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No. 156 Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 156 Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -


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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

No. 156 Squadron Royal Air Force



   

No. 156 Squadron was formed at Alconbury in February 1942. In August, 1942, No. 156 was one of the four squadrons selected to form the nucleus of the new Pathfinders force.

Airfields at which No. 156 Squadron were based:

  • Alconbury. Feb 1942 to Aug 1942
  • Warboys Aug 1942 to Mar 1944
  • Upwood. From Mar 1944


 

14th Feb 1942 Reorganisation

20th Sep 1942 156 Squadron Wellington lost.

15th Jan 1944 156 Squadron Lancaster lost

30th Mar 1944 Aircraft Lost

31st Mar 1944 156 Squadron Lancaster lost

15th Jul 1944 156 Squadron Lancaster lost


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



Those known to have served with

No. 156 Squadron Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Adair. Leslie James. WO1. (d.3rd Jan 1944)
  • Barry George. F/Sgt. (d.2nd January 1944)
  • Bell. John. F/S (d.2nd Jan 1944)
  • Blanchette Charles Edward. P/O (d.2nd January 1944)
  • Bolsover Alan Richard. F/O (d.2nd January 1944)
  • Bond Gerald Peter Robert. P/O (d.2nd January 1944)
  • Borland James. P/O (d.3rd Jan 1944)
  • Cromarty John Donald Range. PO (d.3rd Jan 1944)
  • Eaton Harold. Sgt. (d.12th May 1944)
  • Egan A E. Sgt
  • Evans Emrys Arthur. F/Sgt.
  • Fordyce. Gordon William. W/O (d.23rd Now 1943)
  • Gilbert James Walter . Sgt. (d.24th Feb 1944)
  • Gillis. Hartley David. F/Lt. (d.12th Jun 1943)
  • Harries R. Sgt
  • Hopkinson Samuel. Sgt. (d.12th May 1944)
  • Hopton. Cecil George. S/Ldr. (d.8th Jun 1943)
  • Johnson George. Sgt
  • Jones Ronald Charles Cottingham. Sgt.
  • Lyford. Percy Robert. Sgt (d.2nd Jan 1943)
  • McKenzie. Duncan Benjamin Grant. Sgt (d.3rd Jan 1943)
  • Minogue. James Steel. Sgt
  • Morassi Allan. P/O (d.2nd January 1944)
  • Morton Frank Ronald. Sgt. (d.12th May 1944)
  • Neighbour Stanley William George. P/O (d.12th May 1944)
  • Pillinger Leonard Charles. Flt Sgt. (d.12th May 1944)
  • Rugg George William. Sgt. (d.12th May 1944)
  • Snelling. Denis Cyril George. F/Sgt. (d.3rd Jan 1944)
  • Underwood Ronald. F/Sgt. (d.2nd January 1944)
  • Vickers. Geoffrey. P/O (d.2nd Jan 1944)
  • Waller. Alan Abraham. Sgt (d.3rd Jan 1943)
  • Waterhouse Victor. F/O (d.2nd January 1944)
  • Whitebread Roy Edward. P/O (d.12th May 1944)
  • Williams Lional Thomas Richard Howard. F/Lt.

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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P/O Stanley William George Neighbour 156 Sqd (d.12th May 1944)

My mother is now 87 and she was reminiscing about her wartime experiences recently. She was 23, then called Muriel (Peggy) Siddall, and in nursing training. Her father, Frank Siddall, was the station master at Beverley in Lincolnshire and the family lived at the station. Mum was engaged to Stanley Neighbour, a pilot in the Pathfinders. He flew his plane low over the station on his way to a mission and spooked the horses in the station yard causing some pretty ripe language from Granddad! Nearly took the chimney pots off, Mum said. She was out in the yard waving a duster on the end of a broom so Stanley could see her. That was the last she saw of him as he didn't return from that mission. If anyone has any knowledge of him or where he might be laid to rest I'd be grateful for the opportunity to tell her.

UPDATE: P/O Stanley William George Neighbour, was the pilot of Lancaster ND454, coded GT-L, of 156 Sqd, he took off from RAF Warboys on the 24th Feb 1944 on a mission to Schweinfurt and crashed between Schalbach and Hirschland, north east of Sarrebourg, France. However, there is a report that this aircraft was lost 11/12th May 1944 on a mission to Bourg-Leopld, so there is some doubt as to which date is correct, Peggy's recollection would suggest it was May as it would have been dark at 18.34 on a February evening when they are listed as having taken off from Warboys. The Crew were:

  • P/O S.W.G.Neighbour
  • Sgt H.Eaton
  • Sgt G.W.Rugg
  • F/S L.C.Pillinger
  • Sgt S.Hopkinson
  • R.E.Whitebeard
  • Sgt F.R.Morton

Sgt Morton is buried in Hirschland Church Yard and the other six lie together in Schalbach Roman Catholic Cemetery.

Nick Devonport



Sgt. Ronald Charles Cottingham Jones DFM. 77 Sqn.

Ron Jones was my father and served as a Flight Engineer with 77Sqn from April 1943 to Sept 1943. During this time he flew 28 Ops with Sgt.Pilot Officer Smith and one with FltLt Williams. His DFM was awarded later, on his second Operational Tour with 156Sqn. Part of his citation reads "This NCO received no recognition for his first tour which was carried out on German targets with No. 77 Squadron."

Martin Jones



Sgt. James Walter Gilbert 156 Sgd (d.24th Feb 1944)

My father, Sgt James Walter Gilbe, was rear gunner in Lancaster JB479. Serial GT-K piloted by Sgd/Ldr Eric Porter. On the evening of 24 Feb.1944 they'd left their base at R.A.F. Warboys. They were the lead Pathfinders on the raid at Schweinfurt. They marked the target but were shot down, believed by a night fighter. There were no survivors. Their collective grave was found in 1952 and they were re-buried at the Durnbach War Cementery.

My father's birthday was the day before he died and he had just found out that he was going to be a dad (that was me). If anyone had any information of if there are any relatives or friends of the crew please let me know.

Peter Gilbert



WO1. Leslie James Adair. 156 Sqd. (d.3rd Jan 1944)

Leslie Adair served as a rear Gnr. with Lancaster JB553 GT-J of 156 Sqn.




F/S John Bell. 156Sqd. (d.2nd Jan 1944)

Bomb Aimer John Bell was killed on 2nd Jan 1944 in Lancaster III JA925 GT-La of 156 Sqn




P/O James Borland DFC 156Sqd. (d.3rd Jan 1944)

Pilot James Borland was killed on 3rd Jan 1944 flying Lancaster JB553 GT-J with 156 Sqn




W/O Gordon William Fordyce. 156Sqd. (d.23rd Now 1943)

Pilot Gordon Fordyce was killed on 23rd Nov 1943 with 156 Sqn




F/Lt. Hartley David Gillis. DFC 156Sqd. (d.12th Jun 1943)

Nav. Hartley Gillis died on 8th June 1944 flying Lancaster III ND577 GT-E of 156 Sqn




S/Ldr. Cecil George Hopton. DFC 156Sqd. (d.8th Jun 1943)

Cecil Hopton was killed on 8th June 1944, he was the pilot of Lancaster III ND577 GT-E with 156 Sqn




Sgt Percy Robert Lyford. DFC 156Sqd. (d.2nd Jan 1943)

Nav. Percy Lyford was killed on 2nd Jan 1944 in Lancaster III JA925 GT-La of 156 Sqn




Sgt Duncan Benjamin Grant McKenzie. 156Sqd. (d.3rd Jan 1943)

W/Op. Duncan Mckenzie was killed on 3rd Jan 1944 in Lancaster JB553 GT-J of 156 Sqn




F/Sgt. Denis Cyril George Snelling. 156Sqd. (d.3rd Jan 1944)

Bomb Aimer Denis Smelling was killed on 3rd Jan 1944 in Lancaster JB553 GT-J of 156 Sqn




P/O Geoffrey Vickers. DFC 156Sqd. (d.2nd Jan 1944)

W/op. Geoffrey Vickers died on 2nd Jan 1944 in Lancaster III JA925 GT-La of 156 Sqn




Sgt Alan Abraham Waller. 156 Sqd. (d.3rd Jan 1943)

Mid Upper Gnr. Alan Waller was killed on 3rd Jan 1944 in Lancaster JB553 GT-J of 156 Sqn




P/O Gerald Peter Robert Bond DFC 156 Sqdn. (d.2nd January 1944)

P/O Bond was a Lancaster pilot in 156 Squadron, Lancaster ND 384 GT-D, based at RAF Warboys. The Lancaster was shot down on the night of 1st/2nd January 1944 on their return journey from a raid on Berlin.

Update

The members of the crew were:

  • P/O GPR Bond DFC - Pilot
  • P/O CE Blanchette - Flight Engineer
  • P/O A Morassi - Navigator
  • F/O AR Bolsover - Airbomber
  • F/Sgt G Barry - Wireless Operator
  • F/O V Waterhouse DFC - Airgunner
  • F/Sgt R Underwood DFM - Airgunner

    The aircraft crashed at Grandieu, France and all the crew were killed. They are buried in Chievres Communal Cemetery.

  • Wayne Welford



    P/O Charles Edward Blanchette 156 Sqdn. (d.2nd January 1944)

    P/O Blanchette was a Lancaster flight engineer in 156 Squadron, Lancaster ND 384 GT-D, based at RAF Warboys. The Lancaster was shot down on the night of 1st/2nd January 1944 on their return journey from a raid on Berlin.

    Update

    The members of the crew were:

  • P/O GPR Bond DFC - Pilot
  • P/O CE Blanchette - Flight Engineer
  • P/O A Morassi - Navigator
  • F/O AR Bolsover - Airbomber
  • F/Sgt G Barry - Wireless Operator
  • F/O V Waterhouse DFC - Airgunner
  • F/Sgt R Underwood DFM - Airgunner

    The aircraft crashed at Grandieu, France and all the crew were killed. They are buried in Chievres Communal Cemetery.




  • P/O Allan Morassi 156 Sqdn. (d.2nd January 1944)

    P/O Morassi was a Lancaster navigator in 156 Squadron, Lancaster ND 384 GT-D, based at RAF Warboys. The Lancaster was shot down on the night of 1st/2nd January 1944 on their return journey from a raid on Berlin.

    Update

    The members of the crew were:

  • P/O GPR Bond DFC - Pilot
  • P/O CE Blanchette - Flight Engineer
  • P/O A Morassi - Navigator
  • F/O AR Bolsover - Airbomber
  • F/Sgt G Barry - Wireless Operator
  • F/O V Waterhouse DFC - Airgunner
  • F/Sgt R Underwood DFM - Airgunner

    The aircraft crashed at Grandieu, France and all the crew were killed. They are buried in Chievres Communal Cemetery.




  • F/O Alan Richard Bolsover 156 Sqdn. (d.2nd January 1944)

    F/O Bolsover was a Lancaster airbomber in 156 Squadron, Lancaster ND 384 GT-D, based at RAF Warboys. The Lancaster was shot down on the night of 1st/2nd January 1944 on their return journey from a raid on Berlin.

    Update

    The members of the crew were:

  • P/O GPR Bond DFC - Pilot
  • P/O CE Blanchette - Flight Engineer
  • P/O A Morassi - Navigator
  • F/O AR Bolsover - Airbomber
  • F/Sgt G Barry - Wireless Operator
  • F/O V Waterhouse DFC - Airgunner
  • F/Sgt R Underwood DFM - Airgunner

    The aircraft crashed at Grandieu, France and all the crew were killed. They are buried in Chievres Communal Cemetery.




  • F/Sgt. George Barry 156 Sqdn. (d.2nd January 1944)

    F/Sgt Barry was a wireless operator in 156 Squadron, Lancaster ND 384 GT-D, based at RAF Warboys. The Lancaster was shot down on the night of 1st/2nd January 1944 on their return journey from a raid on Berlin.

    Update

    The members of the crew were:

  • P/O GPR Bond DFC - Pilot
  • P/O CE Blanchette - Flight Engineer
  • P/O A Morassi - Navigator
  • F/O AR Bolsover - Airbomber
  • F/Sgt G Barry - Wireless Operator
  • F/O V Waterhouse DFC - Airgunner
  • F/Sgt R Underwood DFM - Airgunner

    The aircraft crashed at Grandieu, France and all the crew were killed. They are buried in Chievres Communal Cemetery.




  • F/O Victor Waterhouse DFC 156 Sqdn. (d.2nd January 1944)

    F/O Waterhouse was a Lancaster airgunner in 156 Squadron, Lancaster ND 384 GT-D, based at RAF Warboys. The Lancaster was shot down on the night of 1st/2nd January 1944 on their return journey from a raid on Berlin.

    Update

    The members of the crew were:

  • P/O GPR Bond DFC - Pilot
  • P/O CE Blanchette - Flight Engineer
  • P/O A Morassi - Navigator
  • F/O AR Bolsover - Airbomber
  • F/Sgt G Barry - Wireless Operator
  • F/O V Waterhouse DFC - Airgunner
  • F/Sgt R Underwood DFM - Airgunner

    The aircraft crashed at Grandieu, France and all the crew were killed. They are buried in Chievres Communal Cemetery.




  • F/Sgt. Ronald Underwood DFM 156 Sqdn. (d.2nd January 1944)

    F/Sgt Underwood was a Lancaster airgunner in 156 Squadron, Lancaster ND 384 GT-D, based at RAF Warboys. The Lancaster was shot down on the night of 1st/2nd January 1944 on their return journey from a raid on Berlin.

    Update

    The members of the crew were:

  • P/O GPR Bond DFC - Pilot
  • P/O CE Blanchette - Flight Engineer
  • P/O A Morassi - Navigator
  • F/O AR Bolsover - Airbomber
  • F/Sgt G Barry - Wireless Operator
  • F/O V Waterhouse DFC - Airgunner
  • F/Sgt R Underwood DFM - Airgunner

    The aircraft crashed at Grandieu, France and all the crew were killed. They are buried in Chievres Communal Cemetery.




  • F/Sgt. Emrys Arthur "Taff" Evans A Flight 516 Sqdn.

    Emrys Evans joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve on 18th April 1941. The following day he was put on the reserved list and on 11th August 1941 he was called up. He then went to 71 T.W. Newquay, Cornwall where he did an air navigation course. Then on 1st January 1942 he was on a troopship HMT Voldan to Canada, where he got his wings on 11th September 1942. On 26th September 1942 he was on HMT Anatea (a troop ship) on his way back to the UK.

    On returning to the UK he went to the Advanced Training Unit at Peterborough, then spent a short time with No 1 and No 56 Squadrons. He then went to 516 Squadron at the experimental unit of combined operations at RAF Dundonald on 5th June 1943, where he stayed until it was disbanded on 1st July 1944. Then Emrys was posted to 122 Squadron, which was part of the 2 TAF where they supported the push through France. The squadron was moved back to Britain in November 1944 and started long range bomber escort from RAF Matlaske and Andrews Field until the end of the war.

    David Evans



    PO John Donald Range Cromarty 6(P) AFU (d.3rd Jan 1944)

    My first cousin once removed was Jack Cromarty of Liverpool. In 1939 his parents lived in Berwick Gardens, Little Sutton, Cheshire He was a dental mechanic before he enlisted in 1941 He was a sergeant then flight sergeant then pilot officer and received his commission in November 1943 Prior to arriving at 6 (P) APU on 16th of February 143 he was at various other training units. After training at 6 (P) AFU he went to 81 OTU on 13th of April 1943 and then onto 1656, then 12 and finally after training at Upwood to 156 squadron, one of the Pathfinders. He was the pilot of Lancaster JB640 and died the night of 2nd/3rd of January 1944 when the plane was shot down on a mission to Berlin The other crew members were:
    • Sgt. Frederick Edwin Woolven.(Navigator) aged 23 years
    • Sgt. Norman Henry Colebatch (Wireless Operator)
    • F/Sgt Leonard Norman Lapthorne aged 21 years.
    • F/Sgt Dennis Frederick Burtenshaw RAAF (Second Navigator/Bomb Aimer) aged 20 years.
    • F/Sgt R.J.Collens Mid-upper Gunner aged 31 years.
    • F/Sgt. Kenneth Sidney James Chapman. Rear Gunner aged 20 years.
    They completed approx 16 missions all over Germany between joining 156 sqdn in Nov 1943 and the last flight.

    It was discovered in 1976 that the plane had crashed into a lake in what was by then the Russian zone. The remains were handed over to the RAF in 1976. It has taken from then until approx 2011 for the MOD to identify where these remains were buried and then another three to find relatives of the lost airmen. On the 27th of April 2016 there was a rededication ceremony in Berlin for four of the crew of JB640 whose remains have been found. The headstones now changed to reflect they were crew members of JB640. Alas as John had no wife, children or siblings there are no known photographs of him as an adult in the RAF. I have this one photo of him in my late mother's photo album.

    Rebecca Owen







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