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No. 630 Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 630 Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -


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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

No. 630 Squadron Royal Air Force



   No. 630 Squadron was formed on 15th November 1943 from 'B' Flight, No 57 Squadron at East Kirkby near Spilsby, in Lincolnshire. The Squadron motto was "Nocturna mors" meaning "Death by night". They flew a total of 2,453 sorties with the lost of 59 Lancasters

630 Squadron was disbanded on 15 July 1945.

Airfields at which No. 630 Squadron were based:

  • East Kirkby.


 

30th Mar 1944 Aircraft Lost

31st March 1944 630 Squadron Lancaster lost


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



Those known to have served with

No. 630 Squadron Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Ames K. R.. F/Lt.
  • Barnes Len. P/O
  • Barnes Len. P/O
  • Barnes Len. P/O
  • Hall Bernard. F/O (d.17th May 1945)
  • Henley Maurice Benjamin. Sgt. (d.22nd Nov 1944)
  • Higgins F. R.G.A.. P/O
  • Jones Leslie. Sgt.
  • Langley John.
  • McCallum Robert. W/O
  • Meade Victor Francis Dobell. F/O (d.17th May 1945)
  • O'Donnell Ronald James. F/O (d.17th May 1945)
  • Penicud Alfred. Sgt Air Gunner
  • Plowman G. E.. Sgt.
  • Pollard Joseph William.
  • Rabbetts Gordon Leonard. Sgt. (d.17th May 1945)
  • Smith Reginald Henry. Sgt. (d.17th May 1945)
  • Southwold Vincent Reginald Woodburn. Sgt. (d.17th May 1945)
  • Stills John Alfred. Sgt. (d.17th May 1945)
  • Taylor J. T.. F/O (d.8th July 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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Sgt. G. E. Plowman w/op 630 Sqd

Sgt Plowman was the Wireless Operator on my Father's crew, thier Lancaster was shot down the 16th of March 1944. My father, Len Barnes evaded capture.

The crew were:

  • P/O L.A.Barnes
  • Sgt K.A.Walker
  • F/O M.Geisler
  • Sgt M.E.Gregg
  • Sgt G.E.Plowman
  • Sgt J.H.Overholt
  • Sgt T.A.Fox

Amanda Burrows



P/O F. R.G.A. Higgins DFC. Air Gunner. 630 Squadron

Would you please add the following Officers name (my late uncle) to the lists of those who served on 57 Sqdn and also 630 Sqdn. P/O F.R.G.A. Higgins DFC (Air Gunner). Thank you.

Roy Kirk



F/O Bernard Hall 630 Squadron (d.17th May 1945)

I am carrying out research into the crash of Avro Lancaster RF124 (LE-S). The aircraft based with 630 Squadron, had left East Kirkby on 17th May 1945 on a routine cross-country training flight.

The aircraft had the following crewmen on board:

  • F/O Bernard Hall 24 yrs pilot
  • F/O Ronald James O'Donnell 21 yrs F/Engineer
  • F/O Victor Francis Dobell Meade 23yrs Air Bomber
  • Sgt Reginald Henry Smith 21yrs Navigator
  • Sgt Gordon Leonard Rabbetts 21yrs Wirless Op
  • Sgt Vincent Reginald Woodburn Southworth 20yrs(?)A/Gunner
  • Sgt John Alfred Sills 21yrs A/Gunner
All crewmen were members of the RAFVR At approx 17:15 hrs on that date the aircraft was seen to be in trouble over Wednesfield Nr Wolverhampton, West Midlands. The aircraft hit the ground and was completely destroyed with the crew suffering simply horrendous injuries. All died on impact. The crew's remains were collected and returned to their respective families for burial back in their own home towns. As a resident of Wednesfield I can pass on to any surviving family members that their loved ones are still remembered on each anniversary when poppy wreaths are placed at the crash scene.

I have spoken to many eye-witnesses in recent weeks (Since April 2011) and have had many conflicting accounts of the final flight path of the doomed aircraft. It's final flying state is also in doubt with some witnesses stating that engine(s) were on fire or emitting smoke and others state it was gliding down under control. One even states that a crewman was seen lying prone on the portside wing. The official enquiry finding was that the crash was caused by an 'Obscure' reason. The official record states that the a/c came out of low cloud inverted and flew into the ground.

If anyone is able to pass on any further information please contact me.

Graham Smith



John Langley 630 Squadron

Part of a letter written by John Langley in May 2008.

I have been reliving old memories and I can’t get them out of my mind. First of all, I have landed at both Manston and Gatwick and for the life of me I cannot understand why Gatwick was developed rather than Manston. When I touched down at Gatwick, it was a grass field, ie NO runways, whereas Manston had a huge runway which was so wide that when I took off using the left hand side of the runway a squadron of Spitfires was doing a formation landing on the same runway at the same time. Admittedly I did not like it, but it illustrates the size of the runway.

Additionally, the place is, in my opinion, much better suited than either Gatwick or Heathrow (another grassy field in those days), most particularly from the point of noise pollution, to say nothing of the fact that the circuit above Heathrow is over the most densely populated area of the country.

But the reason why Manston is the place I remember so well is this: When I joined the squadron at East Kirkby, at first I had to fly whatever aircraft was not being used by its "owner" as I had to wait until a new plane was delivered (we were allocated an aircraft and the associated ground crew, but until one came there was always a crew on leave or, as happened to me, I was given the CO’s kite as of course he didn’t fly every op. When eventually I got my brand new Lancaster it was a Mark 2, the only one on the airfield. It differed from the Mark Ones by having Packard-built Merlins with Stromberg carburettors, which unfortunately no one knew anything about. As a result, it was very troublesome and eventually it was "posted" to an OTU while I was on leave.

I was given the letter A Able, which was rather nice. By this time I had flown about a dozen different lettered planes, including S Sugar, which was the dual-controlled kite used for training and was universally detested as being a real old crock. One day, we were told that come what may with the weather (awful), Churchill had insisted a raid must take place, regardless of the consequences. We were going to Munich and were routed over the Alps. When the time came to take off, the cloud base was under 500 feet, it was raining cats and dogs and to crown it all, the wind direction meant we had to use the shortest of the three runways. About two-thirds of the take-off run, when it was impossible to stop, one of the engines caught fire and the flight engineer stopped it, feathered the prop, and operated the fire extinguisher button. I managed to get airborne on the other three engines, but we were unable to get high enough to fly over the Alps and another engine was overheating, so I had to turn back.

The weather at East Kirkby was too bad for landing, so we made our way to the main emergency strip at Manston, where we landed safely. A van with the ‘follow me’ light led us to our parking place and after reporting the forced landing to the squadron, we went to bed.

Don’t have page 2 of the letter, but apparently, they got up next morning to the shock of a badly damaged Lanc where they’d parked theirs, before realising it was another plane that had come in during the night.

A. Langley



W/O Robert McCallum Air Gunner 50 Sqn/630 Sqn/44 Sqn

Robert McCallum joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on the 20th of June 1940 and served until the 13th of Mar 1946. He became aircrew in 1943 and trained with 17 OTU at Turweston and Silverstone this was followed by 1661 Conversion Unit at Winthorpe. He began at 50 Sqn Skellingthorp with F/O Hinkling as his first pilot then transferred to 630 Sqn in Feb 1945, flying with pilot F/Sgt Grange at East Kirkby. He transferred to 44Sqn on 18th June 1945 to the crew of pilot F/O Munson

Nic



Sgt Air Gunner Alfred "Paddy" Penicud 630 Squadron

I am trying to find out any information about my Uncle Alfred Penicud (Paddy). He was stationed at East Kirkby in either 57 of 630 Sq, his Capt was called McDuffy. That is the only information I have.

After the war he and his wife went to live in Canada. He passed away in 2003 in the Soldiers Memorial Hospital, Orillia, Ontario. If you have any information I would be so very pleased, or if you could point me in the right direction. Thank you very much.

Chris Merrett



Sgt. Maurice Benjamin Henley 630 Squadron (d.22nd Nov 1944)

Headstone situated in Section G, Row D, Grave 20, Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery.

From the memories of John Cox (nephew):

On the fateful night when Benny Henley died, they are not sure why, whether it was because of a heavy bomb load or a faulty engine, pilot Ross Flood had to make several attempts before they could get airborne. This put him behind the rest of the squadron so he would have had to have made up the distance in order to catch up and join them on their way to the submarine targets in the Norwegian fjords. The bombing raid was successful and they started their return to RAF East Kirby, Spilsby, Lincolnshire, North England.

They crashed onto Sunk Island Sands, East Riding of Yorkshire, near the Humber Estuary, there was no evidence that the crew were aware of having to make a forced landing, all crew were still in their seats on the airplane, as opposed to being moved to the bulkhead which would have been the safest area. There was one initial survivor, but he never regained consciousness and died in hospital.

The general thought is that 1 of 2 things may have happened:-

  • 1. Fuel guages may have been faulty and fuel would have been used in the extra efforts to get the plane up on the way to the bombing
  • 2. The Lancaster1 was an early model and it's known that some of them had dropped out of the sky, but there was nothing to say that this was the case

Memories of Derek Cox (nephew) regarding Benny's death:

It was a few weeks later that I came home from school at lunchtime to find Mom blackleading the grate of our fireplace and I couldn't help noticing she was crying. I was shocked to the core, Mothers don't cry. In answer to my question of why she was in this state she simply pointed to an envelope sitting on the mantle shelf. The letter was from Aunt Stella, it was short, less than one page of notepaper and simply said that "Ben will not be coming home again". It went on to say he and all the crew were dead.

Some thirty years later, Uncle Ray (Benny's brother) met, at a service men's reunion, a couple of RAF veterans who had been at East Kirby at that time and were told that on the day, November 22nd 1944, Ben's aircraft, a Lancaster Bomber, E for Easy, serial number I.I.949 of 630 Squadron, piloted by a New Zealander, Pilot Office Ross Flood, had trouble getting off the ground to start their flight to Trondheim, Norway and had made three runs before getting airborne. It was thought that the fuel used up getting airborne resulted in the plane simply running out of gas on the return flight.

In a publication entitled "Lincolnshire Air War, 1935-45" the crash is mentioned as occuring "near the Humber" which is a major river on England's east coast. Initially listed as missing, the plane was first spotted by an area farmer, working his field, on a sand bank at the estuary to the river. The local lifeboat reached the wreckage before it was covered by the incoming tide and one of the crew was found alive, but died a few days later.

If this is what happened, and it was not an uncommon occurrence that loaded bombers had such difficulties, it begs the question as to why PO Flood couldn't have made for one of the many other airfields which would have been within reach. Also, why did all of the 7 crew members die? Their shortage of fuel would have been known for some time and some, if not all, of the crew could surely have parachuted to safety.

Another authority on these types of losses is Dave Newham, an English fiction writer, who was an RAF photographer and who has developed a special interest in the wartime airfields of Lincolnshire and the east coast. My brother, John, has met with Dave and been shown Dave's plotted map of E-Easy's flightpath which shows that it would have flown over several miles of England's east coast and been able to land at alternative airfields. It was also learned that each of the crew were found at their operational station. When it's known that a crash landing is inevitable, crew members were gathered at the plane's main bulkhead, over the wing's main spar, with only the pilot and flight engineer remaining at their usual places.

Although we will never know what happened on the flight's final moments, it is reasonable to assume that there was no warning of the crash. Was it pilot error, with PO Flood falling asleep at the "wheel"?

Maxine Belcher



Sgt. Leslie Jones 630 Sqdn.

I was shot down in a night sortie on 22nd/23rd of May 1944. Immediately captured, processed and eventual placed at Stalag Luft VII. I was forced into Hitler's Death March, liberated and ferried home to the UK. I transcribed my full story to the family in 2012. Now retired, 90-yrs old and live in WA State, USA.

Leslie Jones



F/Lt. K. R. Ames DFC 630 Sqdn.

Since the award of the D.F.C., Flt Lt. Ames has completed a large number of operational sorties, including seven of the recent attacks on Berlin. He is an outstanding captain of aircraft and, by his skill as a pilot and his courage and determination, has set an excellent example to other captains. As a deputy flight commander he has displayed efficiency and has taken a keen interest in training new crews.

Ken Ames



P/O Len Barnes 630 Squadron

I am the daughter of P/O Len Barnes, 630 Sqdn, whose Lancaster LE-P ND530 was shot down on 15/16th March 1944 returning from Stuttgart. He evaded capture, as did the Flt.Eng. Sgt Ken Walker. I have made contact with the son of Sgt Malcolm Gregg (bomb-aimer) and we would like to contact Ken. I believe he was living near Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire.

Amanda Burrows



Joseph William Pollard 630 Squadron

My father, Joseph William Pollard, was a rear gunner in a Lancaster (LE-X) in 630 Squadron, East Kirkby, Lincolnshire. His Lancaster LE-X JB532 was missing/crashed on 1st/2nd January 1944 and LE-X LM537 was missing/crashed 18th/19th July 1944. I am trying to clarify how he survived. Dad passed away in 2005.

John Pollard



P/O Len Barnes 630 Sqdn.

My father was shot down on his last flight over Rheims on 15th March 1944 and evaded capture. He was in the last group of five airmen to evade capture via the Comete Line.

Amanda Burrows







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