luftwaffe's top aces and was decorated with the Knight's Cross. In 2006 the crews of four British bombers, Z6479 amongst them, were honoured on a monument entitled "Fallen Wings" erected in the cemetery in Houthalen.

Jeremy Nicholson



Flt Sgt. Eric Cope 51 Sqd

My neighbour, Eric Cope, flew from Snaith from 1943 onwards till demob. He flew in Halifax MK2, M-HC Champagne Charlie on numerous missions he was the wireless operator.

A Peck



Sqd.Ldr. Percy William S "Paul" Pope DFC. Air Gunner 13.28.51.78.234.578.Squs

Paul Pope enlisted in 1931 to be an engineer but became air gunner in India Wariston Campaign. He joined 51Sq in 1937. on 23rd Jan 1940 he transferred to 234Sq as an air gunner and flew during the Battle of Britain including 35 hours of fighter sorties over Dunkirk in 3 days. By April 41 he had completed 81 sorties and moved to 39MU Nightfighter Development unit at Colerne. He was involved in an interesting event publicised during Bath bombing when he took off in spare Defiant to defend city.

In June 1942 he joined 78Sq and November 1943 he returned to 51Sq. Completing 507 hours of combat flying. On the 14th of January 1944 he transferred to 578Sq.

After the war in October 1946 he joined the Diplomatic Corp in Denmark and became King Gustarv's buddy having to stay with him all times. Particularly during the King's pub crawling on his bicycle. They had a drinking bet and Paul won himself the Order of the White Elephant. He was Adjutant of 84Group HQ during the Berlin Airlift and was involved with rebuilding airfields. He retired 15.3.1954 and became a significant member of the Airgunners Association London Branch. He died in September 1981.

Chris Pope



Sqn Ldr. Geoffrey Frank "Chuffo" Keen CGM, DFM. 51 Sqn.

Geoffrey Frank Keen was born in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, on 26th March 1916, the youngest of five children, with a brother Jack and three sisters Doris, Gwen and Mary, born to Minnie and Percy Keen. He was never to meet his father, he was killed in action near Messines Ridge in Flanders on 4th June 1917.

At Dr. Challoners Grammar School, Amersham, he was an enthusiastic sportsman and represented the school at both cricket and football. On leaving school he served an apprenticeship in printing, working for the company which produced the local newspaper. His enthusiasm for sport continued after he left school and became an important part of his life. He and his brother Jack both played for the Town Club, Chesham United, and Geoffrey had trials for both Stoke City and Queens Park Rangers.

On the outbreak of war the two brothers decided to join the RAF and in October 1940 Geoffrey was posted to Yatesbury for basic training then on to Penrhos for Bombing and Gunnery School and finally to Abingdon OTU for wireless training before the finished article was posted to his first operational base as wireless operator/air gunner Sergeant Keen at Dishforth and 51 Squadron, equipped with Whitleys. His log book entries include:

1941, Kiel-could not reach target,- bombed Boulogne Docks instead, Bremen, Mannheim, Hanover, Kiel-'pranged' on drome, Cologne, Dortmund, Duisburg. Wihelmshaven, Brest, Dunkirk, Emden, Frankfurt-baled out East Dereham, Berlin, Stuttgart, Nuremberg,

1942, Cologne(1000 bombers), Essen(1000 bombers), Dusseldorf.

He completed his first tour (30 ops) in November 1941 and was posted to Abingdon No.10 OTU in December. In January 1942 he was cited in the London Gazette as follows:

Distinguished Flying Medal (D.F.M.) London Gazette 30.1.42. Sergeant, No. 51 Squadron, the recommendation states: 'During the many sorties in which this wireless operator has participated, some of which have been at extreme range, he has displayed high qualities of courage and determination. His technical skill is of a high order and on one occasion, after a raid on Stuttgart, his steadiness in obtaining wireless aid was solely responsible for the return of his aircraft after bearings had been completely lost.'

Flight Sergeant Geoffrey Keen became a founder member of 427 Squadron as the wireless operator to Wing Commander Dudley Burnside when he became the squadrons C/O and it was on only their seventh operation together that the crews abilities were tested to the limit and for which four of them were decorated, including Geoffrey as cited below:

Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (C.G.M.) London Gazette 23. 4. 43 Flight Sergeant D.F.M., No.427 (Lion) Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. On the night of 12th March 1943, this airman was the wireless operator of an aircraft detailed to attack Essen. Whilst over the target area the aircraft was hit by heavy anti-aircraft fire. The navigator was killed instantaneously. Flight Sergeant Keen, who was in the astro-dome, had his right foot blown off and received cuts to both legs. Disregarding his wounds, Flight Sergeant Keen regained his seat in the wireless cabin. For over two hours he laboured to repair the damaged apparatus. He could not speak to other members of the crew owing to damage to the inter-communication apparatus. Another airman spoke to him, however, on at least a dozen occasions and found him still conscious and working at his self-imposed task of directing the manipulation of various installations. He also offered assistance in navigating the aircraft and actually managed to drag himself on two occasions to the navigator's compartment to obtain essential information necessary for the aircraft's safe return. His courage and fortitude in such circumstances were of the highest order

The recommendation states: 'I consider this N.C.O.'s superb display of courage and devotion to duty whilst seriously wounded fully merits the award of the Victoria Cross' (Wing Commander D. H. Burnside, Commanding Officer, RCAF Station, Middleton St. George).

'This case is considered to be an outstanding example of coolness and tenacity of purpose on the part of this N.C.O. when seriously wounded, and demanding courage of the highest order-an award of the Victoria Cross is recommended (Air Officer Commanding 6 Group, Air Vice Marshall G.E. Brookes CB OBE )

`As was only fitting, the very fine display of courage and determination shown by all members of the crew was subsequently recognised by awards. Burnside received a Bar to his DFC, Hayhurst and Ross the DFC, and Keen, who already had the DFM, the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.' (RCAF Overseas 1944)

As a result of his wounds part of his right foot was amputated but after a period of three months convalescence he returned to the squadron where he remained for the duration of the war, finishing as Squadron Leader responsible for training of Group 6 wireless operators. Upon returning to civilian life he trained as a teacher before marrying Jose Barnes, the girl he met after a visit to the cinema in Oxford while training at Abingdon. In 1948 they moved to his home town Chesham, where he was to become Assistant Head and eventually Headmaster of the local village school of St Leonards in Buckinghamshire.

Always a keen sportsman and in spite of the lack of half a foot he continued to play football and cricket not only at club level for Chesham United FC and Chesham CC but also at county level winning several winners medals in the process. When his playing days were over he took up umpiring, golf and bowls. Heaven knows how he found the time to look after the garden.

Martin Keen



Sgt Donald Thomsett RAF Snaith 51 Sqn

Donald Thomsett was my Grandad. He flew as an RAF gunner during the whole of the war, moving from varying heavy bombers including the Wellington but settled for the majority of the war as a rear gunner in Halifax bombers based at RAF Snaith with 51 Sqn. My Grandad lasted until January of 1945 before being shot down during a night raid on Hannover. His story was one he hardly ever spoke of and he never really got over his experiences til the day he died. Towards the end of his life he began to talk more and more about the war, eventually dying of cancer in 2000. Donald was on a night bombing mission over Hannover which took place on the night of the 5th of January 1945. He remembered sitting in the rear turret as usual when out of the darkness, and in heavy flak, he saw a German fighter plane approach from the rear and slightly above his plane. He managed to fire on it and thought he had shot it down as it turned away very quickly and looked to be out of control.

Next, another fighter appeared to the rear and slightly below the plane. Don moved the guns downwards and saw the pilots face illuminated by the lights on his German instrument panel. The guns wouldn't reach to a position to fire on the fighter plane. As the Halifax was being engaged, the pilot had gone into a wide sweeping manouvre to make attack from the fighter more difficult - a sort of large u shape, rolling the controls right, then left. Don watched as the German fighter continued to match the Halifax and flew underneath it. He heard a loud explosion and felt the plane shudder, then it changed direction steeply heading towards the ground.

My Grandad said he was supposed to keep his parachute in the turret with him but always slung it just into the bulk inside the fusilage. The angle of the plane meant he thought it would have slid down the length of the plane out of his reach, but it had snagged on something and he put his hand straight on it. Realising that the plane was going to crash he pressed for the turret to turn to bail out but found the hydraulics had failed (probably something to do with the explosion he thought?) so had to turn it by hand until he could get out.

He landed on the roof of a house and fell into the garden, badly spraining his ankle. There was snow everywhere and it was freezing. Local residents came out and, possibly scared, started to beat him with whatever they could get their hands on - brooms, sticks, feet - until some soldiers arrived and took him to a local police station, then marched him to Dulag.

They had removed his flying boots and made him limp in the snow with his damaged ankle. My Grandad said he remembered this taking a couple of days, but thinks there was some transport at some point too. Along the route to Dulag he said he saw the blodies of allied airmen hung on lamposts, killed by the local populace, or German soldiers. At Dulag interrogation centre he was hung up by his hands and all his possessions taken from him. He was tortured with a knife being run up and down his back - he had scars on his back that I remember seeing, long lines. - and was kept in solitary for a couple of weeks. By that time he had frostbite on his feet and the Germans repeatedly made the room very hot, then cold in an attempt to extract information from him. He was also put into a room with another British airman to live for a couple of days. This airman then told the Germans all the things that my Grandad hadn't - like where he lived, the name of my grandmother, etc. He must have been some sort of double agent my Grandad thought. He was taken to a train station and loaded into large cattle trucks with lots of other POWs. There they spent a couple of days including one frightening night in Berlin station, locked in their trucks as the allies bombed Berlin. He intially was taken to Sagan camp, but was soon transferred out to what he called Stalag luft 3b. He spent from February until May 1945 there and witnessed some horrific things, including the shooting of an attempted escapee. He also mentioned that the Russian POWs, who were kept next door, were treated "like dogs". In May, and with the camp on the verge of being over-run by Soviet troops, my Grandad, an American airman and a Canadian airman, escaped by going over the wire and running into the countryside. They happened on a car that had been disabled on purpose and got it going, driving across Germany. They had no food. He told me they managed to meet a German family in a small village who offered them food and somewhere to stay. It was while staying there that the Soviet troops came into the area. My Grandad and his two friends hid in the cellar of the German family's house as they were unsure of what the intention of the soldiers was and I remember him telling me that he witnessed "chinese looking men coming into the cellar and eating raw sugar out of sacks with their bare hands like they hadn't been fed for weeks." When the Soviet troops left, they made their way towards the west and eventually were picked up by some American troops in the area surrounding Berlin in early June (or late May). Returning to England, my Grandad was silent. He learned that he was the only survivor from his plane that night and blamed himself for the deaths of his friends because he failed to shoot down the second fighter that night. pHe walked with a slight limp for the rest of his life, received no counselling, compensation, or anything to help him get over what he had seen.

But the story does have a ending of sorts. In his seventies, a historian got in touch with my Grandad and via some research found the name of the German pilot who had claimed the "kill" of my Grandad's plane; one Hermann Greiner. Herr Greiner was still alive. He was contacted by the historian and eventually, after some soul searching and correspondence, my Grandad went over to Germany to meet him. Hermann remembered that night, and told my Grandad that an experimental type of gun was on his night fighter (It pointed upwards from behind the cockpit) meaning that there was nothing my Grandad could have done to save his friends. He flew under the Halifax and merely shot up into the fuel tanks as it lumbered about its defensive manouvres.

My Grandad was able to meet the face he had seen 50 years previously on that fateful night when his life changed forever. He bore no grudge and Herr Greiner gave him his Iron Cross, with Oak Leaf, medal as a token of their friendship and in reconcilliation. Hermann Greiner had around 50 "kills" as a night fighter ace and was one of the luftwaffes "stars".

My Grandad died in 2000 and his ashes were scattered at the memorial site of his old, now long forgotten, RAF base at Pollington, Yorkshire. The war had affected the rest of his life and if it hadn't been for his courage and bravery I wouldn't even be writing this, as his young wife (My Grandmother) gave birth to my father a year after he got home.

Ben Thomsett



Sergeant Thomas "Tommy" McLaughlin 51st Squadron (d.24th July 1943)

My wife's uncle, Tommy McLaughlin, was shot down in a raid on Hamburg in a Halifax over Denmark in 1943. All of the crew perished (he was the navigator). His grave is properly recorded at Aabenraa, but we have recently come across a photograph on the internet of a memorial stone, marking the crash site, inscribed with the crew's names together with a short account of the shooting down and crash at Hestehave, near Sonderborg, Denmark.

Frank McCapra



P/O Alan Leach 51 Squadron (d.5th Jan 1945)

Alan Leach was born in Coppull in 1921, the son of Sylvester and Emma. He was brother to Fred, well known in the village. He was a Pilot Officer in the RAF Volunteer Reserve at the age of 19 and a member of 51 squadron.

The aircraft he was flying on 5th January 1945 was a Halifax LV 952, MH – F. It took off from RAF Snaith at 16.47 hours, detailed to bomb Hannover, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. It was shot down at 19.22 by Luftwaffe pilot Georg-Hermann Greiner, and crashed 19.27 at Leinhausen- Soeckern. He and five of the crew were killed and are buried in Hannover War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany.

The Crew were:

  • P/O A. Leach (Pilot)
  • Sgt P Neale (Flight Engineer)
  • F/Sgt J S Staples (Navigator)
  • Flt Sgt W G Bowen (Air Bomber)
  • P/O L A Wilson RAAF (Wireless Operator)
  • F/Sgt W M Burton (Air Gunner)
  • Sgt D Ef F Tomsett (Air Gunner)
The only surviving crew member was Sgt Thomsett (Air Gunner)

Alan Leach



Wilf Matthews 51 Squadron

Our crew was stationed with 51 squadron on three separate occasions, as we had three different skippers & two different bomb-aimers, which meant going back to con-unit for the necessary training with these chaps. We did our christening on the Nuremberg trip of 30 March '44, and made a forced landing at Wing (Otu) near Leighton Buzzard, Beds. After which our skipper, F/lt Joe Pawell, who was an American, flying in the RCAF, went to hospital in London with an ulcer, and after that first visit we didn't see him again.

Back on the squadron, we did 'spare bod' trips, during which we lost our bomb aimer, Bob Burgum, on a raid near Aachen. we went back to 'con unit', where we crewed up with new Skipper, F/o Danny King, RAAF. and bomb-aimer 'Grem' Emlyn-Jones. Danny had been with 77 Sdn, where we understand, he pranged on take-off with a bomb-load and was awarded an M.I.D. that he never talked of, but he did wear the emblem. Later on, we met one of his previous gunners, a F/sgt 'Herby' Holroyd.

"Grem' came to us from a crew who had pranged at Garrowby Hill, where he has since erected a memorial to them. I remembered one of his gunners from my training days, a nice guy named Sid Booker. Grem and I are in fairly regular contact. We only did five trips with Danny, and on the last one he had a break-down, 17/7/44, was taken off flying 'heavies', and the last we knew, was on single -engined planes.

Back to con-unit where we teamed up with F/O Bob Gray, and at the end of his training we returned to Snaith to do a 'Bull's- eye' to Overflakee on 17/9/44, after which we carried on the usual squadron life up to the end of the war. The only change being that the squadron moved from Snaith to Leconfield, to do the 'final trip' to Wangerooge on 25/4/45. I am fortunate to still have my log-book and a stack of memories. I'm also grateful to my daughter, who is always ready for my stories, and who found this web-site.

Wilf Matthews



F/Lt. Joe Pawell 51 Sqd.

Wilf Matthews



Sgt. Robert Edward Burgum 51 Sqd. (d.28th April 1944)

Wilf Matthews



F/O Danny King MID 51 Sqd.

Wilf Matthews



"Grem" Emlyn-Jones 51 Sqd.

Wilf Matthews



F/O Robert Gray 51 Sqd.

Wilf Matthews



Sgt. Willaim Reid 51 Squadron (d.26th July 1943)

William Reid was my uncle. He was a WOP/Ag and flew in a Halifax bomber. My grandparents were notified that he was killed on 26/7/1943, the aircraft was reported missing on that night and the location of the incident is listed as unknown on his war record. Does anyone remember him and his crew and does anyone have any details of what happened that night? What mission the crew were on etc.,?

Ann McCallum



P/O Alan Leach 51 Squadron (d.5th Jan 1945)

Alan Leach was born in Coppull 25th March 1921 the son of Sylvester and Emma. He was brother to Fred, well known in the village. He was a Pilot Officer in the RAF Volunteer Reserve at the age of 19 and a member of 51 Squadron.

The aircraft he was flying on 5th January 1945 was a Halifax. It took off from RAF Snaith at 16.47 hours, detailed to bomb Hannover, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. It was shot down at 19.22 by Luftwaffe pilot Georg-Hermann Greiner, it crashed 19.27 at Leinhausen- Soeckern. He and five of the crew were killed and are buried in Hannover War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany.

Aircraft Type: Halifax. Serial number: LV 952. Radio call sign: MH – F. Unit: Att 51 Sqd RAF

The crew were:

  • RAF PO 185864 Captain A. Leach (Pilot)
  • RAF Sgt P Neale (Flight Engineer)
  • RAF Flt Sgt J S Staples (Navigator)
  • RAF Flt Sgt W G Bowen (Air Bomber)
  • RAAF 403167 PO Wilson L A (Wireless Operator Air)
  • RAF Flt Sgt W M Burton (Air Gunner)
  • RAF Sgt D E F Thomsett (Air Gunner)- Survived the crash.
Alan Leach



F/Sgt Donald Edward Thomsett 51 Squadron

My Grandad, Donald Thomsett was POW in Stalag 3a for the last 4 or 5 months of the war. He was the rear gunner in a Halifax bomber flying out of RAF Snaith/Pollington. He'd been an RAF gunner for all the war on varying aircraft - Wellingtons and Halifax's mostly. He'd flown God knows how many missions from 1940 onwards!

He remembers being shot down over Hanover on a night raid. That night he was rear gunner in the plane and told me that two German night fighters approached the plane from the rear, one high and one below. He managed to shoot at the higher aircraft and said he either shot it down, or it broke away because my grandad thought he was getting pretty good hits on it. By the time he got his guns to the floor he saw the face of the other German pilot illuminated by his instrument panel below him. Bit corny maybe, but he swore on it. After that, the German plane flew under the Halifax (which was doing an evasive manouvre). There was an explosion and the plane started heading for the ground. The comms had gone and so had the hydraulics, so grandad had to manually wind the turret round so he could bale out.

He landed on the roof of a house and sprained his ankle while falling into the garden below. The local residents came out and beat him with pieces of wood, then the SS arrived and took him through the streets. They took off his flying boots and coat and made him walk through the snow bare foot. While walking he saw the bodies of other airmen hung from lamp posts, he said they looked as if they had been hung by the locals after landing.

They took him to the Dulag and interrogated him and strung him up and ran a knife down his back - he still had the deep long scars right up to his death. He had frostbite on his feet so they made the room alternitively hot and cold to make it worse. They also put another English prisoner in the room with him. Grandad wasn't telling them anything in interrogation, but he spoke with the room mate. It turned out that the room mate was a German plant and he told them everything he had been told by my grandad, where he was from, his girlfriend's name.

Eventually, via being cattle trucked in Berlin station while the Allies were bombing Berlin - something he said the Nazis thought was very funny. If the Allies bombed their own men trapped in cattle trucks in the station - he was taken first to Sargen, then to Camp 3a.

He was there when the Russians advanced on the camp. He said the german guards were a bit like "dad's army" and he bore no ill will towards them, even though they had little food. He remembers the Russian prisoners being treated like animals in a seperate compound. Eventually he escaped from the camp by going over the wire with a Canadian and an American. They found an old beat up car, got it going, then drove it across Germany westwards. A German family helped them out and housed/fed them for a few days in a little village. One day the Russians came to the village and my grandad hid in the cellar of the house. He remembered seeing "people looking like really dirty Chinese people" coming into the cellar and eating raw sugar with their bare hands like they were starving. The Russian soldiers took the family's 11 year old girl into the woods and she was never seen again. They didn't discover my grandad or his two friends.

Eventually they made it to just outside Berlin and literally walked into the city. He was treated well by the Americans and given food and fags and some money. He arrived back in the UK about three weeks later and couldn't even speak for weeks. The war stayed with him for the rest of his life. But it wasn't the end.

Nearly 50 years later a local historian had found out who had shot down my grandad that night (he had been the only one of his crew in the Halifax to survive) and arranged for the two of them to write to each other. It turned out that the German pilot - Herman Greiner - was a WW2 ace. He remembered that night and was able to tell my grandad how his plane was shot down (some kind of upward pointing gun that the night fighter had just had installed), and my grandad didn't blame himself as much for the death of his 6 friends that night. Herman gave his Iron Cross with Oakleaf, medal to my grandad as a token of his sorrow and apology. They met in Germany and shook hands after 50 years. Grandad died of cancer a couple of years later, he hardly ever talked about it all, despite me writing this, and only opened up at all towards the end. That war destroyed him. But he was brave as anyone I've ever met.

Ben Thomsett



Flt Lt. Arthur Hebblethwaite DFC & Bar. 51 Sqd.

My brother, the late Flt.Lt 136499 Arthur Hebblethwaite DFC and Bar, served with 51 Squadron. Arthur was a wireless operator (air gunner) and moved onto pathfinders before being shot down in 1945 and imprisoned in Stalag Luft 3.

Arthur is middle row centre, date and names of others not known. I assume that the location of both photos is at Snaith

Betty Mackie



Sgt. Edward Frederick Kinerman 51 Sqd (d.13th May 1943)

My cousin, Edward Frederick Kinerman was a Flight Engineer. He was born in Rochford, Essex in 1922. His father was Frederick Keehnemund, the name was changed before the first World War started as Frederick's father was born in Essen in Germany.

Edward joined the RAF.V.R. sometime in the early 1940s. I don't know all the history but he became a Flt Eng. Sgt. He flew many missions over Germany but his luck was to run out. He was attached to 51 squadron at Snaith, Yorkshire. He and the other 6 crew took off in their Halifax Bomber on the night of the 12th of May 1943 and some how on the way over Holland they got lost and separated from the rest of the flight. They were on their own when a German ME109 night fighter found them and shot them down. The Halifax went into a spin and none of the crew were able to bail out all died on impact. The plane still had its bombs on board when it crashed and the explosions went on for 2 hours or so, locals said. The bodys were picked up by the Germans and buried in the Dutch grave yard in Haringen. He was only 21 years old. The Germans collected the remains of the Halifax for salvage.

Ronald Kinerman



Flt.Sgt. Daniel Gilfillan Farmer 51 Sqd. (d.4th April 1941)

I would like to know more about my father Daniel Farmer, I think he was shot down whilst bombing the Graf Spey somewhere off France. I believe from what my mum said that he used to fly in Whitley bombers, from Yorkshire, could be Linton on Ouse, Dishforth or Rufforth. I think his age was 21 when he died, mummy said his photograph was in the Imperial War Museum, and he is buried in France.

Elaine Morganti



W/O William Birdsall James DFM. 51 Squadron (d.10th Nov 1944)

Bill James

This is Bill James's story, it is factual drawing on eyewitness accounts.

Dusk on 18th August 1941. At R.A.F. Dishforth in Yorkshire, Squadron Leader John Bouwens D.F.C. is leading a line of Whitley Bombers to the grass runway. The target is the German city of Cologne, an industrial and route centre occupying a key point in the German rail network. Bouwens is an experienced pilot and is leading a force of twelve bombers from 51 Squadron at a point in the war where losses are mounting. This is to be a fateful night for many of the aircrew.

With the distinctive throaty roar of the Merlin engines reverberating across the darkening landscape, Bouwens lifts his aircraft with its load of bombs and incendiaries clear of the ground and climbs away towards the target. A few minutes behind him is Whitley Bomber “Q for Queenie”, at the controls is Sergeant Bill James, a Yorkshireman from Leeds and at 20 already an experienced pilot.

The aircraft crosses the coast still climbing to the cruising level of around 11,000 feet, it is an almost moonless night and they are spared the freezing conditions so often encountered. Bill’s navigator, Pilot Officer Derek Roberts, settles down at his navigation table and checks his chart. There are no fancy electronic aids at this stage of the war, just a map, compass, slide rule and protractor. He will be navigating using time and distance with the wind vector figured in. Over a blacked out continent and little moonlight (which brings it’s own problems anyway) there isn’t much scope for map reading.

Cologne at least is easy to recognise if there is some light, the distinctive bend in the Rhine and the cathedral next to the railway yards. It is these railway yards they are to attack. The bomber drones on through the night, the other aircraft on the raid are invisible, formation flying at night is dangerous at the best of times but without navigation lights it would be suicidal. Each bomber is effectively on it’s own.

William Birdsall James was the only son of a schoolteacher and had attended West Leeds Boys High School, he had also visited Germany with his father shortly before the war. The preparations for war he saw there shocked him and encouraged him to join the R.A.F. By August 1941 at the age of just twenty he was now one of the squadron’s best pilots, greatly trusted by his crew. Over Frankfurt on 22nd July in a violent thunderstorm a “Flak” shell exploded under the bomber’s wing turning the aircraft onto its back. Not something the lumbering Whitley was designed for! Bill managed to right the aircraft and bring it under control but not before losing 8,000 feet. It was by flying like this that he gained the confidence and respect of his crew.

At about 2 AM “Queenie” arrives over the target area and begins the bombing run. The weather is good but this just helps the German gunners, heavy flak bursts around them as searchlights probe the sky. Despite this the aircraft makes it through the storm unscathed and drops it’s load of bombs. At the end of the run Bill turns steeply away from the target to shake off the searchlights and settles onto the new heading given to him by Derek for the return journey.

This return journey is not necessarily the easy bit, aircraft may have unknown damage from flak over the target, there are the usual navigational hazards, fatigue, the possibility of fog over the home airfield and of course night fighters. It was a preferred time for opening thermos flasks though, drinking early in the flight might mean using the aircraft’s primitive toilet facilities!

Derek sits down at his navigating table to open his flask of coffee when the interior of the aircraft suddenly lights up with the intense illumination of a searchlight. They are not out of the woods yet and have encountered an unexpected searchlight battery. As there is no smoke without fire, so it is with searchlights and guns. Cursing loudly Bill throws the aircraft into a series of violent manoeuvres in an attempt to shake off the light. Flak shells burst around them but despite Bill’s best efforts the searchlight remains steadfastly on target. Inevitably the flak closes in as the gunners correct their point of aim and a violent explosion shakes the bomber as it takes a direct hit.

Acrid smoke fills the cabin and the aircraft dives earthwards, Bill with shrapnel wounds in his legs struggles to control it but realising a crash is inevitable he coolly gives the order to bale out. His crew hesitate, reluctant to leave the security of the bomber and somehow believing “Queenie” will get them home as she always does. A curt, authoritative repetition of the order dismisses any such beliefs and they hastened to their parachutes. The tail gunner, Sgt Janus, one of two Canadians in the crew, drops out through his turret but the second pilot, Don Switzer struggles to get the front hatch open. With the aircraft screaming earthwards Derek Roberts assists him and soon Switzer’s lanky frame is through the hatch and plummeting into the darkness. Derek is right behind him, a quick check of his harness and through the hatch. Sgt Lowe, the wireless operator, has more to worry about. His parachute has been shredded by shrapnel and is clearly useless, he resolves therefore to stay in the aircraft.

Bill is now in a dilemma, the bomber was careering earthwards and Lowe can’t possibly fly it. He takes his own parachute and thrusts it at Lowe ordering him to jump. In any aircraft the pilot is in charge and in a situation like this his orders must be followed immediately, at 2000 feet Lowe jumps into the black void of the forward hatch. Bill despite his leg wounds manages to bring the aircraft to earth in pitch darkness, so badly damaged it cannot remain airborne, landing in an unlit field. It is another amazing piece of flying but also his last.

Struggling clear of the wreckage, Bill had the presence of mind to set fire to the aircraft to prevent the enemy from making use of it. He was then taken prisoner by the Luftwaffe, who probably treated him well, as the others were that day, but the future was bleak. He was taken to hospital to be treated for his leg injuries and from there went into the P.O.W. system. Bill James went to Stalag Luft 3, from there he wrote home praising the coolness and discipline of his crew. From reports sent back home by them he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal in July 1942, cheers rang out in the camp when the news arrived over their secret radio. Soon afterwards Bill developed tuberculosis, probably aggravated by poor diet and overcrowding in the camp.

He was eventually repatriated via the Red Cross, but died about two weeks later. I have been told he held on to life long enough to return to England as he did not want to die in Germany. Bill was an only child, his parents kept in touch with his crew after the war but must have been heartbroken, as were many.

John Bouwens didn’t make it either, he was killed the following year in the Far East and four out of the twelve bombers that night failed to return. Bill James is now remembered at his old school, I have the gold pocket-watch he would have inherited from his father and been given James as my middle name.

James



LAC. John Flanagan 51 Sqdn (d.1st Sep 1940)

John Flanagan was aged 25 when he died whilst serving with the RAF. He was the son of Mr and Mrs T. Flanagan of Jarrow. He is buried in Jarrow Cemetery and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



F/Lt. Thomas Leithead DFM. 51 Squadron (d.26th Feb 1944)

Flight Lieutenant Thomas Leithead DFM, squadron signal leader had flown with the 51 squadron, details of his DFM being gazetted on 26 June 1942.

Helen



Sgt. Reginald James White 51 Squadron (d.16th Jan 1942)

I know very little of my Uncle Sgt. Reginald White, he was my mother's elder brother, he served with the RAF in 51 Squadron and died at the age of 19 when his Whitley bomber was shot down. He was a rear gunner.

Members of my family have visited his grave at Rottevale in Holland. Recently his younger step brother visited, and was very surprised at the welcome and hospitality shown by the villagers, who still hold an annual service for the war graves in their local parish church. All the facts I know are below, and were gathered from this site, where there are details of the two other brave young men who lost their lives that night. The bravery of young men such as my Uncle are an inspiration to me.

He is buried in the cemetery of the Protestant Church in Rottevalle along with two of his fellow crewmen who also lost theirs lives that night However there is a mystery in that the graves state that they were killed on 23rd October 1942, yet records show that it was 15th January 1942 at 1758 they took off from RAF Dishforth. Their aircraft was a Whitley, number Z9424 of No. 51 Squadron RAF. There are rumours that the crew were injured, and locals hid them, but unfortunately they died of their injuries and were buried much later in secret.

His last mission was a bombing raid at the port of Emden. The aircraft was shot down over the Netherlands by the German night-fighter Unteroffizier Kurt Zipperlein, 4./NJG1 and crashed down at 0330 in Rottevalle. Three of the six crew members died in the crash, they are buried here. The other three crew members were taken prisoner of war by the Germans. The graves are for:

  • Flt. Sgt. (Air Ob.) Sydney Clarence Camp, R/71752, RCAF, age 23
  • Sgt. (Pilot) Eric John Richards, 1162205, RAF, age unknown
  • Sgt. (Air Gnr.) Reginald James White, 624058, RAF, age 19 (my uncle)
This small but wonderful information which brings me closer to a lost relative was gathered from http://en.tracesofwar.com/article/20869/Commonwealth-War-Graves-Rottevalle.htm

David Shearmon



F/O. Derek Howse 51 Squadron (d.26th Jun 1943)

D G HOWSE_51 SQDN_MATES

D G HOSWE_51 SQDN_GRAVES_WOENSEL_2014

I again visited the graves of the crew of a Halifax - JD261 - that was lost on a raid on Gelsenkirchen and put a British Legion cross on all crew man's graves of this aircraft that included my wife's uncle, Flying Officer Derek Howse. I am of Dutch birth and married the niece of D G Howse. My father was in the Dutch Resistance and so I have been brought up on the history of this conflict that affected my family too.

The attached photo is of some crew members, one on the extreme right being D G Howse. One can not fail to be moved by the smiles of young and brave men standing by their aircraft. If there are any family members of these men reading this, then I hope that they might care to identify who the others in the photo are, please.

133877 Flying Officer Derek Howse served as an Air Bomber with the 51st Squadron Royal Air Force during WW2 and was killed, age 22, on the night of 25/26th June 1943. He is buried in Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery. Derek was the Son of George Henry Howse, and of Mary Howse, of Harborne, Warwickshire.

Johan Van Dijk



PO John Edward Rigby 51 Squadron (d.24th May 1943)

Jack Rigby flew with 51 Squadron.

Jeremy Gale



WO. Charles Harold "Chuck" Thompson 51 Squadron

Charles Harold Thompson was my father, like so many he did not talk about his time during the war, especially to me his only daughter. We know from his log book that he flew 31 operations during 1944. Other family members told me that the crew came down somewhere in Scotland on one occasion and I believe he was posted as missing for a time.

Margaret Shields



Flt.Lt. James Arthur Neve DFC. 109 Squadron

My father James Arthur Neve DFC joined 109 Squadron at Little Staughton in March 1945. He was a navigator. He had already completed 28 operations in 1943-4 on Halifaxes with 51 Squadron at Snaith.

At 109 Squadron his pilot was F/O John McIntosh DFC and Bar. They completed 16 operations including targets at Bremen, Weimar, Berlin, Dessau, Paderborn and Eggebeck (the last operation of the war). They also took part in several missions for operation 'Manna' marking aiming points for dropping supplies to the Dutch. My father went on one operation on a Lancaster during Operation Dodge to Italy to bring back servicemen who could not return easily due to transport hold-ups.

My father's Authorisation of Release for Demobilisation was 3 November 1945 and his effective date of release was 6 January 1946. After the war he retrained as a teacher and ended up as the Headmaster of Sandhurst Primary School in Kent. He married Staff Nurse Eileen Stubbs in May 1947 having met her at a dance near Little Staughton in May 1945. Eileen was a nurse at The Royal Free Hospital in London and had been relocated with other nurses and patients to Arlesey in Bedfordshire after bombing damaged part of the Royal Free. They had a daughter, Hilary in 1948 and a son, James in 1957.

Jamie Neve



P/O. Royston Percy Hampson 51 Squadron (d.21st July 1945)

My Mother, Rita Janet Bartlett of Smethwick Birmingham, got married to Royston Percy Hamson in 1943. They were both 21 years old. He according to Mom used to fly Halifax bombers, I believe from Goule near Hull but I could be wrong. Mom got married to my dad Bernard Stanley Stanton in 1950 and had seven children, although she always loved her flight pilot predominantly.

I am trying to find out any information I can about Royston, who, having died so young, should be remembered. How did he die? What bombing raid did he participate in? What was his final mission? Any medals? Do you have any of Royston's family contacts? Please supply any info you may have.

Michael Stanton



W/O. Douglas Sidney Joseph Norton 51 Squadron (d.13th March 1945)

My granddad, Warrant Officer Douglas Sidney Joseph Norton flew with 51 squadron at RAF Snaith between October 1944 and March 1945.

The above photo was supposedly taken before their final operation on 13/03/1945. My granddad is front row on the right - he was the Wireless Operator. The only other person I can identify is the Bomb Aimer F/Sgt W R Homewood back row second from right. The others are:

  • F/O B.J. Murray DFC- Pilot,
  • P/O E.V. Grinter DFC - Navigator,
  • Sgt R Stephenson - Flight Engineer,
  • Sgt JHC Hoggan - M/U Gunner,
  • Sgt JP Ryan DFM - Rear Gunner.
If any one recognises anyone please contact me.

Kevin Norton



Wing Commander Gerald Arthur Lane DFC 51 Squadron

Writing for my Grandfather Wing Commander GA Lane OBE DFC. who started the war in the 51 squadron.

Sarah (Lane) Grunow



Sgt. William John Chambers 51 Sqdn. (d.26th May 1943)

My uncle, Sgt William John Chambers, was the flight engineer of a Halifax bomber shot down at Malden, Germany. 51 Squadron was based at RAF Pollington (Snaith). The other members of the crew killed that day were:
  • Sgt Alfred Brown (air gunner)
  • Sgt Stanley Busby (wop/airgunner)
  • Sgt William Price Davies (pilot)
  • F/Sgt James Cumming MacPhedran (air bomber)
  • Sgt Christopher Arthur Richardson (navigator)
  • F/Sgt Arthur Cephas Worden (airgunner)

    They are buried in Uden War Cemetery, Graves 5.I.5-7.

  • Julie Hughes



    Sgt. Alfred Brown 51 Sqdn. (d.26th May 1943)

    Sgt Alfred Brown was an airgunner of a Halifax bomber shot down at Malden, Germany. 51 Squadron was based at RAF Pollington (Snaith). The other members of the crew killed that day were:
  • Sgt William John Chambers, was the flight engineer
  • Sgt Stanley Busby (wop/airgunner)
  • Sgt William Price Davies (pilot)
  • F/Sgt James Cumming MacPhedran (air bomber)
  • Sgt Christopher Arthur Richardson (navigator)
  • F/Sgt Arthur Cephas Worden (airgunner)

    They are buried in Uden War Cemetery, Graves 5.I.5-7.




  • Sgt. Stanley Busby 51 Sqdn. (d.26th May 1943)

    Sgt Stanley Busby was the wop/airgunner of a Halifax bomber shot down at Malden, Germany. 51 Squadron was based at RAF Pollington (Snaith). The other members of the crew killed that day were:
  • Sgt Alfred Brown (airgunner)
  • Sgt William John Chambers, was the flight engineer
  • Sgt William Price Davies (pilot)
  • F/Sgt James Cumming MacPhedran (air bomber)
  • Sgt Christopher Arthur Richardson (navigator)
  • F/Sgt Arthur Cephas Worden (airgunner)

    They are buried in Uden War Cemetery, Graves 5.I.5-7.




  • Sgt. William Price Davies 51 Sqdn. (d.26th May 1943)

    Sgt William Price Davies was the pilot of a Halifax bomber shot down at Malden, Germany. 51 Squadron was based at RAF Pollington (Snaith). The other members of the crew killed that day were:
  • Sgt Alfred Brown (airgunner)
  • Sgt Stanley Busby was the wop/airgunner
  • Sgt William John Chambers, was the flight engineer
  • F/Sgt James Cumming MacPhedran (air bomber)
  • Sgt Christopher Arthur Richardson (navigator)
  • F/Sgt Arthur Cephas Worden (airgunner)

    They are buried in Uden War Cemetery, Graves 5.I.5-7.




  • F/Sgt. James Cumming MacPhedran 51 Sqdn. (d.26th May 1943)

    F/Sgt James Cumming MacPhedran was the air bomber of a Halifax bomber shot down at Malden, Germany. 51 Squadron was based at RAF Pollington (Snaith). The other members of the crew killed that day were:
  • Sgt Alfred Brown (airgunner)
  • Sgt Stanley Busby (wop/airgunner)
  • Sgt William John Chambers (flight engineer)
  • Sgt William Price Davies (pilot)
  • Sgt Christopher Arthur Richardson (navigator)
  • F/Sgt Arthur Cephas Worden (airgunner)

    They are buried in Uden War Cemetery, Graves 5.I.5-7.




  • Sgt. Christopher Arthur Richardson 51 Sqdn. (d.26th May 1943)

    Sgt Christopher Arthur Richardson was the navigator of a Halifax bomber shot down at Malden, Germany. 51 Squadron was based at RAF Pollington (Snaith). The other members of the crew killed that day were:
  • Sgt Alfred Brown (airgunner)
  • Sgt Stanley Busby (wop/airgunner)
  • Sgt William John Chambers (flight engineer)
  • Sgt William Price Davies (pilot)
  • F/Sgt James Cumming MacPhedran (air bomber)
  • F/Sgt Arthur Cephas Worden (airgunner)

    They are buried in Uden War Cemetery, Graves 5.I.5-7.




  • F/Sgt. Arthur Cephas Worden 51 Sqdn. (d.26th May 1943)

    F/Sgt Arthur Cephas Worden was an airgunner of a Halifax bomber shot down at Malden, Germany. 51 Squadron was based at RAF Pollington (Snaith). The other members of the crew killed that day were:
  • Sgt Alfred Brown (airgunner)
  • Sgt Stanley Busby (wop/airgunner)
  • Sgt William John Chambers (flight engineer)
  • Sgt William Price Davies (pilot)
  • F/Sgt James Cumming MacPhedran (air bomber)
  • Sgt Christopher Arthur Richardson (navigator)

    They are buried in Uden War Cemetery, Graves 5.I.5-7.




  • Sgt. Reginald Maine 51 Sqdn.

    My grandfather, Reginald Maine served in the RAF during WWII. I do not know much but have a few bits of information. I know he served in 51 Squadron, flying in the Avro Lancaster as a rear gunner. Written on the side of the plane was HL and d-e-f angel of darkness. I also know he did something in Egypt. If anyone has any information or where I may be able to find some, please would you contact me.

    Matt Leighton



    Sgt. Norman Thompson 51 Sqdn. (d.27th April 1943)

    Norman Thompson was killed on his second operational flight flying a Halifax bomber. Age 21 and only recently married. He had trained as a pilot in Canada.

    Norman Thompson







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