The War Graves of St Catherines,

Barmby-on-the-Moor, East Riding, Yorkshire

Barmby Moor War Dead - Crews Page 2

This page lists out research carried out in relation to the men who served & died as crews of the Air Force during WW2 and who are buried at Barmby Moor.   

If you havent already you can read the introduction to this project via the below link

Note - This page also includes an index of names

Due to the size of the project it has been broken down over several pages.  These include 2 pages for Crews & a page for Individuals (when only one person from the Aircraft is buried at Barmby Moor).

Please get in touch via the email link below if you have either connections or a special interest in this project.

Handley Page Halifax II – DT512 – 102 Squadron

On the evening of the 23rd & 24th of October 1942 a total of 122 Aircraft from 3 & 4 Groups & the Pathfinders were detailed to bomb Genoa.   The target area on the night was almost completely covered by cloud & it was later reported that bombs had actually fallen on Savona, 30 miles along the coast & several aircraft had bombed Turin.

11 of these aircraft were from 102 Squadron & crews reported cloud with frequent showers

The Crew of DT512 ‘Q’ took off from Pocklington at 1814hrs on board were: -

W/C SB Bintley - Pilot

G/C EJ Corbally – 2nd Pilot (Pocklington Station Commander)

Sgt K White – Flight Engineer

F/S JAT Simpson - Navigator – RCAF

F/O VB Davies – Air Gunner

Sgt RP Long – Air Gunner

F/L AJ Graham – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner – RCAF

F/S G Richmond – Bomb Aimer

 

On the return journey the crew were diverted to Holme-on-Spalding Moor due to bad weather, landing at 0330hrs, however a front tyre on the aircraft burst meaning that the aircraft swung off the runway coming to rest with its front-end obstructing part of the runway.

 

At this time Halifax II W1181 ‘D’ also from 102 Squadron with crew members F/S JL Berry, W/O Cranwell, F/O EW Hargreaves, Sgt D Hubbard, Sgt JW Crouch, Sgt RJ Horton, Sgt WE Pattison & F/S JB Bell came in to land & collided with the front end of Squadron Leaders Bintley’s aircraft.  Although no serious injuries were sustained by the crew of ‘D’, Wing Commander SB Bintley from ‘Q’ was killed at the scene & Flying Officer AJ Graham died at 10am at York Military Hospital.  It was reported that Sgts White & Simpson were injured during the accident.  Both Bintley & Graham were buried at Barmby Moor with military honours on the 27th October 1942.  At the time Bintley was the Commanding Officer of 102 Squadron.

 

The aircraft DT512 which had been manufactured & sent to 102 Squadron in August or September of the same year was written off.

 

A later report into the accident found that although it had no bearing on the accident the starboard inner engine of DT512 had failed & that the starboard tyre had burst due to flak damage.  Owing to the pilot S/L Bintleys skill & experience he had landed the aircraft successfully.   The final report states that this was a deplorable & totally unnecessary accident with the blame being apportioned to Flying Control at Holme on Spalding Moor.

 

Flying Control Officer P/O J.E. Turner had apparently fired a green signal cartridge to warn W1181 ‘D’ rather than using the green Aldis Lamp, this green signal was accepted as permission to land.   Although Pilot Officer Turner was very inexperienced in Flying control duties F/Lt AW Ruffell the Senior Regional Control Officer was also in the watch office supervising.   It was felt that if swift action had been taken the accident could have been prevented.   In light of this both officers were held equally responsible.

Wing Commander Sydney Bruce Bintley, DSO, AFC  - Pilot

Sydney Bruce Bintley was born in 1912 in Larne, County Antrim, Ireland to John Thornton Bintley, a Civil Engineer & Mary Rose Godfrey.  John & Mary had previously married on the 9th January 1901 at St Helens, London.

 

John Thornton Bintley had been born in Kendal, England in 1842 & had previously married Jane Mairs in 1867 in Calverley, Jane was a native of Green Island, Belfast.   The couple lived in Essex & don’t appear to have had any children.

 

Mary Rose Godfrey was born on the 17th June 1875 in Bombay, India to Colonel Charles Godfrey & Sidney Ellen Bell.   The family at the time lived in Dharwar where her father was Captain of the Bombay Staff Corps.

 

When John & Mary married in 1901 Mary was about 33 years his junior.   Three months after their marriage the couple are living with her father Charles Godfrey at Tyrol Villa, Cheltenham along with her mother, 2 sisters, her nephew & 4 servants.

 

By 1911 the family have moved to Carrickfergus, County Antrim in Ireland & have 2 children, Bryan Noel born circa 1902 & Lionel born circa 1905.   At age 68 John has now retired.

 

Sydney would follow in 1912 but sadly 3 years later on the 28th November 1915 at Roseville, Greenisland, Country Antrim John would pass away.   He left his estate to Mary allowing her to take care of their young family.

 

Sydney was educated at the Briary, Westgate-on-Sea before attending the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.

 

By the 1930s the family have moved to Reigate in Surrey & Sydney is now working as a Midshipman with the Royal Navy.   He was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant in 1934 & a passenger record in 1936 shows him travel from Malta to England with his work.   He is detailed as being placed on the retired list in 1936 & in May of the following year joins the RAF being given the Service No 39961.

 

He received his short service commission on the 9th August 1937 as Acting Pilot Officer on probation & was confirmed in his appointment on the 26th March 1938.     Just 2 months after the outbreak of World War 2, Sydney was promoted to Flying Officer.   In the early months of the War he flew many hours over the sea on convoy patrols.

 

In February 1940 & following a report by his senior officer Sydney is mentioned in despatches for his bravery.    By December of the same year he is promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant & by January of 1942 has risen to Squadron Leader & is mentioned in the New Year Honours list when he received his A.F.C.    Early in 1942 he had the pleasure of meeting the King & Queen during their visit to RAF Dalton.

 

Sydney was 29 years old when he died & had taken part in attacks on some of the most strongly defended industrial targets in Germany.   He was awarded the Air Force Cross & in December 1942 following his death the Distinguished Service Order.   He is detailed as displaying the highest qualities of leadership & determination.  His personal courage, coupled with other admirable qualities reflected in the efficiency & high moral of the unit under his command.  Bintley Drive in Pocklington would be named in his honour.

 

He left the total of his estate to his mother Mary, who would continue to live in Reigate until her death in 1952.

Flight Lieutenant Arthur James Graham, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Arthur James Graham was born on the 20th June 1919 in Montreal, Canada to James Winchell Graham, a Photographer & Ethel Maida Carter.   James & Ethel had married in Montreal on the 16th April 1918.

 

Shortly after their marriage & on the 13th May, James joined the 1st Quebec Regiment.

 

Sadly, he passed away from Influenza & Broncho-pneumonia on the 29th October 1918 at the Grenadier Guards Emergency Hospital in Montreal.  Given the dates it is possible that he didn’t even know Ethel was pregnant with Arthur.  He was buried in a Soldiers plot at Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal.  Ethel did not receive his pension as it was reported that he had taken ill whilst on a leave of absence without pay.

 

Arthur attended Victoria School, Montreal High School & went on to attend Westmount Business School in the evenings where he studied Typewriting & bookkeeping.

 

In his spare time, he enjoyed Swimming, Hockey, Rugby, Baseball, was a member of the National Rifle Association & like his father also enjoyed Photography.  He was Editor for the newspaper which the young people at his local church published on a fortnightly basis & for a period of about 6 years he was also a member of the 132nd Montreal Troop Boy Scouts.   He grew up with half siblings Evelyn & Norma.

 

His first job in 1936 was with Ritz Garage where he worked servicing cars.  He was then offered a better position in 1937 at Northern Electric Company as a Radio Inspector but was laid off the following year due to a downturn in trade.   In September 1938 he commenced work with the Central Investment Corp at Mansions Garage again as a Servicemen/Mechanic where he worked until he joined the Air Force.

 

Having previously applied in 1939, Arthur again applied to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force in August of 1940 & was accepted.   He was given the Service No R56377 & rank of Aircraftsman 2nd class.  At this time, he is described as 5 feet 7 inches with blonde hair, blue eyes & fair complexion.

 

He carried out his initial training at No 1 School in Toronto before moving onto No 2 Wireless School in Calgary in November of 1940 receiving his wireless operators badge on the 17th March 1941.  From there he went onto No 2 Bombing & Gunnery School at Mossbank, Saskatchewan gaining his Gunners Badge on the 7th April 1941 & just 10 days later was promoted to Temporary Sergeant.   On completion of his training he is described as a good clean type who was exceptionally level headed, worked consistently & showed good results.  He was therefore recommended for a commission.    On completion of his training Arthur left for the UK on the 15th May 1941.   On arrival in the UK he went on to train with 22 Operational training unit at Wellesbourne.

 

He was promoted to Temporary Flying Officer in April of 1942 & posted to Pocklington on the 7th August 1942

 

Arthur was only 23 years old when he was killed.   He suffered a fractured Skull, lacerations to the scalp & concussion.

 

He is remembered on the Canadian Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton.

Handley Page Halifax V – DG419 – ‘H’ – 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit

On the 5th May 1943 at 1900hrs the crew of the above aircraft took off from Rufforth on a training flight to practice feathering.   This procedure means that in the event of engine failure the propeller blades are turned so that they are aligned with the airflow & therefore will prevent air resistance or drag.  

 

On board were:-

 

Sgt VE Betterton - Pilot

Sgt J Chisnell – Flight Engineer

Sgt FH Brown – RNZAF - Navigator

Sgt R Deacon – Bomb Aimer/Navigator

Sgt H Rowbottom – Air Gunner

Sgt AW Oakley – Air Gunner

 

At about 1958hrs whilst closing down the port outer Merlin engine the aircraft lost control & spiralled into the ground near to Fridaythorpe & caught fire.  All of the crew were killed in the accident, Sgts Betterton & Brown were buried in Barmby Moor on the 10th May with military honours.

 

The Aircraft has been manufactured & delivered to the training unit in about April of the same year

Sergeant Victor Edward Betterton – Pilot

Victor Edward Betterton was born on the 5th December 1910 in Bristol to George Edward Betterton, a Hairdresser & Emily Bailey.   George & Emily had married in Knowle on the 22nd April 1908.

 

Victor was baptised on the 29th January 1911 at St Martins in Knowle, Bristol.

 

During the 1911 Census the family lived at 10 Ryde Road, Knowle.

 

A Daughter Kathleen Georgina Betterton had been born in 1908 & a son Leonard Francis Jesse Betterton followed in 1913.  By 1913 George has changed his occupation from being a Hairdresser to a Commercial Traveller.

 

Victors father George enlisted in June of 1916 serving with the Royal Marine Light Infantry for the duration of the war, leaving Emily to take care of their young family.

 

By the late 1920s the family have moved to Wandsworth in Southwest London & are living at 76 Clonmore Street where they would stay for some years.

 

Victor went on to train as a Quantity Surveyor & in 1937 married Joyce Kathleen Roberts in Wandsworth.

 

When the 1939 register was taken Victor is living at St Mary at Hill in the City of London in what looks like temporary accommodation likely so that he can carry out his job as a Surveyor.   Joyce is living with family in Wandsworth & is working as a Gown Saleswoman.

 

Victor joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1387742 & after initial training he would have carried out the training required to become a pilot.

 

He was training with 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit where attendees were training in 4 engine bombers which were being brought in to replace the earlier twin engine bombers.  He was 32 years old when he died & left his effects to his wife Joyce.

Sergeant Francis Henry Brown – RNZAF – Navigator

Francis Henry Brown was born in Martinborough, Wellington, New Zealand in 1916 to Samuel Adam Brown & Jessie Grant.  Samuel a Native Kincraigy, County Donegal, Ireland had moved to New Zealand between 1901 &  1907, joined the New Zealand Police Force & married Jessie in 1907.

 

Siblings Ruby McClure Brown had been born in 1908, William James Brown in 1910, Gordon Samuel Brown in 1912 & Grant Wallace Brown in 1914.   A sibling Nancy is also mentioned within a newspaper article.

 

By 1929 the family have moved to 1 Garfield Street in Auckland East & Samuel is now a Police Sergeant.   By 1935 they have moved again to Queen Street, Onehunga a suburb of Auckland.

Since Francis is named on the Otahuhu Railway Workshops it seems probable that he would have worked there.   The Workshops where a  rolling stock construction, repair & maintenance facility which was operated by New Zealand Railways & at the time would have employed somewhere in the region of 900 people.

 

Francis joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force & was given the Service No NZ39740 he carried out is initial training in New Zealand before boarding the ship Orcades for his outward travel to Canada where he would carry out his training.

 

He trained at No 4 Air Observer School in London, Ontario graduating on the 11th September 1942.

 

Following his training in Canada he was transferred to the UK. 

 

He was 27 years old when died in the accident, he is named on the Auckland War Memorial Museum WW2 Hall of Memories, Auckland Grammer School War Memorial & Otahuhu Railway Workshops War Memorial.

Sergeant James Chisnell – Flight Engineer

James Chisnell was 22 years old when he died in the crash.  He was the son of James & Mary Chisnell of St Helens.   He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1530103 & is buried in St Helens Cemetery.

Sergeant Robert Deacon – Bomb Aimer/Navigator

Robert Deacon was just 19 years old when he died in the crash.  He was the son of Robert William & Eliza Jane Deacon of Barnard Castle.  He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1049243 & is buried in St Marys Church Cemetery in Barnard Castle.

Sergeant Harold Rowbottom – Air Gunner

Harold Rowbottom was 20 years old when he died in the crash.  He was the son of Frank & Ada Rowbottom of New Wortley, Leeds.   He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1094047 & is buried in New Wortley Cemetery in Leeds.

Sergeant Alfred Warner Oakley – Air Gunner

Alfred Oakley was 22 years old when he died in the crash.  He was the son of Alfred & Isabella Brougham Oakley of Dundee.  He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 757915 & is commemorated on the war memorial at Dundee Crematorium.

Handley Page Halifax II – W1039 – ZA-O – 10 Squadron

On the evening of the 10th March 1943 the above aircraft took off from RAF Melbourne as it was being ferried elsewhere.

On Board were:-

Sgt GF Peck - Pilot

Sgt AA Muirhead – RCAF – Flight Engineer

Sgt W Browning – Navigator/Air Bomber

Sgt BG Hart – Air Bomber

Sgt AN Boreham – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Sgt DC Retter – Air Gunner

 

At about 1709hrs & 1 mile west of Seaton Ross, Yorkshire the aircraft had issues with one engine not operating, the aircraft crashed & caught fire, all of the crew lost their lives. 

 

Halifax W1039 had been delivered to 10 Squadron between February & April the previous year.

Sergeant William Browning – Navigator/Air Bomber

William Browning was born on the 2nd April 1912 at 50 Rae Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne Australia to Margaret Browning.  No fathers name is given on the birth certificate, but it states that Margaret had been born circa. 1890 in Tasmania & carried out Domestic Duties.

 

For some reason William would be separated from Margaret & would be fostered by John Robert Burrows, a merchant & his wife Jane of 21 Barkly Street, Brighton, Melbourne.  

 

He would attend Brighton Grammar School between 1924 & 1927.

 

On leaving school he went on to work for the National Mutual Life Association.  Aged 25 he left aboard the SS Moreton Bay from Brisbane via Colombo to Southampton in the UK arriving on the 13th December 1937 to work for the company at their offices at 5 Cheapside, London as a Clerk.

 

In 1940 he joined the light anti-aircraft unit of the Territorial Army & transferred to the Royal Air Force in 1941 & was given the Service No 657584.  He would go on to train in Canada & rose to the rank of Sergeant.

 

William was 31 years old when he died in the crash.   Browning Road in Pocklington would be named in his honour.   He is also remembered in the Book of Memory at Brighton Grammar School & commemorated on Brighton War Memorial.

 

His probate gives his address as Barley Lane, Goodmayes, Essex & sadly no next of kin is given with his effects being left to the HM Treasury.

Brighton War Memorial courtesy of Peter Toms

Sergeant Basil Graham Hart – Air Bomber

Basil Graham Hart was born in 1922 in Epsom, Surrey to John Bush Hart & Bessie Louisa Pamphilon.   John & Louisa had married in 1921 at Southchurch, Essex

 

John Hart had been born in Calcutta, India & had served with the Royal West Surrey Regiment & The ‘Buffs’ (Royal East Kent Regiment) during WW1.

 

A daughter Beryl followed Basil in 1926.

 

By the 1930s the family are living at Osbourne, Oxshott, Surrey & John is working as a Bank Clerk.

 

Basil joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1335639.

 

He was only 21 years old when he died in the crash, Hart Drive in Pocklington would be named in his honour.

Sergeant Geoffrey Francis Peck - Pilot

Geoffrey Francis Peck was 21 years old when he died in the crash.  He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1332790.  He was the son of Reginald John & Elsie Elizabeth Peck of Isleworth, Hounslow & is buried in Twickenham Cemetery.

Sergeant Archie Allen Muirhead – Flight Engineer

Archie Allen Muirhead was 24 years old when he died in the crash.  He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force & was given the Service No R/89110.  He was the son of James Wesley & Jessie Simpson Murray of Toronto, Ontario, Canada & is buried in Reay New Cemetery in the Scottish Highlands.

Sergeant Alfred Norman Boreham – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Alfred Norman Boreham was 32 years old when he died in the crash.  He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1366071.  He was the son of Charles William & Elizabeth Douglas Nisbet Boreham of Edinburgh & the husband of Bessie Douglas Wilson of Stenhouse, Edinburgh he is remembered at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh.

Sergeant Denis Cyril Retter – Air Gunner

Denis Cyril Retter was 20 years old when he died in the crash.  He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1339894.  He was the son of Frederick Charles & Ellen Sophia Retter of Whimple, Devon & is buried in St Marys New Churchyard in Whimple.

Handley Page Halifax II – W7871 – ZA-C – 10 Squadron

At about 1428 hrs on the 30th November 1942 the above aircraft took off from RAF Melbourne on a training flight.

On board were: -

F/S EJ Wilmott - Pilot

S/L GS Barrett – Flying Instructor

Sgt DAD Soggee – Flight Engineer

Sgt AF Flower - Observer

Sgt F Clarke – Air Gunner

Sgt EA Marchant – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Sgt DA Bellerby – Air Gunner

 

The aircraft was seen to dive from 300 feet into a field near to Laytham Grange Farm, 1 mile south west of RAF Melbourne & burst into flames.  All men were killed in the accident.   Squadron Leader Barrett, Sgt Soggee & Sgt Bellerby were all buried at Barmby Moor on the 3rd of December.

 

The Aircraft was relatively new & had only been delivered to the squadron a month or two before the accident.

Squadron Leader Gerald Spencer Barrett – Flying Instructor

Gerald was born on the 27th June 1911 in Camberwell, South London to Edward Ernest Barrett & Edith Geraldine Spencer.   Edward & Edith had previously married in 1907.

 

An older brother Gareth had been born in Dulwich on 19th July 1908.   In 1922 Gareth was lucky enough to attend Dulwich College a Day & Boarding School in London.   Gerald would follow in 1926 where both attended Marlow house on a day basis.  Gerald would leave after 2 years.

 

By the 1911 Census & just before Gerald’s birth the family are living in 39 Therapia Road, Forest Rd, Honor Oak, S E London.  It shows that Edward has been in Pembrokeshire, Wales & was working as a Railway Clerk.   They appear to be doing quite well & have a Domestic/Cook living & working for them.

 

Gerald went on to join the Royal Air Force in the early 1930s & was given the Service No 29001.  

 

He served as a Pilot Officer in 1931 with 33 Squadron at Bicester before rising to the rank of Flying Officer with 501 Squadron at Filton by November of 1931.

By November 1934 he is still a Flying Officer but is now based at RAF Gosport.  During his time there he was fined 10 shillings for vehicle lighting offences.

 

His Service Record shows that he left the RAF in February 1935 as a Flying Officer, he was transferred to the Reserve, Class A.

 

In 1937 whilst working as an Electrical Engineer living in Park Royal, Gerald submits a design patent for a projection lamp which could be used for cinema projection use.   This patent was registered in August of the following year.

 

On the 22nd November 1938 at the De Havilland Flying Training School, Gerard who still working as an Electrical Engineer gained his Aviator Certificate having trained in a Tiger Moth - Gipsy Aircraft.

 

When the 1939 register was taken at the end of September Gerald is living at Redhill Aerodrome near Godstone, Surrey where he worked as a Flying Instructor.   A note in the side column indicates that he was recalled as an officer (Flight Lieutenant) in the RAF.

 

At the end of 1940 in Manchester Gerald married Anna Wilhelmina Jones or Petley.

 

In December 1941 Gerald was promoted from Flight Lieutenant to Temporary Squadron Leader.

 

He trained with 1658 Heavy Conversion unit & transferred along with his crew into 10 Squadron on the 21st October 1942.   He had flown 6 operations before being killed during this training flight.  He was 31 years old when he died in the crash.

Sergeant Derick Arthur Dudley Soggee – Flight Engineer

Derick Arthur Dudley Soggee was born circa 1920 in India & was the son of Richard Harry & Edna Louise Soggee of Jhansi, India.

 

Derick joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 571587.  His Service No indicates that he may have originally joined as a trade apprentice.

 

Unfortunately, at this stage, not much is known about Derick.   Some information is awaited but will be slower due to the current Coronavirus Crisis.  Hopefully more to follow.

 

He was 22 years old when he died in the crash

Sergeant Douglas Arnold Bellerby – Air Gunner

Douglas Arnold Bellerby was born in 1923 in Salford, Manchester to William Bellerby & Beatrice Minnie Cowell.   William & Beatrice had married at St Mary, Hope in Salford on 27th April 1921.

 

A sister Beatrice ‘Joan’ would follow in 1925.

 

At some point the family moved from Salford to Eccles & were living at 14 Victoria Crescent in Eccles when the 1939 Register was taken.   William is working as a Clerk & Telegraphist with the Post Office.

 

Douglas joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1459372.   He was training with 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit & was only 19 years old when he died in the crash.  

 

He is commemorated on Eccles War Memorial & a memorial window at St Mary the Virgin Church in Eccles.  Bellerby Way in Pocklington is named in his honour.

Flight Sergeant Edward John Wilmott - Pilot

Edward John Wilmott was 21 years old when he died in the crash. He was the son of Edward & Margaret Willmott of Binfield, Berkshire.    He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1380070, he is buried in Binfield Cemetery.

Sergeant Alan Frederick Flower - Observer

Alan Frederick Flower was 22 years old when he died in the crash. He was the son of Frederick Thomas & Eleanor Catherine Flower, of Cosham, Portsmouth.    He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1187916, he is buried in Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth.

Sergeant Frederick Charles Clarke – Air Gunner

Frederick Charles Clarke was just 19 years old when he died in the crash. He was the son of Alfred William & Edith Florence Clarke, of Cricklewood, London.    He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1333700, he is buried in Tottenham Cemetery.

Sergeant Edward Arthur Marchant – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Edward Arthur Marchant was 30 years old when he died in the crash. He was the son of Edward Arthur & Mercy Marchant of Hastings & Husband of Betty Marjorie Marchant.    He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1377000 & was training with 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit at the time, he is buried in Hastings Cemetery, Sussex.

Armstrong Whitley V – Z9155, GE-G – 58 Squadron

On the Evening of the 12th & 13th October 1941 a total of 152 Aircraft were detailed to attack Nuremberg.   It was the first raid on this city and the result was that although the city itself only reported a few bombs many fell on smaller villages & towns many miles from Nuremberg.  Further crews were then attracted to the bombing area and joined in.  This raid highlights the issues that crews had in identifying targets during this time.

The crew of the above aircraft took off from Linton-on-Ouse at 1909hrs, on board were: -

Sgt CG Lord – RAAF - Pilot

SGT HE Donson – RCAF - Pilot

Sgt JG Rich – RAAF - Bomb Aimer

SGT WH Burns RCAF - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Sgt HC Lee - RAFVR - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

 

On return from this raid a lot of Aircraft had issues due to bad weather. Another returning Aircraft was on fire at the runway at Linton-on-Ouse meaning many had to be diverted to other Airfields.   The crew were diverted to Pocklington Airfield and radioed in to advise that they were almost out of fuel.   They crashed 1 mile south of Pocklington at 0457hrs.

 

Sgts Lord & Donson were buried at Barmby Moor with the rest being buried elsewhere.

Sergeant Clive Gordon Lord – Pilot

Clive Gordon Lord was born on the 8th May 1917 in Rose Bay, New South Wales, Australia to Leroy Septimus Lord, a Cane Grower & Emma Trant Lamb.  His parents had previously married on the 24th March 1914 at St Johns Church, Parramatta, New South Wales.

 

Clive would go on to attend Chatswood High School between 1928 & 1935 and on leaving school went on to work as a Bank officer with the Bank of New South Wales.   He was a keen Rugby player and became a foundation member of Gordon Rugby Club Union and was one of their first office holders.

 

Clive enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force at Sydney on the 27th May 1940 and was given the Service No 402127 and given the rank of Aircraftman 2nd Class.  At this time, he is described as being 5ft 9 inches tall with light brown hair, green eyes & a fair complexion.   Clive listed his father and a Miss P.G. Elliot of Neutral Bay, New South Wales be notified in the event of accident.

 

The following month Clive would commence his Initial training at Bradfield Park Training School in New South Wales and a month after that would move to No 5 Elementary Flying Training School in Narromine also New South Wales.  In July of 1940 he was promoted to Leading Aircraftman.

 

In October of 1940 he left for No 3 Service Flying Training School in Calgary, Canada where he spent 4 Months.   Clive obtained his flying badge on the 24th December 1940.   On completion of this training he transferred to 19 Operational Training Unit at RAF Kinloss in Scotland where he would be trained in Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Aircraft.   His Service record also mentions that he had experience flying Avro Anson & De Havilland Tiger Moth Aircraft.

 

He was promoted to Sergeant in January of 1941 and in April of the same year took up his first post with 35 Squadron at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, he would later transfer to 58 Squadron also based at Linton-on-Ouse in June of 1941

 

He was 24 years old when he died and is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.  He was awarded the 1939/45 Star, War Medal & Air Crew Europe Medal.  These along with his belonging would have been sent onto is family.

 

The Wing Commander of 58 Squadron records Clive as being a first-class Captain of Aircraft on his death report

Sergeant Hugh Edwin Donson – Pilot

Hugh Edwin Donson was born on the 25th April 1920 to John William Donson, a Carpenter & Margaret Brown.   John & Margaret were both born in Liverpool England and had moved to Canada marrying on the 27th June 1911 in York, Ontario

 

By 1921 the family along with Hugh’s older Sister Margaret & Brother Peter are residing at 98 Woody East Ave, York, Ontario & John is now working as a builder.

 

Hugh would go on to attend Wilkinson Public School, Riverdale & Earl Haig Collegiate.  For a time was a Choir boy at St Matthews Anglican Centre before becoming a member of the choir at Christ Church, Deer Park where his father was Choirmaster & Organist.   He enjoyed Rugby, Basketball & Baseball which he had played at University.

 

By 1940 the family are living at 4130 Yonge Street, York Mills, John is now a full time Organist and their daughter Margaret a Clerk with the Department of Education.   Peter & Hugh are not listed presumably as both have enlisted for war service, Peter Joined the Royal Canadian Navy.

 

Hugh Enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on the 21st June 1940 and was given the Service No R/71909.  He was detailed at this time as being a Student but had worked temporarily as a Clerk with A&P Grocery.   He was 6 feet tall, had light brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.

 

Hugh carried out his initial training at Eglington before attending No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School at St Catherines.  He later moved onto No 5 Service Flying Training School at Brantford where he was among the largest number of pilots from Toronto to graduate in a single class since the Commonwealth Air Training Scheme had started.

 

Hugh Arrived in the UK on the 1st August where he would have completed training at an Operational Training Unit before moving to his post with 58 Squadron.

He was only 21 years old when he died.   He is remembered on the family grave at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto and the Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton.   Donson Court in Pocklington would be named after him.

 

Hugh’s father John would pass away in 1943 & his mother Margaret in 1956.

Sergeant Joseph Godfrey Rich - Bomb Aimer

Royal Australian Air Force, Service No 406044 was 24 years old when he died.   He was the son of Samuel Charles & Pearl Rich of South Perth, Western Australia.   He is buried in Leeds English Hebrew Cemetery, Gelderd Road. Josephs trade is not listed, he was probably the Bomb Aimer.

Sergeant William Henry Burns – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Royal Canadian Air Force, Service No R/64045.  Son of Frank & Mary Burns of Halifax.  Buried at Pocklington Burial Ground

Sergeant Herbert Conroy Lee – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves, Service No 908627 was 25 years old when he died.   He was the son of Herbert & Ethel Lee of North Tawton, Devon and is buried at North Tawton Cemetery.

Vickers Wellington II – W5492 – LQ-K – 405 Squadron

On the 18th September 1941, the crew of the above aircraft along with one man from ground crew took off from Pocklington to carry out a routine Photographic Training Flight & Wireless Air Test when the dinghy broke loose from its stowage, fowling the tail elevators which sent it into a steep dive when the tail section broke off at approx. 5000 feet.   The aircraft crashed at 1105hrs near to Northfield Farm, 2 miles NNE of Pocklington.

All 8 of the Crew lost their lives in the crash with 4 being buried at Barmby Moor.  They were :-

Sgt Ronald George Chandos - RAFVR - Pilot

Sgt Norman Watson Thompson – RNZAF - 2nd Pilot

Sgt Frederick Peter Turton - RAFVR - Observer

Sgt Gabriel Phillips - RAFVR - Wireless Operator / Air Gunner

Sgt Charles Harold Fletcher - RAFVR - Wireless Operator / Air Gunner

Sgt James Matthew Maxon - RCAF - Air Gunner

Sgt Walter Irvine Strother  - RAFVR - Wireless Operator / Air Gunner

AC1 Harry Armitage -  RAFVR - Passenger (Ground Crew

Sergeant Norman Watson Thompson – 2nd Pilot

Norman Watson Thompson was born in 1916 in Wairarapa, New Zealand to William Watson Thompson, a Farmer & Agnes Elizabeth Thompson.

 

A sister Winifred Agnes had been born in 1916 & a brother John Valentine would follow William in 1919.

 

In 1919 the family were living at Morrisons Bush & by 1928 they had moved to West Street, Greytown where William is still working as a Farmer.

 

Norman joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force & was given the Service No 402914.   I was unable to find records relating to Normans Service.  It is possible that he would have carried out his flight training in Canada.   He went on to serve with 405 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force based at Pocklington.

 

He was 24 years old when he died.   Swimming baths at his home town were opened to the commemorate the 20 local men who lost their lives in WW2, Normans name is among them.

Sergeant Frederick Peter Turton – Observer

Frederick Peter Turton was born on the 5th October 1914 in Wolverhampton to Frederick Randolph Turton, a Medical Practitioner & Constance Maud Jones.

 

A sister Constance Maud had been born the previous year & a Brother Dennis Leslie would follow in 1916.

 

Frederick & Constance had married in 1912 & it appears that Frederick had put his career first marrying at 47 years old, Constance was 10 years his junior.

 

The year before their marriage Frederick is living in Wolverhampton working on his own account with 2 domestic servants.

 

By the 1939 Register the family are living at 9 Meadow Road, Finchfield, Wolverhampton & Frederick is working as an Auctioneers Clerk, his brother Dennis is a Radio Engineer & their Father still a Medical Practitioner.

Frederick joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 937811, he would go on to serve with 405 Squadron at Pocklington & was 26 years old when he died & in his will left his savings of £624 11s 6d  to Ethel Johnston.

 

Fredericks father would pass away just a few years later in 1947 & his mother in 1959 both are buried in Merridale Cemetery, Wolverhampton

Sergeant James Matthew Maxon – Air Gunner

James Matthew Maxon, Junior was born on the 1st June 1908 in Galesburg, Illinois, USA to James Maxon & Blanche Morris.

James & Blanche had married on the 9th September 1903 in Marquette, Michigan & at the time James worked as a School Principal & Blanche as a Teacher.

By the 1910 Census they have moved to Galesburg & James Senior is now working as a Clergyman.

The family have moved to Jefferson, Kentucky by 1920 & have another son John who had been born about 1911.  James Senior is now listed as being a Church Rector.

In 1930 the family have moved again to Hamilton, Tennessee where James Senior is a Bishop in the Episcopal Church.  It seems probable that the family moved about for the fathers work.

James Junior would attend University where he gained a Batchelor of Arts degree & studied Journalism.

Between 1930 & 1935 James Junior would work as a reporter with the Chatta Times then the Herald Examiner in Chicago.

He would go on to work as an Assistant for a year with Goodwin Company before commencing employment with the US Government in 1937 as a member of President Roosevelts press relations staff, where he served until he joined up.

In 1936 James Junior had married Jean Earle but the marriage ended in divorce in 1939.

On the 10th June 1940 at Ottawa James Junior would enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he was given the Service No R/54040.  He gives his hobbies as Writing, Hunting, Flying, Football, Baseball, Fishing, Badminton & Driving.  His description is given as 5 ft 6 inches tall, Black/Grey Hair, Brown eyes & Dark Complexion.   Although initially recommend for a post as an Observer within Air Crew he was later allocated to a post as a Wireless Operator & Air Gunner.

Later in the month James would commence his Initial Training at Regina, Saskatchewan before moving to Wireless School in Montreal in August of 1940.  During his time there he went AWOL on a couple of occasions & was duly given detention & loss of pay.  His Wireless School report states that his training was discontinued due to inability & lack of trying, that he showed no interest in the course & had poor discipline (referring to his AWOL & Detention issues).  He was therefore only recommended for General Duties.

On the 25th October 1940 & without Air force Permission he married Dorothy Breitenstein in Montreal, she was from Chicago & had presumably made the trip especially for their marriage.

In February of 1941 James would attend Air Gunners School in Jarvis Ontario completing his training the following month.

He left for the UK in April of 1941 where he trained with No 22 Operational Training Unit at Wellesbourne, by the June he had moved to his 1st post with 405 Squadron at Pocklington. 

James was 33 when he died, he was Awarded the 39-45 Star, Air Crew Europe Star, War Medal & the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp, these were sent along with his belongings onto his wife Dorothy.  He is commemorated on the Canadian Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton.

His Father who was the 4th Bishop of Tennessee serving between 1935 & 1947 passed away in 1948 & his mother in 1973 they are buried at St Johns Church Cemetery in Ashwood, Tennessee.

Dorothy does not appear to have remarried &passed away in 2001 & is buried along with other members of the Breitenstein family at St Stevens Cemetery, Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
 

Sergeant Walter Irvine Strother Wireless Operator / Air Gunner

Walter Irvine Strother was born on the 19th November 1912 in Garstang, Lancashire to Arthur Irvine Strother, an Engineer & Mary Collinson.   Arthur & Mary had previously married on the 1st November 1911 at St Peters Church & Walter was their first child.

 

The Family later moved to Scorton Village near to Lancaster.

 

During World War One Arthur would serve with the Royal Army Medical Corps in France & it was during this time between June & September of 1916 most probably when Arthur was out of the country that Mary committed adultery with a man called Lawrence Crookall.  

 

Mary proceeded to write to Arthur in France & told him that she had met someone else & asked that she be given her freedom, she then moved out of their home & into the General Codrington Hotel.   On his return from France Arthur filed for divorce in December of 1916 & further requested that he be granted custody of their only son Walter.  Their divorce was finalised in October 1917.

 

At such a young age all this must have pretty hard on the young Walter, divorce during this time period was after all pretty rare.

 

In 1935 at Garstang, Walter would marry Greta Martin.  They would go on to have a daughter Frances in Blackpool in 1937.

 

Records suggest that Walter initially enlisted wishing to train as a Pilot about January 1937, he was given the Service No 755999.

 

In 1939 he is detailed as living at 12 Saville Ave, Fylde with his wife & daughter & is recorded as being a Wireless Operator & Leading Aircraftsman with the RAF.   He would later go on to work as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner with 405 Squadron at Pocklington.

 

He was 28 years old when he died & left all his effects to his wife Greta.

 

Greta would go on to marry Percy Beatson in 1944.

Sergeant Ronald George Chandos – Pilot

Ronald George Chandos was 25 years old when he lost his life.  He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 950324.  He is buried at Eastwood Cemetery, Glasgow.

Sergeant Gabriel Phillips - Wireless Operator / Air Gunner 

Gabriel Phillips was 23 years old when he lost his life.  He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 976646. He is buried in Belfast but is listed as being commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Sergeant Charles Harold Fletcher - Wireless Operator / Air Gunner

Charles Harold Fletcher was 29 years old when he lost his life.  He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1165250.  He was from Bulwell, Nottingham & was the Husband of Noeline Lillian Fletcher.  He is buried in Nottingham Northern Cemetery.

AC1 Harry Armitage - Passenger - Ground Crew

Harry Armitage was 32 years old when he lost his life.   He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1039943. He was from Guiseley, Yorkshire, was the son of George Henry & Frances Martha Armitage & the Husband of Doris Armitage.   He is buried at Otley Cemetery, Yorkshire.

Handley Page Halifax II – W7769 – LQ-K – 405 Squadron

On the evening of the 23rd & 24th July 1942 the crew of the above aircraft took off from Pocklington at 0037hrs to bomb Duisberg.

A total of 215 aircraft from Bomber Command were detailed to carry out this operation & cloud was reported over the target this meant that flares dropped by the leading aircraft were scattered.  It was later reported that the bombs that did fall on Duisberg caused some housing damage.

On board the aircraft that night were: -

Sgt RB Albright – RCAF - Pilot

P/O GF Strong – RCAF – 2nd Pilot

Sgt MW Apperson – RAF - Flight Engineer

F/S WC Thurlow – RCAF – Air Observer

Sgt W Colloton – RAFVR – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

F/S RW Hexter – RCAF - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Sgt TR Owens – RCAF – Air Gunner

Sgt AJ Western – RAFVR – Air Gunner

 

They completed their operation to Duisberg & on their return to base at 0453hrs had to circle the base a couple of times whilst awaiting the instruction to land.   One of their engines cut out & the aircraft crashed into New Street in Pocklington.  During the crash the corner of a private house was sheared off before hitting a school where it burst into flames.

 

All 8 men were killed in the accident & all with the exception of Sgts Colloton, Hexter & Western are buried at Barmby Moor on the 27th July 1942.

 

An investigation into the accident reported that witnesses did hear the aircraft splutter whilst doing their circuit as if low on fuel.  The spluttering stopped the aircraft swung left then went into a dive exploding on impact.   A call had been heard over the radio that they were going to attempt a crash landing.

 

The findings were that the port outer engine was coughing due to damage to some of the cylinder heads caused by a coolant leak.  The Flight Engineer thinking it was due to fuel shortage & intended to change tanks but made the mistake of turning on no 4 instead of 5 having already turned off 2 & opening the balance cock with the result being that both port engines cut out & the pilot would have been unable to prevent the aircraft swinging over & spinning in.

Pilot Officer Robert Baker Albright - Pilot

Robert Baker Albright was born on the 5th March 1916 in Victoria, Carleton, New Brunswick, Canada to John Franklin Albright, a Farmer & Emma Ruth Baker.  John & Emma had previously married in 1898 in New Brunswick.

 

He had many siblings including brothers Aubrey, Harry, John & Frank & Sisters Pearl, Kathleen & Doris.  

 

The 1911 & 1921 Census returns show the family living in Wakefield, Victoria & details that the Albright Family were of Dutch descent.

 

 

John Frankin Albright would pass away on the 20th February 1933 from pneumonia when Robert was only 16 years old.

 

Robert attended Victoria Corner School before moving onto Hartland High School where he was also a member of the Cadets.  His graduation certificate shows that he excelled in Arithmetic, History, Physics & Physiology.   On leaving School he worked for L.E. Cox in Woodstock, New Brunswick for a period of 3 years as an Apprentice Harness & Shoe Repairer.   He left this position in 1937 to open his own Shoe store.

 

In his spare time, he enjoyed Baseball, Softball, Rugby, Swimming, Hunting, Fishing & Skiing.  He is described as being 5 feet 10 inches with light brown hair, blue eyes & a fair complexion.

 

He enrolled in the Royal Canadian Air Force in July of 1940 & was given the service number J15590 (Although his service record also details the number R73040).   He is detailed as being a good clean-cut lad who was bright, not nervous & with a pleasing personality.  He had a good average at Mathematics & was recommended for Pilot or Observer training.

 

Robert was sent to No 1 Manning Depot in Sydney in September of 1940 before moving to No 1 Initial training school in Toronto in January 1941.  On completion of initial training in February he was Promoted to Leading Aircraftman & moved to No 11 Elementary Flying Training School at Cap-de-la-Madeleine in Quebec where he trained in Fleet Finch Aircraft, he did well in flight training & was mentioned as being a precision pilot who liked to do things properly & although being slightly weak on aerobatics he was recommended for a Commission  

 

In May he moved again this time to No 8 Service Flying Training School in Moncton, New Brunswick where he trained in Anson Aircraft.  He was awarded his Pilots Flying Badge in July at the same time being promoted to Sergeant.  His report at this time details him as being an Average pilot who appeared to have a nervous temperament but was quick to learn & apply himself.  He was poor on instruments & slow on single engine failure, so needed checking occasionally.   In spite of this he was detailed as a good pilot type who was clean cut & dependable & should make a good officer.

  .

 

A few days later on the 29th July he Married Ella Mary Hull in Victoria & a couple of weeks following this left for the UK

 

He joined 19 operational training unit at RAF Kinloss flying Whitleys before moving to 58 Squadron at St Eval, Cornwall, on joining them he was Promoted to Temporary Flight Sergeant.

He joined 1652 Conversion Unit at Marsden Moor on the 7th April 1942 before being transferred to 405 Squadron at Pocklington on the 15th May 1942 now flying Halifax Heavy Bombers, on the day of his move he was promoted to Pilot Officer.  

 

A newspaper article exists that on the 1st June the RCAF commended the work of their ground crew when they attacked Cologne.  Flight Sergeant RB Albright of Woodstock thanked the ground crew who groomed his plane.  Anti-Aircraft fire hit one of his engines as it flew in over Cologne, 3 remaining engines kept it flying smoothly over the target & after they dropped their bombs they flew home safely again.  The Flight Lieutenant in charge of maintenance at the time said that the raid in their new 4 engine bombers took more than 48 hours work during the weekend & that the men had only 1 hours sleep.

 

Robert was only 26 years old when he died, the Hospital Record card completed at Pocklington states that he suffered multiple injuries & Burns in the accident.

 

He was awarded the 39-45 Star, Air Crew Europe Star, General Service Medal & Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (Award & Clasp) these were sent onto wife Mrs Ella Fleming who had remarried by 1950.   He wife would also receive money from his estate & insurance policy.  A special stipulation was that $200 should go to his nephew Robert Franklin Albright Wasson of Massachusetts

 

Robert is commemorated on the Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton, Carleton County War Memorial & Albright Close in Pocklington was named in his Honour.   A tree on the Canadian Highway of Heroes Campaign has also been planted in his name.

Pilot Officer George Frederick Strong – Pilot

George Frederick Strong was born on the 18th March 1921 in St Pauls, Minnesota, U.S.A. to George Frederick Strong, a Doctor & Ruth Hunter Nickel

 

In 1920 the family moved to Canada & the 1921 Census shows them living in Point Grey, British Columbia.  A daughter Barbara Jean would follow soon after.

 

His Father was one of the Leading MDs in Vancouver working at Vancouver General Hospital.  He was also president of various medical associations during his career.

 

George attended Prince of Wales School before moving to St Georges Private School until 1940.   In his spare time he enjoyed Rugby, Swimming, Rowing, Tennis & Skiing.   He served with the Irish Fusiler Cadet Corps between 1938 & 1940

 

He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force at Vancouver on the 12th November 1940 & was given the Service No J7540 (Service Record also lists R81013).  His recruitment forms state that he would make a good officer with him being recommended as a fighter pilot.  He is described as 5 feet 7 inches with brown hair, brown eyes & a medium complexion

 

George commenced his initial training at No 1 Training School in Toronto before moving in April 1941 to No 8 Elementary Flying School in Vanvoucer, whilst there he was promoted to Leading Aircraftman.  In July 1941 he moved to No 3 Service Flying School in Calgary, Alberta where he flew Anson aircraft.   He was reported as being a quiet, smooth, confident pilot who would improve with experience & would make a good officer.

 

He was awarded his Pilots Flying Badge & promoted to Pilot Officer in September of 1941 & left for the UK in the October.  He trained with 22 Operational Training Unit at Wellesbourne before taking up his post with 405 Squadron at Pocklington on the 7th July 1942.

 

George was known to his family & Friends as Jack & was only 21 years old when he died & had only been with 405 squadron for a matter of weeks.    Strong Avenue in Pocklington is named in his honour & he is commemorated on the Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton

He was awarded the 39-45 Star, Air Crew Europe Star, Defence Medal, General Service Medal & Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (Award & Clasp), these were sent onto his father along with his operational wings & belongings.

 

Following WW2 & with a lot of servicemen returning to Canada with disabilities George Snr worked to open a centre where they could be treated.   This was driven by the fact that his daughter had suffered a spinal cord injury.  The GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver opened in 1949 & has grown in size since then.

 

His father would pass away in 1957, his mother would follow in 1961

Sergeant Maxwell Warnock Apperson – Flight Engineer

Maxwell Warnock Apperson was born in 1918 in Newtownards, County Down, Ireland to James Apperson & Margaret Wilson.   James & Margaret had previously married in Newtownards on the 15th August 1901.

 

After their marriage they would go on to have Jane born 1902, John born 1905, Elizabeth born 1907 & Annie born 1910,

 

During the 1911 Census the family are living at 1 Mary Street in Newtownards & James is working as a Bread Server.

 

In 1913 a daughter Agnes would follow with sons James being born in 1915 & Thomas in 1916

 

Sadly, whilst Margaret was pregnant with Maxwell, her husband James now a Grocer would pass away on the 26th October 1917 leaving her to bring up their large family.  He left £39 15s to her in his will.

 

Maxwell would go on to join the Royal Air Force & was given the Service No 534437.  

 

In 1940 Maxwell would marry Joyce Evelyn Calver in Ipswich.

 

He would have carried out his initial training before training as a flight engineer.   Since the Canadian Air force did not train or recruit flight engineers most Canadian Squadrons had British Flight Engineers, Maxwell being one of them.

 

Maxwell was 24 years old when he died, Apperson Court in Pocklington is named in his honour & he is named on the Newtownards War Memorial.

 

Sadly, history seems to have repeated itself & just as his mother lost his father months before his birth, his wife Joyce would give birth to their son Alan in Ipswich the year after Maxwells death.

Warrant Officer 2nd Class - William Charles Thurlow – Air Observer

William Charles Thurlow ‘Bill’ was born on the 31st August 1919 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to Charles Frederick Thurlow & Ruby Adelaide Shea.   Charles & Ruby had previously married in Toronto on the 6th July 1915, at this time Charles was working as a Chemist.

 

Bill attended Kew Beach School in Toronto, Victoria School then K.W. Collegiate both in Kitchener.  Between 1938 & 1940 he attended Waterloo College where he completed 2 years towards his Batchelor of Arts Degree.

 

During holidays from School & College he worked in Sales with JM Schneider of Kitchener, as a Salesman.  The same company who employed his Father as the Manager of Exports.   He also worked in Sales with Bullas Furniture Co, Kitchener & as a Golf Caddie at Banff Spring Hotel in Banff, Alberta.

 

In his spare time he enjoyed Hockey, Basketball, Golf & Rugby.  He was also a member of the Cadets & Boy Scouts for a time.

 

He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on the 10th June 1940 & was given the Service No R70102.  His application states that before war had been declared he had intended to make flying his career & was obtaining education so that he might follow this career path.

 

He is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall with brown hair, brown eyes & a medium complexion.

 

 

He carried out his initial training at Eglinton, Toronto, then in November attended No 1 Air Observer School at Malton, Ontario & was promoted to Leading Aircraftman.  In February of 1941 he moved to Jarvis, Ontario where he trained at No 1 Bombing & Gunnery School & the following month attended Navigation School at Rivers, Manitoba.   He was awarded his Air Observers badge on the 15th March 1941.

 

Bill did pretty well during his training, though it was thought that he lacked enthusiasm, most probably this was due to the fact that he wanted to be a pilot & not an Air Observer.

 

Bill left for the UK on the 6th June 1941 & trained with 19 Operational Training Unit at RAF Kinloss where he would have trained in Whitley Aircraft.

 

 

His first posting was with 51 Squadron at RAF Dishforth in September of 1941 before moving to 35 Squadron at Raf Linton-on-Ouse in the November (35 Squadron would later become one of the new Pathfinder Force).  In January of 1942 he was sent to a Heavy Conversion unit to train in Heavy Bombers before being posted to 77 Squadron at RAF Leeming in the March at this time he was promoted to Temporary Sergeant which rose to Temporary Flight Sergeant within 2 weeks.  On the 15th April 1942 he would move to 405 Squadron at Pocklington

 

 

Bill was 22 years old when he died, his hospital card states he died of Multiple injuries & burns.  On the day of his death a notification was sent that he be promoted to Warrant Officer 2nd Class, this being effective from the 1st of June.

 

He was Awarded the 39-45 Star, Air Crew Europe Star, War Medal & Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (Award & Clasp) which were sent onto his father, he is commemorated on the Candadian Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton & Thurlow Avenue in Pocklington is named in his honour.   The family grave at Woodland Cemetery in Ontario bears his name.

Flight Sergeant Thomas Reid Owens – Air Gunner

Thomas Reid Owens was born on the 2nd September 1920 at Montebello, Montreal, Canada to William Theodore Owens & Florence Charlotte Reid.  His parents had married in Banff, Alberta in 1916.

 

The family are living in Montebello during the 1921 Census William is working as a Chef they now have 2 sons, Hugh aged 3 & Raymond aged 8 months.   Thomas would follow later that year.

 

Thomas attended Roslyn School, Westmount before attending Westmount High School.

 

Between 1939 & 1940 he attended Sir George Williams College, Montreal studying English, French, chemistry, social science, history & economics.  Whilst on summer break from college he worked with Canada Steamship Liners. 

 

Thomas joined Canadian National Railways in February 1940 & worked with them in various positions including office boy, junior clerk & as a file clerk in their foreign freight department.

 

In his spare time he enjoyed skiing, golf, tennis, track work, chemistry, stamp collecting & reading.  He is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall with brown hair, brown eyes & a medium complexion.

 

Thomas enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in January of 1941 & was given the Service No R79143.  He commenced his initial training in June of 1941 at No 1 Initial Training School in Toronto before moving to No 1 Air Observer School at Malton, Ontario.   He then went on to train at No 6 Bombing & Gunnery School at Mountain View, Ontario completing his training on the 25th November 1941 & being promoted to Sergeant.

 

He left for the UK just before Christmas 1941 & trained at RAF Stormy Down in Air Gunnery before joining 22 Operational Training unit at Wellesbourne in March of 1942.  His first posting was with 10 Squadron at RAF Leeming in June & the following month he moved to 405 Squadron at Pocklington.  He was promoted to the rank of Temporary Flight Sergeant on the 24th May 1942.

 

Awarded 39-45 star, Air Crew Europe star, Defence medal, War Medal & Canadian Volunteer Service medal (Award & Clasp).  All of which were sent onto his mother.

 

Thomas was 21 years old when he died, he is commemorated on the Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton, the War memorial at Westmount High School & ‘The Owens’ in Pocklington is named in honour of him.

 

His parents would follow not long after, his father William passed way in 1949 & his mother Florence in 1950.  Both are buried at St Matthews Anglican Cemetery in Argenteuil, Quebec.

Sergeant William Colloton – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

William Colloton was 22 years old when he died in the crash.  He was the son of Alfred Edgar & Elizabeth Jane Colloton of Birkenhead.  His Service No was 1006114 & he is buried in Flaybrick Hill Cemetery in Birkenhead.

Flight Sergeant Robert William Hexter –Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Robert William Hexter was 22 years old when he died in the crash.  He was the son of Frederick & Nellie Hexter of London, Ontario, Canada.  He was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force & had the Service No R/68055, he is buried at Whetstone Cemetery in Leicester.

Sergeant Albert James Western – Air Gunner

Albert James Western was 25 years old when he died in the crash.  He was the son of James & Mary Ann Western of Brampford Speake & Husband of Joan.  His service no was 922948 & he is buried in St Peters Churchyard in Brampford Speake, Exeter.

Handley Page Halifax II – W7933 – DY-D – 102 Squadron

At about 1654 hrs on the 11th December 1942 the above aircraft took off from RAF Pocklington to carry out an operation to Turin in Italy.   A total of 82 aircraft took part in the raid, 9 of these were from 102 squadron.  It was reported that more than half of the aircraft had to return before attempting to cross the Alps due to severe icing conditions.

On board were: -

Sgt GJ Morgan - Pilot

Sgt RL Lines – Flight Engineer

Sgt CR Woolley - Navigator/Bomber

Sgt B Norris – Bomb Aimer

Sgt WH Casson - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Sgt JA McPhee – RCAF – Air Gunner

F/Sgt F Allen – RCAF – Air Gunner

 

The squadron reports state that it was a cloudy night with periods of slight rain & visibility was down to between 1 & 3 Miles, the wind was SSE fresh to strong.

 

All of the aircraft from 102 Squadron reported a slight amount of flak.

 

On the return journey on the 12th December the aircraft had circled the base due to bad visibility & had been diverted to Middleton St George to the north.   It however flew into the side of a hill at Low Thwaites farm, Hawnby & burst into flames at about 0225hrs.    All of the crew were killed in the accident, Sgts Morgan, Norris, McPhee & Allen were buried at Barmby Moor on the 16th of December.

 

The Aircraft was relatively new & had only been delivered to the squadron about a month before the accident.

Sergeant Gerald John Morgan – Pilot

Gerald John Morgan was born in 1921 in West Derby, Liverpool to Joseph  Morgan & Annie Judge.   Joseph & Annie has previously married in 1916.

 

A brother Joseph had been born in 1919 & sister Mary was born in 1924 & Patricia in 1928, though Patricia sadly died in infancy.

 

By 1939 the family have moved to 4 Heywood Road in Liverpool, Joseph is working in Life Assurance & Joseph Junior & Mary are working with a Telephone Company. 

 

Gerald joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves, enlisting at Padgate between September 1939 & February 1940.  He was given the Service No 1081231.  He would have carried out his initial training before commencing the training required to qualify as a Pilot.  He would then have carried out operational training & training in Heavy Bombers before moving to a squadron.

 

Gerald was 21 years old when he died in the crash.  Morgan Close in Pocklington would be named in his honour.

Sergeant Basil Norris – Bomb Aimer

Basil Norris was born in Croydon in 1923 to Frank Gordon Norris & Maud Louisa Bird.  Frank, a Master Grocer & Maud had previously married on the 29th July 1917 in Halton, Buckinghamshire.

 

Prior to World War 1, Frank had served with the 1st West Surrey Volunteers & in May 1917 just 2 months before he would marry Maud signed up & served with the Royal Garrison Artillery for the remainder of the war.

 

Elder Sons Gordon had been born in 1919 & Anthony in 1921.

 

By the 1930s the family have moved to 14 Melbourne Road, Wallington, however between 1936& 1939 Maud no longer shows on the Electoral Rolls.   In 1939 a record shows Maud at Netherne Asylum in Surrey where her status just says Incapacitated.

 

Basil joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves sometime after 1940 & was given the Service No 1335250.

 

Basil was just 19 years old when he died in the crash.   Norris Avenue in Barmby Moor would be named in his honour.

 

His mother would pass away in 1945 & Frank would remarry Phyllis May not long afterwards.

 

Like Basil his brother Anthony Frank Norris has also joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves.  He would sadly pass away on the 6th May 1947 at the Military Hospital for Head Injuries at Holton, Oxfordshire & is buried at Botley Cemetery in Oxford.

Flight Sergeant John Allan McPhee –Air Gunner

John Allan McPhee was born on the 27th February 1915 in Brock, Saskatchewan, Canada to Samuel McPhee & Margaret Bain Littlejohn.

 

Margaret had been born in Ireland & had lived for a time with her family in Glasgow before traveling to New York in 1909 & later settling in Canada.

 

An older Brother Stuart Samuel had been born in 1913 & by 1916 the family are living at Snipe Lake, Saskatchewan. Margaret is working as a Clerk & Samuel appears to be missing from the Census.  Margaret’s parents John, a Merchant & Mary Littlejohn now live in the house next door.

 

By the 1920 Census the family have moved to Eston & another son James Ernest born circa 1916 is living with the family.  Margaret is working as a Post Mistress & again Samuel is not living with the family.

 

John attended Eston Public School before moving onto Eston High.  On completion of School he worked for 2 years as a Clerk but was forced to leave the position as his mother sadly passed away in 1935.  She was buried at Naramata Cemetery in Eston.

 

About 1937 he moved to British Columbia where his brother had bought a farm & for a time worked there picking fruit.

 

He then took a course at Hemphill Diesel School to learn Electric Welding &   between 1940 & 1941 he undertook a Radio Course at the Radio School of Canada.  During this time, he worked in Kelowna with Mr Simpson as a Sawmill Labourer.

 

In his spare time, he enjoyed to play hockey, baseball, lacrosse, softball, tennis, badminton, football & swimming.  He is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall with brown hair, blue eyes & a fair complexion.

 

Enlisted in Royal Canadian Air Force in February 1941 & was given the rank of Aircraftmen 2nd class & Service No R/92407.  At the time of his enlistment he was residing at the St Helens Hotel in Vancouver but gave his permanent address as 193 Leon Avenue, Kelowna, British Columbia.   During the application process he was unable to offer an address for his father stating it was unknown.  

 

John had wanted to train as a Pilot but had been recommended as Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.

 

He was posted to No 2 Manning Depot in Brandon from March of 1941 before moving onto No 15 Service Flying Training School at Claresholm, Alberta in the April.

 

In July he attended No 2 Wireless School in Calgary & was promoted to Leading Aircraftman in the August.   On completion of his Wireless training he was recommended for Air gunner only as after addition tuition he still did not meet the Morse standard for wireless operators.

 

On the 4th January 1942 he attended No 1 Bombing & Gunnery School in Jarvis, Ontario completing this early in the February when he was promoted to Temp Sergeant.   A few days later on the 7th February he was married by the Air Force Chaplain to Nancy Gail Pearce of Calgary & the following month he would leave for the UK.

 

Between May & June he attended Air Gunner Refresher training at Stormy Down before moving to 24 Operational Training Unit then 102 Conversion flight where he trained in Whitley Bombers, he was graded as above average & it was thought he would so well with experience he left here in the September.

 

His first posting was 102 Squadron at RAF Pocklington from the 30th October 1942.  He was promoted to Temporary Flight Sergeant on the 1st December just days before he would lose his life.

 

John is commemorated on the Cenotaph at Kelowna & on the Canadian Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton.

 

His father Samuel died in 1954 in Vancouver.

Flight Sergeant Frank Allen – Air Gunner

Frank Allen was born on the 5th September 1919 in Leney, Saskatoon, Canada to John James Allen, a Clerk & Annie Muriel Wardlaw

 

John (known to family & friends as James) was a native of Ireland who had moved to Canada in 1908.

 

Younger siblings Clifford, Elizabeth & Lola would follow in later years.

 

He attended Pleasantdale School & Technical School in Saskatoon & enjoyed playing hockey in his spare time.  On completion of his schooling Frank went on to work as a Radio Technician

 

He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force at Saskatoon & was given the Service No R/87266.   He went on to train at Brandon before embarking for the UK.   Sadly, Franks service record was not available via my usual sources so an application will have to be made to try to source this in another way.

 

In later years his parents appear to have moved to Vancouver in British Columbia

 

Frank was 23 years old when he died in the accident & had served with the Air Force for 2 years.   Allen Close in Pocklington in named is his honour & he is commemorated on the Canadian Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton

 

Franks parents would both pass away in the 1950s & are buried in Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery, Okanagan, British Columbia.

Sergeant Richard Leslie Lines – Flight Engineer

Richard Leslie Lines was 26 years old when he died in the crash. He was the son of William Henry Boddington & Lottie Lines & Husband of Irene Dorothy Lines, of Wolstanton, Stoke-on-Trent.    He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 942146, he is buried in Burslem Cemetery, Stoke-on-Trent.

Sergeant Carl Robert Woolley – Navigator/Bomber

Carl Robert Woolley was 33 years old when he died in the crash. He was the son of Frank Ernest & Minnie Woolley, of Nottingham & Husband of Lilian Mary Woolley.    He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1575390, he is buried in Nottingham Southern Cemetery.

Sergeant William Harry Casson – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

William Harry Casson was 21 years old when he died in the crash. He was the son of Henry & Olive Beatrice Casson of Inyanga, Southern Rhodesia.    He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 778385, his service number indicates that he enlisted in Rhodesia, he is buried in St Marys Churchyard, Gosforth.  His brother Pilot Officer John Casson (C.G.M) who was also a member of the RAFVR also died on active service.

Note:- This work is subject to copyright, if you would like to reproduce any part please get in touch to discuss.  We would be more than happy to chat with you regarding this.

We are happy for anyone to share the link to this page/project via Social Media or webpages. 

© 2019 Treehouse Genealogy