here. - Lancaster ND424 of 12 Squadron

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here. - Lancaster ND424 of 12 Squadron

Lancaster ND424Lancaster ND424The Story of ‘G’ for George12 Squadron Bomber CommandPaul Fairclothi


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Lancaster ND424Document InformationTitle:Lancaster ND424 – The Story of ‘G’ for George 12 Squadron Bomber CommandFile Name & Version: Evasion Master v2.73.docStatus:DraftDate Last Updated: 03 August 2013Created by:Paul Leslie FairclothAcknowledgementsThe inspiration for this research is my father Leslie Faircloth who answered many questions I haveasked over the years with clear and concise answers. His memory for details and names of thepeople he met so many years ago is remarkable. I hope the document does justice to his storyand those of the other members of the aircrew of ND424.I have used references from many sources and I have tried to include them in the text. I have used‘from’ to signify that the original text has remained mostly unchanged. The reference ‘based on’means I have shortened or re-written the text from the original source.Many thanks go to my family and friends who have checked and corrected the draft copies of thedocument. Any errors I have made in compiling this research document are unintentional and aresolely my responsibility.Front CoverAn Avro Lancaster being prepared for a bombing mission. For further details and the originalphotograph see the end of Appendix P.© Paul Faircloth 2013iii


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Lancaster ND424Contents1. Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 12. Crew Details ....................................................................................................................... 33. Lancaster ND424 ‘G’ for George ........................................................................................ 74. Operations Flown by ND424 ............................................................................................ 115. Their Final Mission ........................................................................................................... 336. Crash Reports for ND424 ................................................................................................. 457. Escape Reports................................................................................................................ 49Leslie Faircloth – Mid-Upper Gunner (Evader) ................................................................. 49David Davies – Flight Engineer (Evader) ......................................................................... 52Bob Yates – Wireless Operator (Evader) ......................................................................... 54John Stephen – Bomb Aimer (Evader) ............................................................................. 558. Prisoner of War Reports ................................................................................................... 57Joe Sonshine - Navigator (POW) ..................................................................................... 57Doug Jordin – Tail Gunner (POW) ................................................................................... 59Mike Guilfoyle – Pilot (POW) ............................................................................................ 609. Epilogue - What Happened to Them? .............................................................................. 6310. The High Cost .................................................................................................................. 69Appendix A Evader & POW Timeline .......................................................................................... 71Appendix B Final Operation ORB’s ............................................................................................. 75Appendix C Original Escape, POW & Crash Reports ................................................................. 79Escape Report - Leslie Faircloth ..................................................................................... 79Escape Report - David Davies ........................................................................................ 82Escape Report – Bob Yates ............................................................................................. 84Escape Report - John Stephen ........................................................................................ 85P.O.W. Report – Mike Guilfoyle ....................................................................................... 86P.O.W. Report – Doug Jordin........................................................................................... 91Crash Report – Lancaster ND424 .................................................................................... 92Appendix D Original ORB – Special Recco Reports ................................................................... 95Appendix E M.I.9 Memo & List of RAF Officers in Stalag Luft III ................................................. 97Appendix F Leslie’s Original Letters ........................................................................................... 99Appendix G Leslie’s Original Photographs ................................................................................ 103Appendix H Leslie’s RAF Service Record ................................................................................. 105Appendix I Leslie’s Medals & Royal Warrant ........................................................................... 113Appendix J Leslie’s RAF Flying Log Book ................................................................................ 115Appendix K Leslie’s RAF Service and Release Book ............................................................... 117Appendix L Leslie’s Helper Monsieur Louis Cotan .................................................................. 121Appendix M Leslie’s Escape Talk Notes .................................................................................... 123Appendix N Figueras Prison - Castell de Sant Ferran ............................................................... 125Appendix O Leslie at the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington.................................................... 127Appendix P The Avro Lancaster Heavy Bomber ....................................................................... 129Appendix Q 12 Squadron Bomber Command ........................................................................... 135Appendix R RAF Wickenby ....................................................................................................... 139Appendix S Runnymede & Bomber Command Memorials........................................................ 143Appendix T M.I.9 & I.S.9 ........................................................................................................... 145Appendix U Gestapo HQ, Fresnes & POW Camps ................................................................... 149v


Lancaster ND424Appendix V Jacques Desoubrie ................................................................................................ 153Appendix W The Caterpillar Club & Leslie Irvin ......................................................................... 155Appendix X Doug Jordin Letter and Photographs ..................................................................... 157Appendix Y Airmen Met by Doug Jordin in France.................................................................... 159Appendix Z Bob Yates Previous Crew (ND783) ....................................................................... 161Appendix AA The Family Jerome ............................................................................................ 163Appendix BB Obituary of Joseph Sonshine ............................................................................. 165Appendix CC Obituary of John Stephen .................................................................................. 167Appendix DD The ‘Lost Bombers’ Website & ND424 ............................................................... 169Appendix EE Leslie on BBC Peoples War Web Site ............................................................... 171Appendix FF Les and Doug Reunion in 2008.......................................................................... 177Appendix GG BBC Website Coverage of the Reunion ............................................................. 179Appendix HH Daily Mail Website Coverage of Reunion ........................................................... 181Appendix II BBC Article on Search for David Davies ................................................................ 185Appendix JJ National Archive & File References ....................................................................... 187Appendix KK Full List of Flights & National Archive References ............................................. 189Appendix LL Glossary of Terms .............................................................................................. 191Appendix MM Selected Bibliography ........................................................................................ 193Appendix NN Related Web Sites ............................................................................................. 195vi


Lancaster ND4241. IntroductionThis document provides details of the crew of Avro Lancaster ND424 call sign ‘G’ for George of 12Squadron RAF Bomber Command. As a crew these seven young men took part in 17 bombingmissions over Germany and France. They took off for their final operation from RAF Wickenby inLincolnshire on the night of 27/28th June 1944 to bomb railway yards at Vaires to the east of Paris.They were just over half way through their normal Bomber Command tour of 30 operations.Background & ResearchMy father Leslie Faircloth served as an air-gunner in RAF Bomber Command during World War II.Over the years he has built up an extensive library of books on the subject. In 2003 I was readingdetails of my father and his crew in his copy of the book ‘RAF Bomber Command Losses of theSecond World War 1944’ by W.R. Chorley. On page 305 there is the reference to the loss of hisLancaster ND424 ‘G’ for George on 27/28 June 1944, listing the names of the crew and whetherthey were ‘evd’ (evader) or ‘pow’ (prisoner of war).In ‘Appendix 9 – Escapers and Evaders’ on page 544 were the names of six 12 Squadronpersonnel who evaded capture. This included three of the four evaders from the crew of ND424.Alongside were some curious reference numbers, e.g. ‘file 3321 report (-) 2069’. The introductionabove these explained their use:Retained at the Public Record Office Kew are a series of documents officially referred to asthe Escape Reports. Grouped under their class reference of WO208, these fascinatingpapers describe in some detail the evasions of Royal Air Force, Commonwealth and Alliedair forces personnel, principally from those areas of Europe under Nazi domination…I then began the internet search for the National Archive at Kew (formerly the Public Record Office)and soon found their online catalogue (then called ‘ProCat’). After many searches using variouscriteria and combinations I eventually found what I was looking for, a reference to my father’sescape report ‘WO208/3321 report 2069’. I ordered and paid for an online copy and a few dayslater it arrived. I printed it and gave my father a huge surprise by presenting him with a copy thathe had never seen and was written nearly 60 years earlier.I later requested copies of the escape reports for two more of the evaders, the fight engineer andthe wireless operator. On subsequent searches I found and requested a copy of the crash reportfor their Lancaster. In early 2010 I requested a copy of Leslie’s service record from RAF Cranwell.In summer 2010 I found references to the POW (Prisoner of War) reports for the pilot and tailgunner and requested copies. I then found a reference and requested a copy of the escape reportfor the bomb aimer. In February 2011 we spent two days at the National Archive where we madecopies of many original documents relating to the crew, the aircraft and the operations in whichthey took part.As can be seen from the number of web references in the document the research would not havebeen possible without the internet and its ever expanding sources of information. I have put thekey information onto a web site for everyone to view at www.lesfaircloth.co.uk. The researchcontinues and this document contains the information gathered so far.When l began this project my father Leslie did not know the fate of the rest of his crew and this wasthe driving force behind the research. The first objective was to find out what happened to them onthat fateful night in June 1944 and the second was to track down and contact each of the crew andtheir families. This is their story.Paul Faircloth, August 20131


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Lancaster ND4242. Crew DetailsIn September 1943 seven young men from different parts of the Empire were posted to No. 83OTU (Operational Training Unit) at RAF Peplow in Shropshire. All had attended initial training atvarious establishments as required by their assigned roles. The pilot, as the senior crewman,picked each crew member from those available. After being ‘crewed up’ they began their bombertraining. Their first ‘action’ was in a Vickers Wellington bomber on a leaflet dropping exercise.In February 1944 they were assigned to No.1662 C.U. (Conversion Unit) at RAF Blyton inLincolnshire and here they converted to the Avro Lancaster heavy bomber. This training includedcross-country and night flying exercises. The C.U. was the final step of an aircrews training beforethey were assigned to an operational squadron.In April 1944 the final crew were posted to 12 Squadron Bomber Command, based at RAFWickenby in Lincolnshire where they were allocated Lancaster ND424 ‘G’ for George. 12Squadron was part of 1 Group that commanded all of the Lincolnshire airfields. They were atypical multi-national Bomber Command crew consisting of two Englishmen, a Welshman, aScotsman, a Canadian, an Australian and a Jamaican. All had volunteered for aircrew duty nonewere conscripted into their jobs. Their average age was just 21 years.Formal Crew PhotographFlight SergeantJ.S.J StephenRAFBomb AimerWarrant Officer 2J. SonshineRCAFNavigatorWarrant OfficerR.E. YatesRAAFWireless OperatorPilot OfficerM.A. GuilfoyleRAFPilotSergeantH.D. DavisRAFFlight EngineerSergeantD.F. JordinRAFRear GunnerSergeantL.J. FairclothRAFMid Upper GunnerNote: RCAF = Royal Canadian Air Force, RAAF = Royal Australian Air Force.3


Lancaster ND424Pilot Officer M. A. Guilfoyle RAFPilot Mike Guilfoyle was from Jamaica in the West Indies and was the senior officer. He was 23years of age in June 1944.Full Name: Michael Alexander GuilfoyleSerial Number: 172424Rank: Pilot OfficerJoined RAF: UnknownPost in Crew: PilotDate of Birth: 1 October 1920Profession: Civil Servant, Jamaica GovernmentHome Address: Half Way Tree, Jamaica, West Indies.(England: C/O West India Committee, London)Sergeant H. D. Davies RAFFlight Engineer David Davies was from South Wales and before the war he was a fitter at a localcoal mine. He was 19 years of age in June 1944 and was the youngest member of the crew.Full Name: Hugh David DaviesSerial Number: 1836026Rank: SergeantJoined RAF: March 1943Post in Crew: Flight EngineerDate of Birth: 2 March 1925Profession: FitterHome Address: Oakdale, Blackwood, MonmouthshireWarrant Officer 2 J. Sonshine RCAFNavigator Joe Sonshine was from Toronto in Canada and he served with the Royal Canadian AirForce. He was 23 years of age in June 1944 and was the oldest member of the crew.Full Name: Joseph SonshineSerial Number: Not availableRank: Warrant Officer 2Joined RCAF: UnknownPost in Crew: NavigatorDate of Birth: 11 October 1920Profession: UnknownHome Address: Toronto, CanadaFlight Sergeant J. S. J. Stephen RAFBomb Aimer John Stephen was from Aberdeen in Scotland. He was 21 years of age in June 1944.Full Name: John Smith Johnston StephenRank: Flight SergeantSerial Number: 1560846Joined RAF: 9 September 1941Post in Crew: Bomb AimerDate of Birth: 19 January 1923Profession: TelegraphistHome Address: Aberdeen4


Lancaster ND424Warrant Officer R.E. Yates RAAFWireless Operator Bob Yates was from Australia and he served with the Royal Australian AirForce. He was 20 years of age in June 1944. Bob replaced the original Wireless Operator(Marsden?) as he was not up to standard. Bob had already served with a previous crew inLancaster ND783 of 576 Squadron. Only one of the crew and a passenger of ND783 survivedwhile on an operation to destroy an ammunition dump at Aubigne on 6/7th May 1944. SeeAppendix Z for further details.Full Name: Robert Edgar YatesRank: Warrant OfficerSerial Number: A.410409Joined RAAF: 6 December 1941Post in Crew: Wireless OperatorDate of Birth: 26 October 1923Profession: UnknownHome Address: Elwood near Melbourne, AustraliaSergeant L.J. Faircloth RAFMid Upper Gunner Leslie Faircloth was from Thornton Heath in South London. He was 19 years ofage in June 1944. He joined the RAF at 17½ years old, was called up at 18 and became an airgunner. He underwent six months initial air gunnery training at RAF Stormy Down in South Wales.His first flight was in an Avro Anson trainer.Full Name: Leslie John FairclothRank: SergeantSerial Number: 1894767Joined RAF: March 1943Post in Crew: Mid-Upper GunnerDate of Birth: 27 October 1924Profession: ClerkHome Address: Thornton Heath, SurreySergeant D.F. Jordin RAFTail gunner Doug Jordin was originally from Warrington. He was also 19 years of age in June1944.Full Name: Douglas Foster JordinRank: SergeantSerial Number: 2210100Joined RAF: 15 May 1943Post in Crew: Tail GunnerDate of Birth: 8 October 1924Profession: FarmerHome Address: Latchford near Warrington, Lancashire5


Lancaster ND424Left: The crew of ND424 in theirflying gear at the tail of aLancaster. (Leslie Fairclothcollection).Back row, left to right:Mike Guilfoyle, David Davies,John Stephen, Les Faircloth &Joe Sonshine.Front row, left to right:Bob Yates & Doug Jordin.Right: Head-on shot of aLancaster III above the clouds.Fromhttp://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/images/lancasterbmkiiia800.jpg6


Lancaster ND424PilotMike Guilfoyle was seated on the left hand side of the cockpit under the expansive Perspex canopyon a raised portion of the floor above the bomb-bay. There was no co-pilot in a Lancaster.Flight EngineerDavid Davies was seated to the right of the pilot on acollapsible seat (known as a "second dicky seat") withthe engine fuel selectors and gauges on a panel behindhim and to his right.NavigatorJoe Sonshine was seated on the port (left) side of theaircraft directly behind the pilot. His seat faced port witha large chart table in front of him and he had a curtainfitted to allow him to use a light to work. An instrumentpanel showing the airspeed, altitude, and other detailsrequired for navigation was mounted on the side of thefuselage above the chart table.Right: Pilot is upper left, Flight Engineer is on the right andNavigator is lower left. From http://www.lancasterarchive.com/lanc_crew_positions.htmBomb AimerJohn Stephen had two positions to man. His primary location was lying prone on the floor of thenose of the aircraft, with access to the controls for the bombsight head in front of him, thebombsight computer on his left and bombrelease selectors on his right. He would alsouse his view out of the large transparentPerspex nose cupola to assist the navigatorwith map reading. To man the Frazer NashFN5 nose turret, he simply had to stand upand he would be in position behind the triggersof his twin .303 inch guns. The bomb aimer'sposition contained the nose parachute exit inthe floor.Left: Bomb Aimers position with the bombsight inthe centre. Lancaster Manual.Wireless OperatorBob Yates was seated facing forwards infront of the main spar directly behind thenavigator. The radios were mounted onthe left-hand end of the chart table, facingtowards the rear of the aircraft. To his leftwas a window, and above him was theastrodome, used for visual signalling andalso by the navigator for celestialnavigation.Right: Wireless Operator is on the left. Fromhttp://www.lancasterarchive.com/lanc_crew_positions.htmBehind the wireless operator were the two main spars for the wings that bisected the fuselage.These were major obstacles for crew moving along the fuselage even on the ground.8


Lancaster ND424Mid-Upper GunnerLeslie Faircloth was seated in the mid upper turret located beyond the end of the bomb bay wherethe floor dropped down to the bottom of the fuselage. He had Frazer Nash FN50 or FN150 withtwo .303 inch M1919 Browning machine guns turret that allowed a 360° view over the top of theaircraft. The mid-upper gunner had perhaps the most uncomfortable ride of all the crew, as he wasseated on a rectangle of canvas that was slung beneath the turret once he had got into position.To the rear of this turret was the side crew door on the starboard side of the fuselage. This was themain entrance to the aircraft and it was also used as a parachute exit in an emergency.Rear GunnerDoug Jordin was seated in the rear turret of the aircraft. He had to pass over the spars of the tailplaneto enter his turret through a small hatch in the rear of the fuselage. The area was socramped that well-built gunners would often hang their parachute on a hook inside the fuselagenear the turret doors. In the FN20 and FN120 turrets, he had four .303 inch Brownings, and in theRose Rice turret he had two .50 inch Brownings. Most rear gunners, once in their turret, did notsee another member of the crew until theaircraft returned to base. The tail gunner wasalso known as "Tail End Charlie".Neither the mid-upper nor rear gunner'spositions in the rear fuselage were heated andthe gunners had to wear electrically heatedsuits to prevent hypothermia and frostbite.They could be required to occupy their seats forup to ten hours at a time on operations to someof the more distant targets.Right: Lancaster tail and mid-upper turrets.Left: The Crew of ND424in full flying gear with a tailgun turret behind them.Back row, left to right: Bob,Les, David & Mike.Front row, left to right: Joe,John & Doug.During their time as a crew they sometimes travelled to the homes of those based in the UK.Leslie travelled to Aberdeen with John and to Warrington with Doug. Leslie took Bob to visit hisparents in Thornton Heath near Croydon, south London.9


Lancaster ND424Left: The Avro Lancastercockpit with the pilot’s seat onthe left. Fromhttp://www.lancasterarchive.com/lanc_crew_positions.htmBelow: Map of the targets attacked by Lancaster ND424 and her crew during May and June 1944. See theopposite page for a guide to the operation numbers. Vitry-le-Francois is 15 miles east of target 1.10


Lancaster ND4244. Operations Flown by ND424This crew in Lancaster ND424 took part in a total of 17 operational missions with 12 Squadron inMay and June 1944. The following list was compiled following a visit to the National Archive inLondon in February 2011. The documents show Leslie missed operations 6, 7 and 8 and Dougmissed operation 13. However Leslie thinks he missed just two operations due to an eye infection.From April 1944 the Allied air forces began strategic attacks in support of Operation Overlord, theplanned invasion of Europe, by attacking key railway links in northern France and Belgium.List of Operations Flown1. 3/4 May Mailly Le Camp, France. German Panzer military camp.2. 7/8 May Bruz near Rennes, France. Airfield and ammunition dump.3. 9/10 May Merville-Franceville, France. Coastal gun batteries.4. 21/22 May Duisburg, Germany. Railway marshalling yards.5. 22/23 May Dortmund, Germany.6. 24/25 May Aachen West and Rothe Erde, Germany (1). Railway yards.7. 27/28 May Aachen West and Rothe Erde, Germany (2). Railway yards.8. 9/10 June Flers, France (1). Luftwaffe airfield.9. 11/12 June Evreux (Massey-Palaiseau, Nantes & Tours), France. Railway yards.10. 12/13 June Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Nordstern synthetic oil plant.11. 14/15 June Le Havre, France. German naval forces in the port area.12. 15/16 June Boulogne. France. German light naval vessels in the harbour13. 17/18 June Aulnoye-Aymeries, France. Railway junction.14. 22/23 June Marquise-Mimoyecques, France. Nazi Germany's ‘V-3’ supergun.15. 23/24 June Saintes, France. Railway marshalling yards.16. 24/25 June Flers, France (2). Flying-bomb sites.17. 27/28 June Vaires-sur-Marne (& Vitry) Railway yards to the east of Paris, France.Left: A 12 SquadronLancaster. Photographfrom the RAF WickenbyMemorial Collection athttp://www.rafwmm.flyer.co.uk/Museum/History.html11


Lancaster ND424Details of Operations FlownThe following details of the operations flown by ND424 and our crew are based on a number ofsources under the following headings. The abbreviation ORB used below means OperationsRecord Book.Bomber CommandThese are details of the relevant bombing operations from the official RAF Bomber Command websites for May 1944 at http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/may44.html and June 1944 athttp://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/jun44.html. They include the total number of aircrafttaking part, the types of aircraft, the number of aircraft lost and the percentage of aircraft lost.Wickenby ORB‘Summary of Events’ compiled by RAF Wickenby staff after an operation.reference AIR 28/945.12 Squadron ORBNational ArchiveRAF Form 540 ‘Summary of Events’ compiled by the 12 Squadron Adjutant Flight Lieutenant K.M.Smith after an operation. National Archive reference AIR 27/168.ND424 ORBRAF Form 541 ‘Details of Sortie or Flight’ for Lancaster ND424 compiled by 12 Squadron staff frominformation provided by the crew of ND424 after an operation. National Archive reference AIR27/168.Lost BombersWebsite containing details of the 12 Squadron aircraft lost and based on the book ‘BomberCommand Losses of the Second World War (1944)’ by W.R Chorley. KIA is Killed in Action, PoWis Prisoner of War, Evd is Evaded Capture and Inj is Injured. For a full guide to the abbreviationsused see the Glossary in Appendix LL.1. 3/4 May 1944 - Mailly Le CampMailly le Camp is around 120 Km due east of Paris. For further details on this operation seethe book ‘Battle Under the Moon’ written by retired Squadron Leader Jack Currie.Bomber CommandThis was a German Panzer military camp situated close to the French village of Mailly LeCamp. The control of this raid in the target area failed to operate according to plan. Theinitial low-level markers were accurate and were well backed up by Lancaster markeraircraft. The ‘Marker Leader’, Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire, ordered the Main Forceto come in and bomb but the ‘Main Force Controller’, Wing Commander L. C. Deane, couldnot transmit the order tothe waiting Lancastersbecause his VHF radioset was being drownedby an American forcesbroadcast and hiswireless transmitter waswrongly tuned. Germanfighters arrived duringthe delay and bombercasualties were heavy.Right: The Panzer militarycamp at Mailly Le Camp beforeand after the raid on 3/4 May1944. Fromhttp://www.raf.mod.uk/dday/timeline_may.html.12


Lancaster ND424The main attack eventually started when the Deputy Controller, Squadron Leader E. N. M.Sparks, took over. Approximately 1,500 tons of bombs were dropped with great accuracy.114 barrack buildings, 47 transport sheds and some ammunition buildings in the camp werehit; 102 vehicles, including 37 tanks were destroyed. 218 German soldiers were killed and156 were injured. Most of the casualties were Panzer NCO’s. There were no Frenchcasualties through bombing but some people were killed when a Lancaster crashed on totheir house.The night-fighter attacks continued over the target and on the return route. Among theaircraft shot down was that of Squadron Leader Sparks, who had stayed over the target tothe end. Sparks evaded capture and soon returned to England. The squadrons of 1 Group,which made up the second wave of the attack, suffered the most casualties – 28 aircraft outof their 173 dispatched. 469 (Australian) Squadron, from Binbrook, lost 5 out of its 17Lancasters on the raid.Aircraft: 362 (346 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitoes of 1 and 5 Groups, and 2 PathfinderMosquitoes).Losses: 42 (42 Lancasters), 11.6%. Four Lancasters were lost from 12 Squadron (JB405,LM514, LM516 and JB748).Wickenby ORBWeather: fair. Visibility: good. Wind: north-westerly 10–20 mph falling lighter in evening.Operation tonight for 1 and 5 Groups is Mailly-le-Camp. 30 aircraft were detailed, 17 from 12Squadron and 13 from 626 Squadron. 2 aircraft aborted (12/O and 626/J2). 21 aircraftattacked the primary target. 347 aircraft were dispatched to attack the military camp andtank repair depot at Mailly. 5 Group supplied the markers for the two attacks on the maincamp while the Special Duty Flight were detailed to mark a special Assembly Point (tankrepair depot) for 30 Lancasters from Wickenby. 5 Group attacked their Assembly Point firstand good results were obtained. During this attack the special Assembly Point was renderedwith rather poor results. No. 1 Group later attacked the North West Assembly Point of thecamp which was almost obscured by smoke from 5 Groups effort. However, many hits onthe camp were registered. Generally speaking the organisation at the target was not verygood. Marking was late for both attacks and instruction by R/T suffered interference.Consequently most aircraft were orbiting in the vicinity of the target for approximately 15minutes. Ground defences for the size of the target was heavy and fighter opposition was ona large scale. During operations at Mailly-le-Camp several of our aircraft were involved incombat or were hit by flak. 12/V had 3 separate attacks and received considerable damage.One FW190 night fighter claimed as destroyed. 12/B had 2 separate attacks and receiveddamage. One HE111 claimed as destroyed. 12/F had one attack and claims a twin engineenemy aircraft as probably destroyed. 12/E and 12/F had combats but make no claim. 12/Cand 12/T were both hit by heavy flak.On 4 May 21 aircraft landed back but 7 aircraft are missing, 4 from 12 squadron and 3 from626 Squadron.12 Squadron ORBWeather: fair, fine later. Visibility: very good. Wind: north-westerly 20-25 mph. Operationsas ordered for 17 aircraft. Target: Mailly-Le-Camp. Captains as follows: Lt. Dawley (2 nd PilotF/S Downing), F/O Maxwell, F/O Ormrod, P/O Moore, P/O Pollard, P/O Rollin, F/S Starr, P/OThompson, F/S Richardson, P/O Farfan, F/S Carroll, P/O Black, F/S Payne, F/O Guilfoyle,F/S Dyre-Matthews, P/O Carter (2 nd Pilot W/O Close) & F/Lt Gray. In fine weather Mailly-le-Camp was given a sharp and altogether unexpected attack by a force of heavy bombers. 12Squadron acknowledged its existence by “Laying On” 17 – one of which affected an earlyreturn. Meteorological conditions greatly assisted the defence and fighters were very active.The destruction of an FW 190 is claimed by one of our aircraft which was thrice attacked.Both gunners opened up, as did the enemy, who was seen to spiral down to explode on theground. Our aircraft received considerable damage. A further attack on another aircraftresulted in an ME 110 diving out of control, and helped on its way by the M/C fire of the RearGunner. This is also claimed as destroyed. Our aircraft received Rudder, Elevator andMain-plane damage. A further twin-engine aircraft opened up on a Squadron Plane and was13


Lancaster ND424replied to by both Gunners, claiming a probable in this instance. A JU 88 next receiveddamage and a claim is again recorded. Altogether this erstwhile “quiet” target proved to be a“Hornets Nest” and subsequent photographs have given the foundation that the target wasseverely battered. 4 aircraft were missing from this second raid.ND424 ORBDocument not found during our visit to the National Archive, although it probably exists.Lost BombersLancaster JB405 PH-H was delivered to 12 Squadron in October 1943 and took part in thefollowing key operations: Hannover 18/19 October 1943, Berlin 18/19 November 1943, Berlin23/24 November 1943, Berlin 26/27 November 1943, Berlin 2/3 December 1943 and Berlin16/17 December 1943. Airborne at 2148 on 3 May 1944 from Wickenby. It crashed atBeauchery-St-Martin (Seine-et-Marne) in France, 10 km north-east of Provins. Homebound,it is believed the crew had flown north of their intended track.Pilot Officer J.D. Carter, KIAWarrant Officer D.E. Close RAAF, KIASergeant T.S. Hayhurst, KIAFlying Officer R.J. Ward, KIASergeant K.N. Read, KIASergeant G. Long, KIASergeant A.P. Simpson, KIASergeant S. Johnson, PoWNote the eight-man crew. Sergeant Johnson was interned in Camps L6/357, PoW No.3845.Those who were killed are buried alongside a No.103 Squadron crew of Lancaster ND411who were also killed on this operation, in Beauchery Communal Cemetery.Lancaster LM514 PH-Q, with her sister LM516, was delivered to 12 Squadron in April 1944.Airborne at 2139 on 3 May 1944 from Wickenby. It was shot down by a night-fighter withinmoments of clearing the target area, crashing at La Belle Idee (Aube) in France, 4 km southof Arcis-sur-Aube and on the main road leading to Troyes.Flying Officer P.G. Maxwell, EvdSergeant J. Crighton, EvdPilot Officer S.R. Garlick, EvdFlight Sergeant H.F. O'Hara, EvdSergeant H. Lloyd, PoWSergeant J. Davison, EvdSergeant E.J. Townsend, Evd.Sergeant Lloyd was interned in Camps L6/357. All were helped by local people, butSergeant Davison was severely wounded on 26 May 1944 while hiding in the Hotel Dieu deTroyes and he eventually died on 30 June 1944. He is buried on Choloy War Cemetery.According to the book ‘Battle Under the Moon’ he was accidentally shot by a young memberof the Resistance who was cleaning his rifle while they were hiding in a forest.Lancaster LM516 PH-D, with her sister LM514, was delivered to 12 Squadron in April 1944.Airborne at 2204 on 3 May 1944 from Wickenby. It was shot down on its bombing run andcrashed at Poivres (Aube) in France, approximately 20 km north-north-east of Arcis-sur-Aube.Flight Sergeant S.W. Payne, KIASergeant J. Oldfield, KIASergeant G. Hogg, KIAFlight Sergeant I.F. Stuart, KIASergeant W.A. Harris, KIAWarrant Officer C.W. Croft, KIA14


Lancaster ND424Sergeant J. Berry, KIAAll are buried in Poivres Churchyard.Lancaster JB748 PH-Z was delivered to 12 Squadron in December 1943. No other keyoperations. JB748 also wore PH-N. Airborne at 2143 on 3 May 1944 from Wickenby. It wasshot down while waiting to join the bombing run and crashed at St-Memmie (Marne) inFrance, 12 km east of Chalons-sur-Marne.Flying Officer J.H. Ormrod, KIASergeant J.J. Read, KIASergeant E.S. Hutchison, KIAFlying Officer H.W.V. Bearne,KIASergeant M.T. Wheeler, KIASergeant J.L. Bradburn, KIASergeant L. Johnson, KIAFuneral services were held on 7 May1944 at Courtisole (St. Memmie)churchyard.Right: The “memorial RAF 3/4mai 1944” atMailly-le-Camp, designed and erected by theFrench "L'Association Mailly 3/4 Mai 1944".Photograph by Don Hiller.The website http://maillymemorial.co.uk/, created for the Mailly-le-Camp CommemorationSupport Group, reports that more than 300 airmen failed to return that night, of whom 258were killed; most of those killed are buried in the cemeteries of villages surrounding Mailly-le-Camp.2. 7/8 May 1944 - BruzBruz is near Rennes in north-west France.Bomber CommandThis was an attack on the airfield and an ammunition dump at Bruz near Rennes in NorthWest France. The force was not able to locate and mark the target adequately and most ofthe bombs fell on a nearby village. No aircraft were lost (on this raid).Aircraft: 55 (Lancasters 1 Group).Losses: None.Total effort for the night: 471 sorties, 12 aircraft (2.5 per cent) lost.Wickenby ORBWeather: fair or fine. Visibility: excellent. Wind: light south-easterly. Operation is for 20aircraft required to attack ammunition dump at Bruz near Rennes. 12 Squadron 10 aircraftand 626 Squadron 10 aircraft. 17 aircraft attacked the primary and 1 aircraft attacked lastresort (12/L Rennes airfield). 2 aircraft aborted (626/T2 and 626/H2). 54 Lancastersattacked the ammunition dump at Bruz, there was some difficulty in locating the target whichwas divided into 2 aiming points. Some small fires and a few explosions were reported butthe attacks were not spectacular. Very slight opposition was encountered. No aircraft werelost.On 8th May all 18 aircraft landed back from operations at Bruz.12 Squadron ORBWeather: Fair to fine. Visibility: very good. Wind: light variable. Operations ordered for 10aircraft. Target: Bruz – 4 th raid. Captains of aircraft as follows: F/Lt Gray, P/O Honor, P/OGuilfoyle, P/O Kernahan, F/S Carroll, P/O Farfan, P/O Thompson, F/S Richardson, F/S15


Lancaster ND424Downing, Sgt Holbrook. Indicative first reports incline the belief that this raid – thoughsuccessful – had not the spectacular aspect of the other raids of this month. BomberCommands attention on this occasion was riveted on Bruz near Rennes, and from a daylighttake off 10 aircraft of this squadron completed the mission without early return or casualty.The weather over Bruz was full moonlight with a slight haze. A certain feature of cloud wasencountered on the outward and homeward journeys. Negligible fighter opposition was metand very light flak came up to 8,000 feet. Rennes airfield was bombed by one of our aircraftthe same zero hour as the other Squadrons of this Group, operating on that target.ND424 ORBDuty with 3 section. Bomb load 12,000 lb consisting of 1 x 4,000 lb M/2, 16 x 500 lb MCTD(.025 secs). Bombs released at 0022½ hrs, altitude 10,000 ft, heading 134 magnetic, speed175 mph. No cloud. red S.F. first seen on airfield 0015 hrs. Red S.F. on W. A/P first seen0017 hrs. 2 or 3 red S.F. and 1 yellow T.I. on E. A/P 0022 hrs. 1 red S.F. estimated centre of2 or 3 red S.P. fires on instruction of M/C. No green S.F. seen at assembly point. 3 or 4orbits made outside target area as no marking seen and M/C instructing sections 1 and 2only to bomb. M/C instructs 3 section to bomb, red S.F. 0020 hrs. fires and explosions seenon airfield, explosions on east A/P and west A/P – no green S.F. at assembly point.3. 9/10 May 1944 - Merville-FrancevilleMerville-Franceville is on the Normandy coast 20 Km north-east of Caen.Bomber CommandThis was an attack on seven coastal gun batteries on the Normandy coast and in the Pas deCalais area. Four of the positions were claimed to have been hit. 1 Lancaster lost whilebombing the Mardyck position (i.e. Fort-Mardyck, Nord-Pas-de-Calais).Aircraft: 414 (206 Halifaxes, 180 Lancasters, 28 Mosquitos).Losses: 1 (Lancaster), 0.2%. None lost from 12 Squadron.Wickenby ORBWeather: cloudy with fair periods in the afternoon. Visibility: moderate. Wind: light southerly.Operation: 21 aircraft required for operations at Merville-Franceville (field gun battery). 12Squadron supplied 11 aircraft and 626 Squadron 10 aircraft. 21 aircraft attacked the primarytarget. 56 aircraft from No. 1 Group were despatched to attack gun positions at Merville-Franceville. This number included 3 marker aircraft from the Special Duty Flight (12 Base).The markers encountered certain difficulties in finding the target and Assembly PointMarkers found their way into the marshes and gave no aid. Most crews had to make orbits.It is difficult to make any assessment of the success of the attack. There was slight grounddefence opposition but no incidents. No aircraft are missing.On 10th May all 21 aircraft landed back from operations at Merville-Franceville.12 Squadron ORBWeather: fair at first, becoming cloudy with slight showers. Wind: south-westerly 10-15 mph.Operations as ordered for 11 aircraft. Target: Merville-Franceville – 5 th raid. Captains ofaircraft as follows: P/O Magee, F/S Carroll, P/O Kernahan, P/O Honor, P/O Guilfoyle, S/LBrown, P/O Pollard, P/O Rollin, P/O Thompson, F/S Richardson and P/O Farfan. Theprimary target of this Squadron on this occasion was the Gun Battery at Merville-Franceville.Bomber Command’s “softening up” process of which 11 aircraft here formed part of the mainforce – was enacted in good weather with slight haze over the target. Flashes and bombbursts are reported were concentrated around the markers. No fighter opposition was metand the ground defences built up a tepid reply. No casualties are reported.ND424 ORBDuration: 21.48 to 01.27 (4 hrs 39 mins). Bomb load 13,000 lb consisting of 8 x 1,000 lbMCTD (.025 secs), 3 x 1,000 lb WSA GPTD (.025 secs) and 4 x 500 lb (.025 secs). Bombsreleased at 23:48 hrs, altitude 8,500 ft, heading 122 magnetic, speed 175 mph. No cloud,16


Lancaster ND424hazy – no markers seen at assembly point on ETA. Went straight on to bomb 3 red spotfires – attempted to do 400 yards and undershot the red spot fires as directed by M/C.Bombing appeared concentrated around red spot fires marking on target good assemblypoint late.4. 21/22 May 1944 – DuisburgDuisberg is in the Ruhr in western Germany.Bomber CommandThis was the first large raid on Duisburg (in the Ruhr) for a year. The target was covered bycloud but the Oboe sky-marking was accurate and much damage was caused in thesouthern areas of the city. 350 buildings were destroyed and 665 seriously damaged but noother details of material damage are available. 124 people were killed.Aircraft: 532 (510 Lancasters and 22 Mosquitoes) of 1, 3, 5 and 8 Groups.Losses: 29 (Lancasters), 5.5%. None lost from 12 Squadron.Wickenby ORBWeather: cloudy with slight drizzle at first becoming fair late in period. Visibility: poor at firstbecoming good. Wind: northerly 10-20 mph. 12 Squadron provided 21 aircraft and 626Squadron 15 aircraft. 25 aircraft took off (626/R2 was cancelled). 33 aircraft attacked theprimary target. 1 aircraft aborted (626/J2 ran off the runway). 510 Lancasters and 22Mosquitoes were despatched to attack Duisberg. Cloud conditions persisted en route and atthe target where it was 10/10ths cloud with tops at 20,000 feet. These conditionsnecessitated the use of Sky Markers, and even these were apt to disappear very quickly.Crews bombed by various means and naturally results are thought to be scattered. Therewas moderate heavy flak and numerous ineffective searchlights at the target. Fighter activitywas considerable.On 22nd May 33 aircraft landed back from operations at Duisberg and 1 aircraft is missing626/K2 P/O Bryant.12 Squadron ORBWeather: cloudy with slight drizzle at first. Visibility: poor at first becoming good. Wind:north to north-easterly 10-15 mph. Operations as ordered for 21 aircraft. Target: Duisberg –9 th raid. Captains of aircraft were as follows: P/O Maxwell, P/O Black, P/O Honor, P/OLandon, P/O Guilfoyle, P/O Kernahan, W/O Williams, F/S Dyre-Matthews,P/O Magee, P/OLeuty, Lt Dawley, P/O Blake (2 nd Pilot P/O Pappas), P/O Moore, P/O Pollard, W/O Starr, P/OFarfan, P/O Thompson, F/S Richardson, P/O Downing, F/O Owens, F/Lt Thomas. 9 th Raid –Twenty one aircraft constituting a record from this two flight Squadron were “under orders” toattack the marshalling yards at Duisberg. Weather conditions were not helpful, and the“Take Off” was accomplished in a cloudy atmosphere. This persisted to the objective, whichwas completely obscured by 10/10ths cloud, and enforced the use of Sky markers by theP.F.F. Fighter opposition was in evidence, but did not prevent all our aircraft fromcompleting their mission. The raid results cannot be definitely ascertained, but all aircraftattacked the primary target and successfully returned.ND424 ORBDuration: 22.30 to 03.35 (5 hrs 5 mins). Bomb load 10,120 lb consisting of 1 x 4,000 HC,204 x 30 lb incendiaries. Bombs released at 0115 hrs, altitude 20,500 ft, heading 200magnetic, speed 165 mph. 10/10 clouds, tops 19,000 ft. 2 red/yellow RP flares seen 0114hrs disappearing into cloud. No H2S check. Estimated position of 2 red/yellow RP flaresseen but which went into cloud 1 minute before. 2 red/yellow flares together seen on run uphad gone below cloud 1 minute prior to bombing. Flash of 4 explosions lit up cloud atapproximately 0113-0114 hrs. H2S untrained.17


Lancaster ND4245. 22/23 May 1944 – DortmundDortmund is in western Germany. Due to illness Leslie was replaced as mid-upper gunnerby Flight Sergeant W.W. McMillan.Bomber CommandThis was the first large raid on Dortmund for a year. The attack fell mainly in the southeasterndistricts of Dortmund, mostly in residential areas. The raids on Dortmund andBrunswick were the last major Bomber Command raids on German cities until after theinvasion forces were firmly established in Normandy.Aircraft: 375 (361 Lancasters and 14 Mosquitos) of No’s 1, 3, 6 and 8 Groups.Losses: 18 (Lancasters), 4.8%. 1 Lancaster from 12 Squadron (NE134).Total effort for the night: 1,023 sorties, 34 aircraft (3.3 per cent) lost.Wickenby ORBWeather: fine at first becoming cloudy. Visibility: poor at first becoming moderate during themorning. Wind: north-westerly becoming light variable. Operation: 32 aircraft detailed, 12Squadron 18 aircraft and 626 Squadron 14 aircraft. 30 aircraft attacked the primary. 375aircraft were despatched to attack Dortmund. Visibility at the target was good in spite ofslight haze. Marking was exceptionally good, the attack opened punctually and concentratedfires were reported, these intensified as the raid progressed. Flak at the target was not morethat moderate but searchlights were extremely active and night fighters were much inevidence.On 23rd May 29 aircraft landed back from operations at Dortmund. 1 aircraft landed awayand 2 aircraft were missing, Lancaster NE134 (PH-O) of 12 Squadron and Lancaster NE118(UM-U2) of 626 Squadron.12 Squadron ORBWeather: fair. Visibility: moderate, poor at first. Wind: north-easterly backing south-easterly5 mph. Operations as ordered for 18 aircraft. Target: Dortmund – 10 th raid. Captains ofaircraft taking part were as follows: P/O Black, P/O Honor, P/O Landon, P/O Guilfoyle, P/OKernahan, P/O Maxwell, P/O Williams, P/O Leuty, W/O Carroll, F/S Dyre-Matthews, P/OMoore, P/O Pollard, P/O Farfan, P/O Rollin, P/O Thompson, P/O Pappas, F/O Owens & F/SRichardson. In comparative daylight – 18 aircraft of this Squadron – took off to attack as itsprimary target Dortmund. The heavies of Bomber Command were on this occasionscheduled to attack Brunswick in addition. The target area in general was clear – althoughpatches of cloud were encountered. This did not prevent identification of ground detail.Fighters were in evidence in fact numbers, and search lights were plentiful. P.F.F. markingand punctuality call for commendation, and with such careful detail the results of theoperation can be termed “very successful”. One aircraft failed to return.ND424 ORBBomb load 7,840 lb consisting of 1 x 4,000 lb M/2, 108 X 30 lb and 150 x 4 lb ‘X’incendiaries. Bombs released at 0048 hrs, altitude 20,500 ft, heading 157 magnetic, speed165 mph. No cloud. T.A. – red & green T.I. red/yellow R.P. Also H2S – centre of Red T.I.’s– plenty of good fires. P.F.F. excellent.Lost BombersLancaster NE134 (PH-O) was delivered to 12 Squadron on 11 May 1944. NE134 also worethe squadron identifier PH-D. Airborne at 2229 on 22 May 1944 from Wickenby. Hit by Flakand crashed West of the Rhine at Appeldorn, 4 km ESE of Kalkar.P/O D.C.H. Maxwell KIAF/S P.J. Hyland EvdF/O F.S. Hearn InjF/O D.H. Sansom RCAF InjSgt G. Smith PoW18


Lancaster ND424Sgt E. Owen PoWSgt E.A. Davis KIA.P/O Maxwell and Sgt Davis are buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery. F/S Hyland completedhis ‘home run’ on 25 November 1944. F/O F.S. Hearn and F/O D.H. Sansom were confinedin hospital due to injuries. No PoW Nos. Sgt E. Owen was interned in Camps L6/357, PoWNo.3861. Sgt G. Smith in Camp L7, PoW No.55.6. 24/25 May 1944 - Aachen West & Rothe Erde (1)Aachen is in western Germany near the border with France. Due to illness Leslie wasreplaced as mid-upper gunner by Flight Sergeant W.W. McMillan.Bomber CommandThis was an attack on two railway yards at Aachen West and Rothe Erde (east of the town).These were important links in the railway system between Germany and France. TheAachen report duly records that the two railway yards were the targets attacked, with therailways to the east of Aachen being particularly hard hit. Because this was a German town,Bomber Command sent more aircraft than normal for railway raids and many bombs fell inAachen itself and in villages near the railway yards. The Monheim war-industry factory andthe town’s gasworks were among the many buildings destroyed. 207 people were killed inAachen and 121 were seriously injured. 14,800 people were bombed-out. Several villagesnear the railway yards also incurred casualties; Eilendorf, near the Rothe Erde yards, had 52people killed. The Aachen report comments on the great number of high-explosive bombsand the small number of incendiaries dropped. There were only six large fires, 288 highexplosivebombs were found to be duds, approximately 10% of those dropped.Aircraft: 442 (264 Lancasters, 162 Halifaxes & 16 Mosquitoes) of all Groups except 5.Losses: 25 (7 Lancasters and 18 Halifaxes), 5.7%. None lost from 12 Squadron.Wickenby ORBWeather: fair early becoming cloudy during the day. Visibility: poor early becomingmoderate. Wind: westerly 5/10 miles per hour increasing slightly during the day.Operations: Derby figures required for operations at Aachen West railway centre. 29 aircraftwere detailed. 12 Squadron 16 aircraft and 626 Squadron 13 aircraft. 29 aircraft attackedthe primary. 183 aircraft were despatched to attack the marshalling yards at Aachen (West)railway centre. For the main operation was carried out in clear conditions but slight hazeinterfered with visibility at the target. The general impression of the raid was that it was asuccess. 8 aircraft are missing.12 Squadron ORBWeather: fair. Visibility: moderate. Wind: westerly 5-10 mph. Operations as ordered for 16aircraft. Target: Aachen. Captains of aircraft were as follows: P/O Blake, P/O Moore, P/OThompson, P/O Downing, P/O Pappas, F/O Owens, Sgt Holbrook, F/Lt Thomas, P/O Black(2 nd F/O Vernon), P/O Honor, P/O Landon, P/O Guilfoyle, P/O Kernahan, P/O Magee, P/OLeuty & W/O Carroll. 11 th raid. Bomber Command went slightly further afield on thisoccasion and Aachen was the target selected. Good conditions were encountered on bothlegs of the journey, the target area being cloudless, though a slight vertical haze wasidentifiable. The sixteen aircraft of this Squadron completed this mission without early returnor casualty. Few fighters were in evidence, and as the raid developed the flak intensitydeteriorated considerably. The operation can be categorised as “successful”, the markingeffected great credit, also being punctual, and the bombing concentrated.ND424 ORBDuration: 23.40 to 04.40 (5 hrs). Bomb load 13,000 lb consisting of 7 x 1,000 lb MCTD(.025), 4 x 1,000 lb GP USA TD (.025), 4 x 500 lb MCTD (.025). Bombs released 0229 hrs,altitude 20,500 ft, speed 165 mph. No cloud, ground haze. 6 red TI also TI green H2Scheck. Estimated centre of TI red cascading 0221 hrs, 1 red TI cascading 0221 hrs. quickly19


Lancaster ND424followed by others then by greens, effective and well concentrated, smoke seen on leavingtarget area.7. 27/28 May 1944 - Aachen West & Rothe Erde (2)Aachen is in western Germany near the border with France. Due to illness Leslie wasreplaced by Flight Sergeant W.W. McMillan as mid-upper gunner.Bomber CommandThis was another attack on theRothe Erde railway yards at Aachen.The railway lines, which were notseriously hit in the raid of two nightsearlier, were now seriously damagedand all through traffic was halted. Alarge proportion of delayed-actionbombs were dropped. The bombingalso hit the nearby Aachen suburb ofForst which, in the words of our localexpert Hubert Beckers, was ‘razedto the ground’.Right: Devastation at the Aachen railwayyards after raids on consecutive nights.Fromhttp://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/may44.htmlThe local hospital, an army barracks,an army-stores office, 2 police postsand 21 industrial buildings were hit,as well as 603 houses. 167 people were killed and 164 injured. The local people wereimpressed that the whole raid only lasted 12 minutes.Aircraft: 170 (162 Lancasters and 8 Mosquitoes) of 1, 3 and 8 Groups.Losses: 12 (Lancasters), 7%. One Lancaster was lost from 12 Squadron (ND679).Wickenby ORBWeather: fair. Visibility: moderate. Wind: westerly 10-20 mph falling light. 32 aircraftrequired to attack eastern railway centre of Aachen. 12 Squadron 17 aircraft and 262Squadron 15 aircraft. 1 aircraft cancelled at take off. 29 aircraft attacked the primary. 26Lancasters were despatched to attack Aachen East railway centre (Rothe Erde). Fineweather was encountered throughout the operation although there was slight ground haze atthe target. The Pathfinder Force was punctual and good bombing concentrations wereobtained. At least one large fire was started and in addition several explosions werereported. Flak defences at the target were moderate. Enemy fighters were fairly active. 12aircraft are missing.28th May 28 aircraft landed back from operations at Aachen. 2 aircraft are missing 12/F P/OKernahan and 626/W2 P/O Ayres, 1 aircraft 626/L2 landed away.12 Squadron ORBWeather: fair, becoming fine late in period. Visibility: moderate. Wind west-south-westerly10-15 falling light. Operations as ordered for 16 aircraft. Target: Aachen – 12 th raid.Captains of aircraft were as follows: S/L Brown, Lt Dawley, P.O Pollard, P/O Farfan, P/OThompson, P/O Downing, P/O Pappas, F/O Owens, Sgt Holbrook, P/O Williams, W/OCarroll, P/O Black, P/O Kernahan, F/O Landon, P/O Magee & F/S Dyre-Matthews. Aachenwas again accorded the “Honour” of Bomber Commands “Visit” and this Group were detailedto attack the Eastern Marshalling Yards there. This Squadron’s contribution of 17 aircraft –one of which failed to “get off” and one to return – took off in the hours of darkness. Fineweather – making visual identification possible – attended the attack. Fighter activity is to be20


Lancaster ND424recorded, and the ground defences were in “persistent mood”. The raid was very successfuldespite the presence of any outstanding incidents. One of our aircraft was tailed by a twinengine fighter. Intermittent fire was exchanged. No damage or claim however is registered.ND424 ORBDuration: 0010 to 0420 (3 hrs 10 mins). Bomb load 13,000 lb consisting of 7 x 1,000 MCTD(.025), 4 x 1,000 USA GPTD (.025), 4 x 500 MCTD (.025). Bombs released at 0229 hrs,altitude 9,500 ft, heading 181 magnetic, speed 220 mph. Haze up to 4,000 ft, visibility good.Red and Green TI. H2S check, centre of TI green, red obscured by smoke, cascaded 0226hrs. Markers well concentrated, TI red obscured by smoke, bombs close to TI. Muchsmoke, no fires seen.Lost BombersLancaster ND679 (PH-F) was delivered to 12 Squadron from 32MU in March 1944 and tookpart in the following key operations: Stuttgart 15/16 March 1944, Berlin 24/25 March 1944and Nuremberg 30/31 March 1944. Airborne at 0015 on 28 May 1944 from Wickenby. Itwas lost without trace.Pilot Officer K.I. Kernahan, KIASergeant J.M. Thomas, KIAFlying Officer C.A. Smith DFM, KIAFlight Sergeant E.J. Richardson RCAF, KIASergeant J.P. McEvoy, KIASergeant W.S. Campbell, KIASergeant H. Russell, KIAAll are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Flying Officer Smith had flown a tourwith 166 Squadron and details of his DFM were Gazetted on 15 June 1943. Pilot OfficerKernahan came from Port of Spain, Trinidad.8. 9/10 June 1944 – Flers (1)Flers is 50 Km south of Caen in Normandy, western France.Bomber CommandThese were attacks on airfields at Flers, Le Mans, Laval and Rennes, all situated south ofthe Normandy battle area. Bomber Command documents do not give any reason for theseraids; it is possible that the intention was to prevent these airfields being used for Germanreinforcements being brought in by air because the railways were blocked. All the attackswere successful. 2 Halifaxes were lost on the Laval raid.Aircraft: 401 (206 Lancasters, 175 Halifaxes, 20 Mosquitos) of No’s 1, 4, 6 and 8 Groups.Losses: 2 (Halifaxes), 0.5%. None from 12 Squadron.Total effort for the night: 597 sorties, 8 aircraft (1.3 per cent) lost.Wickenby ORBWeather: cloudy with periods of light rain in the morning. Wind: westerly north-west 10-15mph. Visibility: poor becoming moderate later. 39 aircraft required for operations, 12Squadron 20 aircraft and 626 Squadron 19 aircraft. Target was Flers landing ground. 1light flak at the target caused little trouble. Few fighters were active but some combat tookplace. Not one aircraft was lost.On 10th June between 05:11 and 05:52 all 39 aircraft landed back from operations at Flerslanding ground.12 Squadron ORBWeather: cloudy with intermittent slight rain during the morning. Visibility: poor, improving togood in the afternoon. Wind: west-north-westerly 10-15 mph. Operations as ordered for 20aircraft. Target: Flers. Captains of aircraft as follows: W/Cdr Nelson, F/Lt Gray, P/O Carroll21


Lancaster ND424ND424 ORBDocument not found during our visit to the National Archive, although it probably exists.Entries for F/O Vernon and F/Lt Kitson were found and copied.10. 12/13 June 1944 – GelsenkirchenGelsenkirchen is in the Rhur western Germany.Bomber CommandThis was the first raid of the new oil campaign and the target was the Nordstern synthetic-oilplant (the Germans called the plant Gelsenberg A.G.). The attack opened with exceptionalaccuracy owing to good work by the Pathfinders and to improved versions of Oboe sets nowavailable. Later phases of the bombing were spoiled by the clouds of smoke from theburning target and by a rogue target indicator which fell 10 miles short of the target and wasbombed by 35 aircraft. A German industrial report shows that all production at the oil plantceased, with a loss of 1,000 tons of aviation fuel a day for several weeks, as well as the lossof other fuels. Gelsenkirchen’s civil records also pay tribute to the accuracy of the attack;1,500 bombs fell inside the oil-plant area. The civil records also describe the extensivedamage to the nearby working-class district of Horst. A total of 279 people were killed,including 24 workers from the oil-plant at the time of the attack, 23 foreign workers who werekilled when their wooden barracks nearby were hit and 6 schoolboy ‘Flakhilfers’.Aircraft: 303 (286 Lancasters and 17 Mosquitoes) of 1, 3 and 8 Groups.Losses: 17 (Lancasters), 6.1%. One Lancaster was lost from 12 Squadron (PA986).Wickenby ORBWeather: fair to cloudy. Visibility: good. Wind: westerly 10-20 mph. Operation: 42 aircraftrequired for operations at Gelsenkirchen. 12 Squadron 21 aircraft and 626 Squadron 21aircraft. 40 aircraft attacked the primary. 1 aircraft 626/X2 abortive and returned early.Bomber Command despatched 293 aircraft including P.F.F. to attack the synthetic oil plantat Gelsenkirchen in conditions of clear weather. A marker dropped accidentally about 8/10miles south of the target was the Essen A/F attracted a fair amount of attention in the earlystages. The target itself however was punctually and efficiently marked. Good bombingresulted. Large explosions were seen and smoke rose to 10,000 feet. Ground defenceswere weak for Rhur standards but enemy fighters were very active. 17 Lancasters were lost.On 13 June (02:46) 40 aircraft returned from operations at Gelsenkirchen. 1 aircraft ismissing 12/D P/O Williams.12 Squadron ORBWeather: fair to cloudy with good visibility. Wind: westerly 15-20 mph. Operations orderedfor 21 aircraft. Target: Gelsenkirchen. Captains of aircraft were as follows: F/Lt Gray, P/OCarroll, P/O Williams, P/O Guilfoyle, P/O Landon, F/Sgt Dyre-Matthews, P/O Magee, F/OLeuty, F/O Vernon, F/Lt Kitson, Lt Dawley, F/Lt Thomas, P/O Hancox, F/S Moore, P/OPollard, P/O Thompson, P/O Downing, F/S Holbrook, F/O Owens, P/O Starr, P/O Blake.Germany again came in for a little attention, after a somewhat protracted absence – and thesynthetic oil plant at Gelsenkirchen was the target allocated. Twenty one aircraft were “laidon” in bombing the primary target – and one casualty was recorded. Ideal weather favouredthe mission, born from a daylight take-off. The target was full of cloud, much fighteropposition was in evidence and the visual searchlight regalia was displayed. The raid washighly successful – palls of smoke ascending to 10,000 feet after the attack developed, andthe bombing can be described as “concentratedly good”. The oil plant may well becategorised as “out of order” after this attack.ND424 ORBDuration: 2301 to 0305 (4 hrs 4 mins). Bomb load 12,000 lb consisting of 1 x 4,000 lb M/2, 6x 500 lb M/C Nose Inst, 6 x 500 lb USA GPTD (0.025), 4 x 500 lb GPLF. Bombs released at0106, altitude 19,000 ft, T.I. red and T.I. green. Many fires and columns of black smoke.T.I.’s well concentrated.23


Lancaster ND424Lost BombersLancaster PA986 (PH-D) was a Mk.111 and was delivered to 12 Squadron on 28 May 1944.The aircraft completed 60 (?) operations with no key missions. Airborne at 2301 on 12 June1944 from Wickenby. It crashed in the Mastenbroeker Polder at Mastenbroek (Overijssel), 8km north-west of Zwolle in the Netherlands.Pilot Officer A. Williams DFC, KIASergeant H.J. Plant, KIAFlying Officer D.F.W. Keyte, KIASergeant W. Wallinger, KIASergeant R.C. Barber, KIASergeant T. Gribben, KIASergeant D.Lloyd, KIAAll, it is reported from reliable Dutch sources, are buried in Ijsselmuiden General Cemetery,but the names of Sergeant Wallinger and Sergeant Gribben are commemorated on theRunnymede Memorial.11. 14/15 June 1944 - Le HavreThe major port of Le Havre is on the Atlantic coast in north-west FranceBomber CommandThis was Bomber Command's first daylight raid since the departure of No 2 Group at the endof May 1943. The objectives were the fast German motor-torpedo boats (E-boats) and otherlight naval forces harboured at Le Havre which were threatening Allied shipping off theNormandy beaches only 30 miles away.The raid took place in 2 waves, one during the evening and the second at dusk. Most of theaircraft in the first wave were from No 1 Group and in the second wave from No 3 Group.Pathfinder aircraft provided marking by their normal methods for both raids. No unexpecteddifficulties were encountered; the naval port area was accurately bombed by both waves with1,230 tons of bombs and few E-boats remained undamaged. No 617 Squadron sent 22Lancasters, each loaded with a 12,000lb Tallboy bomb, and 3 Mosquito marker aircraft toattack the concrete covered E-boat pens just before the first wave bombed. Several hitswere scored on the pens and one bomb penetrated the roof.This raid was regarded as an experiment by Sir Arthur Harris, who was still reluctant to riskhis squadrons to the dangers of daylight operations but both waves of the attack wereescorted by Spitfires of No 1 Group and only 1 Lancaster was lost (Lancaster LL889 (LS-B)of 15 Squadron).Aircraft: 234 (221 Lancasters and 13 Mosquitos) of No 1, 3, 5 and 8 Groups.Losses: 1 (Lancaster), 0.4%. None from 12 Squadron.Wickenby ORBWeather: cloudy with fair periods, becoming fine later. Visibility: good. Wind: Westerly 10-20 mph. Operations: 40 aircraft to standby. 39 aircraft were detailed, 12/A was cancelled.39 aircraft attacked the primary. 12 Squadron 19 aircraft and 626 Squadron 10 aircraft.Bomber Command despatched aircraft to bomb the dock area at Le Havre. An escort of 7Spitfire Squadrons was provided. Visual identification of the Assembly Point was possibleand a very high concentration of bombing was achieved. Excellent results are expected.Ground defences were very active in the early stages but died away. Enemy fighters causedlittle trouble. 1 Lancaster was lost. This attack was carried out in daylight.On 15 June between 22:35 to 00:57 39 aircraft landed back from operations at Le Havre.12 Squadron ORBWeather: cloudy, occasional showers during the day, becoming fair to fine in the evening.Visibility: improving to good. Wind: light variable. Operations as ordered for 19 aircraft.24


Lancaster ND424Target: Le Havre docks. Captains of aircraft were as follows: F/Lt Gray, P/O Carroll, P/OGuilfoyle, F/O Landon, F/Sgt Dyre-Matthews, P/O Magee, P/O Leuty, F/O Vernon, S/LdrBrown, Lt Dawley, Fl/Lt Thomas, P/O Moore, P/O Pollard, P/O Starr, P/O Downing, F/SgtHolbrook, F/O Owens, P/O Pappas, P/O Hancox. The second front has certainly stirred upthe imagination and morale of the Squadron, as evidenced by the sorties figure of 159 todate. This already exceeds the total of last month, and augurs an activity long awaited byall. Nineteen aircraft, form a daylight take-off attacked the docks area of Le Havre. Fineweather attended the mission throughout, making visual identification possible. Flak, in theearly stages, was accurate, though moderate, but as the attack developed became almostnegligible. Very early on the area became smoke enveloped and fires took good hold.Large explosions became evident and the “prang” appears to have been very successfulindeed. No casualties are recorded, nor are any incidents to be noted.ND424 ORBDuration: 2010 to 0003 (3 hrs 53 mins). Bomb load 13,000 lb consisting of 11 x 1,000 lbMKC Tail Inst, 4 x 500 lb GP Tail Inst. Bombs release 2235 hrs, altitude 19,000 ft. Visual.Saw own bomb bursts on quay. T.I green seen on aiming point.12. 15/16 June 1944 – BoulogneThe port of Boulogne is on the Channel coast in northern FranceBomber CommandThis was an attack on German light naval vessels now gathering in Boulogne harbour. Thetactics employed and the bombing results were similar to those at Le Havre the previousevening, although the visibility was not so clear. The only details from France are in a shortcivil report which describes this as the Worst raid of the war on Boulogne, with greatdestruction in the port and the surrounding areas. 1 Halifax was lost.Aircraft: 297 (155 Lancasters, 130 Halifaxes, 12 Mosquitos) of No’s 1, 4, 5, 6 & 8 Groups.Losses: 1 (Halifax). 0.3%. None from 12 Squadron.Wickenby ORBWeather: fair at first becoming cloudy later with some rain. Wind: west-north-west 15 mph.Visibility: moderate. Operations (10:25): 38 aircraft to standby for a night bombing operation.At 13:20 38 aircraft required to attack the dock area at Boulogne in daylight. 12 Squadron19 aircraft and 626 Squadron 19 aircraft. All aircraft attacked the primary. 297 aircraft ofBomber Command were despatched to attack the dock area at Boulogne in twilight. Thincloud lay over the target area. Marking appeared to be accurate and good concentration ofbombing was achieved. Terrific explosion occurred during the attack. Good fires were alsoseen. Ground defences were fairly heavy but only a few fighters were seen. No trouble wascaused by the latter. 1 Lancaster is missing.At 22:35 aircraft commenced landing back from the operations at Boulogne.12 Squadron ORBWeather: mainly cloudy with good visibility and west-south-westerly wind 15-20 mph.Operations as ordered for 19 aircraft. Target: Boulogne. Captains of aircraft as follows:W/Cdr Nelson, F/Lt Corry, P/O Carroll, P/O Honor, P/O Guilfoyle, P/O Magee, P/O Leuty,F/O Vernon, F/Lt Kitson, Lt Dawley, F/Lt Thomas, P/O Moore, P/O Pollard, P/O Starr, P/OFarfan, F/S Holbrook, F/O Owens, P/O Pappas, P/O Hancox. This raid – in daylight in theport area of Boulogne created quite an innovation – the 19 aircraft detailed for the attackwere protected by a Spitfire escort. Cloudy conditions were prevalent at take-off, butimproved until the port area was reached, where the majority of the attacking force had touse markers for bombing. Enemy fighters were not in evidence but the ground defenceswere fierce in the early stages. Terrific explosions over different periods of time were notedand several fires obtained a good hold. The aim of the operation can be classified as beingachieved, and all our aircraft returned without incident – after bombing the primary target.25


Lancaster ND424(Note: Due to the poor quality of the original document, some of the pilots names above arefrom AIR 27/171 – ‘Orders for Night Flying’).ND424 ORBDuration: 2054 to 0010 (3 hrs 16 mins). Bomb load 13,000 lb consisting of 3 x 1,000 lb USAT.D. (.01), 8 x 1,000 T.D. (.025), 4 x 500 lb G.P.T.I. Bombs released 2256, altitude 14,500 ft.Visual. T.I.’s on A.P. attack concentrated. This was the largest bomb load carried byND424.13. 17/18 June 1944 - Aulnoye-AymeriesAulnoye-Aymeries is in north-eastern France near the border with Belgium. Doug Jordinwas replaced as rear gunner on this operation by Warrant Officer J (?) McMillan.Bomber CommandThis was an attack on railway targets at Aulnoye, Montdidier and St Martin l'Hortier. Alltargets were covered by cloud and the Master Bombers at Aulnoye and Montdidier orderedtheir forces to stop bombing after only 7 and 12 aircraft had bombed respectively. 87 aircraftof No. 4 Group bombed their target at St Martin l'Hortier but no results were seen. 1Lancaster was lost on the Montdidier raid.Aircraft: 317 (196 Lancasters, 90 Halifaxes, 19 Mosquitos, 12 Stirlings) of No’s 1, 3, 4 and8 Groups.Losses: 1 (Lancaster), 0.3 %. None from 12 Squadron.Total effort for the night: 553 sorties, 1 aircraft (0.2 per cent) lost.Wickenby ORBWeather was cloudy in the morning becoming fair. Wind north-NNE 20-25 mph during theday falling at night. Visibility very good.Operations: 38 aircraft required for attack on Aulnoye railway junction (double bridge), 12Squadron 19 aircraft and 626 Squadron 19 aircraft. 1 aircraft 626/N was cancelled at takeoff. 1 aircraft was abortive 626/G2 and returned early. 1 aircraft attacked the primary. 35aircraft reached the target but did not release their bombs on Master Bomber’s instructions.Bomber Command despatched 103 Lancasters and 9 Mosquitoes to carry out this operation.At the target there was 10/10ths cloud with the base approximately 1,000 feet. The MasterBomber orbited for 5 minutes attempting in vain to locate the TI’s (Target Indicators) orground detail and finally ordered the main force to return to base unless they could see theglow of the TI’s. Only 7 aircraft were able to bomb under those conditions. Flak was nil andvery little fighter opposition was encountered.On 18 June all 36 aircraft landed back from operations. No aircraft are missing.12 Squadron ORBWeather: fair with good visibility and northerly wind 15-20 mph. Operations as ordered for19 aircraft. This was the tenth raid and the Captains of aircraft were as follows: F/LtThomas, Lt Dawley, P/O Moore, P/O Pollard, P/O Starr, P/O Pappas, P/O Farfan, P/ODowning, F/S Holbrook, F/O Owens, P/O Hancox, F/Lt Corry, F/Lt Gray, P/O Carroll, P/OHonor, P/O Guilfoyle, P/O Landon, F/Lt Kitson, P/O Underwood. The railway installations atAulnoye were the objective of the 19 aircraft of this Squadron on this night. A good weather“take-off” gradually deteriorated until in the area of the marshalling yards 10/10 cloud wasencountered. Only one of the attacking force bombed the “primary” the remainder returningwith their bombs as instructed by the Master Bomber.ND424 ORBDuration: 2336 to 0401 (4 hrs 25 mins). Bomb load 8,500 lb consisting of 4 x 500 lb GPTD(.025), 6 x 500 lb MCTD (.025), 2 x 500 lb GPLD (12 hrs), 5 x 500 lb GP USA TD (.025).Bombs due to be released at 0146, altitude 3,000 ft. Task abandoned Aulnoye area.Instructed to bomb Red TI or abandon by M/B (Master Bomber). Bomb load brought back.26


Lancaster ND42414. 22 June 1944 - Marquise-MimoyecquesMarquise-Mimoyecques (as the site was known in Allied documents) are two villages around13 Km south west of Calais behind Cap Gris Nez, 8 km from the sea and 165 km fromLondon. It was the site of Nazi Germany's ‘V-3’ supergun that worked on the multi-chargeprinciple whereby secondary propellant charges are fired along a very long gun barrel toaccelerate a projectile. It was also known as the Hochdruckpumpe ("High Pressure Pump",HDP for short), which was a code name intended to hide the real purpose of the project.The weapon consisted of a number of fixed launch tubes built in two large bunkers burieddeep in a limestone hill and it was to be used to bombard London.The site was attacked a number of times by Allied bombers: three times in November 1943,twice in April 1944, three times in May and this raid on 22 June. Little damage was done tothe site directly because most of it wasunderground, but damage to the transportinfrastructure had a far bigger effect. Thesite was finally put out of action followingan operation on 6 July 1944 by No. 617Squadron RAF (the ‘Dambusters’) whenthey attacked with 12,000 lb "Tallboy"deep-penetration bombs. One of thesehit a shaft blocking galleries with earthand debris. This rendered theuncompleted site unusable so theweapon was never used and was finallyoverrun by the Canadian 3rd InfantryDivision on 5 September 1944. Seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Mimoyecques_during_World_War_II.Right: The Siracourt V-weapons Site. Fromhttp://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/images/3121-52.jpg.Bomber CommandThe special V-weapon sites and stores at Mimoyecques and Siracourt were accuratelybombed by No 1 and No 4 Group forces with Pathfinder marking but the No 617 Squadronforce attacking Wizernes failed to find its target because of cloud and returned withoutdropping its bombs. 1 Halifax was lost from the Siracourt raid. Siracourt is around 35 Kmsouth west of Marquise. This site included a large bunker for the storage of V-1 flying bombsand supplied launch sites in the Calais region.Aircraft : 234 (119 Lancasters, 102 Halifaxes, 13 Mosquitos) of No’s 1, 4, 5 and 8 Groups.Losses: 2 (1 Halifax, 1 Lancaster), 0.9%. One Lancaster lost from 12 Squadron (LL917).12 Squadron ORBWeather: fair to cloudy with good visibility and wind westerly 15-20 mph. Operations asordered for twenty aircraft. 11 th raid. Target: Marquise-Mimoyecques. Captains of aircraftwere as follows: S/L Corry, F/Lt Gray, F/O Vernon, P/O Honor, P/O Guilfoyle, F/O Landon,P/O Leuty, F/O Jeffrey, P/O Underwood, P/O Trotter, F/Lt Thomas, P/O Moore, P/O Pollard,P/O Farfan, P/O Downing, F/O Owens, P/O Pappas, P/O Hancox, F/S Lowry, F/S Holbrook.The Pas-de-Calais area was visited in daylight under a canopy of Spitfires by the twentyaircraft detailed for this operation on June the 22 nd . One aircraft developed port inner enginetrouble and crashed on landing after jettisoning part of its bomb load. The crew fortunatelygot out though the aircraft caught fire. Visual identification, supported by photographs andthe crews reports, all combine to classify the raid as highly successful.ND424 ORBDuration: 1410 to 1705 (2 hrs 55 mins). Bomb load 11,000 lb consisting of 4 x 500 lb GPTD(.025), 6 x 500 lb MCTD (.025), 6 x 500 lb MCTD (.025), 6x 500 lb SP USA TD (.025), 2 x500 lb GPLD (36 hrs). Bombs released at 1545 hrs, altitude 16,000 ft, heading 130T, speed27


Lancaster ND424170 mph. Cloudless – visibility good. Visual identification checked by Gee. Square concretecheck. Bombing fairly well concentrated.Special Reconnaissance Report by Mike GuilfoyleFrom National Archive document AIR 27/171. For the original see Appendix D.Special Recco Report. Day 22/June/1944 Marquise/Mimoyecques Const. Wks.Wickenby G/12 P/O Guilfoyle. 1545 hrs. 16,000 ft.Target was clearly visible at 16,000 ft and a well concentrated attack on the target was inprogress as we bombed. Some bursts were seen on the target area by members of thecrew and numerous explosions of bombs around that area. There were no enemy fightersencountered or seen during the trip. Flak was very heavy coming into the target, burstingbetween 14,000 and 16,000 ft. Several of our A/C were hit.The weather was very good with visibility between 40 and ?? miles. No clouds over targetarea but low stratus clouds were blowing (?) towards target from N.E.The route was well chosen and only at the target area was any German (?) oppositionencountered. This was in the form of heavy flak.Lost BombersLancaster LL917 (PH-C) was one of a batch of Mk.1s delivered from November 1943 toAugust 1944. When SOC this aircraft had a total of 131 hours. LL917 took part in thefollowing key operations: Schweinfurt 26/27 April 1944, Mailly-le-Camp 3/4 May 1944.Airborne at 1415 on 22 June 1944 to bomb a flying-bomb site. Within six minutes ofbecoming airborne, the crew reported severe problems with the inner port engine and thesortie was abandoned. At 1541 22 June 1944 part of the bomb load was jettisoned over thesea but on return to Wickenby the Lancaster ran beyond the runway and crashed at 1630.No injuries were reported. Note: SOC means Struck Off Charge.P/O B.S. LeutySgt D. EmmottF/O S.A. ClackSgt E.F. EvansSgt J.R. StoneSgt W.E. PullenSgt D.G. NorthcottAll of this crew were killed on a raid to Kiel on 26/27 August 1944 in Lancaster LM225.15. 23/24 June 1944 – SaintesSaintes is 100 Km north of Bordeaux in south-west France. It was the longest operationflown by our crew.Bomber CommandRailway yards at Limoges and Saintes were bombed with great accuracy.Aircraft: 207 (203 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos) of No 1 and 5 Groups.Losses: 2 (Lancasters), 1 %. Both from 12 Squadron (ND528 and ME642).Total effort for the night: 714 sorties, 8 aircraft (1.1 per cent) lost.Wickenby ORBDocument not found during our visit to the National Archive, although it probably exists.28


Lancaster ND42412 Squadron ORBWeather: fair becoming fine in the evening. Visibility: good. Wind: northerly 10-20 fallingcalm at night. Operation as ordered for 18 aircraft. Target: Saintes. Captains of aircraft asfollows: F/Lt Thomas, P/O Moore, P/O Starr, P/O Thompson, P/O Downing, F/O Owens, P/OPappas, P/O Hancox, F/S Lowry, S/L Corry, F/Lt Gray, F/O Jeffrey, P/O Honor, P/OGuilfoyle, F/O Landon, F/S Dyre-Matthews, P/O Underwood, P/O Trotter. Eighteen aircrafttook off in daylight to bomb the marshalling yards at Saintes. A navigational error resulted inthe abandoning of the mission by one of these aircraft after four hours of flying. The slighthaze over the marshalling yards was a minor deterrent, but the markers were clearly seennevertheless, and a very good concentration is reported in the target area. Some sizeablefires are due to be noted and several explosions of a large nature were observed. Two ofthe aircraft failed to pick out the “primary” bur attacked last resorts. Slight ground defenceswith no fighter opposition, classify the mission as quiet though effective. One aircraft failedto return and a further one completed a successful “ditching” off Start Point (in South Devon).ND424 ORBDuration: 2214 to 0525 (7 hrs 11 mins). Bomb load 11,000 lb consisting of 5 x 1,000 lbMCTD (.025), 4 x 1,000 lb GP USA TD (.025), 2 x 500 GPLD (6 hrs) 2 x 500 GPLD (36 hrs).Bombs released 0203 hrs, altitude 6,000 ft, heading 178T, speed 180 mph. Slight cloud –tops 4,000 ft. Haze to approx 4,000 ft. Visibility good. Red spot fires after passing over A/P.Target 1 RSF. Instructions by M/B to ignore red lights among green TI at A/P. Aiming pointred spot fire tended to be obscured by haze and bursts but a good concentration of bombbursts achieved. A/P 2 TI green and 2 red lights.Lost BombersLancaster ND528 (PH-B) was a Mk.111 and was delivered to 12 Squadron in February1944. When lost the aircraft had a total of 218 hours. ND528 was one of two 12 SquadronLancasters lost on this operation, see ME642 below. ND528 took part in the following keyoperations: Stuttgart 15/16 March 1944, Berlin 24/25 March 1944, Nuremberg 30/31 March1944 and Aachen 27/28 May 1944. Airborne at 2220 on 23 June 1944 from Wickenby tobomb rail facilities and was lost without trace. All are commemorated on the RunnymedeMemorial.F/O F.A. Jeffrey RCAF KIASgt R.J. West KIAF/O J.A. Tebbut KIASgt C.C. Evans RCAF KIASgt D.E. Lyne KIASgt C.T. Wright RCAF KIASgt A.L. Pollock RCAF KIA.Lancaster ME642 (PH-W) was a Mk.1s and was delivered to 12 Squadron on 20 February1944. ME642 took part in the following key operations: Stuttgart 15/16 March 1944, Berlin24/25 March 1944, Nuremberg 30/31 March 1944, Schweinfurt 26/26 April 1944 and Maillyle-Camp3/4 May 1944. Airborne at 2226 on 23 June 1944 from Wickenby to bomb railfacilities. Hit by Flak and later ditched in the English Channel. No reports of injury.F/L J.H. ThomasSgt A.V. PollardSgt K.G. AllumSgt G.W. SnapeSgt A.E. SillitoeSgt B.W. CooksleySgt M. Gormely.29


Lancaster ND42416. 24/25 June 1944 – Flers (2)Flers is 50 Km south of Caen in Normandy, France. The ‘Orders for Night Operations’ (AIR27/171) for 24 June list our crew as the “Reporting Officers and NCO’s” for this operation butthey took part in the raid. They do not appear on the 12 Squadron ORB crew list but there isan ORB for our crew. Did they replace someone else and where there 16 or 17 aircraft onthe operation? There may be some inconsistencies within the official paperwork.Bomber CommandThese were attacks on 7 flying bomb sites, causing fresh damage at most of the targets.The flying-bomb sites were now becoming so cratered by RAF, 8th Air Force and 2ndTactical Air Force bombing that results for individual raids were becoming difficult todetermine. 22 Lancasters were lost from these raids; it was a clear, moonlit night and mostof the bomber casualties were caused by German night fighters, often operating with thehelp of searchlights. It is not known why all of the casualties were Lancasters.Aircraft: 739 (535 Lancasters, 165 Halifaxes, 39 Mosquitos) from all Groups.Losses: 22 (Lancasters), 3%. None from 12 Squadron.Total effort for the night: 820 sorties. 23 aircraft lost (2.8 per cent).Wickenby ORBOperation: 16 aircraft 12 Squadron to attack Flers construction works at night. BomberCommand despatched 107 aircraft to carry out this operation, there was some haze at thetarget although the weather was fine. No observation of results could be obtained.Searchlights were numerous and active but flak was not unduly troublesome. Some fighterswere seen. 1 Lancaster lost.On 25 June 16 aircraft landed back from operations.12 Squadron ORBWeather: mainly fine but misty. Visibility: moderate. Wind: westerly 5-15 mph. decreasinglater. Operations ordered for 16 aircraft. Target was Flers. 13th raid. Captains of aircraftas follows: P/O Leuty, F/O Landon, P/O Trotter, P/O Honor, F/Lt Grey, F/S Dyre-Matthews,F/O Vernon, P/O Underwood, P/O Starr, P/O Pappas, P/O Thompson, P/O Farfan, P/OPollard, S/L Brown, F/S Lowry, P/O Moore. Flers is in the Pas-de-Calais area, came in for“treatment” by the sixteen aircraft detailed for this mission and no losses or early returns arerecorded. A certain amount of flak over the target area did not prevent a useful saturation ofthe target. Bombing from the crews reports – approved to be safely assumed the missionwas successful. The sortie figures of 249 constitute a record, and over the thirteen raids todate give a percentage of 95% of the i.e. (?) aircraft of the Squadron. Surely a sufficienttestimony of the serviceability, and of the excellence of the ground crew, and an undeniableproof of the excellent morale of the Unit as a whole.ND424 ORBDuration: 0145 to 0455 (3 hrs 10 mins). Bomb load 9,000 lb consisting of 16 x 500 lb GPTD(0.025), 2 x 500 lb GPLD (delay 36 and 12 hrs).17. 27/28 June 1944 – Vaires and VitryVaires-sur-Marne is around 14 miles east of the centre of Paris. Vitry-le-François is around100 miles east of Paris and around 15 miles east of Mailly-le-Camp. See the next chapterfor full details of the Varires raid.30


Lancaster ND424Target Distances and LossesThe following table lists each raid, the approximate return distances flown, the number of aircrafttaking part and the numbers lost. It shows a total of 183 aircraft were lost on the 17 knownoperations in which ND424 and our crew took part, an average of just under 11 aircraft lost perraid. 12 Squadron lost a total of eleven aircraft during these operations.The ‘Distance in Miles’ is the straight line return distance and does not include forming-up ortactical diversions en-route. The distance estimates are from http://www.daftlogic.com/projectsgoogle-maps-distance-calculator.htm.No. Date Target Distance(Miles)No. ofAircraftTotalLost%Lost12 SqnLost1 3-4/5/44 Mailly Le Camp 760 362 42 11.6 42 7-8/5/44 Bruz 740 55 0 0 03 9-10/5/44 Merville-Franceville 560 414 1 0.2 04 21-22/5/44 Duisburg 660 532 29 5.5 05 22-23/5/44 Dortmund 706 375 18 4.8 16 24-25/5/44 Aachen West & Rothe Erde (1) 650 442 25 5.7 07 27-28/5/44 Aachen West & Rothe Erde (2) 650 170 12 7.0 18 9-10/6/44 Flers (1) (and 3 other targets) 730 401 2 0.5 09 11-12/6/44 Evreux (and 3 other targets) 608 329 4 1.2 010 12-13/6/44 Gelsenkirchen 680 303 17 6.1 111 14-15/6/44 Le Havre 540 234 1 0.4 012 15-16/6/44 Boulogne 400 297 1 0.3 013 17-18/6/44 Aulnoye-Aymeries 560 317 1 0.3 014 22/6/44 Marquise-Mimoyecques 386 234 2 0.9 115 23-24/6/44 Saintes 1050 207 2 1.0 216 24-25/6/44 Flers (2) (and 6 other targets) 730 739 22 2.8 017 27-28/6/44 Vaires (one way) & Vitry 340 223 4 1.8 1Totals 10,750 7,067 183 2.9 11The 12 Squadron ORB (AIR 27/168) for May 1944 show the squadron flew 156 sorties, 743operational hours on 13 raids and dropped 765 tons of bombs. This was a record up to that date.The Wickenby ORB (AIR 28/945) for June 1944 records that thesquadron flew 292 sorties, 1,352 operational hours and dropped1,203 tons of bombs. This was a second consecutive monthlyrecord.The 12 Squadron ORB (AIR 27/168) also contains a glowingtribute to the ground crews of 12 Squadron written on 7 Junefollowing attacks on railway installations ‘vital to the second front’.Seventy nine sorties in four attacks in four successive daysfrom a two flight squadron speaks volubly for the extremelyhigh efficiency of the Ground Crews, and is ample evidence ofthe determination to keep the aircraft in the air. A goodmeasure of praise is due to these personnel.Right: Doug Jordin inside the rear turret of a Lancaster with some 12Squadron ground crew. Jordin collection.31


Lancaster ND424Training Flights & LecturesThe crew also took part in training flights and attended lectures on various topics.The ORB ‘Orders for Night Flying’ (AIR 27/171) show that Mike Guilfoyle was scheduled to fly onan operation as a second pilot in Lancaster ND627 before the rest of our crew. The date on thepage is missing but it is either 26/27 April (Schweinfurt) or 30 April/1 May (Maintenon). The crew ofND627 on this operation were Lt. Dawley, F/S Redshaw, F/S Allen, Sgt. Stephens, Sgt. Williams,Sgt. Pickering and Sgt. Percival.Pilot Lt. Lail Dawley was an American serving with the United States Army Air Force (USAAF)who was seconded to RAF Bomber Command and 12 Squadron. As well as this operation healso flew on 9 of the 17 operations flown by our crew. For more information see the book ‘BattleUnder the Moon’.The ORB ‘Summary of Events’ (AIR 27/168) documents show our crew also took part in thefollowing training missions and lectures during May and June 1944:2 May: Stand down. Discussion groups were held for all personnel of this station. Subject:Relations between America and Great Britain.5 May: Stand down. F/Lt L.C. Gray (DFM) gave a lecture to pilots and W. Op/Air’s(Wireless Operators) on Radio Counter Measures.8 May: P/O Guilfoyle and crew for bombing training.15 May: P/O Guilfoyle and crew H2S training and level bombsight. P/O Honor second pilot.16 May: At 14:30 hours all had a lecture on Army Composition by Lt. Col. Russell-Edwards.17 May: Group Tactics Officer gave a lecture at 14:00. Pilots notes on the Lancaster I, IIIand X received and issued.18 May: Stand down. Dinghy drills for all crews. Defence exercise during the afternoon forthe whole station.20 May: P.T. (Physical Training) for the remainder of the aircrews not flying.26 May: P/O Guilfoyle and crew. Air to Sea Firing (Hamilton Hill Firing/Bombing) or Crosscountry (document unclear).Below: 12 Squadron Lancaster PH-H (probably LM321). LM321 was transferred to 100 Squadron and it waslost with another Lancaster while on an operation to bomb rail facilities at Acheres on 10th June 1944. Fromhttp://www.tom.forbes.dsl.pipex.com/12squadron/html/album.htm. For further details see the Lost Bomberswebsite.32


Lancaster ND4245. Their Final MissionContext of the RaidThe final operation for ND424 and our crew was on the night of 27/28 June 1944. Most of theBomber Command raids at this time were in support of the allied advance following the D-Daylandings in Normandy just three weeks earlier on 6 June. A number of critical events took placearound this time.Autumn 1943 to Spring 1944During this period the Allies mostly carried out strategic bombing of German cities andinfrastructure. This was the controversial ‘area bombing’ campaign that the Commander-in-Chiefof Bomber Command Sir Arthur Harris was convinced would lead to the defeat of Germany withoutthe need for an invasion.19th April 1944From this day the Allied air forces primary role was changed from strategic bombing of Germany tosupport the Allied invasion of Europe, code-named operation Overlord. This is shown in thereduction in the number of raids against Germany: 70% in March, less than 50% in April, less than25% in May and negligible in June.The Allied planners believed the biggest threat to Overlord would be a rapid build-up of Germandivisions around the Normandy bridgehead more quickly than they could reinforce it. In an effort toprevent this, Bomber Command carried out operations on the railway infrastructure in NorthernFrance and Belgium that were designed to disrupt the supply of men and material from reachingthe defending German forces.May 1944Bomber Command carried out the strategic bombing of major targets on 27 nights during themonth. Flying 11,000 sorties the heavy bombers dropped 37,000 tons of bombs on Germany andoccupied territories. The main effort was on the occupied territories where 28,500 tons of bombswere dropped on relatively small targets: railway centres, ammunition dumps, military depots,airfields and armament factories in German hands. This included the attack on the Panzer militarydepot at Mailly-le-Camp on 3/4 May that may have directly impacted the effectiveness of theGerman forces fighting the Allies around Caen.The Allied air offensive also undertook to systematically destroy the ground organization of theLuftwaffe; the airfields and radar stations, the ‘eyes’ of the Luftwaffe. For nearly 3 months prior tothe invasion, mass air attacks had been made against airfields, communications and depots inFrance, Germany and the Low Countries. The Germans were now only able to watch and mount alimited response to the invasion. The serviceable airfields that had remained intact were at aninconvenient distance from the beaches. Also, the Luftwaffe had lost large numbers of its mostexperienced fighter pilots in the period leading up to D-Day. Consequently they lacked theinspirational leadership that was required to repel the invaders. The object was to neutralize allairfields within 130 miles of the landing beaches.June 1944Allied Strategic Bombers are used largely against tactical targets. RAF Bomber Command drops56,000 tons mainly at night in direct support of the invasion armies. There were also 50 attacks onkey rail and road points and 10 on coastal batteries.33


Lancaster ND4246th June 1944On D-Day 6th of June an Allied force of morethan 150,000 troops, 5,000 ships and 800aircraft assault 50 miles of northern France'sNormandy coastline. More than 4,000 Alliedtroops died and 6,000 were wounded, butthe Allies succeeded in breaching Hitler'scoastal defences known as the Atlantic Wall.Right: Aerial photo of the D-Day landings. From:http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/jun44.html13th June 1944On this day the Germans launched the firstof their ‘V weapons’ (V = Vergeltungswaffen,in English: retaliatory weapons or reprisalweapons) when four V1’s, also known as‘Doodlebugs’, hit London. Around 30,000 V-weapons would bombard south-east Britainbefore the end of the war in May 1945. Forthe rest of the summer of 1944 RAF BomberCommand and the US Army Air Force added the V1 ‘ski-site’ launch platforms and storage depotsto their list of targets they were attacking daily: barracks, airfields and marshalling yards.14th to 15th June 1944Two daylight raids were made on E-Boat pens and the E-Boats themselves at Le Havre (June 14)and Boulogne (15 June). In these two attacks almost all German light naval forces in the EnglishChannel are put out of action so protecting the ongoing invasion.27th to 29th June 1944This period saw the battle for the Cotentin peninsula and the port of Cherbourg to the west of theAllied landings in Normandy. The port installations were extensively damaged by the GermanArmy. The German Army is on the retreat. The map on the next page shows the area occupied bythe Allies at the end of June 1944.20th July 1944Adolf Hitler wounded by a bomb in a conference room at his Wolf's Lair field headquarters nearRastenburg in East Prussia. The bomb was planted by Lieutenant Colonel Count Claus SchenkGraf von Stauffenberg. Between 12:40 and 12:50 the bomb detonated, demolishing theconference room. Three officers and the stenographer were seriously injured and died soon after.Hitler survived, as did everyone else who were shielded from the blast by a conference table leg.For details see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20_July_plot#Stauffenberg_joins_the_conspirators.30th July 1944US General George S. Patton breaks out of the beachhead in Normandy and penetrates deep intoFrance.15th August 1944The Allies land in southern France so open up a new front.25th August 1944Allied troops, with the help of the French resistance led by General Charles de Gaulle, liberateParis after four years of German occupation.34


Lancaster ND424Target Details – Vaires-sur-Marne Railway YardsThis mission was their 17th operation as a crew and was just past the halfway point of theirstandard tour of 30 operations. It was a night time bombing raid on the Paris/Vaires railwaymarshalling yards at Vaires-sur-Marne on the eastern outskirts of Paris on the night of 27/28 June1944. The target had already been attacked by Bomber Command on the night of 29/30 March.Planned Route to the TargetLancaster ND424 took off from Wickenby at 00:29 on the morning of Wednesday 28 June 1944.The planned route to the target was:Wickenby (5000N 0030E) in Lincolnshire.Gravesend (4918N 0218E) in Kent.Vaires (4842N 0238E).The planned route home was:Vaires (4842N 0238E).Littlehampton (4847N 0128E) in Sussex.Wickenby (5000N 0030E) in Lincolnshire.The total distance from Wickenby to Vaires and return via the route points above is around 710miles (340 miles to the target and 370 miles back). These are just straight line estimates andexclude forming up and other possible tactical diversions en-route.Below: Map showing the outbound route via Gravesend and inbound route via Littlehampton for the raid onVaires-sur-Marne. The red dotted line shows the Normandy battlefront at the end of June 1944.35


Lancaster ND424Lancaster ND424 dropped its bombs as planned between 03:00 and 03:06 (2.5 hours after takeoff)but it had suffered critical mechanical problems sometime during the final part of the journey tothe target. With only one engine remaining and losing height rapidly, the pilot gave the order toabandon aircraft. All seven crew bailed out and parachuted to the ground safely in variouslocations to the south west of Paris.Right: Map ofthe Paris areashowing thetarget Vaires attop right and thesquare is thearea where thecrew landed.Below: Detailedmap of thelanding areawith the placenamesmentioned bythe crew.The places marked above are not necessarily where the crew landed but are names mentionedafter they had walked some distance.Les Faircloth: Gif-sur-Yvette.Doug Jordin: Gif-sur-Yvette, close to Les.John Stephen: Villebon-sur-Yvette then Bures-sur-Yvette.Bob Yates: Orsay.Joe Sonshine: Palaiseau (“7 or 8 miles south west of”).David Davies: Bievres.Mike Guilfoyle: Gif-sur-Yvette, where he hid with Doug in a cottage.36


Lancaster ND424So far it is not been possible to deduce in what order the crew abandoned the aircraft. Accordingto Mike’s account he was the last man out, preceded by David. Doug confirmed during a BBCinterview at their reunion in 2008 that Les pushed him out of the aircraft. As can be seen from thedrop locations, the aircraft was heading in a south-westerly direction and crashed around 26 to 28miles from the target in the area around Gif and Chevreuse.Four of the crew evaded capture and eventually returned home safely:Bomb Aimer John Stephen.Wireless Operator Bob Yates.Flight Engineer David Davies.Mid Upper Gunner Leslie Faircloth.Three were captured and became prisoners of war:Pilot Mike Guilfoyle.Navigator Joe Sonshine.Rear Gunner Doug Jordin.Documents Referring to the Vaires RaidThe following images are extracts of original documents from the National Archive that refer to theraid on Vaires. Copies of the full original documents can be found in Appendix B.12 Squadron – ‘Orders for Night Flying’ (AIR27/171)Extract from the 12 Squadron ‘Orders for Night Flying’ for 27 June 1944 was compiled by the 12Squadron Adjutant before the Vaires raid. It lists seventeen crews that were planned to take part inthe raid on Vaires. Our crew in ND424 are 8 th in the list but only sixteen crews actually took part.National Archive reference AIR 27/171. The poor quality is from the original microfilm copy.Wickenby ORB – ‘Summary of Events’ 27 th June (AIR28/945)This document was compiled after the raid by staff at RAF Wickenby. It is a bound book and wasphotographed with a digital camera at the National Archive and it reports:Weather: Cloudy with thunderstorms developing by afternoon, heavy at times.evening. Visibility good, poor in showers. Wind south-westerly.10.45. Operation detailed at 19.20 hours on 26/6/44 cancelled.34 aircraft to standby for night operation,Fair in37


Lancaster ND42412 Squadron 16 aircraft and 626 Squadron 18 aircraft.33 aircraft attacked the primary.1 aircraft (P/O Guilfoyle 12/G) is missing.Bomber Command despatched 107 aircraft to attack the marshalling yards at Vaires nearParis. It was clear at the target and a good attack developed although perhaps a littlescattered. Several explosions were reported.2 aircraft did not return.12 Squadron ORB – ‘Summary of Events’ 27.6.44 (AIR 27/168)This document extract summarises the events of the raid on 27.6.44 and reports:Weather: Mainly fair with occasional showers. Visibility good. Wind westerly 15-20 m.p.h.Operations as ordered for sixteen aircraft. Target Vaires. 14th raid. Captains of aircraft asfollows: S/L Corry, F/O Landon, P/O Leuty, P/O Honor, F/Lt Gray, W/O Dyre-Matthews F/OVernon, P/O Guilfoyle, P/O Starr, P/O Pappas, P/O Thompson, P/O Pollard, F/S Lowry, F/OOwens, P/O Hancox, P/O Downing. The marshalling of Vaires near Paris was the mission tothe sixteen aircraft of this squadron. All attacked the “primary” target and one aircraft is to bereported as missing. Fair weather accompanied by a slight ground haze, prevailed from themidnight “take off” to the target itself. The marking was punctual and very accurate. Burntflashes enabled the crews to see the railway installations quite clearly, and the resultant ofan extremely concentrated attack was only to be expected. Explosions of a spectacularnature are to be recorded, and savour of ammunition trucks being hit. The opposition can bewritten off as insignificant.12 Squadron ORB – Details of Sorties or Flight ND424 (AIR 27/168)This document extract shows the entry for ND424 and our crew and reports that they took off at0029 and their bomb load was 9,000 lb.Lanc III ND424P/O Guilfoyle M.A. (Capt), W/O Sonshine J.R. (Nav), W/O Yates R.F. (W/T), Sgt StephenJ.S.J (A/B), Sgt Davies H.D (F/E), Sgt Faircloth L.J (MUG), Sgt Jordin D.F (R/G).6 x 500 lb GP USA TD.025, 10 x 500 GP TD.025, 2 x 500 GPLD. API H2S Fishpond. A/Cfailed to return. Nothing heard since take-off.12 Squadron ORB – ‘Special Recco Report’The following ‘Special Recco Report’ on the Vaires raid was found during our visit to the NationalArchive. The report was compiled following the raid by F/O Honor and crew in Lancaster ND842PH-K. See Appendix D for the original document.Special Recco Report. 27/28 June 1944. Vaires M/YWickenby. P/O Honor. K/12. 0302 HRS. 12,000 FT.38


Lancaster ND424A group of 3 yellow TI were on the aiming point and two more were scattered to the west ofthe target. A large explosion occurred at 0305. Bombing was well concentrated on themarkers. No opposition encountered from flak or fighters. No cloud. Very slight haze.Route OK.626 Squadron ORBFlying Officer Bob Bennet and crew flew on the Vaires raid in Lancaster UM-R2 (serial numberPA990) of 626 Squadron also based at RAF Wickenby. The following information about the raid isfrom http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/user/68/u1456068.shtml. It is based on the OperationsRecord Books (ORB’s) written by this crew after the raid and now held by the National Archive.Pilot’s Comments: Paris railway yards. Ammunition train hit. Bomb load 9,000 lbs.Navigator’s Comments: Paris-Vaires railway marshalling yards. Dropped 9,000 lbs of highexplosives (HE). Enormous explosion and large fires seen in the target area. Duration was 4hours 15 minutes.Mid-Upper Gunner’s Comments: Paris, France. Target Marshalling yard. Bomb load 8,800 -1,000 pounders and 500’s. Bombed at 7,000 feet. Visibility about 5/10th. Night trip but uneventful.Flak light. No fighter opposition. Trip 4 hours 15 minutes. All aircraft returned.Bomb Aimer’s Recollections: We scored a direct hit on an ammunition train and in the midst ofthe huge red blazing inferno saw the locomotive hurtle upinto the air and somersault over before falling back into theflames.Bob Bennet and his crew went on to complete a total of 31operations and their last was an attack on a petrol dump atRieme-Ertuelde in Belgium on 18th August 1944. The crewwere:Pilot: Flying Officer Bob Bennet.Flight Engineer: Sergeant Johnny Johnson.Bomb Aimer: Sergeant Robbie Robson.Navigator: Sergeant Harry Hayton.Wireless Operator: Sergeant Tommy Scales.Mid Upper Gunner: Sergeant Jim Thatcher.Rear Gunner: Sergeant Gerry Smallshaw.Right: Bob Bennet’s crew ‘Bennet’s Beavers’ of 626 Squadron atRAF Wickenby in July 1944. Back row: Johnny Johnson, GerrySmallshaw, Tommy Scales and Jim Thatcher. Front Row: HarryHayton, Bob Bennet (with dog Beaver) and Robbie Robson. Fromhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/11/a6032611.shtmlOther Raids That NightAlso on the same night 721 aircraft (477 Lancasters, 207 Halifaxes & 37 Mosquitos) attacked 6flying bomb sites. All raids were believed to have been successful but three Lancasters were lost.Based on information from http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/jun44.html.22 RCM (Radio Counter Measures, including “Jamming”) sorties.61 Mosquito patrols.8 Halifaxes mine-laying off Biscay ports.14 Halifaxes on Resistance operations.Two Mosquitos were lost but other Mosquitos claimed 6 German night fighters destroyed. The totaleffort for the night was 1,049 sorties with 9 aircraft lost (0.9 per cent) as follows:7 Lancasters (2 at Vaires, 2 at Vitry & 3 attacking the flying bomb sites).2 Mosquitos.39


Lancaster ND424The Damage DoneFollowing a raid the RAF would sendfast photo-reconnaissance aircraft overthe target to take photographs. Thesewere used to assess the damage doneand to decide if further raids wererequired. These two images areprobably from the same originalphotograph.Right: Leslie’s press cutting shows theParis/Varies marshalling yard just threeweeks after ND424’s final raid. It reads:PARIS/VAIRES MARSHALLING YARDDEVASTATEDAs the result of daylight attacks byaircraft of Bomber Command on 11thand 18th July 1944, freshconcentrations of bomb craters andextensive damage can be seenthroughout the Marshalling Yards atParis/Vaires. The greater part of thedamage from previous raids has notyet been repaired and this, togetherwith the latest damage, presents ascene of chaos over the entire areaof the Yard. Large numbers ofwagons are damaged and derailedand practically all tracks through theyard are cut.Below: Vaires-sur-Marne marshalling yard after being attacked by the RAF on 27/28 June 1944. Originalimage is overlayed onto a modern map. From:http://www.gearthhacks.com/showimage.php?image=new/080505/1486241.jpg40


Lancaster ND424Bomber Command Casualties That NightFrom the dual raid that night against Vaires-sur-Marne and Vitry-le-Francois a total of four AvroLancaster bombers were lost, two from each raid, and the only crew to survive were those fromND424. All 21 young men from the other three Lancasters were killed in action. The aircraftdetails below are from the book ‘Bomber Command Losses 1944’ and the ‘Lost Bombers’ website.Note: the book incorrectly uses the call sign ‘PH-C’ for ND424 so it has been changed to ‘PH-G’below.The two aircraft lost from the Vaires raid were:12 Squadron: Lancaster III ND424 PH-G.460 Squadron: Lancaster I ME793 AR-G2.The two aircraft lost from the Vitry raid were:106 Squadron: Lancaster I LL974 ZN-F.106 Squadron: Lancaster I JB664 ZN-N.12 Squadron Lancaster III ND424 PH-G (Vaires-Sure-Marne)The aircraft took off from RAF Wickenby in Lincolnshire at 0029 to bomb railway facilities at Vaireson the eastern outskirts of Paris. All of the crew had reached the mid-point of their standard tour ofoperations.Pilot Officer M. A. Guilfoyle, PoWSergeant H. D. Davies EvdWarrant Officer 2 J. Sonshine RCAF, PoWFlight Sergeant J. S. J. Stephen, EvdWarrant Officer R. E. Yates RAAF, EvdSergeant L. J. Faircloth, EvdSergeant D. F. Jordin, PoW460 Squadron Lancaster I ME793 AR-G2 (Vaires-sur-Marne)ME793 was delivered to 460 Squadron on 12 May 1944. It also took part in the key operationsagainst Acheres (railways) on 10/11 June 1944 and Gelsenkirchen (oil plant) on 12/13 Jun 1944.When lost this aircraft had logged a total of 77 hours.The aircraft took off from RAF Binbrook in Lincolnshire at 0042 to bomb railway facilities at Vaires.The aircraft was lost without trace. Their average age was 21 and their names are commemoratedon the Runnymede memorial. For details of the Runnymede memorial see Appendix S.Pilot Officer J. L. Israel RAAF, KIASergeant L. G. White, KIASergeant L. E. G. Pester, KIAFlight Sergeant G. H. Hunkin RAAF, KIASergeant F. W. W. Beckwith, KIASergeant T. Krynski RCAF, KIASergeant A. E. J. Rouse, KIA106 Squadron Lancaster I LL974 ZN-F (Vitry-le-Francois)LL974 was a Mk.1 and was delivered to 106 Squadron in May 1944. The only other recorded keyraid for LL974 was on Wesseling on 21/22 June 1944. When lost, this aircraft had logged a total of116 flying hours. LL974 was one of two 106 Squadron Lancasters lost on this operation, seeJB664 below.The aircraft took of from RAF Netheringham in Lincolnshire at 2255 to attack rail facilities at Vitryle-Francois.It was shot down by a night-fighter, crashing at Thibie (Marne), 11 km west-south-41


Lancaster ND424west of the centre of Chalons-sur-Marne. All were buried locally but later their remains weremoved to Dieppe for interment in the Canadian War Cemetery.Flight Sergeant E. C. Cox, KIASergeant C. H. Southworth, KIAFlight Sergeant A. C. Croft, KIAFlight Sergeant R. Nelson, KIASergeant J. D. Pepper, KIAFlight Sergeant M. H. Stoner RCAF, KIAFlight Sergeant A. E. C. Thomas RCAF, KIA106 Squadron Lancaster I JB664 ZN-N (Vitry-le-Francois)JB664 was delivered to 106 Squadron on 15 November 1943. It took part in the following keyraids: Berlin 26/27 November 1943, Berlin 2/3 December 1943, Berlin 16/17 December 1943,Berlin 29/30 December 1943, Berlin 1/2 January 1944, Berlin 2/3 January 1944, Brunswick 14/15January 1944, Berlin 27/28 January 1944 (aborted), Berlin 30/31 January 1944, Berlin 15/16February 1944, Schweinfurt 24/25 February 1944, Stuttgart 15/16 March 1944, Nuremburg 30/31March 1944, Schweinfurt 26/27 April 1944 and Vitry-le-Francois 27/28 June 1944. When lost, thisaircraft had a logged a total of 433 flying hours.The aircraft took off from RAF Netheringham in Lincolnshire at 2255 similarly tasked. The aircraftcrashed 2 km east of Bransles (Seine-et-Marne), 16 km south-east of Nemours. All of the crewwere buried in Bransles Communal Cemetery.Pilot Officer O N. W. Easby, KIASergeant E. P. Richomme, KIAFlight Sergeant A. Robinson, KIAFlight Sergeant J. A. G. Dixon, KIASergeant G. A. Collison, KIASergeant L. K. Webb, KIASergeant D. Hetherington, KIABelow: A Lancaster MK. III in the clouds. Fromhttp://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/images/lancasterbmkiii800.jpg42


Lancaster ND424Below: Photograph of No 12 Squadron taken on 17 February 1944 before our crew joined the squadron.From http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/images/ch18686.jpgThe identification code on the front of this Lancaster looks like S - for Sugar. According to theNational Archive document AIR27/171 (‘Orders for Night Flying’ dated 17 February 1944) this isprobably JB462 (PH-S). It was due to be flown by Warrant Office Maxwell and his crew on anoperation to attack Stuttgart on 15/16 February 1944.Based on information from the ‘Lost Bombers’ website JB462 was shot down by a night-fighterwhile on an operation to attack the railway yards at Vierzon on 30/31 June 1944, just three daysafter ND424. It was one of two 12 Squadron Lancasters lost on that raid, the other was ND842(PH-K), and the crews of both aircraft were killed. The JB462 crew were:P/O O.H. Pollard KIASgt A.R. Albery KIAWO2 N.H. Wettlaufer RCAF KIAF/O F.H. Moxon RCAF KIASgt S.O. Reneau KIAF/S D. Sebestyan RCAF KIASgt J.R. Cowell KIAThey are buried in the communal cemetery at Vernou-en-Sologne (Loire-et-Cher). Leslie seems toremember that P/O Pollard (‘Polly’) was a friend of Mike Guilfoyle. The ND842 crew were:P/O L. Honor KIASgt T.W. Willis KIAF/S D.J. Evans KIAF/S J.F. Kawucha RCAF KIASgt J.E. Massey KIASgt J. Gill KIAF/S G. Chaffe KIAThey are buried in the churchyard at Magny (Eure-et-Loir). P/O Honor flew with our crew assecond pilot on a bombing training mission on 15 May 1944.43


Lancaster ND424Below: A 12 Squadron Lancaster above the clouds over Germany in daylight. Fromhttp://www.12sqn.net/images/Planes/lancaster_germany.gifBelow: Avro Lancasters of No. 514 Squadron RAF, lined up at Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, before takingpart in a daylight attack on fortified villages east of Caen, in support of the Second Army's armoured offensivein the Normandy battle area, known as Operation Goodwood. This was British offensive that took placebetween 18 and 20 July 1944. From http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211826.44


Lancaster ND4246. Crash Reports for ND424The following is an extract of crash report AIR 14/1442, 'K' report 203 purchased from the NationalArchive. See Appendix C for a copy of the original document. This report was compiled by theOperational Research section of the RAF Bomber Command on 29 July following in an interviewwith the flight engineer Sgt H.D. (David) Davies who was the first of the crew to get home.It is assumed that each aircraft crash was investigated in case a common fault was found thatneeded to be rectified during manufacture or maintenance of the aircraft. The report gave theofficial reason for the crash as “engine failure and possibly enemy action”. However Les and Dougdid not fully agree with its contents but each of the crew may have had a unique view and opinionof the events of the night.The aircraft took off from WICKENBY to attack VAIRES Marshalling Yards. It was a clearnight and there was a half moon.The attack was scheduled to take place between 03:00 and 03:06 hours, and about half anhour before reaching the target, while flying at about 12,000 ft. the Lancaster’s starboardouter engine began to give trouble. The oil pressure went down slowly and when it wasdown to about 20 lbs./sq.in., the propeller was feathered. Just before feathering the coolanttemperature was about 130 degrees C and the oil temperature was high. The propellerfeathered normally and the Lancaster carried on to the target, possibly losing height slowly.While over the target whitish yellow flames came from the exhausts of the port outer engine.The oil pressure was normal but the propeller was feathered as the coolant temperaturebegan to rise. At about this time the bombs were released and almost immediately thestarboard outer engine became unserviceable showing symptoms of an external coolantleak. The propeller was feathered at once.The Lancaster was now flying on the port inner engine only and height was lost to 7,000 feetin about 2 minutes. As the aircraft continued to lose height rapidly the Captain gave theorder to abandon aircraft.The Air Bomber, Navigator and Wireless Operator went from the front hatch and it isbelieved that the Rear and Mid Upper gunners left safely from the entrance door.After the Wireless Operator had left the Flight Engineer un-feathered the starboard outerengine so that there was a better chance of the aircraft remaining steady while the Pilot left.He then left at once from the front hatch making a successful exit. He noticed before leavingthat one of the petrol tanks (he does not remember which) had lost about 50 gallons ofpetrol.While descending on his parachute he noticed that the Pilot had left the aircraft and wascoming down safely on his parachute. He landed safely in open country at about 03:40hours.After all the crew had left the aircraft, it caught fire, the starboard wing dropped and it swungoff to starboard. It hit the ground and then exploded and continued to burn on the ground forsome time.The informant was not conscious of the aircraft having been damaged by enemy action, buthe thinks it must have been hit at some time prior to the failure of the port outer andstarboard inner engines – especially as he noticed that some fuel had been lost from one ofthe tanks. He does not think that the Pilot deliberately altered course after bombing, but itseems likely that the aircraft swung to starboard as the informant is believed to have landedin the south western outskirts of Paris.45


Lancaster ND424Below is Mike Guilfoyle’s account of ND424’s final mission on 28 June 1944. This was sent to meby Mike’s son John Guilfoyle in June 2012. It was written by Mike in later life.The bomber squadron had two consecutive 100% night raids, where all the planes on thesquadron were on the raid and returned safely. So the Group Captain O/C decreed that arecord would be created in having a third consecutive night.There was one snag though. The Idiot's plane, G for George, was in the hanger on a majormaintenance just commenced. But the Group Captain ordered the engineers to completethe job in time for the take-off, regardless. He also ordered the bomb squad to load thegoodies onto the plane while in the hanger! The jobs were completed in the dark, and towedout just as the crew arrived for take-off. KR&R’s (Kings Rules & Regulations), the Bible ofthe services, stated that before an aircraft could be returned to operations, it had to be flighttested. This was ignored.Halfway across the channel we feathered the first engine due to high coolant temperature.The crew, including a Jewish Canadian navigator, being young and very keen, decided tocontinue to the target, which was only to Paris railway sidings on the eastern suburbs. Therewere lots of tanks and other armaments on the long freight train, and we were to destroythem. So on we pressed with the target in sight.The second quit through low oil pressure caused by the oil leaking away. Really, the onlything to do was bomb on two engines, which we did. Luckily we were bombing at eightthousand feet so we kept height once the bombs were dropped.But horror of horrors! The third one went as we turned away from the target, coolant again.The flight engineer kept on saying increasingly louder "feather her, skipper, we are about tocatch fire". So we did a trade. Start the one with low oil pressure and we will get away fromParis on two". But of course in a few minutes, enough distance to leave the city built-uparea, the engine began to show great distress, so we feathered.Meanwhile the navigator was calculating how far we would be when we reached twohundred feet. On one engine we could maintain that height, and if there was no hill higherbetween us and the coast, we might then make Manston emergency aerodrome and landOK. Unfortunately, there were some hills over four hundred feet near the coast, and ofcourse we would be at two hundred feet long before.Reluctantly I gave the order to bail out. We were then at around four thousand feet, anddescending at four hundred feet per minute, and all except the flight engineer were soongone. Taffy, bless his heart, said that as I could not bail out successfully because as soonas I left the pilot's seat the plane would start spinning, I would stand a better chance ofsurvival if we crashed landed. On a black night there was no way I was going to try it.We argued for what seemed to me too long. I then pulled rank and ordered 'him to jump,sweetening the order by telling him if he did not jump immediately, then I would and he couldcrash land himself. He saluted, wished me well, went down the hatch and jumped out of thebomb-aimers exit in the nose forward and below me.Now the fun really began, for as I trimmed the plane as well as possible, she started to dropthe wing and commence to turn. Racing down the steps I found the hatch back over the exit.Trying to move it was impossible, but I saw that there was a big enough slit in between thecover and aft of the exit frame. Hurriedly I flew back up, righted the old girl, then pointed theother wing tip about 60 degrees to the ground.No sooner that I got the degrees on the artificial horizon, and saw her going through threethousand feet, than my knees were hanging under the slit, and kicking it up as hard as Icould. But once more I had to race up to repeat the wing tip trick. Not even stopping tocheck the altitude, I found my feet swinging in the air, and the cover free. So was I a microsecondlater.We were trained to count to ten, like ten seconds to get away from the plane, before pullingthe ripcord. I counted a quick one, two, three and pulled, and like a "cockeyed optimist"watched G for George slowly begin her death spin. I have never felt so lonely in my lifeeither before or after. She exploded on hitting the ground about a minute later, being nightmade a good fireworks display.46


Lancaster ND424Then I noticed that I was going backwards, so tried to spin the chute around as we were toldto do in the three hour training session. I pulled three times without a budge from thebackward drift. Then unexpectedly, I was in a pine tree, more like a sapling, because itgently bore me to the ground! Some would call it luck, but like you I called it the naturalhappening to a "cockeyed optimist".Just to clarify why the exit was closed. The bomb aimer had not obeyed the correct drill andthrown the cover through the opening before jumping. He had instead thrown it forward overthe bomb sight. Taffy would not have noticed, either because up until he left, the wings werelevel.Left: A flight ofLancasters in theprocess of beingdispatched onoperations. Fromhttp://www.mod.uk/defenceinternet/pictureviewers/galleryperarduaadastra.htmLeft: Lancaster on a daylight bombing raid over Germany in 1944 (Imperial War Museum). Fromhttp://www.rememberingscotlandatwar.org.uk/Accessible/Exhibition/141/Off-to-the-Front47


Lancaster ND42448


Lancaster ND4247. Escape ReportsFour of the crew evaded capture and their stories below are from the official M.I.9 escape reportsrequested from the National Archive at Kew. Copies of the original reports are in Appendix C.All RAF flight crews were equipped with a button compass and a silk map of France to help themnavigate if they landed in enemy territory. They were also issued with a number of Francs to use ifthey came down safely in France. These items were devised and supplied by M.I.9. For furtherdetails on M.I.9 see Appendix T.The following escape reports were compiled by M.I.9 during interviews in London following theirreturn to the UK. The dates of their interviews are in brackets.Leslie Faircloth (10 August 1944)David Davies (28 July 1944)Bob Yates (6 September 1944)John Stephen (29 August 1944)Leslie Faircloth – Mid-Upper Gunner (Evader)The following journey details have been transcribed from the official escape report M.I.9/S/P.G.(-)2069 (National Archive document reference WO 208/3321 report 2069). The document wascompiled by M.I.9 at Leslie’s debriefing in London on 10 August following his return from Gibralta inan RAF Dakota transport aircraft. The figures in brackets are map references added by M.I.9. Acopy of the original document is in Appendix C.The details of my take-off up to the time of bailing out on 28 June are asrelated by my flight engineer, Sgt. DAVIES (S/P.G.(-) 2059).I landed in a field somewhere S.W. of PARIS and after walking about 100yards hid my parachute, harness and Mae West. I walked for about anhour in a south westerly direction, and then lay low till daylight. Icontinued walking West, but about mid-day changed my mind and turneddue East.At about 1800 hrs (28 Jun) I saw a man working on a small allotment. Iapproached him and made my identity known. I had previously removedmy battle dress and was in shirtsleeves. I found I was at GIF (N.W.EUROPE 1:250,000Sheet 7, R 8926).The man hid me in a hut, left me, and returned an hour later with food and wine, some oldoveralls, and a coat. I stayed in this hut that night and the whole of the next day and night.During this time the man brought me food and some straw to sleep on from his sister-in-law’shouse, which was in the neighbourhood.On 30 Jun the man and his wife took me to PARIS by train. They took me to their ownhouse. On 30 Jun my host took one of my escape photos, and on 1 Jul a police inspectorturned up with an identity card for me (my own photograph had been used) and a “carte detravail”. He returned on 2 Jul with a young man, who brought me a bread card.On 5 Jul, I was taken to the Gare de LYONS. My host bought me a ticket to PERPIGNAN,and at 2100 hrs I boarded the train for PERPIGNAN, without any escort. I was on this trainfor five days.Our route was:- NEVERS (FRANCE 1:250,000, Sheet 22, N 62) – MOULINS (R 77). Wereached MOULINS at about mid-day 6 Jul, where a German officer and three N.C.O.’sboarded the train for inspection of identity cards. Mine passed muster without any comment.We left MOULINS at about 1300 hrs and travelled via VICHY – CLERMONT FERRAND(Sheet 26, W 58) to LANGEAC (Sheet 31, G 91), which we reached at 1700 hrs 6 Jul. Here49


Lancaster ND424there was a hold-up till 8 Jul. We then continued via ALES (same as ALAIS (Sheet 36, J 30)and NIMES (Sheet 37, S 67).On the way I was spoken to by a girl who, after some questioning, spotted me as being anEnglishman. She was travelling with a member of the Maquis. The girl changed trains, butthe man accompanied me on the train via MONTPELLIER (Sheet 41, s 24) to BEZIERS (R71 and NARBONNE (W 59). We did not reach NARBONNE till 10 Jul. The people in PARIShad only given me food for one day. My new helper took me to his house at NARBONNE,and I was given a meal. He then took me back to the train, and I continued to PERPIGNANon my own. My host in PARIS had given me the address of a hotel manager atPERPIGNAN. I found the hotel, and the manager passed me on to another café, who in turnpassed me on to yet another café, but nobody could help me.Left: Leslie’s five dayrailway journey fromParis to Perpignan(around 430 miles):Nevers, Moulins,Clermont Ferrand,Langeac, Alais, Nimes,Montpellier, Beziers,Narbonne & Perpignan.Then across the borderinto Spain.I decided to try and cross the PYRENEES on my own, and on 11 Jul walked inland towardsTHUIR (IBERIAN PENINSULA, 1:250,000, Sheet S 0880, G 2842). Then turning South,after having slept on the night of 11 Jul in the woods, to a point between LE BOULOU (G 33)and CERET (G 22). Here I was approached by a man who asked me if I was English. Beinghungry and thinking he wanted to help me I said “Yes”, and he took me to a house. Hedisappeared and within ten minutes I saw him returning, followed by two Germans with rifles.I immediately left by the back door for the woods. I saw the Germans enter the house andcome out and search the woods behind.50


Lancaster ND424I turned S.E. and after sleeping somewhere near CERET crossed the frontier on 13 Jul andcontinued West of LA JUNQUERA (G 41) to PONT DE MOLINS (G 40), where I was pickedup by a party of Spanish militia on Patrol. I told them I was a member of the R.A.F. and theytook me to their headquarters, where I stayed the night of 13 Jul. They escorted me nextday to FIGUERAS (G 40), where I was taken to the fort and after a brief interrogation to theprison (14 Jul).I remained here until the evening of 19 Jul, when I was rescued by the British Vice-Consulfrom GERONA.I stayed under parole in GERONA in a hotel, and on about 20 Jul taken to BARCELONA andfrom here via ALHAMA (staying till 28 Jul) to MADRID (staying till 7 Aug), and then toGIBRALTER, leaving GIBRALTER on 9 Aug and arriving WHITCHURCH 10 Aug.Below: The approximate route of Leslie’s 30+ mile walk from Perpignan over the Pyrenees into Spain, wherehe was arrested by Spanish Militia at Pont de Molins.Further InformationThe French patriot who found Leslie and provided him with an incredible amount of help wasMonsieur Louis Cotan. Louis took Leslie to his apartment in Paris at 21 Passage Gatbois, ParisXII. Louis wrote a letter dated 20 December 1944 asking if Leslie had returned home safely. Heprovided Leslie with food, shelter, false identity papers and a train ticket to Perpignan. For moredetails of the letter and a photograph of Louis and his wife see Appendix L.The forged French papers identified Leslie as Jean Henri Lebrun aged 19 of Savigny Sur Orge(Seine et Oise). While on the train to Perpignan these papers were examined by German soldiersand ‘passed muster’ without comment. The papers may have been forged but they were from anofficial source as they were provided by the French Police Inspector who visited Leslie at the Cotanapartment in Paris.Leslie’s parents received two telegrams from the Air Ministry Casualty Branch. The firstwas dated 4 July 1944 telling them he was missing in action and the second dated 28 July1944 telling them he was safe and in a neutral country. Copies of these are in AppendixC.51


Lancaster ND424Leslie’s escape money was confiscated by the Spanish Militia when he was arrested in Spain. TheBritish Vice Consul gave Leslie some money (around £12) for essentials while in Spain waiting toget home. Some months later Leslie received a letter from H.M. Government asking for the ‘loan’to be re-paid.Leslie flew back from Gibraltar to the UK in anRAF Dakota containing some “VIP’s” and he satbetween the long-range fuel tanks. He wasdebriefed in London by M.I.9 but no one said hehad to stay so he wandered out and went hometo Thornton Heath but returned the followingmorning. When he arrived home he didn’t usethe key on a string to open the door but knockedinstead. Les’s father opened the door and criedwhen he saw him.Right: Douglas DC3 Dakota at Elvington airfield nearYork (Photo: PLF).As Leslie had used the Irvin parachute he applied for and became a member of the CaterpillarClub. This exclusive club was formed by Leslie Irvin the founder of the US parachute company.Leslie received a letter and Caterpillar badge from Leslie Irvin dated 8 December 1944. SeeAppendix W for further details on Leslie Irvin and the Caterpillar club.David Davies – Flight Engineer (Evader)The following journey details have been transcribed from the official escape report M.I.9/S/P.G.(-)2059 (National Archive document reference WO208/3320). The document was compiled by M.I.9at David’s debriefing on 28 July following his return to the UK. The figures in brackets are mapreferences added by M.I.9. A copy of the original document is in Appendix C.I was a member of the crew of a Lancaster aircraft which left WICKENBYon 27 June 44 about midnight to bomb railway marshalling yards S.E. ofParis at what I think was VAIRES-SUR-MARNE (N.W.EUROPE,1:250,000, Sheet 8, S 2643).On the outward journey one engine failed. We reached the target,however, on three engines and bombed it. We had just turnedhomewards, when we were hit by Flak, and two more engines were put outof action. It was obvious that we would not be able to remain airborne, andthe pilot gave orders to bale out at about 0330 hrs (28 June).I landed in a field somewhere S.W. of Paris and as there was muchmovement on the roads, I hid my parachute, Mae West, and harness, and made off quicklyin a South-Westerly direction. I walked for about an hour, then rested in a field, andcontinued walking for another 20 minutes. I saw a girl picking cherries, approached her, andmade my identity known. She went indoors to fetch her parents, and I was taken into thehouse and kept there until about 1800 hrs. This was at BIEVRES (Sheet 7, R 9532). I wasgiven food and allowed to rest, but was not given civilian clothes. My host advised me to tryand make for our lines near CAEN, but I thought it would be impossible to cross the Germanlines, and headed South.I walked till about 2300 hrs and then slept in some woods. I continued next morning in aSouth-Westerly direction and eventually reached DOURDAN (R 70). The people atBIEVRES had given me enough food to last four days, and I obtained an occasional drink ofwine at odd farms (locations not known).I made for the main road and eventually reached ORLEANS (FRANCE 1:250,000, Sheet 15,W 64). During this time I slept in woods and appealed to nobody for shelter.I walked through ORLEANS at about 2000 hrs on what I think was 1 Jul. A few kilometrespast the town I slept in a barn, but nobody saw me.52


Lancaster ND424I continued South and, probably on 4 Jul, reached LAFERTE-St.AUBIN (Sheet 15, F 7003),where I approached a man who took me to some patriots in the village (name not known).The patriots gave me clean socks and food. I left these people at about mid-day andeventually reached a small farm near NEUNG (L 6083). I made my identity known here andwas taken in for two days (name of people unknown).Whilst here I met a member of the Maquisards, who took me to meet some twenty othermembers in the woods. These told me of an R.A.F. sergeant bomb-aimer called PEARCE,Merlin, from PONTYPRIDD, who had joined one of their groups some time back, asking meif I knew what became of him. (For PEARCE’s report see S/P.G.(.) 1505).The leader of this group advised me to continue South towards ROMORANTIN (L 56). Iwent round ROMORANTIN, and as the bridges at the CH7ER River were guarded, I swam it.I approached a farm somewhere North of VALENCAY (Sheet 21, L 4240). I was allowed toshelter in the granary and next morning (about 7 Jul) given a bicycle (name of peopleunknown). I cycled to CHATEAUROUX (L 50), rode through ARGENTON-SUR-CREUSE (Q37), took the turning towards ST. BENOIT (Q 26). About eight kilometres North of StBENOIT I approached a house in a very small village and asked for help, and from this pointI was assisted on my journey.David Davies’ Journey Through FranceBelow: This map shows the approximate route of David’s walk and cycle ride through France for around 190miles. The points along the route are from his escape report above: A – Bievres, B – Dourdan, C – Orleans, D- La Ferté-Saint-Aubin, E - Neung-sur-Beuvron, F - Romorantin-Lanthenay, G - Valencay (given bicycle), H –Chateauroux, I - Argenton-sur-Creuse, J - About 8 Km north of Saint-Benoît-du-Sault.Further InformationThe ‘Conscript Heroes’ web site http://www.conscript-heroes.com/MI9-05.html contains thefollowing entry for Sgt Hugh D Davies (3320 2059): “returned by SD Hudson July 44 Op Tenerife”.This describes David’s journey back to the UK prior to his interview with M.I.9 on 28 July.“SD Hudson” refers to an RAF Lockheed Hudson used by SD (Special Duties). SD and SOE(Special Operation's Executive) were involved in the clandestine operations that included droppingor landing trained agents in enemy occupied Europe. They landed a range of aircraft in remoteareas, sometimes right under the Germans noses. They also undertook supply drops of arms,ammunition and explosives, for use by the resistance fighters. One of the most well known airfieldsfor these types of operations was RAF Tempsford in Bedfordshire and its resident 161 (SD)53


Lancaster ND424Squadron. 138 (SD) Squadron were also based there. They flew Whitley, Lockheed Hudson,Handley Page Halifax and Short Stirling bombers, and also Westland Lysanders. They were alsoknown to have used North Weald and Stapleford Abbots in Essex, Stradishall and Newmarket inSuffolk as operating bases.‘Conscript Heroes’ also has reference to an escape report for fellow Welshman Merlin Pearcementioned above and some of his evading crew (e.g. 3315 1504 (-) Sgt John McCallum):Report Ref 3315 1505 (-). Sgt M Pearce. 10 Squadron Halifax JD368. FTR Nuremburg Aug43 – Bourgogne.Halifax JD368 (ZA-A) of 10 Squadron was lost returning from an operation to Nuremburg on27/28 August 1943. The entry is from http://www.lostbombers.co.uk/bomber.php?id=9222.This aircraft was part of a batch of 350 Handley Page HP59 Halifax Mk.11 built by EnglishElectric Co. At Salmesbury and Preston, and it was deliver in July 1943. It was airborne at2049 27 August 1943 from RAF Melbourne (South Yorkshire). Homebound it was shot downby a night-fighter and crashed at 0330 at Haulchin (Hainaut), 12 km south-east of Mons inBelgium.Sgt G.Baker EvdSgt R.W.Cornelius EvdSgt J.McCallum EvdSgt V.W.Davies EvdSgt M.Pearce EvdSgt G.R.Darvill PoWSgt G.R.M.Warren RCAF KIA.Sgt Warren is buried in Gosselies Communal Cemetery. Sgt G.R.Darvill was interned inCamp 4B, PoW No.250703.Bob Yates – Wireless Operator (Evader)The following details have been transcribed from the official escape report M.I.9/S/P.G.(-) 2321(National Archive document reference WO208/3322 report 2321). It is assumed the document wascompiled by M.I.9 at Bob’s debriefing in London on 6 September following his return from Parisafter it was liberated. The figures in brackets are map references added by M.I.9. A copy of theoriginal document is in Appendix B.I took off from WICKENBY in a Lancaster aircraft at 0015 hrs. on 28 Jun44. At 0300 hrs I baled out and landed near ORSAY (N.W. EUROPE,1:250,000, Sheet 7, R 92).After burying my parachute, harness and Mae West in a ditch I started towalk to PARIS but gave up due to injuries to my leg muscles and backsustained in the fall from the aircraft. I hid in a corn field till 29 Jun andthen walked to ORSAY (R 92) where I hid under a haystack in a field. Iawoke to find French peasants standing over me and was given food andwater. Later I received clothes and a note in English telling me to wait tilldark. I was then interviewed by a Frenchman who gave me food andshelter and contacted the organisation.Approximately one week later a member of Resistance group escorted me to PARIS bymetro. I stayed there for five weeks until approximately 9 Jul, when I was escorted to thePalais Royal gardens and met a member of the Resistance movement who took me toVANVES (S 03). Whilst staying here I saw an R.A.F. man shot by the Germans whilstdescending by parachute. I found out later that his name was Sgt. HOWELL.On approximately 15 Aug I was escorted back to PARIS and stayed there until it wasliberated and on 4 Sep 44 I came back to ENGLAND.54


Lancaster ND424Below: Map showing locations mentioned by Bob: the target Varies-sur-Marne, Orsay and Vanves (markedas ‘A’).John Stephen – Bomb Aimer (Evader)John Stephen was an evader but there was no file reference in the book ‘Bomber Command WarDiaries 1944’. The crash report for ND424 has cryptic hand-written note alongside his name thathe was “ - seen Me??? 28 Aug”. Is it a place, a name?Further searches of the National Archive eventually found an evader report for John in September2010: Piece reference 3321 2182 (-) “F/Sgt John S J Stephen, 12 Sqn, Lancaster ND424, FTRVaires June 44 - sheltered at Bures-sur-Yvettes until August 1944”. The original M.I.9 filereference is M.I.9/S/P.G.(-) 2182.The following details have been transcribed from the report. The document wascompiled by M.I.9 at John’s debriefing in London on 29 August 1944 following hisreturn from France. The figures in brackets are map references added by M.I.9. Acopy of the original document is in Appendix C.We took off from WICKENBY 28 Jun 44 at approx. 0030 hrs to bomb VAIRES.On the Wy out there was an oil leak in the starboard outer engine, and afterbombing our target two of the engines gave out and we had to bale out. Justbefore touching ground my parachute hit some high tension wires, and I wasleft hanging about five feet from the ground.I released myself and landed close to a wood South of VILLEBON-SUR-YVETTE,(N.W.EUROPE 1:250,000, Sheet, R 9626). I went into the wood and buried my mae west.I slept that day in the woods and in the morning started to walk West. I walked West all dayand slept in a wood the following night.On the morning of 29 Jun I called at a house on the outskirts of BURES-SUR-YVETTE (R9125). The lady of the house took me in and gave me food, and I stayed there until 27 Aug,when I went to CHEVREUSE and contacted the Americans who sent me back.55


Lancaster ND424John spent two months at the house in Bures-sur-Yvette, south west of Paris. He then travelled afew miles to Chevreuse and made contact with the US Army. The heading of the escape reportsays that he left Banville on 28 August 1944 and arrived in RAF Northolt on the same day. Banvilleis north-west of Caen in Normandy, near the coast, and Northolt is just west of London.Left: The ‘A’ is Buressur-Yvetteand the redsquare is Banville inNormandy.56


Lancaster ND4248. Prisoner of War ReportsThree of the crew of ND424 were captured and became prisoners of war (POW). They were eachbetrayed by a notorious French collaborator and were taken to the Gestapo Headquarters in Paris,then to the Fresnes prison to the south west of Paris for interrogation by the Gestapo. They wereamongst 168 allied aircrew who were transported in railway cattle trucks from Fresnes to theBuchenwald Concentration camp. They arrived in Buchenwald on 28 August 1944 and were allallocated a camp registration number. See Appendix U for more information on Buchenwald andStalag Luft III.This section contains references to the book ‘168 Jump Into Hell’ by Arthur G Kinnis and StanleyBooker. This book details the experiences of the 168 allied airmen who were captured and interredin Buchenwald. It includes details of the KLB (Koncentration Lager Buchenwald) Club that wascreated for former inmates. “The purpose of the Club is to perpetuate the comradeship alreadyshown by the flying personnel of Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Canada,by interchanging of pamphlets, ideas and visits”.The following reports for the POW’s are from various sources and were compiled following theirrelease from captivity. The dates of their interviews are in brackets (if known).Joe Sonshine (Not found)Doug Jordin (26 September 1945)Mike Guilfoyle (3 May 1945)They were transferred to various POW camps and were eventually liberated in late April and earlyMay 1945, ten months after their final mission together.Joe Sonshine - Navigator (POW)The following extract is from the book ‘168 Jump Into Hell’ (pages 111 and 112). Joe’sBuchenwald Camp Registration Number was 78343. No ‘official’ documents have been found forJoe so far.I landed near a forest approximately 7 or 8 miles south-west of Palasieu.Due to the sprain in my back, I buried my parachute and harness andthen moved into a forest nearby. I stayed there for two nights and a dayas I was not in a condition to travel. The third night I used my compassand map and started to walk towards Versailles. I walked approximatelyseven miles and hid in the forest at daybreak and then spent the daythere.At nightfall I saw a Frenchman picking cherries. I contacted him andexplained to him that I was a Canadian and needed help to escape beingcaptured. He arranged to come back the following noon with food andhelp. The next day he came as he had promised with food and also another chap whosename was Andrew Lamour. He supplied me with civilian clothes and took me, by bicycle, tohis bombed out home in Palasieu.I stayed there for a few days while he was trying to contact the French Underground. After afew days he took me to either his mother’s or mother-in-law’s home where his wife and twochildren were. I spent several days there during which time I met several of the localresidents and help them plan some sabotage through railways and bridges. It was notadvisable that I go along with them as I could not speak their language very well and wouldonly be in their way.I was later taken to Paris be a chap using the name of Charles Emery. I do not know his realname, but I understand he was a Stock Broker of the Paris Exchange and his wife was beingheld by the Gestapo. He also used a bicycle. The name plate on it was of some town57


Lancaster ND424already captured by the Allies. He took me to an apartment house on a street called Rue deLenoir.We went to Paris by subway and we came out at a station which I think was RepublicaStation. This apartment was a four or five storey building. We were in an apartment on thesecond floor with about six rooms. There was a blond woman there who was married and Iwas told that her husband was prisoner in Germany. She worked for a man living above usin a stationery store.I stayed there for a few weeks while I contacted several people and tried to get help. I gavethem any information I knew, that I thought advisable. I was taken from there by CharlesEmery and handed over several times on street corners and sidewalks until I was taken to aDoctor’s apartment where I met two American Airforce chaps whom I did not see again afterthat.I stayed there approximately three or four days during which time the Doctor was very rarelythere. The only other person there was the maid. I was then taken to another apartmenthouse which was in the suburbs of Paris.I cannot remember the name but the street address was 4 Rue de Mendelssohn. We werein the first floor. There was a married couple there: the woman was tall and blond, the manwas short and dark. Their name was De Costa. I stayed there for approximately a week.I was then taken to a meeting place across from the Bastille Prison. It was on the fourth floorfrom which I was transferred with two Americans to the Boulevard of Sebastopole. TheAmericans were Bruce Little 78301 and Park Chapman 78284 [with their Buchenwald POWnumbers]. There were also two stout people called George and Genevieve.We were also questioned by a man named Jack who said he would get us to Spain. Heasked us several military questions and also other types of questions. He took away ourvaluables and any other money we had. We stayed there approximately a week. Fromthere we walked to the Museum were we were picked up by car. I was separated from therest and taken to an old hotel and put there for several days. I joined up later with the twoAmericans and we were taken to an apartment house. Next to it seemed to be a Germanheadquarters as they were heavily armed with hand grenades and machine guns. Here Imet a short dark man and his wife whom said they were Spanish. There we were picked upbe a small black car and we were told that we were going to Chartres. As we were drivingthrough the city of Paris they put a gun in our sides then drove us to the Gestapoheadquarters.In Gestapo headquarters we were questioned and beaten. They handcuffed us and put usin a cell. We were then taken to Fresnes Prison, a few miles south of Paris.I was held there in a cell with four Frenchmen. We slept on the floor. They told me I wasgoing to have a trial in the German fashion. I was accused of being a saboteur and a‘Terrorflieger’ [“terror flyer”]. Later I was told that I was sentenced to be shot.When the Americans started to advance on Paris, three days before Paris was liberated, wewere move to the railway yards and put into cattle trucks, 90 men to a cattle truck and givena little food. The night we left the railway yard it was raining. There was a car of Germanguards between each prisoner car. That night several Frenchmen from another car escapedthrough the barbed windows and there was shooting. The German claimed they shot twomen, but I doubt it. It seemed as though ten or fifteen escaped. They then mountedsearchlights on every car.During the night they had several list watching for escapes. During the next day and night weplanned an escape by prying some floorboards loose in our car. As the train started angained a little speed ten or twelve fellows got out that way. Finally one chap was caughtgoing through the floor.During that time there was a young Frenchman who had his hand on the barbed wire. Oneof the guards saw it and shot at it. It hit his hand and he was taken out of the car and shot todeath. We were stripped of all clothing and put back in the car. We continued on outjourney until we reached the Concentration camp “Buchenwald”. There we were questionedand treated as civilians.58


Lancaster ND424I became very sick in Buchenwald and developed an abscess on my left elbow due to abang I sustained while bailing out. I was placed in a so called hospital and stayed there forseveral weeks. I was helped by a Dutchman who gave me some food.A German Air Force Doctor was visiting the Hospital. He spoke to me and asked why I wasin a concentration camp instead of a Prisoner of War Camp. Approximately one month laterI was moved to Luft 111 where I was placed in the hospital due to a serious case ofDiphtheria, malnutrition and back injury.I stayed there until the middle of January when we were force marched to Stalag 13D nearNuremburg. We stayed there until the middle of March when we were again force marchedto Stalag 7A at Mooseburg. We were liberated by the American 3 rd Army on April 29 th .During the forced marches several of the chaps escaped, but were picked up again by theGestapo, as they were combing the places we had passed.The man called ‘Jack’ mentioned above may have been Jacques Desoubrie, an agent who workedfor the Gestapo and betrayed many airmen. For more information see Appendix V.Doug Jordin – Tail Gunner (POW)Doug was betrayed and captured in Paris on 15 July 1944 and was incarcerated in Buchenwald on20 August 1944 before internment in Camp Stalag Luft III, POW number 8099. His BuchenwaldCamp Registration Number was 78341. Doug was just 19 years old when he was shot down (thesame age as Leslie and David).An account of Doug’s story is in the book ‘Flying Into Hell’ (pages 64 to 72) but Doug said theauthor Mel Rolfe had applied a degree of poetic licence to the story. The following detail is fromdocument (POW archive) WO 344/168/1 (JONKER – JOUGHIN) compiled byM.I.9 following an interview with Doug on 26 September 1945, some five monthsafter his return to the UK.I was flying on a bombing raid on the night of 27/28 June 1944 and had tobale out owing to faulty engines. I came down about 30 Km. West of PARIS.I disposed of my flying equipment and started to walk until daylight. I went toa French cottage and was taken in and there I found my pilot. We stayedhere for three days and nights. On the fourth day they bought us tickets andtook us into PARIS. We were supplied with civilian clothes by these people.In PARIS we were met by a Frenchman who said he was a British agent. Hetold us if we should get back to ENGLAND to say ‘Col BLIMP’ had helped us. We weretaken to a French barracks where we were kept for a day. He fixed us up with identity cardsand clothes. We were taken to a flat with an Australian and American flyers, ThomasMALCOLM, R.A.A.F. and A.J. PELLETIER, 8 th Army Air Corps. I stayed here for about twodays and the American and myself were moved to a café. We stayed here till 14 July till wewere taken to another part of PARIS.Here we met the head of the local organisation called Jacques. We remained at this placefor one night and the next day we were taken to the suburbs of PARIS. Here there wereabout eight of us, we were told to wait for transport that would take us to the South of Franceunder the guise of forced labour. The transport arrived and there were already some aircrewin it. We were driven around the town and arrived eventually at the Gestapo H.Q. Weremembered that all of our guides from the time we met Jacques were armed. We werelater sent to FRESNES Prison PARIS for a month and treated as civilian prisoners. Therewere about 160 British and U.S. flyers and were all sent to BUCHENWALD where weremained for two months.I was liberated 3 May 1945 about 10 miles from LUBECK by the British Armoured Division. Iwas flown to U.K. 7 May 1945.Doug was imprisoned in the following camps:Fresnes Prison (Paris) 15 Jul – 15 Aug 44.Concentration Camp (Weimar) 20 Aug? – 19 Oct 44.59


Lancaster ND424Stalag Luft III (Sagan) 21 Oct 44 – 28 Jan 45.Stalag Luft III 5 Feb – 3 May 45.For further information on the two airmen mentioned by Doug, Thomas Malcolm and ArthurPelletier, see Appendix Y. The man called ‘Jacques’ mentioned above may have been JacquesDesoubrie, an agent who worked for the Gestapo and betrayed many airmen. For moreinformation see Appendix V.Mike Guilfoyle – Pilot (POW)Mike initially evaded capture and received help from a French patriot M.I.Brisquet of 125 Victor Hugo Street in western Paris who hid and fed Mike untilcontact was made with the French Resistance. Mike was hiding in one housewhen Doug Jordin walked through the door. Mike was betrayed and capturedon 19 July 1944, three weeks after the raid in the same manner as were Joeand Doug. He was imprisoned in Fresnes Prison in Paris until 15 August. Hewas then taken on the infamous journey to the Buchenwald ConcentrationCamp in overcrowded railway cattle trucks and arrived there on 24 August. HisBuchenwald Camp Registration number was 78393. He was later moved toStalag Luft III then to Tarmstatdt and finally to Trenthorst.The following details are taken from the National Archive (POW Archive) Piece Reference WO344/127 (GROAT – GYTON) for Pilot Officer M.A. Guilfoyle RAF (Pilot). These are a set of formscalled ‘General Questionnaire for British/American Ex-Prisoners of War’ that were completed byMike on 3 May 1945, the same day he was released from the Trenthorst POW camp. SeeAppendix C for the original document and a transcription.Mike is included on a list of 99 RAF officers who had been imprisoned in Stalag Luft III EastCompound brought back to the UK fromGermany by F/Lt L.F. Gregory (RAF SerialNumber 37598). See Appendix E for detailsof the documents found in the NationalArchive.Right: A section of the original hand written list forJune 1944 and the entry for Mike Guilfoyle:F/O M.A. Guilfoyle L 3ENS 10,000 EJL.This means: L = Lancaster, 3ENS = 3 engines,10,000 = height in feet shot down, E = aircraftabandoned in the air, J = aircraft destroyed, L =meaning not known. Listed immediately beneathMike is Squadron Leader Phil Lamason who wasalso imprisoned in Buchenwald and an importantfigure in that story.There is another related report in the National Archive: AIR 40/1552 “Information from Prisoner ofWar in Stalag Luft III. June 27/28 12/G P/O M.A. Guilfoyle (172424). Lancaster. 3 Engines U/S.10000ft. A/C abandoned in air, A/c destroyed”. An estimate was requested in November 2009 butit was for the whole document and the cost was deemed excessive. See National Archive link:http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php?title=Information_from_Prisoner_of_War_in_Stalag_Luft_III.While searching the internet for M.A. Guilfoyle an item was found at http://www.londongazette.co.uk/issues/36941/supplements/924/page.pdf.This is a “Supplement to the LondonGazette” (page 924) dated 16 February 1945 containing an entry to say that Mike was promotedfrom Pilot Officer to Flying Officer on 1 September 1944 while he was in Buchenwald:Confirmation and promotion.Plt. Offs. (prob.) confmd. in appts. and to be Flg. Offs. (war subs.):-M. A. GUILFOYLE (172424). 1st Sept. 1944.60


Lancaster ND424The POW’s Journeys Across Occupied EuropeAbove: This map shows the journeys made by our three POW’s across occupied Europe.Mike, Doug and Joe:A - Fresnes Prison in Paris, France.B - Buchenwald Concentration Camp near Weimar in Thuringen, Germany.C - Stalag Luft 3 near Sagan, then Germany, but now Zagan in Poland.Mike and Doug:Joe:D - Marlag/Milag Nord near Tramstadt, GermanyE - Trenthorst near the Baltic port of Lubeck, Germany.F - Stalag XIII D near Nuremburg, Germany.G - Stalag VII A in Moosburg near Landshutt, north west of Munich, Germany.When Allied forces overran Germany many thousands of POW’s were liberated and requiredtransporting back to the UK. At this time Lancasters were being transferred from BomberCommand to Transport Command to be used to fly POW’s back to the UK. The book ‘Lancaster’by Nigel Cawthorne has a photograph of POW’s walking in front of a Lancaster at Lubeckaerodrome on 11 May 1945. Doug was released from Trenthorst on 3 May 1945 and he (andMike?) flew back to the UK probably in a Lancaster from the nearby Lubeck aerodrome on 7 May.Lübeck had been occupied without resistance by the British Second Army on 2 May.In November 2011 I received an e-mail from Sophie-Caroline Pascal Lavoué to tell me that thecottage in Gif-sur-Yvette where Mike and Doug hid together was owned by her grandparents Mr &Mrs Jerome. She had found their names on our website www.lesfaircloth.co.uk. Her motherJeanine, who was a 15 at the time, wanted to know what happened to Mike and Doug afterwards.For details and pictures of the cottage and the family see Appendix AA.61


Lancaster ND42462


Lancaster ND4249. Epilogue - What Happened to Them?Following my research on the crew and their exploits during the war I then tried to find out whathappened to them afterwards. Therefore here are my findings so far starting with my father.Leslie FairclothLeslie did not fly on any further bombing operations with the RAF. He had taken part in aroundfourteen combat missions. He became gunnery instructor and travelled widely around RAF basesin the UK training future gunners. He spent time in bases at Dumfries, Manby, Dalcross(Inverness) and at Peterborough as Station Warrant Officer.Les did not see any of his crew after that fateful night in 1944. He tried to contact Joe Sonshine bysending a letter to Joe’s girlfriend in Canada but the letter was returned unopened.While stationed in Lincolnshire Leslie met his future wife Megan at a dance in Scunthorpe. Meganwas visiting family in Scunthorpe from her home in Wrexham. Leslie left the RAF in February1947 and married Megan in May in the same year.Soon after their first son Peter was born in 1949 they became publicans at the Cambrian publichouse in Wrexham town centre. In 1952 they moved to the New Black Horse in the mining villageof Rhostyllen near Wrexham and I was born there in 1955. They left the pub business in 1964 andmoved to Mold. During this period Leslie also had a full time job as a commercial traveller for alocal sweet and tobacco wholesaler. He retired as a company director.Leslie’s next encounter with a Lancaster was in the late 1980’s when the Battle of Britain flightvisited the British Aerospace factory at Broughton near Chester. Lancaster PA474 was parked upprior to the flying display and Leslie was invited on board by one of the flight crew. He hadforgotten how difficult it was to climb over the main spar that bisects the centre of the fuselage.The aircraft is one of only two Lancasters remaining in airworthy condition out of the 7,377 thatwere built, the other being in Canada. PA474 was actually returning home as she was built at theBroughton works in mid-1945. For further details of Lancaster PA474 see the RAF websitehttp://www.raf.mod.uk/bbmf/theaircraft/lancaster.cfmLeslie applied for and received a copy of his RoyalWarrant to which he was entitled after beingpromoted to Warrant Officer on 22 September 1945.It is now framed and proudly on display.Leslie and Megan live in Pentre Broughton nearWrexham and they have two sons, fivegrandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Leslie isa member of the Chester and Wrexham branch ofthe Aircrew Association and regularly attendslunches with other members and their wives.Left: Leslie and Megan alongside a Douglas DC3 atElvington, near York in 2008 (Photo: PLF).63


Lancaster ND424Joe SonshineIn October 2006 my father received a letter from Remco Immerzeel in France to say he had seenthe ND424 article on the BBC People’s War website. Remco is a co-contributor to a number ofRAF articles on this website. In the letter he told us the sad news that Joe had passed away earlierin 2006.After an internet search I found a copy of Joe’s obituary fromthe Toronto newspaper ‘The Globe and Mail’ and a copy isin Appendix BB. Joe died of cancer on 13 th March 2006 inToronto, Canada aged 85. Its introduction describes him as“veteran, entrepreneur and philanthropist”. Although not apublic figure, more than 750 people attended his funeral.Joe’s widow Mildred and family still live in Toronto.I then searched the internet for an e-mail address for RuthPike who wrote the obituary. I found her e-mail address andthrough this we made contact with Joe’s widow Mildred viae-mail. I sent details and crew photographs to Mildred via e-mail and they sent us copies of the book ‘168 Jump IntoHell’. Joe sponsored the publication of this book that tellsthe story of the POW’s that were sent to Buchenwaldconcentration camp including Joe, Doug and Mike.Right: Joseph &Mildred Sonshine in 2003 when Joe was aged 82.(Photo: Mildred Sonshine).Doug JordinOn his return to the UK Doug married his childhood sweetheart Lucy. Doug was a farm managerand he and Lucy lived in Stalmine, near Poulton-le-Fylde in Lancashire.In early 2008 we searched the online telephone directory for the name D. Jordin. We found justone entry as it is an uncommon surname and passed the number to Leslie. Leslie called Doug andthey spoke for the first time since June 1944 when Les pushed Dougout the stricken Lancaster.Doug and Les met again on Sunday 13 July 2008 after a gap of 64years and 2 weeks. It was filmed by the BBC Look North televisionprogram and was picked up by BBC Wales, news agencies andnewspapers all over the world. See Appendix GG for the BBCcoverage and Appendix HH for the Daily Mail coverage. Contact wasalso established with Bob Yates in Perth, Western Australia.Sadly Doug passed away in February 2010. Leslie and familyattended the funeral to pay their last respects to his wartime comradeand friend. Over one hundred people attended the service atPoulton-le-Fylde in Lancashire.Above Right: Doug Jordin aged 84 taken at the reunion with Les in July 2008.For a picture of Doug and Lucy at the reunion see Appendix FF.Bob YatesIn December 2009 Bob was living in Hammersley near Perth in Western Australia. He wrote toboth Les and Doug to re-tell his story and it differs from the official account above.“I have kept putting off this letter in the hope I would be well enough to travel to UK but itseems that I only have a slim chance of ever making the trip.64


Lancaster ND424Throughout my adult life I have been in and out of hospital due to the spinal damage Isuffered when I hit the ground that night and landed on a gravel path on top of a hill and wasknocked out for a time.The info you sent was mostly incorrect in my case, I started walking due south hoping toreach Spain but after a few days I spoke to a couple of teenagers and they gave me foodand wine and then went of to find someone to help me.After a few days resting in a barn I was given an old jacket and slacks and was escorted toParis by train. The people I stayed with were French communists and they had plans to takeover the government of France.They tried to hand me over to other people until I was eventually placed with two femaleBritish agents together with several other airmen, we were told that a plan was afoot to landa A/C in a field and we would all be flown to UK. This plan was betrayed and we had toscatter fast, I watched the Germans raid the place from across the street.I then found myself back with the Commos only this time they were fighting group, theleaders only two sons were shot in a reprisal raid and I was installed in a flat on the 7 th floorof a 12 storey building where I lived for the rest of my stay in France.What I did in that period has been sealed by the Australian Government and I am notallowed to talk about it.During this time I only went out after dark, I slept during the day with a loaded rifle by myside hoping the Germans would kill me rather than be captured if they raided the place.I was rushed out of UK by the first available ship when I got back to UK, didn’t get time tosay goodbye even, it was when I was back in Australia that my back trouble flared up and ithas bothered me a lot ever since, I have had three major operations on it but they didn’t everget it right.In 1947 I started work with the telephone company and had 30 years service in Victoria andTasmania before I was retired “medically unfit due to war service”. I also got married in 1947to a girl from Tasmania and we have just passed our 62 years of marriage, and they told us itwouldn’t last. We had 3 girls first and then a boy, after that we gave up!Unfortunately the youngest girl contracted Meningitis at 6 weeks which left her sadlyhandicapped, she lives in a Church hostel with 9 other girls and is quite happy.I have often wondered of the fate of crew and wrote to Air Ministry several times over theyears without either advice or help which was disappointing to say the least. Now that Iknow some of their history I am much happier.A few years ago I learned that the first crew what I did Opswith were shot down about three weeks before we were andonly the bomb aimer survived, due to a photo one of the crewwas carrying I was mistakenly buried in a common grave withthem, I have enclosed a copy of pages from a book written bya Frenchman about the event. (See Appendix Z). They stillmaintain the grave, but have taken my name off thetombstone.Well Les I hope I can give you some good news next time, butto be honest I doubt that my health will improve enough tomake the journey. It’s just too bad we were not in contactsooner as the way we parted left a lot to be desired don’t youthink??”.Left: Bob Yates in 1998, aged 75 (Photo: Bob Yates).Bob enclosed some details about the previous crew that he served with and these are included inAppendix Z. He also mentioned that “A Frenchman told me that our own aircraft crashed on top ofan anti-aircraft battery but I don’t know if this is true on not”. Maybe this is another source of thetracer that Leslie saw flashing across the sky when the Lancaster crashed a few miles away whilehe was descending by parachute? We assumed this was the Lancaster’s own ammunitionexploding.65


Lancaster ND424In February 2010 I sent Bob an e-mail to let him know we had contacted David Davies. In returnBob sent me a web link to ‘almost the full story of my life’ and this can be found athttp://www.australiansatwarfilmarchive.gov.au/aawfa/interviews/1828.aspx. It is the transcription ofa series of interviews with Bob about his life and wartime experiences.Sadly Bob passed away in May 2012 in Perth aged 89. He was survived by his wife Norma,daughters Robyn, Joanne, Helen and son Paul. I have since exchanged e-mails with his brotherDon and passed him the link to Bob’s story in the Australian archive as mentioned in the previousparagraph.John StephenA Google internet search for “J. S. J. Stephen” in late 2009 found the following reference from acopy of Flight magazine from 9 November 1951 that probably refers to John. Fromhttp://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1951/1951%20-%202259.htmlAviation. Royal Air Force and Naval Aviation News. Charity Ball.It is hoped that the Royal Air Force Escaping Society's funds will benefit considerably fromthe proceeds of the charity ball to be given by the Aberdeen University Air Squadron onWednesday, November 28th. Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir will be amongst a number ofeminent people who have already promised to attend and a local "escaper", J. S. J. Stephen,hopes to entertain his helper from the Continent. Funds of the R.A.F. Escaping Society areused to help the people and their families who aided R.A.F. prisoners to escape. Particularsmay be obtained from S/L. I. L. McG. Hallam, Aberdeen University Air Squadron, PowisGardens, Aberdeen.Some years ago Leslie saw an obituary entry in the Aircrew Association magazine ‘Intercom’ thathe thought may have been for John.Sadly John passed away on 11 December 2000 inPenicuik near Edinburgh, Scotland aged 77. After a seriesof internet searches I eventually found a reference to hisobituary on the web site of ‘The Scotsman’ newspaper.They kindly provided a copy and it can be found inAppendix CC. At that time he was survived by his wifePeggy, daughter Doris, sons David and Derek, fivegrandchildren and three great-grandchildren.In September 2011 I received an e-mail from John’sgrandson Adam Stephen then from his elder son David.We exchanged details including telephone numbers soshortly afterwards John’s widow Peggy telephoned Leslie.They last met in 1944 when Leslie went up to Aberdeen onleave with John.Right. John and Peggy Stephen at their grandson Adam’sgraduation in 1994 (Photo: Adam Stephen).Hugh David DaviesA Google search for ‘"Hugh David Davies" RAF’ in October 2010 found a reference to a promotionof a Hugh David Davies in the ‘Second Supplement to The London Gazette’ of Friday 19 March1948. From http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/38243/supplements/2015/page.pdf.As Flying Officers, short service (five years on the active list) - Hugh David Davies (186581)1st Mar 1948 (seniority 11th July 1947) (and transferred to the Secretarial Branch onappointment).David joined the RAF in March 1943 so the “five years on the active list” mentioned above doescorrelate, i.e. March 1943 to March 1948 is 5 Years. However the serial number 186581 above isdifferent to the serial number 183026 specified in his escape report (see Appendix C).66


Lancaster ND424In September 2010 I sent an e-mail to BBC Wales to see if they can help to trace him and theywrote an article for their website. See Appendix II for details. Unfortunately no one responded tothe request.So in February 2011 I sent an e-mail to the South Wales Argus, the local paper for the area he wasfrom in South East Wales. On 9 February I received a call from Ruth Mansfield, a reporter fromthe paper, to say an article was to appear the following day. In the Thursday evening I checked ourphone and there were a number of messages and missed calls. A short while later I answeredthe telephone and a voice said “My name is Hugh David Davies and I believe you are looking forme”. After my initial shock wore off we had a great chat about what I knew and about him and whathe has been doing. He provided his e-mail address so I sent him my father Leslie’s telephonenumber.David called my father Leslie on the Friday and they both said their voices hadn’t changed a bit…in67 years! David then sent his photograph via e-mail.On return to the UK he went back to 12 Squadron but was soon transferred to 550 Squadron asthey were short of experienced men. 550 were also equippedwith the Avro Lancaster and were based at that time in RAFNorth Killingholme in Lincolnshire.David left the RAF in 1947 and applied for grant to attenduniversity. After waiting some time for the grant to comethrough he re-enlisted in the RAF and was commissioned intothe Secretarial Branch. This explains the second serialnumber found above. Not long after this his grant camethrough but it was too late and he stayed in the RAF. Davidspent most of his second RAF career with Transport Commandand travelled widely to bases in the UK and around the world.Right. David Davies aged 80 (Photo: David Davies).My wife and I met David in late April 2011 at his house inFaringdon in Oxfordshire. What a charming gentleman he isand he has some great stories of his time in the RAF. Areunion between David and Leslie is being planned.Mike GuilfoyleAn internet search for “Michael Guilfoyle” in late 2010 found an article from the Jamaica Gleanernewspaper from 2 May 1966 reporting on the first flight of a new airline Air Jamaica:"Gleaming blue and white plane steps marked 'Air Jamaica' were wheeled out on the rampand over the public address system the name 'Air Jamaica' took pride of place aspassengers were called for its flight."An all-Jamaican crew that took the first 'Sunjet' plane, carrying 102 passengers, into theskies was made up of Captain Herbert Steele, Captain Michael Guilfoyle and Captain JohnPurchas.Could this Captain Michael Guilfoyle be our man? Mike was a pilot in 1944 and would have beenaround 45 years old at this time so it is possible. For the original article see: http://jamaicagleaner.com/gleaner/20100501/lead/lead1.htmlIn September 2011 I sent e-mails to the Jamaica Gleaner and Air Jamaica asking for information orphotographs but I did not receive a reply. I also sent a request to the Air Line Pilots Association(ALPA) in November 2011 to see if they had any record of Mike as a former member but theyreplied with “The name Michael Alexander Guilfoyle does not appear on our membershipdatabase”.In March 2012 I received an e-mail from Mary Warwick in Australia to tell me that Mike Guilfoyleand his family had emigrated to Australia in the 1960’s and now lived in the Atherton Tablelandsregion of Queensland. She had seen the website www.lesfaircloth.co.uk and had spoken to Mike67


Lancaster ND424in about his wartime experiences as research for a book she was writing. I searched the internetand found an address in Tolga and telephone number but needed further proof, so I sent an articleon ND424 and the crew to a local newspaper The Northern Herald. Within a couple of days the e-mails had started to arrive and we made contact withMike’s family, wife Rosette, daughters Penny and Rosette(‘Jnr’) and John, one of his twin sons.Right. Mike and Rosette Guilfoyle, Christmas 2008 (Photo:Rosette Guilfoyle).Sadly Mike passed away in May 2009 but his wife Rosetteand family were thrilled to hear from us. Rosettetelephoned my father Leslie and me for a chat and it wasgreat to hear from her. She then sent this letter via e-mail:Dear Paul,Hope you are all in good health, having good weatherand enjoying the Queen’s Jubilee year. We arefollowing the festivities in the UK. The Queen is sucha lovely lady and never showing any fatigue. It must be quite an ordeal for her at her age.God bless her and may she live long.I see in the file Rosette (Jnr) downloaded for us that Les would like to have more informationabout the “crew”. I hope he will enjoy a few more details:Mike retired from British West Indian Airways at around 1965 and we decided to come toAustralia in 1966 where we have settled in quite nicely. It is the best country in the worldand we have never regretted coming.We all lived in Sydney for five years where we bought a big News Agency and Mike joinedthe Lion’s International Club. After quite a few years of “hard work” we decided to move upNorth where the weather was more clement specially after having lived around 17 years inTrinidad.He became an Estate Agent in Cairns, North Queensland, and then retired completely in1981. Whilst living in Cairns we bought a house on 5 acres and started a small businessgrowing Malaysian Dwarf Coconuts trees.As we got older, we moved up to the Atherton Tablelands and enjoyed Mike’s retirement.He continued with the Lion’s Club and served for roughly 40 years. He offered his servicesfor the different positions such as President, Secretary, Treasurer, right up to and includingDistrict Governor for Northern Queensland and Papua New Guinea, an area as big asEngland and Scotland. He set new projects and up to now, some are still functioning. Hereceived many awards and became a Life Member. He passed away in May 2009 and wasburied with full Honours by the Lions.Paul you wrote that ALPA had no record of Mike. He was President of British Airline PilotsAssociation (BALPA) for quite a few years and flew to England several times for meetings. Iam very appalled that ALPA had no information, they should know about BALPA surely.I think that is all for the moment, so with this I bid you farewell.Kind regards and wishes to you, Gaynor, Les and Meg.RosetteSunday 17 June 2012.68


Lancaster ND42410. The High CostOn D-Day and the following crucial weeks both the Germans and the Allies paid a very high price inhuman terms. During June, July and August of 1944, the Wehrmacht suffered nearly 240,000casualties and another 200,000 men were captured by the Allies. The Allied 21st Army Group ofBritish, Canadians and Poles sustained over 83,000 casualties and the Americans nearly 126,000.During the same period the Allied air forces lost over 16,700 men killed and missing. During thecourse of the war Bomber Command lost over 55,000 airmen killed. The average age of theircrews was just twenty-two.Over 22,000 aircrew of all RAF commands were lost without trace and have no known graves, sothey are commemorated at the Runnymede Memorial (see Appendix S).During the period from March to August 1944 12 Squadron lost 40 Lancasters and as a result, 280crewmen were killed, captured or evaded in six months of operations.During the 17 known operations in which ND424 and our crew took part 12 Squadron lost a total of11 aircraft. Of the 78 airmen on these lost aircraft 51 were killed.On these 17 operations Bomber Command lost 183 aircraft, an average of nearly 11 aircraft lostper night. This resulted in more than 1,280 airmen who were killed, captured or evaded in justunder 2 months of 1944.The figures above show that the odds were against the seven young men of ND424, but survivethey did. Unfortunately, as a result Les, Doug, Bob and Joe all sustained injuries that would affectthem in later lifeThe bravery of these seven young men is beyond question and I feel it is vitally important that theirstories are recorded and not forgotten.69


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Lancaster ND424Appendix AEvader & POW TimelineThe details from each of the evader and POW reports have been put into the following table toprovide a timeline of the main events and locations.Month Date DayEvent and Location DetailsJun 44 28 Wed Lancaster ND424 took off from RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire at 00:29.Around 02:30 at 12,000 ft. the starboard outer engine began to give trouble.Bombs dropped on Vaires railway yards between 03:00 and 03:06 as planned.Following the raid the Lancaster lost height rapidly and crashed SW of Paris. All ofthe crew parachuted from the aircraft and landed safely.At 18:00 Leslie was approached by a man (Monsieur Louis Cotan) near Gif-sur-Yvette. The man hid Leslie in a shed.Doug went to the house owned by the Jerome family in Gif-sur-Yvette & was quicklypulled inside. There he found Mike who had arrived at the same house earlier. Theystayed there for three days & nights.29 Thu Leslie hiding in the shed. He was given food, wine, some old overalls and a coat.Doug and Mike in Jerome house.30 Fri Monsieur Cotan and his wife took Leslie by train to their apartment in Paris at 21Passage Gatbois, Paris XII. One of Leslie’s escape photographs was taken.Doug and Mike in Jerome house.Jul 44 1 Sat Leslie at apartment in Paris. A Police inspector turned up with an identity card usingLeslie’s escape photograph and a “Carte de Travail”.Doug and Mike in Jerome house. The people supplied them with civilian clothes,bought them railway tickets and took them to Paris.David walked through Orleans.2 Sun Leslie at apartment in Paris. The Police inspector returned with a young man whobrought a bread card.Doug and Mike in Paris.3 Mon Leslie at apartment in Paris.Doug and Mike in Paris.4 Tue Leslie at apartment in Paris.Leslie’s parents receive the ‘missing in action’ telegram from the RAF.Doug and Mike in Paris.David reached La Ferte-St-Aubin then Neung-sur-Beuvron.5 Wed Leslie taken to the Gare de Lyons in Paris. At about 21:00 he boarded the train forPerpignan without an escort.Doug and Mike in Paris.Bob escorted to Paris by metro.6 Thu Leslie on train to Perpignan. He reached Moulin at midday where German soldiersboarded train & checked identity cards. Left Moulin at about 13:00 & travelled viaVichy, Clermont Ferrand to Langeac, reached at 17:00.Doug and Mike in Paris.David in Valencay sheltering in a granary.7 Fri Leslie on train to Perpignan. Approached by a girl travelling with a man who was amember of the Maquis.Doug and Mike in Paris.David in Valencay where he was given a bicycle. He cycled to Chateauroux viaArgenton-sur-Creuse.71


Lancaster ND4248 Sat Leslie on train to Perpignan.Doug and Mike in Paris.9 Sun Leslie on train to Perpignan.Doug and Mike in Paris.10 Mon Girl changed train but the man accompanied Leslie on the train via Montpellier andBeziers to Narbonne. The man took Leslie to his house in Narbonne for a meal.Leslie returned to the Perpignan train alone.Doug and Mike in Paris.11 Tue Leslie arrived in Perpignan. Decided to cross the Pyrenees on his own so walkedinland towards Thuir.Doug and Mike in Paris.12 Wed Between Le Boulou and Ceret, Leslie was approached by a man and was taken to ahouse. The man later returned with German soldiers. Leslie escaped out of the backof the house into the woods. He slept somewhere near Ceret.Doug and Mike in Paris.13 Thu Leslie crossed the frontier and continued west of La Junquera to Point de Molins. Hewas picked up by a party of Spanish militia on patrol who took him to theirheadquarters.Doug and Mike in Paris.14 Fri Leslie escorted to Figueras where he was taken to the fort. After a brief interrogationhe was then taken to the prison.Doug taken to another part of Paris.15 Sat Leslie in Figueras prison.Doug arrested and taken to Fresnes prison following his betrayal.16 Sun Leslie in Figueras prison.Doug in Fresnes prison.17 Mon Leslie in Figueras prison.Doug in Fresnes prison.18 Tue Leslie in Figueras prison.Doug in Fresnes prison.19 Wed Leslie in Figueras prison. During evening he was rescued by the British Vice-Consulfrom Gerona. Leslie stayed under parole at hotel in Gerona.Doug in Fresnes prison.Mike captured and taken to Fresnes prison.20 Thu Leslie was taken to Barcelona.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.21 Fri Leslie in Alhama.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.22 Sat Leslie in Alhama.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.23 Sun Leslie in Alhama.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.24 Mon Leslie in Alhama.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.25 Tue Leslie in Alhama.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.26 Wed Leslie in Alhama.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.72


Lancaster ND42427 Thu Leslie in Alhama.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.28 Fri Leslie in Alhama.Leslie’s parents receive telegram to say he was ‘safe in a neutral country’.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.David Davies back in UK and interviewed by M.I.9. See National Archive documentreference WO208/3320, original reference M.I.9/S/P.G.(-) 2059.29 Sat Leslie in Madrid.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.30 Sun Leslie in Madrid.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.31 Mon Leslie in Madrid.Aug 44 1 Tue Leslie in Madrid.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.2 Wed Leslie in Madrid.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.3 Thu Leslie in Madrid.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.4 Fri Leslie in Madrid.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.5 Sat Leslie in Madrid.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.6 Sun Leslie in Madrid.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.7 Mon Leslie in Madrid.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.8 Tue Leslie in Madrid.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.9 Wed Leslie Flew from Gibraltar.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.Bob escorted to the Palais Royal gardens.10 Thu Leslie landed at Whitchurch airfield near Bristol. Travelled to London and wasinterviewed by M.I.9. See National Archive document reference WO 208/3321 report2321, original reference M.I.9/S/P.G.(-) 2069. Leslie sneaked home to ThorntonHeath to surprise his parents then sneaked back into M.I.9 the following morning.Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.11 Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.12 Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.13 Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.14 Doug and Mike in Fresnes prison.15 Doug, Mike (and Joe) leave Fresnes prison. They were loaded into railway cattletrucks for a journey to Buchenwald Concentration Camp.19 Bob escorted back to Paris & stayed there until it was liberated (around 28 August).Mike, Doug and Joe travelling to Buchenwald24 Mike, Doug and Joe arrived in Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Sagan (now inPoland).25 Paris and Bob liberated.73


Lancaster ND42427 John travelled to Chevreuse to meet up with US Army.28 John travelled from Banville to RAF Northolt.29 John interviewed by M.I.9.Sep 44 1Mike promoted from Pilot Officer to Flying Officer whilst in Buchenwald.4 Bob arrives back in the UK.6 Bob interviewed by M.I.9. See National Archive document reference WO208/3322,original reference M.I.9/S/P.G.(-) 2321.20 Mike, Doug and Joe leave Buchenwald.Oct 44 22Mike, Doug and Joe arrive at Stalag Luft 3 in Sagan (now Zagan in Poland).Jan 45 MidJoe force-marched to Stalag 13D near Nuremburg.28 Mike, Doug and Joe leave Stalag Luft 3 and are split up.Feb 45 ?Mike and Doug in Marlag/Milag Nord, Tarmstadt, near BremenMar 45 MidJoe force-marched to Stalag 7A at Mooseburg near Landshutt, north-west of Munich.Apr 45 ?Mike and Doug in Marlag/Milag Nord POW camp, Tarmstadt, near Bremen11 Buchenwald Concentration Camp liberated by the US Army.? Mike and Doug in Trenthorst near Lubeck, north-west of Hamburg.29 Joe liberated from Stalag 7A at Mooseburg by the American 3 rd Army.May 45 ?Mike and Doug in Trenthorst near Lubeck, north-west of Hamburg.3 Mike, Doug and Joe finally released 9 months after the raid.Mike completed the ‘General Questionnaire for British/American Ex-Prisoners of War’.See copy of original document in Appendix C, document reference WO 344/127.Sep 45 26Doug interviewed by M.I.9. See copy of original document in Appendix C, documentreference WO 344/168/1.74


Lancaster ND424Appendix BFinal Operation ORB’sThese ORB’s are related to the final operation on the railway yards at Vaires-sur-Marne to the eastof Paris on the night of 27/28 June 1944. They were found during a visit to the National Archive inKew in February 2011. ORB is Operations Record Books.12 Squadron ORB – ‘Orders for Night Flying’ 27.6.44This document was written before the raid and lists the aircraft and crew that were due to fly on themission. It was written for Squadron Leader, Commanding, 12 Squadron by Fl.Lt. K.M. Smith,Adjutant. It is planned not actual. National Archive reference AIR 27/171.75


Lancaster ND42412 Squadron ORB - ‘Summary of Events’This document is RAF Form 540 and was written after the raid. It includes details of raids from 23to 29 June 1944. National Archive reference AIR 27/168.76


Lancaster ND42412 Squadron ORB - ‘Details of Sortie or Flight’This document is RAF Form 541 ‘Detail of Work Carried Out’ by 12 Squadronand was written afterthe raid and lists details of each aircraft that flew on the mission. National Archive reference AIR27/168.77


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Lancaster ND424Appendix COriginal Escape, POW & Crash ReportsThe following documents were purchased from the National Archive at Kew. The escape andPOW reports were compiled by MI9 following interviews with three of the crew of ND424 after theirreturn to the UK. For more details on MI9 see Appendix T. A POW report has not been found forJoe Sonshine.Escape Report - Leslie FairclothNational Archive Ref: WO/208/3321 Report 2069. Original Document Ref: M.I.9/S/P.G.(-) 2069.The document was compiled by MI9 following an interview with Leslie in London on 10 August1944 (6 weeks after the raid). Copy requested from the National Archive in 2004.Page 1 of 3 (WO/208/3321 Report 2069).79


Lancaster ND424Page 2 of 3 (WO/208/3321 Report 2069)80


Lancaster ND424Page 3 of 3 (WO/208/3321Report 2069)Abbreviations used in the distribution list on page 1:Organisations:O.R.S. - Operational Research Section, Bomber Command.S.H.A.E.F – Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force.D.D.M.I. (P/W) – Deputy Director Military Intelligence (Prisoners of War).I.S.9 (X) – Intelligence School 9 (Planning and Organisation of Escapes). I.S.9 was also usedas a cover for MI9.M.I.9 (d) – Training on the intricacies of escape and evasion (the training school was inHighgate, north London).M.I.19 – Refugees and enemy prisoners (was originally M.I.9a).A.I.4(a) P/W – Air Intelligence (London)?M.I.5 – UK Security Service.M.O.1 (SP) - ?I.S.9 (WEA) – Intelligence School 9 (Western European Area).P.W. & X Det – Prisoner of War and Escape Department?M.I.S. ETOUSA – European Theatre of Operations, United States Army, was a US Armyformation which directed US Army operations in parts of Europe.Names of people in the distribution list on page 1:Lt. Col. H.B.A. de Bruyne. He was one of the three original intelligence officers of MI9, hejoined from the Royal Horse Artillery as a second lieutenant and rose in the branch to be alieutenant-colonel. He had previously run the family sheep farm on southern Chile. He was asmallish, dapper man with a lively air and a toothbrush moustache, an efficient liaison officerand a particularly skilled interrogator of returned escapers and evaders (From the book ‘MI9’).Mr. J.C. Nerney – Was head of the Air Ministry Historical Branch.81


Lancaster ND424Escape Report - David DaviesNational Archive Ref: WO/208/3320 Report 2059. Original Document Ref: M.I.9/S/P.G.(-) 2059.A copy of the document was requested in February 2006. The document was compiled by M.I.9following an interview with David Davies on 28 July 1944 (1 month after the raid).Page 1 of 2 (WO/208/3320 Report 2059)82


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Lancaster ND424Escape Report – Bob YatesNational Archive Ref: WO/208/3322 Report 2321. Original Document Ref: M.I.9/S/P.G.(-) 2321.A copy of the document was requested in February 2006. Document compiled by M.I.9 followingan interview with Bob Yates on 6 September 1944 (10 weeks after the raid).Page 1 of 1 (WO/208/3322 Report 2321)84


Lancaster ND424Escape Report - John StephenNational Archive Ref: WO/208/3321 Report 2182 (-). Original Document Ref: M.I.9/S/P.G.(-)2182. A copy of the document was requested and provided in September 2010. The documentwas compiled by M.I.9 following an interview with John Stephen on 29 August 1944 (2 months afterthe raid). The crash report for ND424 has a hand written note alongside John’s name: “ - seenMe??? 28 Aug.” but is it a place, name: Marzan, Megan, Mezan?Page 1 of 1 (WO/208/3321 Report 2182)85


Lancaster ND424P.O.W. Report – Mike GuilfoyleNational Archive (POW Archive) Piece Reference WO 344/127 (GROAT – GYTON) for Pilot OfficerM.A. Guilfoyle 12 Squadron RAF. Original reference M.I.9/Gen/142137 (?). A copy was requestedin August 2010. The form was designed by MI9 to gather information from POW’s after theirrelease. It was completed and signed by Mike on 3 May 1945 following his release from POWcamp. At top right is a reference to “MIS-X” this was the US equivalent of MI9. A transcript of thedocument is included after the original.Page 1 of 4 (WO 344/127)86


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Lancaster ND424Page 4 of 4 (WO 344/127)Transcription of Above DocumentGeneral Questionnaire for British/American Ex-Prisoners of War. Confidential (Page 1)No: 172424. Rank: P/O. Surname: Guilfoyle. Christian Names: Michael Alexander.Squadron (RAF): 12. Command: Bomber. Date of Birth: 1-10-20.Civilian Trade or Profession: Civil Servant, Jamaica Government.Private Address:England: C/O West India Committee, 40 Norfolk St, London, NE2.Home: 4 Winchester Rd, Half Way Tree, Jamaica, W.I.Place & Date of Original Capture: Paris 19-7-44.Were You Wounded When Captured: NoMain Camps in Which Imprisoned:Fresnes, Paris 19-7-44 to 15-8-44. This was a Gestapo prison.Buchenwald Concentration Camp 24-8-44 to 20-10-44. Thuringen in Germany.Stalag Luft III, Sagan, Germany 22-10-44 to 28-1-45. Now Zagan in Poland.Marlag/Milag Nord, Tarmstadt Feb 45 to Apr 45. Tarmstadt is near Bremen. Marlag:Marine-Lager, Navy personnel POW camp. Milag: Marine-Internierten-Lager (Marineinternment camp), Merchant seamen internment camp.Trenthorst (?) Apr 45 to May 45. Trenthorst is near Lubeck, north-west of Hamburg.Were you in a Working Camp: (crossed out)Did You Suffer Any Serious Illness While a P/W: NoDid You Receive Adequate Medical Treatment: YesGeneral Questionnaire Part II. Confidential (Page 2)Lectures Before Capture. Where you lectured in your unit on how to behave in the event ofcapture? No. 83 O.T.U. F/Lt Weatherall, Sept to Nov 1943. (83 Operational Training Unit at RAFPeplow in Shropshire).89


Lancaster ND424Where you lectured on escape and evasion? No. 83 O.T.U. F/Lt Weatherall, Sept to Nov 1943. (83Operational Training Unit at RAF Peplow in Shropshire).Interrogation After Capture: Were you specially interrogated by the enemy? (State where, whenand method employed by enemy): Yes. Buchenwald Concentration Camp. Oct ‘44. Usualmethods.Escapes Attempted: Evasion in conjunction with French underground movement from 29 June1944 to 18 July 1944.General Questionnaire Part II. Continued. Confidential (Page 3)Have you any other matter of any kind you wish to bring to notice?Help received by M.I. Brisquet,125 Victor Hugo Street, Paris in hiding and feeding tillcontact with the Resistance was established. A large arrow points to this with handwritten note “IS9 (AB) Paris informed P??”.Report by the SBO (Senior British Officer) Stalag Luft III on October 1944 - Re treatment ofBritish and American officers at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.Signed: 3 May 1945 M. A. GuilfoyleHand Written Note (Page 4)M.I. Brisquet, 125 Victor Hugo Street, Paris.172424 P/O Guilfoyle, Michael Alexander, RAF.90


Lancaster ND424P.O.W. Report – Doug JordinNational Archive reference (POW archive) WO 344/168/1 (JONKER – JOUGHIN) for Sergeant D.F.Jordin RAF (Rear Gunner) of 12 Squadron RAF. Original reference is M.I.9/S/P.G./LIB/945. Acopy was requested in August 2010. The document was written by M.I.9 following an interviewwith Doug on 26th September 1945, four months after his release from POW camp.Page 1 of 1 (WO 344/168/1)91


Lancaster ND424Crash Report – Lancaster ND424Original Document Reference: K.203. National Archive Reference: AIR/14/1442 - Official reportinto the crash of Lancaster ND424 (G for George) on 27/28 June 1944. It is based on an interviewwith the Flight Engineer Sgt Hugh David Davies on 29 July 1944. A copy was requested andreceived in August 2004.Page 1 of 2 (AIR/14/1442)92


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Lancaster ND424Appendix DOriginal ORB – Special Recco ReportsThe following documents were found on our visit to the National Archive and the reference is AIR27/171. It is assumed ‘Recco’ is short for reconnaissance.Special Recco Report 1 - Marquise-Mimoyecques (22 June 1944)This is the original report of the Marquise-Mimoyecques operation on 22 June 1944 written by MikeGuilfoyle following the raid.95


Lancaster ND424Special Recco Report 2 - Vaires-sur-Marne (27/28 June 1944)This is an original report on the Vaires-sur-Marne operation on 27/28 June 1944 written by P/O L.Honor following the raid. P/O L. Honor and his crew in PH-K were killed three days later on 1 stJuly while on a mission to bomb the railway yards at Vierzon. For further details on this crew seephotograph and caption at the end of section 5.96


Lancaster ND424Appendix ELuft IIIM.I.9 Memo & List of RAF Officers in StalagOn our visit to the National Archive in 2011 we found a memo amongst many loose files in the AIR40/1452 folder. ‘Addendum to MI9/REP/G/5/340’ was written by Captain Nelson (?) of M.I.9 on 16February 1945. It reports that F/Lt L.F. Gregory (RAF serial number 37598) had compiled a list of99 RAF officers who had been imprisoned in the Stalag Luft III East Compound which he broughtback to the UK. It also tries to explain the abbreviations he used. The original tiny hand writtennotes are on the following page and include an entry for Mike Guilfoyle under June 1944. Who wasGregory? Was he an evader? Was he released? Why was he carrying the list?97


Lancaster ND424Below: Photographs of F/Lt L.F. Gregory’s original hand written notes from 1945.Flight Lieutenant L.F.Gregory R.A.F 37598)Internet searches for information on Flight Lieutenant Gregory found the following related links:http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1941/1941%20-%200110.htmlFlight 19th January 1941. London Gazette. Royal Air Force. General Duties Branch. The undermentionedFlying Officers are promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant: (Aug. 6). L. F. Gregory.(Nov 10).http://www.pegasusarchive.org/pow/veterans.htmOffering return to family of "SCRAP BOOK, 37598 Flight Lieutenant L.F.Gregory R.A.F.,Commenced November 3, 1942, Rezzanello, Campo Prig.Guerra No. 17".http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/36323/supplements/211/page.pdfAir Ministry, 11th January 1944. ROYAL AIR FORCE. GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH. Transfer toreserve. The undermtd. (and called up for air force service): Flg. Offs.: L. F. GREGORY (37598).98


Lancaster ND424Appendix FLeslie’s Original LettersThe following letters are from Leslie Faircloth’s collection.Letter from Air Ministry Casualty Branch - Missing in ActionThis standard letter was sent by the Air Ministry (Casualty Branch) on 4 July (1 week after the raid)to Leslie’s parents in Thornton Heath, Surrey to say he was missing in action.It reads:Sir,I am commanded by the Air Council toexpress to you their great regret onlearning that your son, SergeantLeslie John Faircloth, Royal Air Force,is missing as the result of airoperations on the night of 27th/28thJune, 1944, when a Lancaster aircraftin which he was flying as mid uppergunner set out on a bombing missionand was not heard from again.This does not necessarily mean thathe is killed or wounded. And if he is aprisoner of war he should be able tocommunicate with you in due course.Meanwhile enquiries are being madethrough the International Red CrossCommittee, and as soon as anydefinite news is received you will be atonce informed.If any information regarding your sonis received by you from any sourceyou are requested to be kind enoughto communicate it immediately to theAir Ministry.The Air Council desire me to conveyto you their sympathy in your present anxiety.I am, Sir,Your obedient Servant,Charles EvansW. Faircloth, Esq.,91, Broughton Road,Thornton Heath,Surrey.99


Lancaster ND424Letter from Air Ministry – Arrived in a Neutral CountryThis letter was sent by the Air Ministry (Casualty Branch) to Leslie’s parents on 28 July (1 monthafter the raid) with the news that he was safe and had arrived in a neutral country (Spain).It reads:Dear Sir,I am directed to refer to a letter fromthis department dated 4 th July 1944,and to advise you that informationhas now been received from areliable source stating that yourson, Sergeant Leslie John Faircloth,Royal Air Force, has arrived in aneutral country.In the interests of your son’s safetyyou are advised to treat this newsas confidential and not to release itto the press, or mention it on thetelephone. Correspondence shouldbe addressed c/o Air Ministry(A.I.1.) 17 Monck Street, London,S.W.1. You are assured that letterswill be forwarded and will reachtheir destination at the earliestpossible moment. It is notadvisable to send parcels atpresent.Any further news will be passed toyou immediately.I am, Sir,Your obedient Servant,I T Shreeve (?)for Director of Personal Services.W. Faircloth, Esq.,91, Broughton Road,Thornton Heath,Surrey,100


Lancaster ND424Letter from Leslie Irvin – Caterpillar Club MembershipThis letter was sent to Leslie by the founder of the famous Irving parachute company,Leslie Irvin, to say he had been accepted as a member of the exclusive Caterpillar Club.It was sent to Leslie when he was stationed at 10 (0) A.F.U. in Dumfries in December1944.Details of the Caterpillar Club and Leslie’s membership card and pin are in Appendix W.It reads:Many thanks for your letter ofNovember 14 th (1944), and I am sorrythat it has not been possible to replysooner.I am indeed glad that you were ableto save your life with an Irvin chute,and have much pleasure inwelcoming you as a member of theclub. Hearty congratulations on yourreturn to this country.Your membership card and CaterpillarPin are on order, and I will send themto you as soon as received. Ashowever, I regret there may be somedelay, due to supply restrictions,would you prefer me to send them toyour home address?Wishing you the best of luck, I am,Yours Sincerely,Leslie L. Irvin.101


Lancaster ND424Letter from M. Louis Cotan to Leslie’s ParentsAfter the war Leslie’s host and saviour in Paris, Monsieur Louis Cotan, wrote this letter enquiring ifhe had returned home safely. See Appendix L for further details. It reads:Sir,I went to your office a few days agoin connection with enquiries aboutSergeant Jean Faircloth, gunner, 91Broughton Road, Thornton Heath,Surrey, who baled out of a 4-engined Lancaster, which crashedafter 2 engines went out of actionwhen returning from Sens on 28June 1944. Faircloth landed at Gifsur-Seine(Seine et Oise) and for 10days I gave him refuge at 21Passage Gatbois Paris XII. I gavehim civilian clothing and Frenchidentity papers in the name of HenriLebrun, born at Savigny sur Orge(Seine et Oise), aged 19, and on 5 thJuly, at his own request, sent him toPerpignan, since when I have hadno news of him. I have written threetimes to his family but have had noreply.I should be glad if you would let meknow if he got back safely and giveme news of him.I am, etc.(Sgd.) Cotan.Sender: M. Cotan21 Passage GatboisParis, XII.102


Lancaster ND424Appendix GLeslie’s Original PhotographsThe following original photographs are from Leslie Faircloth’s collection.Left: Crew at the tail of a Lancaster.Back row, left to right: Mike, David,John, Les & Joe. Front row, left toright: Bob & Doug..Right: Les, Joe, Doug & Bob tryingto hitch a lift on a quiet Lincolnshirecountry road.Left: Joe, Bob, Les & Doug relaxing in thehay.103


Lancaster ND424Left: Joe, Doug & John inFront of Block No. 6 atWickenbyBelow: Bob, Les, Joe & Davidwith Joe’s American FootballJersey.Below: Leslie in uniform..Above: Megan with Leslie in uniform in 1946Right: Leslie in uniform on his first visit to Megan’s parents house inBrynteg near Wrexham in 1946. This may be the only pictureshowing the Warrant Officer insignia on his lower sleeves.104


Lancaster ND424Appendix HLeslie’s RAF Service RecordIn January 2010 a copy of Leslie’s service record was requested from RAF records departmentbased at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire. After proving his identity by sending a copy of a recentutility bill, the records eventually arrived in March 2010. Their full name and address is:RAF DisclosuresRoom 221BTrenchard HallRAF CranwellSleafordLincolnshireNG34 8HBThe service record consists of two high quality A3 scans and it makes interesting reading once theRAF abbreviations have been decoded. As the covering letter says “RAF Form 543 was designedas a basic administrative aid to assist the personnel administrators and was not intended as abiographical document”. However it gives a useful timeline of Leslie’s postings in the RAF.105


Lancaster ND424RAF Form 543 Part 1 - Faircloth, Leslie John, 1894767This page of the RAF Form 543 shows Leslie’s personal details including address, description andnext of kin. Under ‘miscellaneous’ it says he was defined as ‘Med.Cat.Grade.1’ on 31 August 1942(when he was 17 years old). He was ‘Recommended for training as Air Gunner’ and he received agood conduct badge on 29 April 1946. He was ‘released’ from the RAF on 3 April 1947.Below: RAF Form 543 Part 1 for Leslie John Faircloth.106


Lancaster ND424RAF Form 543 Part 2 - Faircloth, Leslie John, 1894767This sheet list Leslie’s postings (see details on the following pages) promotions and specialqualifications. The ‘Promotions, Reclassifications, Reversions’ section shows he was ‘A.C.2.’ on29 April 1943, ‘T/Sgt’ on 18 September 1943, ‘T/F Sgt’ on 21 September 1944 and ‘T/W/O’(Warrant Officer) on 22 September 1945. Under ‘Mustering’ his character was marked as ‘V.G.’(Very Good) and his proficiency as an Air Gunner was marked as ‘Sat.’ (Satisfactory). Under‘Special Qualifications’ he attained marks of ‘74%’ and a ‘Class B’ on an AGIC while at the EAAS(Empire Air Armament School) at RAF Manby in Lincolnshire from 30.12.44 to 12.2.45.Below: RAF Form 543 Part 2 for Leslie John Faircloth.107


Lancaster ND424Leslie’s Postings TimelineThis is a list of Leslie’s postings copied from part 2 of the Service Record. Each of theabbreviations were researched and added as a description then further details on each were addedbelow. For a guide to RAF abbreviations used in the forms see: http://www.lancasterarchive.com/bc_slang.htmor http://www.associations.rafinfo.org.uk/acronyms.htmUnit To Date of Movement Unit DescriptionEuston/1 ACRC 29/04/43 1 ACRC = ‘Air Crew Reception Centre’ at Euston station andLords Cricket Ground in London.14 ITW 05/06/43 No.14 ITW = ‘Initial Training Wing’ at Bridlington in NorthHumberside.83 OTU 21/09/43 83 OTU = ‘Operational Training Unit’ at Peplow in Shorpshire.Crewed up and flew in Wellingtons.1662 CU 01/02/44 No.1662 Conversion Unit at RAF Blyton in Lincolnshire.Converted to heavy bomber – Lancaster.LindholmeRAF Lindholme near Doncaster, South Yorkshire.1662 CU 01/02/44 No.1662 Conversion Unit at RAF Blyton in Lincolnshire.Converted to heavy bomber – Lancaster.1 FTS 03/04/44 No.1 FTS = ‘Flying Training School’ at RAF Linton-on-Ouse inLincolnshire.1662 CU 16/04/44 No.1662 Conversion Unit at RAF Blyton in Lincolnshire.Converted to heavy bomber – Lancaster.12 Sqdn 16/04/44 12 Squadron based at Wickenby, Lincolnshire.Missing 27-28/06/44 Shot down while on raid on Paris/Vaires railway yards.WCAD NE 28/06/44 WCAD(NE) = ‘War Casualty Accounts Department (Non-Effective)’.CCL1533(41) Re-categorised Safe in UKPHU Morecombe 08/08/44 PHU = ‘Personnel Holding Unit’ - No.3 Morecambe (1944).ACAC 18/09/44 ACAC = ‘Aircrew Allocation Centre’ at Brackla near Nairn inInvernesshire.10 (0) AFU 21/10/44 No.10 (O) AFU = ‘Advanced Flying Unit‘ at Cairnsmore of Fleet,Dumfries & Galloway.EAAS 30/12/44 EAAS = ‘Empire Air Armament School’ at Manby in Lincolnshire.10 (0) AFU 19/02/45 No.10 (O) AFU = ‘Advanced Flying Unit’ at Cairnsmore of Fleet,Dumfries & Galloway.2 AGS 09/03/45 2 AGS = ‘Air Gunnery School’ at Dalcross near Inverness.7 SFTS 21/11/45 No 7 SFTS = ‘Service Flying Training School’ at Westwood inPeterborough. Unit moved to RAF Kirton in Lindsey April 1946.101 PDC 04/02/47 No.101 PDC = ‘Personnel Despatch Centre’ at RAF Kirkham inLancashire (to be "demobbed").1 ACRC – Euston (29/04/43)Number 1 Air Crew Reception Centre was based at Euston railway station and at Lords CricketGround in London. Leslie went to Lord’s Cricket Ground where he underwent various physical andaptitude tests.14 ITW – RAF Bridlington (05/06/43)Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast was were new RAF recruits underwent basic military trainingincluding ‘square bashing’. During this period Leslie thinks he also spent time at RAF Bridgnorthand RAF Stormy Down. However these postings are not shown in his service record.108


Lancaster ND424RAF BridgnorthRAF Bridgnorth was close to Stanmore Hall just to the east of Bridgnorth in Shropshire and wasopened in 1939. It was named RAF Bridgnorth as RAF Stanmore Park already existed inMiddlesex. Here they carried out basic training of new RAF recruits. Although various staticaeroplanes were displayed as ‘gate guardians’ it never had a runway. Leslie remembers walkingup the many steps up into the town centre and the military police were everywhere. We havepicture of the chimney memorial. For further details see http://www.rafbridgnorth.org.uk/.RAF Stormy DownRAF Stormy Down was near Porthcawl in South Wales and was opened in 1940. It was anarmament training school for UK and American forces. Flying ceased in August 1944 due to thedangerous grass landing strip. Leslieunderwent air gunner training at RAF StormyDown and it included his first flying experiencein an Avro Anson.Right: The Avro Anson trainer.83 OTU - RAF Peplow (21/09/43)Peplow aerodrome in Shropshire was about seven miles due north of Wellington and immediatelysouth of the village of Child's Ercall. Originally intended as an Relief Landing Ground (RLG) fornearby RAF Tern Hill, the field was developed and from July 1943 No.83 Operational Training Unitwas formed here with an initial complement of 40Wellingtons, 4 Masters and 1 Oxford. In October1944 it was re-designated as No.23 Heavy GliderConversion Unit. At the end of hostilities, theaerodrome became one of many in Shropshire to beabandoned although a number of hangars and otherbuildings still remain. RAF Peplow is where theyoung recruits were ‘crewed up’ and flew trainingmissions in the Wellington bomber.Right: The Vickers Wellington bomber.1662 CU - RAF Blyton (01/02/44)RAF Blyton opened as a heavy bomber station in Nov 1942 with 199 Squadron but within monthsthe role of the station changed. 199 Squadron departed and from January 1943 No.1662 HeavyConversion Unit (HCU) was resident and it became a training base for the rest of the war. Here thecrew converted to the Avro Lancaster heavy bomber.RAF LindholmeRAF Lindholme was situated some five miles east of Doncaster, South Yorkshire. From lateOctober 1942 No.1656 Heavy Conversion Unit moved in with a few Lancasters and Manchestersfrom Breighton (near Selby in Yorkshire) to serve No.1 Group's conversion to the former type. Itwas an operational training base over the next two years. Other units also based here for a timewere No.1667 HCU and No.1 Lancaster Finishing School. On 3 November 1944, the stationbecame No.71 Base under the new training organisation - No.7 Group. The Airfield closed in thelate 1970's and in 2010 is in use as an H.M. Prison.1 FTS – RAF Linton-on-Ouse (03/04/44)RAF Linton-on-Ouse is near York and was one of some fifty RAF stations constructed between1934 and 1937 as part of the rapid expansion of the RAF in response to German rearmament.Bomber Command No’s 51 and 58 Squadrons moved there in April 1938. From June 1937 untilApril 1940, the Station was also home to Headquarters No.4 (Bomber) Group, which controlled thebomber stations in Yorkshire. The Air Officer Commanding No.4 Group in 1937/8 was the then AirCommodore Arthur T Harris, later Commander-in-Chief of Bomber Command from February 1942109


Lancaster ND424to the end of the war in Europe (a.k.a. ‘Bomber Harris’). In 2010 Linton-on-Ouse is still home toNo.1 FTS and is used to provide fast jet pilot training before they move onto the BAe Hawk T.1aircraft at No.4 FTS at RAF Valley in Anglesey.12 Squadron - RAF Wickenby (03/04/44)See Appendix Q for details of 12 Squadron and Appendix R for details of RAF Wickenby.PHU No. 3 – Morecambe (08/08/44)On return from Spain Leslie was assigned to the PHU (Personnel Holding Unit) No.3 inMorecambe, Lancashire. It is assumed that the RAF had to decide on a suitable job and locationfor him.ACAC - RAF Brackla (18/09/44)RAF Brackla was located close to the small village of Piperhill near Nairn in Invernesshire. It wasopened during 1941 as a Relief Landing Ground (RLG) for RAF Dalcross (now Inverness Airport)about six miles to the east. From May 1944 to February 1945 it was home to the ACAC (AircrewAllocation Centre) where airmen were sent for a month whilst final postings were found for themwhere they would be most valued. RAF Brackla closed towards the end of 1946 with completeabandonment by the early 1950’s.10 (O) AFU – RAF Dumfries (21/10/44)RAF Dumfries was located at Heathhall airfield about two miles north east of Dumfries in thecounty of Dumfries and Galloway. It was chosen to host No.10 Bombing and Gunnery School thatwas moved from Warmwell, Dorset, where it was a relatively easy target for German bombers.From July 1940 the school trained bomber aimers and gunners before they passed on tooperational training units (OTU). The control tower is now home to the Dumfries and GallowayAviation Museum, and many of the surviving buildings and hangars are occupied by localbusinesses.EAAS – RAF Manby (30/12/44)RAF Manby near Louth in Lincolnshire was an RAF station from 1938 until 1974. In 1944 it washome to the Empire Air Armament School (EAAS). Leslie attended an AGIC (Air GunnerInstructors Course?) while he was there from 30 December 1944 to 17 February 1945. Leslie stillhas his RAF Flying Log Book that he used while he was stationed at Manby and Dalcross. SeeAppendix J.2 AGS – RAF Dalcross (09/03/45)Dalcross is around eight miles north east of Inverness and is now used as Inverness Airport. In1945 it was home to No.2 Air Gunnery School. Leslie was stationed in Dalcross when WWII endedin 1945.7 SFTS - RAF Westwood (21/11/45)RAF Westwood was in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and it was opened in 1932. It was home toNo. 7 SFTS (Service Flying Training School) and trained commonwealth and French pilots for theirAir Forces, having some 47 Airspeed Oxford advanced trainers on strength. Leslie was StationWarrant Officer at Peterborough where he spent time teaching French cadets and setting up andmaintaining the units Airmanship Hall. It closed in 1964 and a housing estate was built on the sitein the early 1970’s so little remains.7 SFTS - RAF Kirton in Lindsey (04/46)In April 1946 No.7 SFTS including Leslie moved from RAF Westwood to RAF Kirton in Lindseyjoining No.5 SFTS. Kirton in Lindsey is 15 miles north of Lincoln and was opened in May 1940 asa Fighter Command station. This was Leslie’s last RAF assignment prior to being “demobbed”.110


Lancaster ND424His RAF Service and Release Book was stamped in ‘Kirton Lindsey’ (no date). In 2010 it is still anRAF base and hosts No.1 Air Control Centre (1ACC), the RAF’s only deployable ground-basedearly warning and air control radar unit, parented by RAF Scampton.No.101 PDC - RAF Kirkham (04/02/47)RAF Kirkham was near Preston in Lancashire. Leslie was sent there to be "demobbed" from theRAF in February 1947. He was given a medical and provided with new civilian clothes as part ofhis reintegration into 'Civvy Street'. His RAF Service and Release Book was stamped in Kirkhamon 6 February 1947. Leslie was granted 56 days leave from 6 th February 1947 to 3 rd April 1947,the latter being his official last day of RAF service. This ensured his RAF service was for a full fouryears (from 29 th March 1943 to 3 rd April 1947).Below: Map of Leslie’s RAF postings from 1943 to 1947.1. Euston/Lords2. Bridlington3. Bridgnorth4. Stormy Down5. Peplow6. Blyton7. Lindholme8. Linton on Ouse9. Wickenby10. Morecambe11. Brackla12. Dumfries13. Manby14. Dalcross15. Westwood16. Kirton in Lindsey17. Kirkham111


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Lancaster ND424Appendix ILeslie’s Medals & Royal WarrantLeslie’s MedalsLeslie was awarded the following medals. Unlike other branches of the armed forces a campaignmedal was not awarded to the Bomber Command aircrews to mark their bravery and sacrifice.Left: Leslie proudly wearing his medals, RAF tie and Aircrew badge.Below: Leslie’s medals left to right. The 1939-1945 Star, The AircrewEurope Star, The France and Germany Star, The Defence Medal andThe 1939-1945 War Medal.Below from http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceFor/Veterans/Medals/DefenceMedal.htm.The 1939–1945 Star was awarded for any period of operational service overseas between 3September 1939 and 8 May 1945 (2 September 1945 in the Far East). In July 2013 we completedthe form to request the Bomber Command Clasp and e-mailed it with supporting documentation tothe MoD Medal Office based at the Imjin Barracks in Innsworth, Gloucestershire.The Air Crew Europe Star was earned almost exclusively by RAF personnel. It can only beawarded after the 1939-1945 Star has been qualified for. Aircrew Europe Star awarded for 60additional days' service in an RAF Unit engaged in operational flying over Europe from bases in theUK with at least one operational sortie. After 5 June 1944, operational flying over Europe qualifiedaircrew for the France and Germany StarThe France & Germany Star was awarded for 1 or more days’ service in France, Belgium,Luxembourg, Netherlands or Germany between the above dates. Naval personnel will qualify forservice afloat in the North Sea and English Channel within certain specified boundaries. RAF aircrew, who have not already qualified by service on land, will qualify with one operational sortie overthe appropriate land or sea area.The Defence Medal was awarded for non-operational service. This type of service in the UKincluded those service personnel working in headquarters, on training bases and airfields andmembers of the Home Guard. Home Guard service counts between the dates of 14 May 1940 and31 December 1944. The Defence Medal was also awarded for non-operational service overseas,for example in India or South Africa.The 1939-1945 War Medal was awarded to all fulltime personnel of the armed forces whereverthey were serving, provided they had served for at least 28 days between 3 September 1939 and 2September 1945.113


Lancaster ND424Leslie’s Royal WarrantRecently Leslie requested and received a copy of his Royal Warrant. He was promoted to WarrantOfficer (‘T/W/O’) on 22 September 1945. “His Majesty” in 1945 was King George VI.Below: Leslie’s Royal Warrant.RAF Ranks - Warrant OfficerBased on www.raf.mod.uk/links/faqs.cfm. In the RAF, the non-commissioned ranks are split intothree groups; Airmen (Aircraftsman up to Junior Technician), Non-Commissioned Officers (orNCO’s: Corporal to Flight Sergeant) and Warrant Officers. In the British Armed Forces, NCO’s aresplit into two categories - Junior NCO’s (abbreviated to JNCO’s) are Corporals while Senior NCO’s(SNCO’s) covers Sergeants to Flight Sergeants.NCO’s are enlisted members of the RAF who have been delegated leadership or commandauthority by a commissioned officer. They are the junior management of the Service. ExperiencedNCO’s are a very important part of many armed forces; inmany cases NCOs are credited as being the metaphorical"backbone" of their Service, and of their individual units.Warrant Officers (WO’s) are often included in the SeniorNCO (SNCO) category, but actually form a separate classof their own. A Warrant Officer will have many yearsexperience and is respected by both rank structures.Warrant Officers are addressed as "Mister" (or "Mrs", "Ms"or "Miss" for female Warrant Officers) by commissionedofficers (and as "Sir" or "Ma'am" by everyone else).Right RAF Warrant Officer Rank Insignia worn on the lowerjacket sleeves. Fromhttp://www.ww2wings.com/wings/britainraf/britainrafinsignia.shtml114


Lancaster ND424Appendix JLeslie’s RAF Flying Log BookThis is Leslie’s RAF Flying Log Book for Navigators, Air Bombers, Air Gunners and FlightEngineers, officially known as Form 1767. It is approximately 200 mm high and 130mm wide.It was used to log his flying hours while on an AirGunners Instructors Course (AGIC) at RAFManby in Lincolnshire (in early 1945) and whilehe was an Air Gunnery Instructor at RAF Dalcrossnear Inverness (in mid 1945).Right: Front cover of Leslie’s Flying Log Book.Page 2: Instructions1. This log book is an official document andthe property of H.M. Government.2. This log book is to be maintained by allmembers of air crew other than pilot. An accuraterecord of all flights undertaken on service aircraftis to be inserted.3. Results of ab initio courses will be recordedon either pages 2, 3, 4 or 5, for which purpose arubber stamp is available.4. Proficiency assessments will be recorded onthe appropriate page at the back of the book onposting or on attachment to another unit for flyingduties.5. Bombing and Air Gunnery records will beentered in details in the appropriate pages at theend of the book immediately after each practice.6. Monthly totalswill be entered on asingle line in red inkand initialled by theCommanding Officeror his deputy.Right: Page 2 & 3 ofLeslie’s Flying LogBook.115


Lancaster ND424Page 3: Certificates of QualificationThis is to certify that 1894767 Faircloth L.J. has qualified as Air Gunner Instructor Cat “B” witheffect from 17-2-45. Signed: F.J.F. Haines F/Lt. Date: 16-2-45. Unit: EAASLeft: Busymonth trainingnew gunners inVickersWellingtonbombers atDalcross duringMarch 1945.The final page and entry below shows that Leslie had amassed a total of 64:15 flying hours during9 months he was based at Manby (Lincolnshire) and Dalcross (Inverness) from January toSeptember 1945.Manby No 1 E.A.A.S (Empire Air Armaments School)January-February 8:35 hrsDalcross 2 A.G.S (Air Gunnery School)March 22:55 hrsApril 6:10 hrsMay 8:10 hrsJune 7:10 hrsJuly 9:35 hrsAugust 3:50 hrsSeptember 6:25 hrsTotal 64:15 hrsRight: Final page and entry inLeslie’s Flying Log Book fromSeptember 1945 while he wasin Dalcross.116


Lancaster ND424Appendix KLeslie’s RAF Service and Release BookRAF Form 2520A, the Royal Air Force Service and Release Book, was issued to Leslie when hewas released from the RAF in 1947. It contains the following message to the holder.FOR ALL AIRMEN. Take the utmost care of thisbook which contains your Certificate of Service.The Certificate cannot be replaced when loss isdue to any action or negligence on your part.You should not part with your Certificate ofService, but if you desire to give anyone fullparticulars of your service, make a copy.The book is 110mm wide and 140mm high andconsists of the following sections.Right: The cover of Leslie’s RAF Service and ReleaseBook.RAF Form 2520/25 - Conditions of Release &Authorisation.Consists of notes then ‘Release Authorisation Part I’shows that Leslie was granted 56 days leave fromhis ‘Date of Departure from Release Centre’ on6.2.47 to his ‘Effective Date of Release’ on 3.4.47(i.e. last day of service). Part II is stamped with:‘No. 101 Personnel Dispersal Centre,Record Office, Detachment, 6 Feb 1947, Royal Air Force Kirkham’.Below: RAF Form 2520/25 - Release Authorisation.117


Lancaster ND424RAF Form 2520/26 - Notes on Pay and EmolumentsThis contains some notes and is then stamped with:‘Accountant Officer, 6 Feb 1947, No. 101 PDC’ (RAF Kirkham)’.RAF Form 2520/24 - Remobilisation InstructionsThis section states that although Leslie had been released from the RAF he had not beendischarged. Until the emergency was officially declared as ended then he could have beenrecalled to service.RAF Form 2520/13 - Instructions to H.M. Postmaster GeneralInstructions to pay 5 shillings to Leslie if he was remobilised due to a recurrence of hostilities. HisSurname, Christian Names, Service Number and Signature are hand written. It is stamped with:’Admin Office, RAF, Kirton Lindsey’ but with no date.RAF Form 2520/12 - Clearance CertificateContains Leslie’s name, rank and serial number, and is stamped with:‘Accountant Officer, 6 Feb 1947, No. 101 PDC’ (RAF Kirkham).RAF Form 2520/11 - Certificate of Service and ReleaseUnder Overseas Service it reads ‘1 month in Spain and 2 weeks in France’. Under Qualities itreads ‘A keen and conscientious Warrant Officer who, besides producing highly satisfactory resultsin the training scheme, has produced and maintained the Units Airmanship Hall from practicallynothing. He is smart and possesses initiative and drive’. L.E. Headley, Squadron Leader, 4.2.47.Internet searches found a number of references to L.E. Headley on the ‘Flightglobal’ and ‘LondonGazette’ websites from 1923, 1924, 1939 & 1944.Below: RAF Form 2520/1, Certificate of Service and Release.118


Lancaster ND424RAF Form 2520/14 - Travel WarrantLeslie’s details are hand written and it is stamped with:‘No. 101 Personnel Dispersal Centre, Record Office, Detachment, 6 Feb 1947, RAFKirkham’.RAF Form 2520/18 - Claim for Disability Pension - AirmanMPB 281. Leslie’s details and rank unit/group, 7 SFTS/21 Group, are hand written.RAF Form 2520/19 - Medical Treatment After Leaving Dispersal CentrePart I is notes. Part II is Leslie’s details (Rank, Number, Initials, Surname, Date of Birth and Sex)hand-written and it is stamped with:‘No. 101 Personnel Dispersal Centre, 6 Feb 1947’.RAF Form 2520/23 - Receipts for Encashment of Postal DraftsThis contains Leslie’s signature following four dated stamps that I think read:‘20 FE 47, Wrexham Denbighshire’.‘6 MR 47, Thornton Heath, Surrey’.‘20 MR 47, Wrexham, Denbighshire’.‘16 AP 47, Wrexham, Denbighshire’.Airman’s Pay BookLeslie has another smaller book but its front and back covers are missing, but I believe it is hisAirman’s Pay Book. It is 122 mm high and 92 mm wide and contains the following information.Airman’s Pay Book - Page 2This has hand-written details of Leslie’s Official (Serial) No, Surname, Christian Names, Date ofBirth, Religion, Occupation in Civil Life, Calling Up Mobilisation or Embodiment, Terms of Service,Signature and Next of Kin details.Below: Page 2 aand 3 of Leslie’s Airman’s Pay Book.119


Lancaster ND424Airman’s Pay Book - Page 3: ‘Rank & RAF Trade’This contains three entries for Leslie of Rank, Date of Effect & Authority:Sergeant, 21.9.43, POR 167/43.Flight Sergeant, 21.9.44, POR 277/44.Warrant Officer, 21.9.45, POR 146/45.Under Trade:Air-Gunner, 21.9.43, POR 167/43.The section for ‘Medals, Clasps, Decorations and Mentions’ is not completed.Other PagesThe following pages and sections in the Pay Book are not completed:Page 4 - ‘Leave Granted with Free Railway Warrant’.Page 5 - ‘Medical Classification’ & ‘Night Visual Capability’.Page 6 - ‘Protective Inoculation’ & ‘Vaccination’.Page 7 - ‘Prescription for Spectacles’, ‘Particulars of Artificial Dentures’ and ‘Blood Group’.Page 8 - ‘Identity Card & Permits Issued’.Page 9 - ‘Short Form of Will – Specimen’.Page 10 - ‘Last Will & Testament’.Page 11 - ‘Sickness Whilst on Leave’ and ‘Visit, Medicine & Certificates’ are notes.120


Lancaster ND424Appendix LLeslie’s Helper Monsieur Louis CotanLeslie was given incredible help by Monsieur Louis Cotan, his wife and other brave French patriots.After baling out Leslie landed in a field somewhere to the south west of Paris and hid hisparachute, harness and ‘Mae West’ life jacket. He walked for about an hour in a south westerlydirection and then lay low until daylight. He continued walking west, but about mid-day changedhis mind and turned due east.At about 18:00 on the 28th June Leslie saw a manworking on a small allotment. Leslie approachedthe man and made his identity known speakingbasic French that he had learned in school.Leslie had previously removed his battle dressand was in shirtsleeves. The man was LouisCotan and he told Leslie he was in Gif-sur-Yvetteon the south western outskirts of Paris.Right: Louis and Madame Cotan (on their 25 th weddinganniversary in 1948?).Louis hid Leslie alone in a hut and returned anhour later with food and wine, some old overalls,and a coat. Leslie stayed in this hut that night andthe whole of the next day and night. During thistime Louis brought him food and some straw tosleep on from his sister-in-law’s house, which wasin the neighbourhood.On 30 Jun Louis and his wife took Leslie by trainto their own apartment in Paris at 21 PassageGatbois, Paris XII. Also on 30 June Louis tookone of Leslie’s escape photographs and on 1 July a police inspector turned up with an identity card(using the photograph provided) and a “carte de travail” (work permit). The card showed Leslie’snew identity as Henri Lebrun aged 19 born at Savigny sur Orge (Seine et Oise).Louis returned on 2 Jul with a young man, Pierre Petit, who brought Leslie a bread card. Thisyoung man, who was also 19, took Leslie on a site seeing tour of Paris. On 5 July Leslie was takento the Gare de Lyons railway station. Louis bought Leslie a train ticket to Perpignan and at 21:00he boarded the train for Perpignan, without an escort. Leslie was on this train for five days.Left: Recent picture ofPassage Gatbois in Paristaken from the AvenueDaumesnil (from Google‘Street View’).121


Lancaster ND424Left: Map showing the location ofPassage Gatbois in Paris (A).Louis Cotan LetterMonsieur Louis Cotan wrote thefollowing letter on 20 December1944 sent to someone to ask ifLeslie had returned home safely.The letter was only discoveredafter Leslie’s mother passedaway in the early 1970’s. It is notknown if a response was sent.As it is a ‘copy’ was the originaltranslated and a copy and sent toLeslie’s parents by the ‘office’mentioned?A copy of the original letter is inAppendix F. It reads:Sir,I went to your office a few days ago in connection with enquiries about Sergeant JeanFaircloth, gunner, 91 Broughton Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey, who baled out of a 4-engined Lancaster, which crashed after 2 engines went out of action when returning fromSens on 28 June 1944. Faircloth landed at Gif-sur-Seine (Seine et Oise) and for 10 days Igave him refuge at 21 Passage Gatbois Paris XII. I gave him civilian clothing and Frenchidentity papers in the name of Henri Lebrun, born at Savigny sur Orge (Seine et Oise), aged19, and on 5 th July, at his own request, sent him to Perpignan, since when I have had nonews of him. I have written three times to his family but have had no reply.I should be glad if you would let me know if he got back safely and give me news of him.I am, etc.(Sgd.) Cotan.Sender: M. Cotan21 Passage Gatbois, Paris, XII.In July 2012 while carrying out an internet search for “Louis Cotan” I found a French genealogywebsite with a possible link to the Cotan family. It contains a picture of Louis Cotan and his wife ata family wedding around 1926-1929 at http://genealogie-famille-holvas.wifeo.com/photos-demariages-de-la-famille-cotan-et-guillemeau.php.It also contains an entry (in French) dated 29/07/2009 fromDominique Bernal who wrote “my grandmother is GermaineCéline Cotan and my grandfather is Louis Cotan”. Hopefully wecan try to contact the Cotan family to thank them for theinvaluable help given to my father Leslie in 1944.Right: Louis Cotan and his wife Germaine Cotan. This was croppedfrom a large family wedding photograph at the above website.122


Lancaster ND424Appendix MLeslie’s Escape Talk NotesLeslie has given a number of talks on his war time experiences and Paul made notes of these asshown below.At 6 years old I remember seeing the airship R101 on its final flight to disaster in France.When I left school I worked as a clerk at the Croydon Advertiser. I was also member of theHome Guard and was a fire-watcher in central London equipped with a stirrup pump andbucket!I joined the RAF at 17 1/2 years old and wascalled up at 18 and became an air gunner. Sixmonths initial training at RAF Stormy Down inSouth Wales. My first flight was in an AvroAnson. My rank was sergeant (three stripes).Right: The Avro Anson.We were crewed up at RAF Peplow inShropshire. Our first ‘action’ was in aWellington on a leaflet dropping exercise.We then went to a heavy bomber conversion unit at RAF Blyton to become a Lancastercrew. This included cross-country and night flying training. We were assigned to 12Squadron at RAF Wickenby in Lincolnshire. We went on raids including: the Ruhr, Duisberg,Gelsenkirchen and Aachen (the Krupps factory).We flew below the pathfinders. JU88 hit us during funnel (approach to airfield). Air orground! Lights out.We joined up with 800 other bombers at 20,000 feet over Flamborough Head to attack aPanzer SS Tank transport unit in the Pas de Calais. This was a short hop across the EnglishChannel known as a ‘Milk Run’. The MC (Master of Ceremony) for the raid was LeonardCheshire. The aircraft spent a long time circling over the target waiting for the signal toattack. Communications were affected by the American Forces broadcasting on the samefrequency. The Deputy Controller was Squadron Leader E.N.M. Sparks. The RAFsustained very heavy losses: 1 Group – 28 aircraft (12%). Aircraft were exploding all aroundus. We also attacked rocket sites in the Pas de Calais: V1 ‘Doodlebugs’. Lights.Following my final raid on the Varies-Sur-Marne railway yards I baled out of the Lancasteraircraft at around 700-800 feet. I saw Doug Jordin (rear gunner) approaching and told him togo first. He seemed to hesitate so I pushed him out, I then followed him out. I saw theLancaster explode as it hit the ground and tracer from our ammunition flashed across thesky.I landed heavily in a field near some quarries at around 03:00 am. I heard some dogsbarking and found out after the reunion with Doug that the dogs were barking at him! Iremoved all the RAF gear and hid the parachute. I remember seeing some Poplar trees. Ithought about walking towards Normandy but decided not to and slept in a wood.In the morning I saw a couple in their 40’s working in an allotment. This was Monsieur andMadame Louis Cotan. They brought me some wine and cheese and provided me with ajacket and overalls and I slept in a tool shed. I then travelled with them the 20 miles to Parisusing the Metro. I was told to keep at a safe distance from them. The USAF had recentlybombed the railway stations.Their apartment was on the second floor of a three storey block at 21 Passage Gatbois,Paris XII. Here I was quizzed by a girl named Michelle who spoke English. She asked123


Lancaster ND424about the escape pack and one of my photographs was taken from it. A Police Inspectorreturned a few days later with identity papers that used the photograph taken from myescape pack. It was in the name of Jean Henri Lebrun.A young man called Pierre Petit asked me if I would like to see Paris. We spent three dayssite-seeing: the Sacre Coeur, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde.I experienced some of the ‘normal’ life of Paris. Pierre was about the same age (19). Wedid not walk together but some way behind.Louis Cotan was a railway man. He took some of my escape money and bought a ticket forthe evening train to Perpignan. They gave a wine box. The train left around 20:00 to 22:00to Clermont Ferrand. I stayed on the train for 5 nights and 4 days. I didn’t feel hungry but Iused bread cards.I met a chatty young lady. Saw a group of three men and a woman. They may have beenmembers of the Maqui (these were the predominantly rural guerrilla bands of the FrenchResistance). I arrived at Nimes and got out of the train and crossed the town to the otherstation. I was accompanied by a man. I got on to another train to Narbonne and stayed thenight. The man wished me good luck. Travelled to Perpignan and went to a hotel/boardinghouse but the manager said it was too dangerous.I saw a hay cart pulled by a horse with an old man and a boy. The old man called me acapitalist! I saw a checkpoint so went into the woods. I remember the loud buzzing of thecicadas.Ravine. Main road. Checkpoints. Commotion. Drinking from river. Saw a group ofSpanish soldiers and their uniform had a red tassel. 12 kms into Spain. Farmhouse. Idodged around patrol. Saw two soldiers having a siesta. When I got about 100 yards pastthem they got up, came after me and arrested me. I was marched to their headquarters insome stables. Someone fetched the Captain but no one spoke English. I was searched andthey confiscated my escape money (French Francs) and my RAF ‘dog tags’. I was taken toa café and then to Figueras where I was taken to the grim old prison on a hill top (seebelow). Saw the ‘Chef de Prison’. He was a big fat fellow. I was then put in a cell with otherprisoners. One of them was a Russian and another was a French soap smuggler calledFigaro. Some of the prisoners had been there since the Spanish Civil War. Used a blanketfor flies. Queued up for lunch.I saw three Frenchmen from the Crois Rouge (Red Cross) and wrote a note that was passedto them. A man in a white suit arrived at the prison and he was Mr Rafelle (or Rafael) theVice-Consul from Gerona. He organised my release. We went in a 1930’s taxi to agentleman’s outfitters and I was kitted out with new clothes. He then booked me into a hotel.I spent an hour in the bath! When I met him downstairs afterwards he commented on theremarkable transformation. We then took a taxi to an Englishman’s house for tea. He was awriter called Mr Abba and he was a cousin of my headmaster!Spanish Air Force Captain. Internment camp. US airmen. Spa town. Sat on well. Village.Met Jack Frost from the British Embassy in Madrid he was the British Ambassador. I wasgiven £12 in Pesetas. I then travelled to Gibralter for a debriefing & interrogation.I flew back from Gibralter to the UK in an RAF Dakota sitting between the fuel tanks. I wasdebriefed in London by MI9 but no one said I had to stay so I wandered out and went hometo Thornton Heath but I returned in the morning. When I arrived home I didn’t use the key ona string to open the door but I knocked. My father opened the door and cried when he sawme.Following my return to the UK I was then stationed at RAF Dalcross near Inverness inScotland, Wellingtons. I was there when the war ended in 1945. I was also Station WarrantOfficer at Peterborough. I spent time teaching French cadets. Kirton Lindsay.124


Lancaster ND424Appendix NFigueras Prison - Castell de Sant FerranLeslie was imprisoned in the hill-top fort in Figueras from 14th to 20th July 1944. Figueras is innorth east Spain, just south of the Pyrenees and the French border. Today Figueras is the capitalof the region of l’Alt Empordà, and is a pleasant little city, or large-ish town, with some fineModernista buildings and an attractive Rambla.On the outskirts of Figueres is thepentagonal Castillo Sant Ferran, builtbetween 1753 and 1766, to defendthe border with France. Thisimpressive fortress is one of the mostextensive in Europe and has a hugeparade ground. It is seen at its mostforbidding from the motorway goingsouth past the town.French forces captured the castleduring the Napoleonic Wars and it served as a training ground and prison. At the end of theSpanish Civil War it was the last Republican bastion inCatalunya, after the fall of Barcelona, and Figueres waseffectively the capital of Republican Spain for a day. Even afterthe last Republicans had fled northwards to France, Figueresrather fruitlessly, declared itself the capital of the independentRepublic of l’Alt Empordà. The town was very badly bombed byFranco’s air force during the Civil War. Antonio Tejero, theGuardia Civil officer who led the assault on the SpanishParliament in the failed coup d’etat of 23rd February 1981, wasimprisoned in the castle for many years. He regarded Figueresas “el quinto coño”, which is Spanish slang for Hicksville, or theback of beyond.125


Lancaster ND424126


Lancaster ND424Appendix OElvingtonLeslie at the Yorkshire Air Museum atIn 2008 we made a family visit to see the flying display at Elvington near York, a former WW II RAFBomber Command station. It is the largest and most original WWII base open to the public in theUK and is home to the Yorkshire Air Museum and the Allied Air Forces Memorial. Following the airdisplay we talked our way into the Air Gunner Museum on the site and took the followingphotographs. For further details see www.yorkshireairmuseum.co.uk/Left: The refurbished Frazer Nash 150 Mk. 1Mid Upper Turret, serial No. 2758. (Photo: PLF).The plaque alongside reads:This turret was recovered from an oldRAF dump near South Cerney inGloucestershire and was acquired bythe Air Gunners’ Association on 4 th July1991. Whilst it was fairly complete itwas in need of considerable restoration,having been buried in the ground formore than forty years.Many hundreds of hours were spent bymembers of York Branch in completelystripping and restoring the numerouscomponents.It is believed that this turret saw activeservice as part of the defensivearmament of a Lancaster Bomber inWWII. The Perspex cupola was kindlydonated by the Costwold AircraftRestoration Group. The Air Gunners’Association acknowledges theinvaluable help and advice of manyfriends at the Yorkshire Air Museum andelsewhere who contributed to thesuccess of this, our first restorationproject.Above: Leslie alongside the turret in 2008. This is the closest he’d been to one since 1944, some 64 yearsearlier! (Photo: PLF).There was also a Douglas DC3 Dakota on display at the airfield and we all boarded it for a lookaround. In 1944 Leslie flew back to the UK on a Dakota full of VIP’s while sitting between the longrangefuel tanks. They took off from Gibralter to on 9 Aug and arrived at Whitchurch near Bristol on10 August.Bristol (Whitchurch) Airport was three miles south of Bristol in Somerset and opened in 1930. Itwas the main airport for Bristol and area until it closed in 1957. During the Second World War itwas one of the few civil airports that remained operational, enabling air connections to Lisbon andShannon and from there to the United States. The former airfield was for a time a racing circuit butis now occupied by a sports centre, trading estates and retail parks. At the time of writing part ofthe concrete runway still exists.127


Lancaster ND424Left: The Douglas DC3 Dakota in theblack & white stripes ‘D-Day’ livery.Leslie’s eldest son Peter is on the right(Photo: PLF).Right: Leslie alongside the Dakota. Heflew back from Gibralter in one of theseaircraft in 1944 (Photo: PLF).Left: Leslie and Megan with the Dakota’sRAF roundel in the background (Photo:PLF).128


Lancaster ND424Appendix PThe Avro Lancaster Heavy BomberBrief HistoryBased partly on http://www.hellzapoppin.demon.co.uk/avrolancaster.htm. The Avro Lancaster hasits roots back in the mid-1930s. The Air Ministry issued a Specification, P13/36, in September1936 for a twin engine bomber, and in response to this, A.V. Roe and Son designed the Avro Type679 - later to become known as the Manchester. The prototype was ready to fly for the first time onJuly the 25th 1939, just prior to the outbreak of the Second WorldWar, and initial reports were generally favourable, although therewere some concerns relating to the lateral stability of the aircraft.The aircraft made it as far as the production stage, and inNovember 1940 207 Squadron took delivery of the first ones, flyingthe first operational sortie, to attack shipping at Brest, in February1941. However, from the outset the Manchester was doomed to failure. The airframe was sound -the problem lay with the Rolls-Royce Vulture engines. Rolls-Royce cannot be perfect all of thetime, and in the Manchester's power-plant they produced what can realistically only be termed aspectacular failure.In July 1940, displaying uncharacteristic foresight, the Air Ministry issued a new specification,B1/39, which called for a four engine bomber capable of carrying 10,000lbs of ordnance to a rangeof 2,500 miles, and should be capable of cruising at 280mph at 15,000 feet. Roy Chadwick and histeam at Avro responded to this specification with plans for the Avro Type 683 - essentially amodified Manchester with four Rolls-Royce Merlin Mark Xs in place of the troublesome Vultures.Roy Chadwick saw this Specification as the chance to change the ugly duckling that was theManchester and turn it into something that he believed would make for a successful bomber.Chadwick and his design team made a few simple changes to the basic design of the Manchesterairframe, which included some modifications to the fuselage and the extension of the wings. Theyremoved the two Vulture engines and in their place added the four Merlins.The transformation was beyond remarkable. First flown on January the 9th 1941, the Lancaster,as the new plane was by now known, immediately ingratiated herself with the Avro test pilots. Shehandled better than any other heavy bomber of the period, and with the four Rolls-Royce Merlinspurring away on the wings, shehad the power to respond toany demands a pilot mightplace on her. She would flyhappily on three engines, getby on two and would get youhome on one - if necessary.Right: The Lancaster B Mk.IThe first squadron to receivethe Lancaster was 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron at RAF Waddington in December 1941. Over the nextthree years Lancasters carried out some 156,000 sorties and dropped over 608,000 tons of bombs.By the end of the war Lancasters equipped 57of Bomber Command’s 97 squadrons and no lessthan 10 of the 30 Victoria Crosses awarded to the RAF were for actions in Lancasters.The very last of over 7,300 Lancasters came off the production line at Yeadon in December 1945and they continued in service with the RAF until October 1956. Yeadon in West Yorkshire was thesite of the Avro satellite factory to Chadderton, Manchester for producing Lancaster Bombers inWWII. RAF Yeadon (now the Leeds/Bradford Airport) was next door and the airfield was used bythe factory.129


Lancaster ND424Avro Lancaster B.Mk III Technical DataThe following is based on http://www.xs4all.nl/~fbonne/warbirds/ww2htmls/avrolanc.html.Manufacturer: A. V. Roe and Company Ltd.First Flight (Prototype): 9 January 1941.Operational Service: 1942 to 1950's.Number Produced: 7,374 total, 3,030 of this type.Crew of 7: Pilot, Co-Pilot, Navigator/Observer, Bombardier/Gunner, Radio Operator,Dorsal/Mid-Upper Gunner and Tail Gunner.Power Plant: 4 × Rolls Royce Merlin 28 or 38, inverted-vee, rated at 1,460 hp each.Length: 68 ft 10 inch with the tail down. Height: 20 ft 4 inch with the tail down.Empty Weight: 41,000 lb. Operational weight: 68,000 lb. Typical 72,000 lb maximum.Wing Span: 102 ft. Wing Aspect ratio: 8. Wing Area: 1300 sq ft.Service Ceiling: 24,500 ft.Maximum Speed: 281 mph at 11,000 ft. Cruising speed: 227 mph at optimum altitude.Initial Climb Rate: Climb to 20,000 ft in 41 min 24 sec.Range: 1,660 miles with 14,000 lb bomb load. 2,530 miles with 7,000 lb bomb load, 3,000miles with minimal bomb load.Fuel Capacity: Internal 2,154 imperial gallons in 6 fuel tanks, 3 in each wing, plusprovision for one or two weapons bays tanks of 400 imperial gallons each.Machine Guns:2 × 0.303 in trainable forward firing guns in nose turret, 1,000 rounds each.2 × 0.303 in trainable guns in the dorsal (mid-upper) turret, 1,000 rounds each.4 × 0.303 in trainable rearward-firing guns in the tail turret, 2,500 rounds each.Bomb Load:Up to 14,000 lb in 1 lower fuselage weapons bay, and generally consisting of either:Recognition:1 × 12,000 lb bomb.1 × 8,000 lb bomb, plus 6 × 500 lb bombs.1 × 4,000 lb bomb, plus 6 × 1,000 lb bombs, plus 2 × 250 lb bombs.6 × 2,000 lb bombs, plus 3 × 250 lb bombs.6 × 1,500 lb mines.14 × 1,000 lb bombs.Slab-sided fuselage with heavily framed canopy mounted well forward on the upper fuselage.Nose, tail and upper rear fuselage contain turrets housing defensive guns. Twin tail unit withunswept horizontal surfaces. Main undercarriage housed in the cowlings of the inner engines.Some aircraft had the H2S radar bulge aft of the bomb bay while a few others carried a mid-lowergun-turret.Above: Graphic of Lancaster GZ-A of 12 Squadron RAF. In WW2 12 Squadron's aircraft were coded "PH"whilst certain Lancasters carried "GZ". From http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/h12.html130


Lancaster ND424Radio, Radar and Countermeasures EquipmentThe Lancaster had a very advanced communications system forits time. Most British-built Lancasters were fitted with the R1155receiver and T1154 transmitter. These provided radio directionfindingas well as voice and Morse capabilities. The followingdescriptions are based onhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Lancaster.Right: R1155 Receiver & T1154 Transmitter. Circular display lower leftis the Fishpond warning device. Lancaster Manual.H2SThe H2S radar was the first airborne ground scanning radarsystem. It was used as a navigational aid by providing a maplikedisplay of the ground below the aircraft on a CRT (CathodeRay Tube). It was developed in Britain during WWII and was used in various RAF bomber aircraftfrom 1943 to the 1990s. It was designed to identify targets on the ground for night and all-weatherbombing. The H2S radar was first used for navigation by RAF bombers on January 30 1943 andso became the first groundmapping radar to be used incombat. Initially it was fitted toStirling and Halifax then later toLancaster bombers and providedground mapping for navigation andnight bombing.Right: 12 Squadron Lancaster PH-H(LM321). The H2S dome can be seenunder the rear fuselage behind theopen bomb doors and below the ‘P’.Photograph and identity fromhttp://www.tom.forbes.dsl.pipex.com/12squadron/html/album.htmFishpondThis was an add-on to H2S that provided additional (aerial) coverage of the underside of theaircraft to display attacking fighters on an auxiliary screen in the radio operator's position.MonicaThis was a rearward looking radar designed to warn of a night fighter approaching. However, itcould not distinguish between attacking enemy fighters and nearby friendly bombers and served asa homing beacon for suitably-equipped German night fighters. Once this was realised, it wasremoved altogether.GEEGEE or AMES Type 7000 was designed to improve aircraftnavigation accuracy, thereby increasing the effectiveness of raidsby Avro Lancasters and other RAF bombers. Synchronizedpulses were transmitted from the UK and the aircraft receiver thencalculated their position from the time delay between the pulses.The range of GEE was 300 to 400 miles (483 to 644 km).Right: Gee equipment.131


Lancaster ND424Boozer (Radar Detector)This was a system of lights mounted on the aircraft's instrument panel that lit up when the aircraftwas being tracked by Würzburg ground radar and Lichtenstein airborne radar. In practice it wasfound to be more disconcerting than useful, as the lights were often triggered by false alerts in theradar-signal-infested skies over Germany.OboeThis was a very accurate navigation system consisting of a receiver/transponder for two radarstations transmitting from widely separated locations in Southern England which togetherdetermined the range and the bearing on the range. The system could only handle one aircraft at atime so it was fitted to a Pathfinder aircraft, usually a fast and manoeuvrable Mosquito rather than aheavy Lancaster, which marked the target for the main force.GEE-HThis was similar to Oboe but with the transponder on the ground allowing more aircraft to use thesystem simultaneously. GEE-H aircraft were usually marked with two horizontal yellow stripes onthe fins.Village InnThis was a radar-aimed gun turret that was fitted to some Lancasters in 1944.Below: Avro Lancaster ‘PO-S for Sugar’ of 467 Squadron RAAF being prepared for its 97th operation at RAFWaddington in Lincolnshire. The bomb load includes a 4,000lb bomb, also known as a ‘cookie’, in the centre.The aircraft serial number R5868 is just visible to the right of the S, indicating that the aircraft was originallyordered from Metropolitan-Vickers at Trafford Park as a Manchester Mk I, but was built as a Lancaster B Mk.I.R5868 is the oldest surviving Lancaster and was part of the first production batch delivered from January toSeptember 1942. It was the first RAF heavy bomber to complete 100 operations and in total it completed 137operations, more than any other RAF Bomber except Lancaster ED888. R5868 first served as ‘Q for Queenie’with 83 Squadron RAF based at Scampton, then as ‘S for Sugar’ with 463 and 467 Squadrons RAAF based atWaddington. R5868 is now on static display in the Bomber Hall at the RAF museum in Hendon, London. Thepicture has been used on the front cover of this document.132


Lancaster ND424Avro Lancaster I Cutaway133


Lancaster ND424There are around 17 largely complete Lancasters in the world but only two are currently airworthy,one in Britain and one in Canada.PA474: Lancaster Mark 1 built by Vickers-Armstrong Ltd at Broughton, Chester in mid1945 and is part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.FM213: Lancaster Mark X built by Victory Aircraft Ltd at Malton, Ontario and is part of theCanadian Warplane Heritage Museum.There is also a complete Lancaster based at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at EastKirkby, a privately owned and run museum set up by two farming brothers, Fred and HaroldPanton. It was built up as a memorial to Bomber Command but primarily as a tribute to their eldestbrother, Christopher Whitton Panton, who was shot down and killed on a bombing raid overNuremberg on 30/31 March 1944. In early 2012 there were plans to restore their Lancaster B MkVII (NX611) ‘Just Jane’ to airworthy condition. See http://www.lincsaviation.co.uk/history/.Below: Avro Lancaster B I PA474 of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_LancasterBelow: Avro Lancaster Mark X of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. Fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lancaster_VR-A.jpg134


Lancaster ND424Appendix Q12 Squadron Bomber Command12 Squadron was formed during the First World War on 14 February 1915 at RAF Netheravon inWiltshire from a nucleus of crew and aircraft provided by No. 1 Squadron.The picture on the right shows the 12 Squadron badge with the fox’s headand motto ‘Leads the field’. The fox's mask was approved by King GeorgeVI in February 1937 and was based on a suggestion when the squadronwas equipped with the Fairey Fox, an aircraft of which they were proud andthe sole operators.At the beginning of the Second World War 12 squadron served with theAdvanced Air Striking Force in France. The squadron returned to BomberCommand in June 1940 and assigned to 1 Group, where it remained forthe duration of the war. During wartime the squadron was equipped withFairey Battle light bombers, Wellingtons and eventually Lancaster heavybombers. The squadron Identity Code Letters were PH and GZ.12 Squadron maintained a continuous service as a bomber squadron throughout the duration ofthe Second World War. They suffered the second highest percentage loss of all BomberCommand squadrons and suffered highest percentage loss of all 1 Group squadrons. In 1941Flying Officer D.E. Garland and Sergeant T. Gray received posthumous Victoria Crosses for a raidon a vital bridge over the Albert Canal in Belgium.Above: 12 Squadron air & ground crew. From http://www.rafwmm.flyer.co.uk/Museum/History.htmlRaids FlownFairey Battles: 8 bombing.Vickers Wellingtons: 137 bombing, 24 mine laying and 6 leaflet.Avro Lancasters: 282 bombing and 27 mine laying.Totals: 484 raids (427 bombing, 51 mine laying and 6 leaflet).Sorties and LossesFairey Battles: 36 sorties, 1 aircraft lost (2.8 %).Vickers Wellingtons: 1242 sorties, 59 aircraft lost (4.8 %).Avro Lancasters: 3882 sorties, 111 aircraft lost (2.9 %).Totals: 5160 sorties, 171 aircraft lost (3.3 %).An additional 18 Lancasters were destroyed in crashes.135


Lancaster ND424The extract below is from the 12 Squadron history on the RAF website:http://www.raf.mod.uk/raflossiemouth/aboutus/12bsqnhistory.cfmAfter the summer of 1944, in which they attacked flying bomb sites, provided close supportfor the Army, attacked German naval targets and carried out mine laying operations, 12Squadron maintained a constant pounding of targets, such as Karstrke, Essen, Borun,Coblenz and Cologne. The cost in men and machines was high, for instance, in the periodMarch to August 1944 the Squadron lost 40 aircraft. Winter slowed down operations, butthey were resumed in 1945, until 25 April, when the Squadron flew its last sortie of the war,paying an unannounced visit to Hitler's lair at Bertesgarten.Commanding Officer of 12 SquadronThe Commanding Officer of 12 Squadron during this period of 1944 was Wing Commander J.D.Nelson DFC (service number 33092). John Dudley Nelson was born in Wellington, New Zealand in1914. He was educated at Wanganui Collegiate and learned to fly with the Wellington Aero Club.He made is own way to the UK and entered RAF Cranwell as a cadet in 1932. He was granted apermanent commission in the RAF and was posted 12 Squadron in 1933. After variousappointments within the RAF he was posted back to 12 Squadron in February 1944 and took overas Commanding Officer on 6th March 1944. He flew a total of 13 operational sorties. He retired asa Group Captain on 13th October 1946 but was re-employed by the RAF from 1953 to 1964. JohnNelson died in 1982. This information was based on http://www.rafcommands.com/cgibin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=show_thread&om=15758&forum=DCForumID6His DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) citation reads:Wing Commander John Dudley NELSON (33092), R.A.F., 12 SqnWing Commander Nelson is a most efficient squadron commander, whose excellentorganising ability and good judgment have contributed in large way to the fine fightingqualities of the formation he commands. He as completed many sorties, during which hehas attacked a variety of targets important to the enemy's war effort, including Stuttgart,Cologne and Frankfurt. His devotion to duty has been unswerving.This was originally from the following website but, at time of writing, it was no longer available:http://www.gazettesonline.co.uk/archiveViewFrameSetup.asp?webType=0&PageDuplicate=n%20%20%20%20%20%20%20&issueNumber=36761&pageNumber=0&SearchFor=John%20Dudley%20NELSON&selMedalType=&selHonourType1 Group12 Squadron were the senior member of 1 Group Bomber Command. The Commanding Officer of1 Group in 1944 was Air Vice-Marshall E.A.B. Rice. Headquarters were at Bawtry Hall nearDoncaster. Below is a list of 1 Group Squadrons, stations and aircraft in 1944. From ‘TheNuremberg Raid’.12 Squadron, Wickenby, Lancaster.100 Squadron, Grimsby, A.B.C. Lancaster.101 Squadron, Ludford Magna, Lancaster.103 Squadron, Elsham Wolds, Lancaster.166 Squadron, Kirmington, Lancaster.300 Squadron (Polish), Faldingworth, Lancaster and Wellington.460 Squadron (R.A.A.F.), Binbrook, Lancaster.550 Squadron, North Killinghome, Lancaster.576 Squadron, Elsham Wolds, Lancaster.625 Squadron, Kelstern, Lancaster.626 Squadron, Wickenby, Lancaster.136


Lancaster ND42412 Squadron Losses Between 15 March & 28 June 1944Lancaster ND424 flew operations from around 15th March to 28th June 1944. During this period atotal of 22 Lancasters were lost from 12 Squadron. Eleven Lancasters were lost from 12 Squadronon 7 operations of the 17 flown by our crew (marked with * below). As already mentioned in theEpilogue, 51 out of the 78 aircrew on these eleven Lancasters were killed in action.The following list and details are based on the book ‘Bomber Command Losses (1944)’ and thewebsite http://www.lostbombers.co.uk. Note the three DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) medalwinners on the list: F/L J.H. Bracewell DFC, F/L D.M. Carey DFC RCAF and P/O A. Williams DFC.All three were killed in action on these operations.Date Operation Aircraft Serial No. Id. Pilot15/16 March 1944 Stuttgart Lancaster ND447 PH-C W/O D.R. Knowles24/25 March 1944 Berlin Lancaster JB359 PH-Q F/L J.H. Bracewell DFC“ “ Lancaster ND439 PH-K F/S C.J. Bates“ “ Lancaster ND650 PH-Y F/O F.C. Hentsch“ “ Lancaster ND710 PH-L F/O G.J.G.de Marigny30/31 March 1944 Nuremberg Lancaster ND441 PH-Z F/L D.M. Carey DFC RCAF“ “ Lancaster ND562 PH-D F/L A.J. Cook9/10 April 1944 Gardening Lancaster JB709 PH-O P/O J.A.McL Ross10/11 April 1944 Aulnoye Lancaster ND844 PH-M P/O F.W. Richards21/22 April 1944 Dusseldorf Lancaster ND715 PH-R F/S J. Harvey26/27 April 1944 Essen Lancaster ND873 PH-N P/O G.E. Nicholls3/4 May1944 Mailly-le-Camp Lancaster JB405 PH-H* P/O J.D. Carter“ “ Lancaster LM514 PH-Q * F/O P.G. Maxwell“ “ Lancaster LM516 PH-D* F/S S.W. Payne“ “ Lancaster JB748 PH-Z* F/O J.H. Ormrod22/23 May 1944 Dortmund Lancaster NE134 PH-O* P/O D.C.H. Maxwell27/28 May 1944 Aachen Lancaster ND679 PH-F* P/O K.I. Kernahan12/13 June 1944 Gelsenkirchen Lancaster PA986 PH-D* P/O A. Williams DFC22 June 1944 Mimoyecques Lancaster LL917 PH-C* P/O B.S. Leuty23/24 June 1944 Saintes Lancaster ME642 PH-W* F/L J.H. Thomas“ “ Lancaster ND528 PH-B* F/O F.A. Jeffrey RCAF27/28 June 1944 Vaires Lancaster ND424 PH-G* P/O M.A. Guilfoyle12 Squadron TodayIn 2011 12 Squadron still exists, some 96 years since being formed, and they are based at RAFLossiemouth in Scotland. They are equipped with the Tornado GR4 ground attack aircraft.Below: An RAF Tornado GR4. From http://www.raf.mod.uk/137


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Lancaster ND424Appendix RRAF WickenbyIn June 1944 12 Squadron were stationed at RAF Wickenby in Lincolnshire.Wickenby Airfield is located 9 miles north east of the city of Lincoln and 4½ miles south of theLincolnshire town of Market Rasen. The history of this airfield starts in 1941 when the everincreasing demand for more heavy bomber airfields in Lincolnshire meant that large rural areashad to be found to build these new airfields. Such a site was located to the south of Wickenbyvillage and early in 1941 work commenced on building a new airfield on this site. The new stationwas to become RAF Wickenby.The airfield was completed in September1942 and came under the control of No.1Group Bomber Command and initially openedas a satellite station to RAF Binbrook. DuringSeptember 1942 12 Squadron moved to RAFWickenby from their base at RAF Binbrook,bringing with them their Wellington bombers inwhich they flew a number of missions fromRAF Wickenby. During November the sameyear the Squadron began to receive their newLancaster bombers and by early in January1943 they were able to put nine Lancasters inthe air on raids over Germany. In November1943 a new Squadron was formed at RAFWickenby, 626 Squadron. This new Squadronwas created by the expansion of 12Squadron’s C Flight.Above: Aerial photograph of RAF Wickenby under construction 21 September 1942. Fromhttp://www.rafwmm.flyer.co.uk/Museum/History.html).After the war RAF Wickenby became home to No.61 MU (Maintenance Unit), then No. 93 MU (in1948) and No. 92 MU (in 1952). This MU brought in ordnance from all over the country as variousRAF Stations were closing down. This work continued until the disposal of surplus stocks ofbombs, ammunition and explosives had been completed. Work on this task finally ended on 30September 1956. From this date the airfield and facilities lay vacant until it was sold off around1960.Today Wickenby airfield is used by Lincolnshire Aviation for civilian flying training and they havetheir offices in the old WWII Control Tower on the airfield. The proprietors have set up a smallmuseum (soon to be expanded) upstairs inWatch Office where they have created adisplay dedicated to 12 and 626 Squadrons.We visited Wickenby on 4 November 2008and took these photographs. Unfortunatelythe museum was closed but we saw theRed Arrows practising their aerial routinesin the background. Details of the ‘RAFWickenby Memorial Collection’ can befound at: http://www.rafwmm.flyer.co.uk/Right: The Wickenby Memorial (Photo: PLF).139


Lancaster ND424Below: Modern reproduction plan of RAF Wickenby airfield circa 1944. Fromhttp://www.rafwmm.flyer.co.uk/Museum/AirfieldPlan.htmlBelow: The location of RAF Wickenby in Lincolnshire (A).140


Lancaster ND424Left: Close up of the memorial at Wickenby(Photo: PLF). The RAF motto 'Per arduaad astra' is generally said to be "ThroughAdversity to the Stars". The memorialreads:Royal Air Force WickenbyNo.1 Group Bomber Command1942-1945In memory of the one thousand andeighty men of 12 & 626 Squadrons whogave their lives on operations from thisairfield in the offensive againstGermany and the liberation of occupiedEurope.Per ardua ad astra.Right: The WWII control tower, nowhome to the ‘RAF Wickenby MemorialCollection’. (Photo: PLF).Left: Remains of one of the concreterunways. The control tower is out ofshot to the right. (Photo: PLF)141


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Lancaster ND424Appendix SMemorialsRunnymede & Bomber CommandThe Runnymede MemorialThe Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede commemorates by name 20,332 identified RAF airmenwho were lost in the Second World War during operations from bases in the United Kingdom andNorth and Western Europe, and who have no known graves. They served in Bomber, Fighter,Coastal, Transport, Flying Training and Maintenance Commands, and came from all parts of theCommonwealth. Some were from countries in continental Europe which had been overrun butwhose airmen continued to fight in the ranks of the Royal Air Force. The memorial was designed bySir Edward Maufe with sculpture by Vernon Hill. The engraved glass and painted ceilings weredesigned by John Hutton and the poem engraved on the gallery window was written by Paul HScott.The Runnymede Memorial was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 17 October 1953and the text of her dedicatory address is displayed inside the entrance loggia. Her Majestyreturned to celebrate the memorial's fifty years as a place of commemoration and remembrance on17 October 2003. It overlooks the River Thames on Cooper's Hill at Englefield Green betweenWindsor and Egham in Surrey on the A308, 4 miles from Windsor.Plan, photograph and text from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) web site athttp://www.cwgc.org/search/cemetery_details.aspx?cemetery=109600&mode=1.Below: The Runnymede memorial plan and photographEngraved on the great north window of the shrine are words from the 139th Psalm, sometimescalled the Airman's Psalm.If I climb up into Heaven, Thou art there;If I go to Hell, Thou art there also.If I take the wings of the morningAnd remain in the uttermost parts of the sea,Even there also shall Thy hand lead.143


Lancaster ND424The Bomber Command MemorialOn Thursday 28 June 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth attended the dedication of the BomberCommand Memorial at Green Park in London and unveiled the central bronze sculpture of sevenbomber command aircrew. It commemorates the 55,573 Bomber Command aircrew who lost theirlives during World War II. Most were very young and the great majority were still in their late teens.They came from across the globe - from the UK, Canada, Australia,New Zealand and all corners of the British Empire, as well as fromoccupied countries including Poland, France and Czechoslovakia.The memorial is supported by the RAF Benevolent Fund who willrely on public contributions to preserve it for future generations.For further details about the memorial and how to make a donation,see the RAF Benevolent Fund website athttp://www.rafbf.org/1795/about-bomber-command.html.For further information see the book ‘The Bomber CommandMemorial’ first published in 2012.Above: The Bomber Commandbadge with their motto ‘StrikeHard Strike Sure’. Detail from theexterior of the Bomber CommandMemorial.Left: The exterior of the BomberCommand Memorial.Photograph courtesy of Elaineand Adrian Benson.Right: The central sculpture of aseven man Bomber Commandaircrew. Photograph courtesy ofElaine and Adrian Benson.144


Lancaster ND424Appendix TM.I.9 & I.S.9M.I.9Based on http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O129-MI9.html. MI9, the British escape service, wasa semi-secret branch of the military intelligence directorate in the war office, founded in December1939 at the suggestion of the future Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer, who was then in charge ofsecurity for the British Expeditionary Force. Its head, Colonel Norman Crockatt, decorated andwounded in the First World War, combined common sense, courage, and discretion. Having beenbrought into MI(R), a predecessor of SOE (Special Operations Executive), by its chief, J. C. F.Holland, he worked under the wing of Sir Claude Dansey (1876–1947). Dansey was assistantchief of MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service, from 1939 to 1945.Crockatt's staff were mostly recalled regular officers, like himself; they included a sailor and anairman. The air ministry later regretted that it had not taken up a suggestion that the branch mightcome under its own control, for many of MI9's customers were airmen. Crockatt settled hisheadquarters at Wilton Park, Beaconsfield, west of London, and sent his staff out to lecture men inuniform. He was later promoted brigadier, and made a deputy director of military intelligence.MI9 had several aims:To secure intelligence about the enemy, from repatriated prisoners-of-war and by codedcorrespondence with those still in POW camps.To assist prisoners to escape, by advice given beforehand and by smuggling escape gearin to them.To train the armed forces in methods of escape and evasion.Eventually, to organize groups of helpers abroad to assist escapers on their way home.None of the smuggling was done in International Red Cross food parcels, on which scores ofthousands of prisoners of war depended, towards the end of the war, for their continuing health.Aircrew undertaking operational flights, or commandos going on raids, were provided by MI9 withpurses, each containing some £10 worth ofthe local currency of wherever they weregoing, a small hacksaw, and a smallcompass: this would give them a start inmaking a getaway. They carried mapsprinted on silk, for durability and ease ofconcealment.Gradually, with heroic help overseas, MI9was able to build up lines of helpers, whowere prepared to undertake the sheltering offugitives on their way out of occupiedterritory. These lines worked particularly wellin Belgium and France; attempts were alsomade in the more spacious and moresuspicious lands of south-eastern Europe. Inthe Far East much less could be done,because escapers of Caucasian descentwere immediately recognizable as nonnatives.Right: An M.I.9. silk escape map of France.From http://www.escapemaps.com/wwii_uk_zones_of_france.htm145


Lancaster ND424Below: An RAF button compass. On the left is the normal looking button and on the right it is open to revealthe compass. It would have been one of the central buttons on the crews No. 1 uniform. Over this they wouldhave worn their heavy fur-lined leather jacket, flying boots etc. According to the MI9 book as many as2,358,853 compasses of various designs, including 1,301,937 half-inch brass ones and 91,591 studs, weremade and distributed by MI9 during WWII. Pictures from http://www.compassmuseum.com/esc/esc.htm.If an escaper or an evader (someone who had never been in enemy hands) was caught whiletravelling along one of these lines, he had only to produce his identity discs to establish his statusas an Allied combatant, covered by the Hague and Geneva Conventions, and could legitimatelyexpect to be sent, or to be sent back, to a prisoner-of-war camp. His helpers were much moreharshly treated: the best they could hope for was a prison sentence, and a great many of themwere killed. It was reckoned in MI9 that every one of the 2,000-odd aircrew safely brought out ofWestern Europe to fly again had cost a helper's life. The German security services devoted mucheffort to trying to break escape lines up; and they ran one or two bogus lines themselves, for thesake of the intelligence they could glean from them about Allied air order of battle.A grand total of more than 33,000 men from British, American, and British Commonwealth forcesgot back to the Allied lines after being inside enemy territory, whether as escapers or as evaders.A substantial proportion of them - not recoverable exactly from the surviving statistics - did so withthe help, known or unknown, of MI9 or of its American equivalent, MIS-X.Escape stories, many of them hair-raising, form a distinct and distinguished part of war literature.They seldom if ever mention MI9, because it was so secret at the time that few prisoners had everheard of it. When they mention maps, tools, or wireless sets, without stating a source for them,they can reasonably be supposed to have come from MI9. The author of a best-seller from theFirst World War, A. J. Evans, who had written ‘The Escaping Club’, served on MI9's staff. Hejoined the unit called IS9 (WEA) (Western European Area) which accompanied Eisenhower'sarmies during the fighting in north-west Europe. IS9 (CMF) (Central Mediterranean Forces) was asimilar unit working in Italy; IS9 (ME) (Middle East), based in Cairo, covered the easternMediterranean and south-east Europe, and provided cover for ‘A’ Force (see deception). All threeIS9 units came under Crockatt, an early believer in the slogan ‘small is beautiful’; the whole of thestaff under him did not number as many as 300, but they exercised a disproportionately largeinfluence on the course of the war.Not only did they make escapes and evasions easier, as they had been meant to do; they providedfor thousands of prisoners-of-war, directly and indirectly, some degree of hope, and thus madeprison endurable, whether the men concerned were directly involved in escape projects or not.Whether they also provided a significant body of intelligence remains an official secret.The above is from the book ‘MI9 Escape and Evasion 1939-1945’ by M.R.D. Foot and J.M.Langley, J. M (Boston 1980).I.S.9The evader & POW reports held in this document were compiled by I.S.9. (Intelligence School 9,War Office) who were responsible for the interrogation of British evaders and former POW’s fromGermany. References to I.S.9. are present on the reports for Mike, Bob, David, Doug, John andLes, e.g. “INTERVIEWED BY I.S.9 (W)”.146


Lancaster ND424The National Archive contains many references to IS9, e.g. the following overview is based on:http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php?title=Intelligence_School_9,_War_OfficeThis was the field operational intelligence unit of branch M.I.9, War Office and taking its branchnumber. This was formally abbreviated to I.S.9. Initially known as No 9 Intelligence School it mayalso be known by its signals or telegraphic address of 'nineeyes'.National Archive file reference WO 208/3242 shows No 9 Intelligence School Section "D/P.15" asresponsible for the training of field agents. This may be a transcription error in the record when No.9 Intelligence School Section 'D' and Section P15 of SIS is meant.It may be noted that IS 9(WEA) British Element (War Establishment Table in WO 24/1125) wereresponsible for the interrogation of all British ex-Prisoners of War from Germany (Known byconvention as 'PWX') through the administration of three different questionnaire types:White for all PWX.Pink for all PWX who had served on Escape Committees and related Intelligence andSabotage activities.'Q' Forms for PWX having knowledge of atrocities and War Crimes.Completed questionnaires of allthree types may now be tracedelsewhere at the National Archive inClass WO 344. Examples ofextracted reports on atrocities andWar Crimes as passed to AG 3(VW) and JAG may be furthertraced in WO 311/7. Further IS 9involvement in War Crimesinvestigation may be traced in WO311/55 and HS 4/271.Right: The main evasion routes inwestern Europe as devised andsupported by MI9. Leslie travelled onthe route via Nevers, Clermont Ferrand,Perpignan, Barcelona and Madrid toGibralter. From here he flew back toBristol on an RAF Dakota. From thebook ‘MI9 Escape and Evasion 1939-1945’.147


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Lancaster ND424Appendix UGestapo HQ, Fresnes & POW CampsGestapo Headquarters & Fresnes PrisonJoe, Doug and probably Mike were arrested and taken to the Gestapo H.Q. in western Paris at 84Avenue Fochs, a wide residential boulevard that connects the Arc de Triomphe and the PorteDauphine. Numbers 82, 84 and 86 were taken over by the counter-intelligence branch of theGestapo, known as the Sicherheitsdienst or SD. Number 84 was used for imprisonment andinterrogation of foreign agents captured in France, such as those of the British Special OperationsExecutive (SOE). There were frequent transfers of prisoners between number 84 and FresnesPrison. Based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/84_Avenue_Foch.Below: A map of Paris showing the locations ofGestapo H.Q. and Fresnes Prison.Above: Google street view of the former GestapoHeadquarters in Paris at 84 Avenue FochRight: Fresnes Prison in Paris. It is still used and isthe largest prison in France. Picture fromhttp://photo.parismatch.com/media/photos2/actu/societe/prison-de-fresnes/2744837-1-fre-FR/prison-de-Fresnes_articlephoto.jpgAll three men were then transferred to Fresnes Prison to the south of Paris. Fresnes Prison wasconstructed between 1895 and 1898 and during WW2 it was used by the Germans to housecaptured British SOE agents and members of the French Resistance. Held in horrific conditions,prisoners were tortured and some died there. When the Allied forces broke through at Normandyand fought their way to liberate Paris (25 August 1944), the Gestapo peremptorily killed prisonersat Fresnes. Squadron Leader Phil Lamason of the RNZAF was the ranking officer and one of 168allied airmen imprisoned there in 1944. They were transferred to Buchenwald concentration campjust days before Paris was liberated. Based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresnes_prison.149


Lancaster ND424A number of books have been written about the nightmare journey to Buchenwald. Televisionprogrammes have also been made including ‘Shot From The Sky’ (TV Film 2004) was broadcastby Sky TV in the UK and is available on DVD in the US. More recently the excellent ‘Bomber Boys:Revealed’ was broadcast by Channel 5 in the UK on 10 November 2011.Buchenwald Concentration CampThe three crew members were transported with the rest of the 168 Allied airmen to the BuchenwaldConcentration Camp in railway cattle trucks. They arrived on 20 August 1944 and spent aroundtwo months there in terrible conditions. Based on http://www.thirdreichruins.com/buchenwald.htmOne of the major Nazi concentration camps was set up in 1937 at Buchenwald, on the EttersbergHill near Weimar in Thüringen. Buchenwald remained one of the major camps throughout thehistory of the Third Reich, with numerous sub-camps under its administration. Buchenwald wasnot, per se, an extermination camp (such as Auschwitz), but prisoners were starved, maltreated,and worked to death in the camp quarry and adjacent armaments factories. Russian POW’s andothers were executed and cremated. Buchenwald was also made infamous by Ilse Koch, wife ofcamp commandant Karl Koch. Frau Koch had a fancy for prisoners' tattoos, and would often havethese flayed from the victims and preserved, sometimes as lampshades. Jews and Gypsies weretransported from Buchenwald to extermination camps further east for annihilation. Later, as thesecamps were overrun by the Soviet Army, prisoners were crammed into Buchenwald, some 13,000of whom died during three months in 1945 alone. The total death toll at Buchenwald may never beknown, but it was at least 51,000.Most prisoners arrived by rail at theBuchenwald Bahnhof, a short distance fromthe camp. From the train station, prisonerswere marched through the SS headquartersarea, then through the gatehouse into thecamp section.Right: Buchenwald Bahnhof (station).The camp was liberated by the U.S. Army on11 April 1945, when the American soldiersfound that the inmates had already taken thecamp over after most of the SS guards fled,and were organizing its surrender. Buchenwald was one of the first glimpses that Americans hadof the horrors of the concentration camp system.After the war the Soviets used Buchenwald as a "Special Camp" for German and other politicalprisoners, some 7,100 of whom died there from 1945-1950.There is a related document in the NationalArchive relating to Buchenwald: WO208/3639 “October 1944, (LF/736)Buchenwald: Details of construction andlayout, conditions, atrocities, camp personnel,plans of camp”.Left: This U.S. Army photo shows the gatehouseat Buchenwald soon after liberation in April 1945.150


Lancaster ND424Stalag Luft IIIFollowing the crew members stay in Buchenwald they were transferred to Stalag Luft III and arrivedon 21 October 1944. Based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalag_Luft_III. See this site for details.Stalag Luft III (Stammlager Luft, or POW Camp for Airmen #3) was a Luftwaffe run prisoner-of-warcamp during World War II that housed captured air force servicemen. It was located in the Germanprovince of Lower Silesia near the town of Sagan (now Żagań in Poland), 100 miles (160 km)southeast of Berlin. The camp is best known for two famous prisoner escapes that took placethere by tunnelling, which were depicted in the films ‘The Great Escape’ (1963) and ‘The WoodenHorse’ (1950), and the books by former prisoners Paul Brickhill and Eric Williams from which thesefilms were adapted.Left: Model of the Stalag Luft III compound at thenearby museum.The prison camp had a number of designfeatures that made escape extremely difficult.The digging of escape tunnels, in particular, wasdiscouraged by several factors. First, thebarracks housing the prisoners were raisedseveral inches off the ground to make it easierfor guards to detect any tunnelling activity.Second, the camp itself had been constructedon land that had a very sandy subsoil. Thesand was bright yellow, so it could easily bedetected if anyone dumped it on the surface(which consisted of grey dust), or even just hadsome of it on their clothing. In addition, theloose, unconsolidated sand meant the structuralintegrity of a tunnel would be very poor. A thirddefence against tunnelling was the placement of seismograph microphones around the perimeterof the camp, which were expected to detect any sounds of digging just below the surface.Eventually the camp grew to approximately 60 acres (24 ha) in size andeventually housed about 2,500 Royal Air Force officers, about 7,500 U.S.Army Air Forces, and about 900 officers from other Allied air forces, for atotal of 10,949 inmates, including some support officers. The camp’s 800Luftwaffe guards were primarily either civilians too old for combat duty oryoung men convalescing after long tours of duty or wounds and, becausethe guards were Luftwaffe personnel, the prisoners were accorded treatmentfar better than that granted other POWs in Germany.Right: Friedrich Wilhelm von Lindeiner-Wildau, Kommandant of Stalag Luft III.LiberationJust before midnight on 27 January 1945, as Russian troops approached, the POW’s weremarched out of camp with the eventual destination of Spremberg. After a 34 mile (55 km) marchthe POW’s arrived in Bad Muskau where they rested for 30 hours before marching the remaining16 miles (26 km) to Spremberg. On 31 January the South Compound prisoners plus 200 men fromthe West Compound were sent by train to Stalag VII-A at Moosburg followed by the Centrecompound prisoners on February 7. The North, East and remaining West Compound prisoners atSpremberg were sent to Stalag XIII-D at Nürnberg on February 2. With the approach of U.S.forces on April 13, the American prisoners at XIII-D were marched to Stalag VII-A. While themajority reached VII-A on April 20, many had dropped out on the way with the German guardsmaking no attempt to stop them. The U.S. 14th Armored Division liberated VII-A on April 29.151


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Lancaster ND424Appendix VJacques DesoubrieIt is very likely that a man called Jacques Desoubrie was directly involved in the arrest of JoeSonshine and Doug Jordin as shown in their accounts. Shortly after meeting a man called ‘Jack’ or‘Jacques’ they were arrested by the Gestapo. Mike Guilfoyle was probably betrayed in the sameway but his account does not include names or details of his arrest.From Joe Sonshine’s account from ‘168 Jump Into Hell’:“…We were also questioned by a man named Jack who said he would get us to Spain. Heasked us several military questions and also other types of questions. He took away ourvaluables and any other money we had. We stayed there approximately a week. Fromthere we walked to the Museum were we were picked up by car. I was separated from therest and taken to an old hotel and put there for several days. I joined up later with the twoAmericans and we were taken to an apartment house. Next to it seemed to be a Germanheadquarters as they were heavily armed with hand grenades and machine guns. Here Imet a short dark man and his wife whom said they were Spanish. There we were picked upbe a small black car and we were told that we were going to Chartres. As we were drivingthrough the city of Paris they put a gun in our sides then drove us to the Gestapoheadquarters…”.From Doug Jordin’s account from his POW report:“…Here we met the head of the local organisation called Jacques. We remained at thisplace for one night and the next day we were taken to the suburbs of PARIS. Here therewere about eight of us, we were told to wait for transport that would take us to the South ofFrance under the guise of forced labour. The transport arrived and there were already someaircrew in it. We were driven around the town and arrived eventually at the Gestapo H.Q.We remembered that all of our guides from the time we met Jacques were armed…”.The following is based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Desoubrie and ‘168 Jump Into Hell’:Jacques Desoubrie (1922-1949) was a French traitor and double agent whoworked for the Gestapo during the German occupation of France duringWorld War II. He was Born in 1922 at Tourcoing in northern France, closeto the Belgian border, and was the illegitimate son of a Belgian doctor.Never having a proper home and abandoned by his mother at an early age,he became a drifter and later took up a trade as an electrician. Desoubriewas described as a short, stocky man with piercing grey eyes set behind apair of moderately thick-lensed spectacles. He was always smartly dressed,with his light brown hair always neatly combed. His smile revealed brightgold fillings in his front teeth and he spoke excellent English.Left: A picture of Jacques Desoubrie from the book ‘168 Jump Into Hell’.When WW2 broke out, the Belgian teenager eagerly accepted the Nazi propaganda, readilyadopting their doctrines. He entered the Gestapo in 1941, and infiltrated first the Resistance groupVérité Français, where 100 members of the Resistance were arrested, then the Le Guales groupwhere another 50 were arrested. He infiltrated other groups, such as the escape network knownas the Comet Line that helped Allied airmen whose planes were lost over France or Spain to returnto Britain. He used various aliases including; Jean Jacques, Pierre Boulain, Jean Masson,Jacques Leman and Captain Jacques, as he liked to be known.Desoubrie was also responsible for the capture of many of the 168 allied airmen who were taken toBuchenwald concentration camp in August 1944. After the Liberation, he fled to Germany but wasarrested at the end of May 1947 after being denounced by his ex-mistress. His trial opened on 7July 1949 and he was condemned to death as a collaborator on 20 July 1949. He was executed byfiring squad on 19 December 1949 in the Fort of Montrouge in Arcueil near Paris.153


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Lancaster ND424Appendix W The Caterpillar Club & Leslie IrvinLeslie Faircloth and John Stephen were members of the Caterpillar Club. From the book ‘JumpFor It’ written by Gerald Bowman (first published in 1955).This exclusive club was founded by a young American, Leslie Irvin in 1922. It was he whoinvented the first really reliable “free” parachute, which was attached only to the person whouses it and not in any way to the aircraft. This parachute was subsequently adopted by theAir Forces of Britain and the USA. Irvin conceived the idea thereafter of presenting everyperson whose life has been saved by an Irvin parachute with a tiny gold caterpillar, on theback of which was engraved the individuals name.What is the Caterpillar Club?Based on www.caterpillarclub.org/irvin/irvin.htm.I’ve been around water for my whole life. On occasion I've had to jump out of a boat due to aoutboard motor on fire, or the sailboat over turning. I always had that seat cushion or lifepreserver to hold on to. Before April 28, 1919 there was no way to jump out of a plane anddeploy a parachute yourself. Some models of tethered parachutes were made, but if theplane spun out of control the parachute could not deploy. It was Leslie Irvin's dream todevelop a chute that you could deploy at will. Irvin wasasked to join the Air Corps parachute research team, and inApril of 1919 he would test his design.It was thought that if you were to jump from a plane that youwould not have any control of your limbs to deploy aparachute. Going at 100 mph 1000 feet in the air Irvinproved them wrong. With a smart pull of his rip cord Irvin's28' chute deployed. His excitement from the jump causedIrvin to make a careless landing and he broke his ankle, buthe considered it a small price to pay.Right: Leslie Irvin (1895-1966).Any person from that time on who jumped from a disabledaircraft with a parachute became a member of the Caterpillar Club. In 1922 LieutenantHarold R. Harris, chief of the McCook Field Flying Station, jumped from a disabledmonoplane. From Don Glassman's book Jump gave this account of the naming of the club."Discussion arose as to the probable outcome of this one jump, and a realisation that manymore were to follow. I believe Timmerman first suggested that a club be formed to embracethese intrepid airmen. Suggestions for appropriate names were offered. We decided that'Sky Hookers' and 'Crawlers' were weak and ineffective. Not long after our conversation, Ireceived literature about the Caterpillar Tractor Company from a relative, showing a designfor their advertisements, that is, a wavy streak with 'Caterpillar' written across its face.I immediately got in touch with Timmerman and Hutton, and suggested to them that theorganisation be called 'Caterpillar Club' for several reasons, namely: the parachute main sailand lines were woven from the finest silk. The lowly worm spins a cocoon, crawls out andflies away from certain death, if it remains in sight of the cocoon. A better example of what apilot or passenger should do in the case of an uncontrollable plane could not have betterfigurative depiction."In 1922 Leslie Irvin made a pledge to donate a gold pin to every person whose life wassaved from one of his parachutes. By the 1950's the number of members in the club hadgrown to over 80,000 members.155


Lancaster ND424Left Leslie’s Caterpillar Club Membership Card(Photo: PLF). It says:Caterpillar ClubCertificate of MembershipF/Sgt L. J. Fairclothis a member of the Caterpillar Clubhaving saved his life by parachuteSigned Hon. Sec. European DivisionRight: Leslie’s gold Caterpillar Club pin withruby eyes. It is 20mm long and is engravedon the back with “FLT SGT L JFAIRCLOTH”. According to the BBCAntiques Roadshow on 26 September 2010it is “a rare item worth around £130 to £140”(Photo: PLF).Below: Adverts for ‘Irvin Air Chutes’.156


Lancaster ND424Appendix XDoug Jordin Letter and PhotographsLetter from 12 Squadron – Missing in ActionThis letter was written by Squadron Leader J.C.B. Brown the commanding officer of 12 Squadronand was sent to Doug’s father Mr. F.H. Jordin on 28 th June 1944. Jordin collection.157


Lancaster ND424Left: Doug Jordin in the rear turret of a Lancaster(ND424?). Jordin collection.Right: Doug inside the rear turret again with someground crew. Jordin collection.Left: Doug looking very smart in his RAF uniform. The ‘AG’ badgedenotes Air Gunner. Jordin collection.Right: A smiling crew in front of aLancaster tail gun turret. Backrow: Bob, Les, David & John.Front row: Joe, John & Doug.Jordin collection.158


Lancaster ND424Appendix YAirmen Met by Doug Jordin in FranceWhile in hiding in Paris Doug Jordin met two other airmen who were hiding in the same house: F/SThomas A. Malcolm (RAAF) and S/Sgt. Arthur J. Pelletier (USAAC).F/S Thomas A. Malcolm RAAFThomas Malcolm was the only survivor from Lancaster LM571 (JO-E) of 463 Squadron based atRAF Waddington. They were shot down by a night-fighter while on a raid on a flying bomb site atProuville on 24/25th June 1944. The aircraft crashed at Bussus-Bussuel (Somme) 12 Km E ofAbbeville. Like Doug he was betrayed by a French traitor and was arrested by the Gestapo on 19July 1944. His Buchenwald Camp Id No. was 78379 and his Stalag Luft III Camp Id No. was 8929.The book ‘168 Jump Into Hell’ includes a recent picture of Tom Malcolm as he is a member of theKLB club.Based on ‘Lost Bombers’ http://www.lostbombers.co.uk/bomber.php?id=4466. For further detailssee this website.LM751 (JO-E) was delivered to No. 463 Squadron on 16 May 1944. It has an incompleteoperational history. However, it is recorded that LM751 took part in the key operationagainst Duisburg on 21/22 May 1944 and that when lost had a total of 100 hours. LM751was one of three No. 463 Squadron Lancasters lost on this operation (see LM574 andLM597).Airborne at 22:44 on 24 June.1944 from RAF Waddington to attack a flying-bomb site. Shotdown by a night-fighter and crashed at Bussus-Bussuel (Somme), 12 Km east of Abbeville.Those killed are buried in Bussus-Bussuel Communal Cemetery. P/O J.F. Martin RAAF KIA,Sgt P.D. Taylor KIA, W/O B.E. Kelly RAAF KIA, F/S T.A. Malcolm RAAF PoW, F/S G.W.Bateman RAAF KIA, F/S L.G.L. Hunter RAAF KIA, F/S B.R. Barber RAAF KIA. F/S T.A.Malcolm initially evaded until captured 19 July 1944 and incarcerated in Fresnes Prison,Paris, and Buchenwald Concentration Camp before internment in Camp L3, PoW No. 8929.S/Sgt. Arthur J. Pelletier of the US 8 th Army Air CorpsArthur J. Pelletier was Flight Engineer on Liberator B-24H (41-29468) “Peg O' My Heart” with the838 th Squadron (487 Bomber Group) based at Lavenham in Suffolk. His aircraft crashed on 11May 1944 at Coulonges-les-Sablons in North West France (near Chartres). Like Doug andThomas he was betrayed by a French traitor and was arrested by the Gestapo. His BuchenwaldCamp Id No. was 78335. Arthur was from Fall River in Massachusetts.Left: Picture of the Vratnycrew of 838th Squadron withArthur Pelletier back left. Fororiginal photo & names seehttp://www.487thbg.org/Photos/VratnyCrew.shtml159


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Lancaster ND424Appendix ZBob Yates Previous Crew (ND783)The letter Bobby Yates sent to Les in December 2009 contained a reference to the first crew heserved with. ND783 was lost on its second operation and there were only two survivors: one of thecrew Sgt J. A. Ford (RAAF) evaded capture and a passenger Air Commodore Ivelaw-Chapmanbecame a POW. He was the most senior RAF officer taken prisoner while in Bomber Commandservice and had recently taken up a Staff Officer post in 1 Group. Bob confirmed via e-mail that thedetails are correct. The aircraft was from the same batch as ND424. The following information isbased on: http://www.lostbombers.co.uk/bomber.php?id=1842ND783 was delivered to 576 Squadron on 29 April 1944. As UL-C2 it took part in the keyoperation against Mailly-le-Camp 3/4 May 1944. When lost on its second key operationND783 had a total of 14 hours, and was the only aircraft lost on this operation.Airborne at 0015 on 7 May 1944 from Elsham Wolds in Lincolnshire to destroy anammunition dump. Those killed are buried in Bayeux War Cemetery. Air CommodoreIvelaw-Chapman was the most senior RAF officer taken prisoner while in Bomber Commandservice. He had recently taken up a Staff Officer post in 1 Group. See BCWD (‘BomberCommand War Diaries’) for further details.Flight Lieutenant J.M.Shearer RNZAF KIA, Air Commodore R.Ivelaw-Chapman (P2) PoW,Sergeant C.N.G.Drew KIA, Warrant Officer A.H.Biltoft RAAF KIA, Sergeant J. A.Ford RAAFEvd, Sergeant C.V.Fox KIA, Sergeant J.W.McLeod RAAF KIA, Sergeant A.R.Jackson RAAFKIA, Air Commodore Ivelaw-Chapman was detained in the Dulag-Luft Interrogation Centre.No PoW No.The letter sent by Bob also contained photocopies from a book (?) written in French that containeddetails and a photograph of his first crew. The photograph includes Bob who, soon after this wastaken, was transferred to 12 Squadron and he was replaced by a new wireless operator CharlesFox.Left: Photograph of the crew ofLancaster ND783 of 576 Squadrontaken at Brighton in November 1943.Back row, from left to right: ArthurJackson (KIA), Joseph Ford (Evd),Maxwell Shearer (KIA), Arthur Biltoft(KIA) and Jack McLeod (KIA).Front row, from left to right. CorbettDrew (KIA) and Bob Yates(transferred to 12 Squadron).Also included were low quality photographs of Air Vice Marshall Ivelaw-Chapman taken in Francein 1945 and one of a memorial that looks like the one shown on the next page.In November 2010 I searched the internet for ‘Lancaster ND783’ and found a French web site thatlists memorials of Allied airmen killed in action over France. It contains photographs of thememorial to the crew of ND783 that were killed in action on 7th May 1944. The memorial is atSaint-Rémy-du-Val around 25 miles north of Le Mans in north western France. For further detailssee: http://aerosteles.net/fiche.php?code=stremy-lancaster&type=dm&valeur=20100912&lang=fr161


Lancaster ND424Left: The memorial at Saint-Rémy-du-Val to the fivecrew of ND783 who were killed. The photograph isdated 23/08/2010 and is from the above web site.Right: A close up of the memorial taken fromhttp://www.panoramio.com/photo/4333718 It hasa second date of 1994 so was this when it waserected to commemorate the 50 th anniversary?Air Commodore Ivelaw-Chapman GCB, KBE, DFC, AFC (1899 –1978)From http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/may44.htmlOn 6/7 May 1944 52 Lancasters of No. 1 Group attacked anammunition dump at Aubigne accurately and the entire target wasdestroyed. The only Lancaster shot down on this raid, from No576 Squadron, contained a senior officer who was flying assecond pilot. This was Air Commodore Ronald Ivelaw-Chapman,who was commanding a 'base' (usually 3 airfields) in No. 1 Group.Ivelaw-Chapman had only just taken up this position after a staffjob in which he had had access to details of the coming invasion.There was great anxiety in England that, if he became a prisonerof war, the Germans might hand him over to the Gestapo forquestioning. He was taken prisoner but the Germans neverrealized his importance and he was treated in the normal manner.Right: Air Commodore Ronald Ivelaw-Chapman.See also http://www.rafweb.org/Biographies/Ivelaw-Chapman.htm.During our visit to the National Archive we found some RAF papers relating to this subject in AIR40/1452.162


Lancaster ND424Appendix AA The Family JeromeIn November 2011 I received an e-mail from Sophie-Caroline Pascal Lavoué to say that that hergrandparents Mr & Mrs Jerome hid Mike Guilfoyle and Doug Jordin in their house in Gif-sur-Yvette.She had seen the website www.lesfaircloth.co.uk and wanted to know what had happened to Mikeand Doug after they left her grandparents house. I told her the story of their capture, Fresnesprison, Buchenwald and their eventual release in May 1945.The Jerome’s had two children, Jeanine (15) and Jacqueline (10). Jeanine is Sophie-Caroline’smother and she now lives inBrittany and remembers thispart of her life very well. Ipassed a copy of the e-mail toDoug’s son Howard who inturn passed his thanks to theJerome family for the generousand courageous care theyprovided to Doug and Mike.Howard’s sister was namedJacqueline Susan after the‘little girl’ who Doug met whilestaying in the house.Right: Jerome family pictures sentby Sophie-Caroline PascalLavoué. The upper picture showsher older brother and mother. Thelower picture shows hergrandparents and great-auntHelene in front of their house inGif-sur-Yvette.After the war the family received a diploma fromthe US Government and they proudly displayed itwith pictures of Mike and Doug. It reads:The President of the United States of Americahas directed me to express to GeorgetteJerome the gratitude and appreciation of theAmerican people for gallant service in assistingthe escape of Allied soldiers from the enemy.Dwight D. EisenhowerGeneral of the Army.Right: The diploma received from the US Governmentframed with pictures of Mike (top left) and Doug (topright). I am not sure where the 1940’s pictures are from.Are they the pictures carried by all RAF crews and givento the family? Are they photographs taken by the familyor the French resistance?163


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Lancaster ND424Appendix BB Obituary of Joseph SonshineIn late 2006 Leslie received a letter from Remco Immerzeel who lives in Rebrechien, France to tellhim that Joe Sonshine had died in March 2006. Remco had seen Leslie’s story on the BBCPeoples’ War web site and he is a researcher and co-author of a number of stories on the web site.I then searched the internet and soon found the following obituary on the web site of ‘The Globeand Mail’ newspaper based in Toronto. It was written by Ruth Pike whose oldest son Robert ismarried to Joe's youngest daughter Ellen.Veteran, entrepreneur, philanthropist. Born Oct. 11, 1920, in Toronto. Died March 132006 in Toronto, of cancer, aged 85.In June of 1944, an RCAF plane was shot down during a bombing raid near the French-German border. Alone and injured, the navigator, Joe Sonshine, buried his parachute andhid in the forest for several days until he could walk. A farmer who spotted him got him intothe escape lines organized by the French Underground. For several weeks, he was passedfrom one safe house to another. Unable to speak French, in public he posed as a deafmute.In private, he helped plot local sabotage.Joe's planned escape to England was foiled when a collaborator betrayed him to theGestapo. Because he was captured in civilian clothes, he was presumed to be a spy. Hewas transported in a cattle car to Buchenwald where he was kept in solitary confinement.Denied access to protection under the terms of the Geneva Convention, he was sentencedto death. Months later, finally recognized as military, he was sent, first to Stalag Luft III, thenforce-marched with other POW's from one camp to another until liberated by the Russians.Although he knew the consequences could be dire, Joe had told a guard that he was a Jew,because he wanted a Jewish burial. His concern for his remains was premature. Despiteeverything, emaciated and ill, Joe outlived the war.Joe's core beliefs included hard work and family values. Back in Toronto, he marriedMildred Longert, his sweetheart who had waited. Their marriage exemplified the bestinterdependent, loving relationship possible. In 1969, he founded a family company, WeldedTube of Canada, one of the leading steel tubing producers in North America with plants inSouth Carolina and Ohio as well as Toronto.Joe was big in every respect. Six feet tall, 300 pounds in his prime, he dreamed big, hadlofty expectations, strong convictions, solid principles and powerful determination. He livedon a grand scale but was surprisingly soft-spoken and seemingly shy; quietly dignified andunassuming.A standard nuclear family would not suffice for Joe. His immediate family had 24 tightly-knitmembers. His virtual family was far greater, all regulars on his invitation list for any kind ofgathering. Joe's last party, three months before his death, was a celebration of his andMildred's 60th wedding anniversary.Joe's life was more than work, family and fun. When the Canadian War Museum was beingbuilt in Ottawa, Joe saw the opportunity to provide a memorial for his older brother, Murray.A flying officer whose plane was also shot down, Murray's body was never recovered. Theboardroom in the museum bears Murray's name.Joe broke his silence about those terrible months in Buchenwald when two veterans whohad also been imprisoned illegally started compiling an oral history. He financed thepublication of 168 Jump Into Hell, to let the world know what had occurred. Subsequently,Joe led other survivors to Ottawa to lobby for official recognition and for assistance in gettingcompensation from the German government.The Buchenwald episode left Joe predisposed to various ailments and physical disabilitiesentailing repeated surgical procedures. His nephew, endocrinologist Paul Walfish, guidedhim through the health-care system. In gratitude, last summer, Joe supported the start up ofThe Joseph and Mildred Sonshine Family Centre for Head and Neck Diseases at MountSinai Hospital.165


Lancaster ND424Although Joseph Sonshine was not a public figure, it was not surprising to see more than750 people at his funeral -- and even more visited the family during the week of Shiva tooffer condolences.© Copyright 2006 Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.From:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060927.LIVES27/TPStory/Facts%20&%20ArgumentsRelated Information168 Jump into HellThe book mentioned in the above article is ‘168 Jump into Hell’, a true story of betrayed alliedairmen by Arthur G. Kinnis and Stanley Booker. Copies of this book were sent to Leslie Fairclothby Joe’s family in Canada. Leslie then passed a copy to Doug Jordin.Fling Officer Murray SonshineJoe’s older brother Murray was killed (aged 24) during a raid on Leipzig on the night of 19/20February 1944, just four months before Joe was shot down. The following details are based onhttp://www.lostbombers.co.uk/bomber.php?id=5038:LK905 (SE-D) was one of two 431 Squadron Halifaxes lost on this operation (with LK964).They were airborne at 2321 on 19 February 1944 from RAF Croft in Yorkshire. They wereshot down by a German night-fighter and crashed 0317 at Ipse, 3 km south of Gardelegen inGermany. This is about 120 miles north of Leipzig and 100 miles west of Berlin. Thosekilled are now buried in the Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. F/O O.M.Sonshine RCAF KIA,Sgt A.C.Twitchett KIA, F/S A.G.Harvey RCAF PoW, F/O R.J.Kee RCAF KIA, F/OJ.A.Houston RCAF KIA, P/O D.A.G.McKerry RCAF KIA, Sgt R.E.Gillanders RCAF KIA. F/SA.G.Harvey was interned in Camps L6/357, PoW No.1732.There is an entry for Murray on the website of the Library and Archives Canada, Second WorldWar Service Files of Canadian Armed Forces War Dead. It shows he was born on 6 March 1918,his parents were Mr and Mrs Boris Sonshine of Downsview, Ontario in Canada and his RCAFserial number was J23299. See http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/war-dead/001056-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=33503&interval=20&&PHPSESSID=3nfhsfpl2pcr6tvgqm4mr7kju0.RAF CroftCroft is located in North Yorkshire near the villages of Dalton Gates and Dalton-on-Tees. No. 431Squadron RCAF was based at Croft from 10 December 1943 to 12 June 1945 and they wereequipped with the Handley Page Halifax. The Croft aerodrome is now better known as a CroftCircuit, a regular venue for the British Touring Car Championship and the British SuperbikeChampionship.166


Lancaster ND424Appendix CC Obituary of John StephenIn October 2010 an internet search for “John Smith Johnston Stephen” found an obituary in ‘TheScotsman’ newspaper from 30 January 2001 written by Campbell Thomas. I e-mailed thenewspaper requesting a copy and it was sent by the Library Manager of The Scotsman PublicationLtd on 12 October 2010.John Stephen: Airman, Senior Councillor, Civil Servant.Born: 19 January 1923 in Aberdeen. Died: 11 December 2000 in Penicuik, aged 77.John Stephen was a well-known socialist and trade unionist who began his working life as a14-year-old telegraph messenger and ended it as a senior civil servant. During the SecondWorld War he parachuted from his stricken RAF bomber into Nazi-occupied France andevaded capture. In peacetime he rose to become First Baillie and Deputy Provost ofAberdeen.His involvement in politics began with union activities in the Post Office, which led to aninterest in local government and his post-war election as a city councillor in Aberdeen'sFerryhill ward. He helped launch the career of Bob Hughes, later MP for the city's Northernconstituency, and was an election agent for Donald Dewar when he won his first seat inParliament by capturing Aberdeen South from Lady Tweedsmuir.He was elected baillie and in that capacity sat on the local police court, meting out justice tosome of the city's more notorious inhabitants. Admonishing a prostitute, he once ended hisaddress: "And I don't want to hear of you walking the streets again". The court erupted inmirth when she replied: "Well, what do you expect me tae dae, walk on the bloodyrooftops?". Rather than charge her with contempt, he joined in the laughter.He went on to become First Baillie and Deputy Provost, meeting many famous figures,including the Royal Family. He was present at Britain's last hanging at Craiginches Prison in1964 - in his opinion a cold-blooded event which made him an opponent of capitalpunishment.The son of a stevedore, John Smith Johnston Stephen was born in Old Aberdeen andreceived a grammar school education. Even before his teens he had voyaged to the Faroesand Iceland aboard the deep-sea trawlers of his friends' fathers. His only bout ofseasickness was due to over-indulging in lemonade. At the outbreak of war he volunteeredfor the RAF and sailed on a troopship to South Africa to join the Empire Training Scheme,graduating with an Observer's brevet and later specialising as a bomb-aimer.In training, he flew over the veldt photographing herds of wild animals from a two-seateraeroplane, and he later joked that he had no need to spend money on a safari holidaypackage.On his return to the UK he was posted to a Lancaster bomber squadron and saw muchaction in the skies over Europe. Casualty rates for bomber crews were horrendous, yet hiscrew survived. He seldom spoke of his experiences but when he did, he gave a modestinsight of what his generation endured. Describing a raid on the Ruhr, he concentrated onthe strange beauty of searchlights surrounded by exploding flak and multi-coloured tracershells. His luck ran out on his 17th mission, when his bomber was shot down over France.He escaped by parachute, thereby becoming a member of the Caterpillar Club, and narrowlyavoiding some high-tension wires on the way down.Sleeping by day and travelling by night, he wandered for days dodging German patrols untila friendly family took him in. They contacted the French Resistance, with whom he took partin some action before being spirited to Paris, where he hid until the liberation.He was debriefed by intelligence services in a Highland camp where mentally-scarredaircrew were often more frightened than they had been in action. He recalled seeing sometraumatised young men running through woods firing handguns at rabbits or anything thatmoved. He had been missing for ten weeks when he walked through the door and greetedhis wife, Peggy, who had feared the worst.167


Lancaster ND424Returning to civilian life, he immersed himself in his work and trade unionism. His beliefs inequality and worker involvement at board level were arguably ahead of their time. Hebecame staff side secretary of the Forestry Commission Whitley Council, a post thenundertaken over and above official duties but which is now a full-time job that he helpedestablish. His career with the Forestry Commission obliged him to give up council work andhe moved to Penicuik to work at the commission's new headquarters in Corstorphine,Edinburgh.He retired from the Civil Service as a higher executive officer but continued to serve as aJustice of the Peace and heard trials at Midlothian District Court.In retirement he took up golf, playing somewhat badly but with great enjoyment and atconsiderable speed. Fit and agile in advanced years, he was nicknamed "Lightning" by thePeebles Golf Club cronies, who let him play through as he surged around the course.A member of the Aircrew Association, John Stephen was a modest gentleman whose senseof fairness and justice was an inspiration to many.He is survived by his wife, Peggy; daughter, Doris; sons, David and Derek; fivegrandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.168


Lancaster ND424Appendix DD The ‘Lost Bombers’ Website & ND424This web site contains details of the RAF bombers lost in WWII. The authors biography on thehome page is worth reading to discover how this website came into being. It contains the followingentry for Lancaster ND424. Based on http://www.lostbombers.co.uk. Sadly this website is nolonger available possibly due to the author passing away.Type:Serial No:Squadron: 12Id:LancasterND424PH-GOperation: VairesDate: 27/28th June 1944Further Information:Serial Range ND324 to NE181. This aircraft was on of a batch of 600 Lancaster Mk.111ordered from A.V.Roe (Chadderton) and delivered from Dec43 to May44 with Merlin 38engines. ND424 was delivered to No.12 Squadron Jan44. ND324 also wore the ID PH-C.ND424 took part in the following Key Operations: Stuttgart 5/16 March 1944; Berlin 24/25March 1944; Nuremberg 30/31 March 1944; Schweinfurt 26/27 April 1944.Airborne at 00:29 on 28 June 1944 from Wickenby to bomb the railway facilities. Cause ofloss and crash-site not established. All had reached the mid-point of their tour of operations.P/O M.A.Guilfoyle PoW, Sgt H.D.Davies Evd, WO2 J.Sonshine RCAF PoW, F/SJ.S.J.Stephen Evd, W/O R.E.Yates RAAF Evd, Sgt L.J.Faircloth Evd, Sgt D.F.Jordin PoW.P/O M.A.Guilfoyle, after serving time in Buchenwald Concentration Camp, was eventuallyinterned in Camp L3. No PoW No. Sgt D.F.Jordin was captured in Paris 15 Jul 44 and wasalso incarcerated in Buchenwald before internment in Camp L3, PoW No.8099. (See pp.64-72 'Flying Into Hell'. WO2 J.Sonshine also held in Buchenwald until released in to Camp L3,PoW No.8930.Left: Lancaster PG-H of 619Squadron (same lettersdifferent order).169


Lancaster ND424170


Lancaster ND424Appendix EE Leslie on BBC Peoples War Web SiteOn 6 th September 2005 Leslie’s son Paul Faircloth wrote details of Leslie’s story & posted it on theBBC’s ‘Peoples War’ website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/32/a5548232.shtml.Leslie Faircloth - Evasion from France 1944Contributed by Paul FairclothPeople in story: Leslie John FairclothLocation of story: Occupied FranceBackground to story: Royal Air ForceArticle ID: A5548232Contributed on: 06 September 2005Leslie Faircloth in RAF uniform (1946).IntroductionThis is the story of the escape of RAF Sergeant Leslie John Faircloth from occupiedFrance in 1944. Leslie’s escapade lasted 44 days from the take off at RAF Wickenby inLincolnshire on 28th June to his return to Whitchurch airfield near Bristol on 10th August.Operation DetailsThe operation was a bombing raid on the Paris/Vaires railway yard at Vaires-sur-Marneon the eastern outskirts of Paris on the night of 27/28 June 1944. This was in support ofthe allied advance following the D-Day landings just three weeks earlier on 6 June.The aircraft was an Avro Lancaster III (ND424 ND242, PH-G, call sign ‘G for George’) of12 Squadron Bomber Command based at RAF Wickenby in Lincolnshire.The CrewThis was the crew’s 17th operation and was just past the halfway point of their full tour of30 operations. The crew of ‘G’ for George were (role, rank, name and origin).Pilot: Pilot Officer M.A. (Mike) Guilfoyle , RAF. Jamaica, West Indies.Flight Engineer: Sergeant H.D. (Dai) Davis, RAF. Maesteg, South Wales.Navigator: Warrant Officer 2 J. (Joe) Sonshine, RCAF. Toronto, Canada.Bomb Aimer: Flight Sergeant J.S.J. (John) Stephen (John). Aberdeen, Scotland.Wireless Operator: Warrant Officer R.E. (Bobby) Yates, RAAF. Sydney, Australia.Mid Upper Gunner: Sergeant L.J. (Les) Faircloth RAF. Thornton Heath, near Croydon,South London.Rear Gunner: Sergeant D.F. (Dougie) Jordin, RAF.The RaidThe aircraft took off for the raid on Vaires at 00:29 on the morning of Wednesday 28 June.The planned outward route was Wickenby (5000N 0030E) - Gravesend (4918N 0218E) -Vaires (4842N 0238E) and the return route was to be Vaires (4842N 0238E) -Littlehampton (4847N 0128E) - Wickenby (5000N 0030E).171


Lancaster ND424The Lancaster dropped its bombs as planned between 03:00 and 03:06 but it had sufferedcritical damage during the journey to the target. With only one engine remaining andlosing height rapidly, the pilot gave the order to abandon aircraft. All seven crew baled outand parachuted to the ground safely to the south west of Paris. Four evaded capture andthree became prisoners of war.The Flight Engineer Sgt Dai Davies was the first evader to return to Britain. Bomb aimerJohn Stephen, wireless operator Bobby Yates and mid upper gunner Leslie also evadedcapture and returned home safely. The pilot Mike Guilfoyle, navigator Joe Sonshine andrear gunner Doug Jordin were captured and became prisoners of war.Details of Leslie’s JourneyThe following journey details have been transcribed from file reference WO 208/3321 report 2321.The document was compiled by M.I.9 at Leslie’s debriefing in London on 10 August following hisreturn from Spain. The figures in brackets are map references added by M.I.9.The details of my take-off up to the time of baling out on 28 June are as related by my flightengineer, Sgt. DAVIES (S/P.G.(-) 2059).I landed in a field somewhere S.W. of PARIS and after walking about 100 yards hid my parachute,harness and Mae West. I walked for about an hour in a south westerly direction, and then lay lowtill daylight. I continued walking West, but about mid-day changed my mind and turned due East.At about 1800 hrs (28 Jun) I saw a man working on a small allotment. I approached him and mademy identity known. I had previously removed my battle dress and was in shirtsleeves. I found I wasat GIF (N.W.EUROPE 1:250,000 Sheet 7, R 8926).The man hid me in a hut, left me, and returned an hour later with food and wine, some old overalls,and a coat. I stayed in this hut that night and the whole of the next day and night. During this timethe man brought me food and some straw to sleep on from his sister-in-law’s house, which was inthe neighbourhood.On 30 Jun the man and his wife took me to PARIS by train. They took me to their own house. On30 Jun my host took one of my escape photos, and on 1 Jul a police inspector turned up with anidentity card for me (my own photograph had been used) and a “carte de travail”. He returned on 2Jul with a young man, who brought me a bread card.On 5 Jul, I was taken to the Gare de LYONS. My host bought me a ticket to PERPIGNAN, and at2100 hrs I boarded the train for PERPIGNAN, without any escort. I was on this train for five days.Our route was:- NEVERS (FRANCE 1:250,000, Sheet 22, N 62) — MOULINS (R 77). We reachedMOULINS at about mid-day 6 Jul, where a German officer and three N.C.O.’s boarded the train forinspection of identity cards. Mine passed muster without any comment.We left MOULINS at about 1300 hrs and travelled via VICHY — CLERMONT FERRAND (Sheet26, W 58) to LANGEAC (Sheet 31, G 91), which we reached at 1700 hrs 6 Jul. Here there was ahold-up till 8 Jul. We then continued via ALES (same as ALAIS (Sheet 36, J 30) and NIMES (Sheet37, S 67).On the way I was spoken to by a girl who, after some questioning, spotted me as being anEnglishman. She was travelling with a member of the Maquis. The girl changed trains, but the manaccompanied me on the train via MONTPELLIER (Sheet 41, s 24) to BEZIERS (R 71 andNARBONNE (W 59). We did not reach NARBONNE till 10 Jul. The people in PARIS had only givenme food for one day. My new helper took me to his house at NARBONNE, and I was given a meal.He then took me back to the train, and I continued to PERPIGNAN on my own. My host in PARIShad given me the address of a hotel manager at PERPIGNAN. I found the hotel, and the managerpassed me on to another café, who in turn passed me on to yet another café, but nobody couldhelp me.172


Lancaster ND424I decided to try and cross the PYRENEES on my own, and on 11 Jul walked inland towards THUIR(IBERIAN PENINSULA, 1:250,000, Sheet S 0880, G 2842). Then turning South, after having slepton the night of 11 Jul in the woods, to a point between LE BOULOU (G 33) and CERET (G 22).Here I was approached by a man who asked me if I was English. Being hungry and thinking hewanted to help me I said “Yes”, and he took me to a house. He disappeared and within ten minutesI saw him returning, followed by two Germans with rifles. I immediately left by the back door for thewoods. I saw the Germans enter the house and come out and search the woods behind.I turned S.E. and after sleeping somewhere near CERET crossed the frontier on 13 Jul andcontinued West of LA JUNQUERA (G 41) to POINT DE MOLINS (G 40), where I was picked up bya party of Spanish militia on Patrol. I told them I was a member of the R.A.F. and they took me totheir headquarters, where I stayed the night of 13 Jul. They escorted me next day to FIGUERAS (G40), where I was taken to the fort and after a brief interrogation to the prison (14 Jul).I remained here until the evening of 19 Jul, when I was rescued by the British Vice-Consul fromGERONA. I stayed under parole in GERONA in a hotel, and on about 20 Jul taken toBARCELONA and from here via ALHAMA (staying till 28 Jul) to MADRID (staying till 7 Aug), andthen to GIBRALTER, leaving GIBRALTER on 9 Aug and arriving WHITCHURCH 10 Aug.Further InformationLeslie’s parents received two telegrams from the Air Ministry Casualty Branch. The firstwas dated 4 July 1944 told them he was missing in action and the second dated 28 July1944 telling them he was safe and in a neutral country. Leslie still has these documents.Leslie’s forged French papers identified him as Henri Lebrun aged 19 of Savigny Sur Orge(Seine et Oise). While on the train to Perpignan these papers were examined by Germansoldiers and ‘passed muster’ without comment. The papers may have been forged butthey were from an official source - they were provided by the French Police Inspector whovisited Leslie at the house in Paris.The flight engineer Sergeant H.D. (Dai) Davies was the first to arrive back in the UK on 29July - just a day after the raid. He may have hitched a lift home in an RAF aircraft(Lysander?) that was flying back from a covert night-time mission in France. Details are inreport M.I.9/S/P.G. (-) 2059 (copy not yet requested from the National Archive).Leslie, like all RAF flight crews was equipped with a button compass and a silk map ofFrance to help him navigate. He was also issued French Francs to use if shot down.Leslie’s escape money was confiscated by the Spanish Militia when he was arrested inSpain.The British Vice Consul gave Leslie some money (around £12) for essentials while inSpain waiting to get home. Some months later Leslie received a letter from HMGovernment asking for the ‘loan’ to be re-paid. Welcome home hero!Only two RAF aircraft were lost during the raid on Vaires on the night of 27/28 June 1944.Leslie’s aircraft was Lancaster ND242 of 12 Squadron and the other was LancasterME793 AR-G2 of 460 Squadron. ME793 was lost without trace and all of the crew werekilled: Israel J.L., White L G, Hunken G H, Pester L E, Beckwith F W, Rouse A E, Krynski.This aircraft had served with 460 Squadron from 24th May 1944 to 27th June 1944 andhad flown a total of fifteen 460 Squadron missions. They had taken off from RAF Binbrookat 00:42. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial alongside the river Thamesto the west of London. Their average age was just 21.173


Lancaster ND424Crash ReportThe following is an extract of crash report AIR 14/1442, 'K' report 203. This report wascompiled by the Operational Research Section (B.C.) on 29 July in an interview with theflight engineer Sgt H.D. Davies who was the first of the crew to get home. Although this isthe official crash report Leslie does not agree with some of the details so this may not bethe complete story.1. The aircraft took off from WICKENBY to attack VAIRES Marshalling Yards. It was aclear night and there was a half moon.2. The attack was scheduled to take place between 0300 and 0306 hours, and about halfan hour before reaching the target, while flying at about 12,000 ft. the Lancaster’sstarboard outer engine began to give trouble. The oil pressure went down slowly andwhen it was down to about 20 lbs./sq.in., the propeller was feathered. Just beforefeathering the coolant temperature was about 130 degrees C and the oil temperature washigh. The propeller feathered normally and the Lancaster carried on to the target,possibly losing height slowly.3. While over the target whitish yellow flames came from the exhausts of the port outerengine. The oil pressure was normal but the propeller was feathered as the coolanttemperature began to rise. At about this time the bombs were released and almostimmediately the starboard outer engine became unserviceable showing symptoms of anexternal coolant leak. The propeller was feathered at once.4. The Lancaster was now flying on the port inner engine only and height was lost to7,000 ft. in about 2 minutes. As the aircraft continued to lose height rapidly the Captaingave the order to abandon aircraft.5. The Air Bomber, Navigator and Wireless Operator went from the front hatch and it isbelieved that the Rear and Mid Upper gunners left safely from the entrance door.6. After the Wireless Operator had left the Flight Engineer un-feathered the starboardouter engine so that there was a better chance of the aircraft remaining steady while thePilot left. He then left at once from the front hatch making a successful exit. He noticedbefore leaving that one of the petrol tanks (he does not remember which) had lost about50 gallons of petrol.7. While descending on his parachute he noticed that the Pilot had left the aircraft andwas coming down safely on his parachute. He landed safely in open country at about0340 hours.8. After all the crew had left the aircraft, it caught fire, the starboard wing dropped and itswung off to starboard. It hit the ground and then exploded and continued to burn on theground for some time.9. The informant was not conscious of the aircraft having been damaged by enemyaction, but he thinks it must have been hit at some time prior to the failure of the port outerand starboard inner engines — especially as he noticed that some fuel had been lost fromone of the tanks. He does not think that the Pilot deliberately altered course afterbombing, but it seems likely that the aircraft swung to starboard as the informant isbelieved to have landed in the south western outskirts of Paris.174


Lancaster ND424EpilogueLeslie did not fly on any further bombing operations with the RAF. He and the crew hadtaken part in seventeen combat missions. He became gunnery instructor and travelledwidely around RAF bases in the UK training future gunners.While stationed in Lincolnshire Leslie met his future wife Megan at a dance in Scunthorpe.Megan was visiting family in Scunthorpe from her home in Wrexham. Leslie was laterpromoted to Warrant Officer and left the RAF in 1946.Leslie’s Paris host monsieur Louis Cotan wrote a letter dated 20 December 1944 asking ifLeslie had returned safely. He provided Leslie with food, shelter and a train ticket toPerpignan. He also provided the critical contact with the French Resistance who providedfalse identity papers and other documents. Leslie stayed at monsieur Cotan’s house at 21Passage Gatbois, Paris XII. The letter was only discovered after Leslie’s mother passedaway in the early 1970’s.Leslie’s next encounter with a Lancaster was in the late 1980’s when the Battle of Britainflight visited BAe Broughton, near Chester. The aircraft were parked up prior to the flyingdisplay and Leslie was invited on board by one of the flight crew. He had forgotten howdifficult it was to climb over the main spar that bisects the centre fuselage. In 1944 he hadto clamber over the spar from the mid-upper gunner’s position to bale out.As Leslie had used the Irvin parachute he applied for and became a member of theCaterpillar Club. This exclusive club was formed the founder of the US parachutecompany Leslie Irvin. Leslie received a letter and Caterpillar badge from Leslie Irvin dated8 December 1944. He still has the badge.Leslie has not met any of his former crew since that fateful night over 60 years ago. Hetried to contact Joe Sonshine by sending a letter to Joe’s girlfriend in Canada but the letterwas returned unopened.Related Documents and PhotographsCopies of the original documents and photographs are available and have been scannedand saved.Documents1. Letter from Air Ministry - Missing in Action.2. Letter from Air Ministry — Arrived in a Neutral Country.3. Letter from Leslie Irvin — Caterpillar Club Membership.4. Letter from M. Louis Cotan to Leslie’s Parents.5. Evader report WO 208/3321 report 2069, M.I.9/S/P.G. (-) 2069 (Sgt L.J. Faircloth).6. Crash report AIR 14/1442, 'K' report 203.Photographs1. Crew with American Football Jersey.2. Crew at Tail of Lancaster.3. Crew in the Hay.4. Leslie Portrait.5. Leslie at Megan’s parents house near Wrexham.6. Crew Hitching a Lift.7. Crew in Front of Block No. 6.8. Megan and Leslie 1946.175


Lancaster ND4249. M. Louis and Mme. Cotan.10. Paris/Vaires Marshalling Yard Devastated.National Archive FilesCopies of the following documents are held by the National Archive in Kew (formerly thePublic Records Office).Evader ReportsWO 208/3321 report 2069, M.I.9/S/P.G. (-) 2069 (Sgt L.J. Faircloth). Copy received.WO 208/3321 report 2059, M.I.9/S/P.G. (-) 2059 (Sgt H.D. Davies) . Not yet requested.WO 208/3321 report 2321, M.I.9/S/P.G. (-) 2321 (W/O R.E. Yates). Not yet requested.Crash Report: 14/1442, 'K' report 203. Copy received.© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how youcan use this.Posted on 06 September 2005Corrections made to this text January 2010.176


Lancaster ND424Appendix FF Les and Doug Reunion in 2008In 2008 Paul Faircloth decided to use the internet search for the crew to see if any were stillaround. Paul’s wife Gaynor searched for Jordin on the Electoral Roll and up popped a likelycandidate. Paul then searched the BT web site and the name D.F. Jordin appeared, complete withaddress and telephone number. He passed this to his father Les and suggested he gave Doug acall so he did and the rest is history. Paul posted copies of the documentation we had gathered toDoug.We arranged the long overdue reunion on Sunday 13 July 2008 at a pub near Warrington mid waybetween Wrexham and Poulton le Fylde. On the Thursday morning I sent the following e-mail tothe BBC television programme North West Tonight as both families are regular viewers. I hopedthey would be interested in covering this momentous occasion that ought to be recorded forposterity.From: Faircloth, PaulSent: 10 July 2008 10:04To: 'nwt@bbc.co.uk'Subject: A Long Overdue ReunionOn Sunday 13 July at 2:30 pm my father Leslie Faircloth will be meeting his friend Dougie Jordin for ameal at the Stretton Fox pub near Warrington. The last time they were together was 64 years ago inJune 1944 when they were in a badly damaged RAF bomber descending rapidly towards the ground tothe south of Paris.They were both 19 years old.This was on the night of 27/28 June 1944 when Avro Lancaster III(ND242, PH-G, call sign ‘G for George’) had taken off from their base at RAF Wickenby in Lincolnshirejust after midnight. Following the raid on the Vaires railway yards to the east of Paris the Lancasterwas critically damaged All of the crew bailed out and parachuted to the ground relatively safely. Threeof the crew became prisoners of war and four evaded capture.Leslie evaded capture and made contact with the French Resistance. They took him to Paris andprovided him with false identity papers and railway tickets to travel south. After a few adventures,including escaping from some German soldiers, he walked over the Pyrenees into Spain. There hewas captured by Spanish troops and put into prison in Figueras. He was freed by the British consulateand returned to the UK by air from Gibralter. His escapade lasted 44 days.Dougie fared less well. He also made contact with the French Resistance but was betrayed and takento the notorious Gestapo prison in Fresnes. He and another 160+ airmen who were captured in thesame way and were loaded onto a railway cattle trucks for a nightmare journey to the Buchenwaldconcentration camp.Dougie and most of the airmen survived the unimaginable horrors of the camp and were eventuallytransferred to a German POW camp. He was freed in 1945 at the end of the war.In 2004 I began researching the mission and downloaded a various documents from the NationalArchive in Kew including ecape reports, the crash report, etc. The fascinating stories of the crewunfolded as the details were unearthed. Last year my wife and I tracked down Dougie and we passedhis phone number to my father.Since then they have many conversations about their life and experiences. We believe they may bethe only remaining members of the crew. They are both 84 years old.A summary of Leslie's story and a picture of him in uniform can be found on the BBC's People's Warweb site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/32/a5548232.shtmlLes and wife Megan live in Pentre Broughton near Wrexham.Dougie and wife Lucy live in Poulton le Fylde near Blackpool.Both families are regular viewers of NWT.Story also posted on the BBC 'Your News' page.177


Lancaster ND424The impact this e-mail was amazing. It took the BBC a little while to get going but once they did ittook off as shown below.TimelineThursday 10/07/08Friday 11/07/08Sunday 13/07/08Monday 14/07/08Tuesday 15/07/08Sent e-mail to BBC NWT (North West Tonight). Posted details onto theBBC ‘Your News’ website.Paul received telephone calls from BBC NWT, BBC Wales and BBC RadioLancashire.Reunion filmed by BBC NWT.Article in the Daily Post (page 13). TV item on BBC NWT (18:30 and later).TV item on BBC Wales Tonight (18:30).Calls from Daily Mirror and Daily Mail for photographs and details. Sentphotos to Daily Mail 19:15 and to Daily Mirror 22:30.Wednesday 16/07/08 Dad in live interview with Radio Brisbane. They are trying to trace BobYates. Small articles in the Daily Mirror and Daily Telegraph. Best webcoverage by Daily Mail. Also on Telegraph, Mirror & Daily Post web sites.Local free paper Wrexham Chronicle also reported it ("...old soldiers"!)Thursday 17/07/08Sunday 20/07/08Monday 21/07/08Apology e-mail from Daily Mirror saying her boss decided not to do fullspread. Sent e-mail to Remco Immerzeel (in France) and Joe Sonshine'sfamily (Mildred, Robert and Ruth) (in Canada)Doug called Les to say he had a call from Malaysia but Les beat that! Hehad also been filmed by BBC TV, interviewed by radio and photographed bythe papers.Doug called dad to say they have tracked down Bob Yates. He is living inHammersley, a suburb of Perth in Western Australia. Doug’s son Howardcalled a friend who is/was in the Australian police force and he said he'd findhim and he did. Details of his address and telephone number were passedto Leslie and Doug and both called Bob soon after.Left: from left to right:Megan Faircloth, DougJordin, Les Faircloth andLucy Jordin at thereunion on Sunday 13July 2008 at the StrettonFox pub near Warrington(Photo: PLF).178


Lancaster ND424Appendix GG BBC Website Coverage of the ReunionFrom http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7505086.stm.War veterans reunited 64 years onTwo World War II veterans who last saw each otheras they parachuted out of their damaged bomber in1944 have met up for the first time in 64 years.Lancaster gunners Leslie Faircloth and Dougie Jordinwere both 19 when they were forced to bail out overParis. All seven crew survived, but they were neverreunited.Now Mr Faircloth, from Wrexham, and Mr Jordin, fromBlackpool - who are believed to be the last survivingcrew members - have vowed to stay in touch.The men, both 84, were put back in touch after MrFaircloth's daughter-in-law found a D Jordin listed in thephone book after her husband had researched themission.The two men met again for a Sunday lunchMr Faircloth rang it and spoke to Mr Jordin's wife before in Cheshire - 64 years laterhis old crew mate was put on the phone. "That's the firsttime we had spoken for 64 years," said Mr Faircloth. "I had a job to speak to him, I was reallyfilled right up. I shed a tear."The two men met up on Sunday for a meal at a pub near Warrington. They had not seen eachother since their Lancaster bomber - Avro Lancaster III - was shot and they had to bail out intothe dark skies above Paris in June 1944.Neither Mr Faircloth or Mr Jordin knew what had happened to each other after they left theplane - until Sunday. Mr Jordin said: "I landed actually in someone's back yard. It was cobbledand not a very good place to land really."After walking for an hour he saw a cottage with a lighton. "I went an knocked on the door," he said. "The dooropened a crack and an old lady inside saw my uniform,whipped me inside."There was a little noise the other end of the room andMike Guilfoyle the pilot [of the Lancaster bomber] walkedin which I thought was quite amazing considering I hadbeen walking for an hour."I was the first out at the back, he was the last out at thefront and we ended up in the same cottage."He then made contact with the French Resistance but The crew of the Lancaster bomber had towas betrayed and taken to the notorious Gestapo prison bail out after it was shot.in Fresnes.179


Lancaster ND424He was later loaded onto a railway cattle trucks andtaken to the Buchenwald concentration camp, where heremained until the end of the war in 1945.Meanwhile, Mr Faircloth said: "I was a bit luckier thanDougie. My schoolboy French came in handy. "I cameacross this old couple working on a veg plot after aboutthree days and they welcomed me with open armswhen I introduced myself."He was interrogated by a woman who took his passportphotograph. "A couple of days later a police inspectorturned up which was a bit worrying but he handed me aFrench identity card - I was now a Jean Henri Le Brun -and a travel card and wished me 'bon chance'," said MrFaircloth.After a few adventures, including escaping from someLeslie FairclothGerman soldiers, he walked over the Pyrenees intoSpain. There he was captured by Spanish troops and put into prison in Figueras. He was freedby the British consulate and returned to the UK from Gibralter.After the two men caught up and shared their memories, they vowed not to leave it so longbefore meeting up again. "We never knew whether we would meet again and we have, wehave - wonderful!" said Mr Faircloth."As I say, we're still here to tell the tale."We never knew whether we wouldmeet again and we have, we have -wonderful!180


Lancaster ND424Appendix HH Daily Mail Website Coverage of Reunionhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1035316/Reunited-64-years-The-RAF-gunners-shookhands-jumped-plane-thinking-died.htmlReunited after 64 years: The RAF gunners who shook hands and jumped out oftheir plane thinking each other had diedBy Liz Hull 15th July 2008As they stood looking into the pitch black sky over enemy territory, World War II air gunners LeslieFaircloth and Dougie Jordin shook hands and parachuted out of their stricken RAF bomber. Eachassumed the other had been killed trying to escape back to Britain and neither man expected tosee his comrade again. But astonishingly - 64 years after they last laid eyes on one another - MrFaircloth and Mr Jordin have been reunited.Reunited: For 64 years, airmen Leslie Fairclothand Dougie Jordin thought each other haddied in the war but they have finally beenbrought back togetherWhile researching his father's war service,Mr Faircloth's son, Paul, 53, managed totrack down Mr Jordin and organise ameeting. 'When Dougie answered thephone it was the first time we had spokensince we shook hands, said goodbye andjumped out of the plane over enemyterritory,' Mr Faircloth said. 'I had a job tospeak because I was in tears.'Mr Faircloth and Mr Jordin, both 83, were just 19 when they were forced to abandon their AvroLancaster III bomber over Paris on June 27 1944. The pair, who were both air gunners, and fiveother crew were returning from a midnight bombing mission when two of the plane's enginesstarted overheating and failing.With the aircraft rapidly losing altitude the men,who were based with 12 Squadron BomberCommand at Wickenby, near Lincoln, were givena quicker route home. But their flight path tookthem directly over the fighting zone and, fearfulthey would be shot down, made the decision tobail out before the plane was struck or crashed.After wishing each other good luck, all sevencrew parachuted into the pitch black night sky.Hero: Leslie Faircloth aged 19 before the ill-fated flightand today aged 83.'My last memory of Les is in the plane,' Mr Jordinsaid. 'I was sitting on the ledge, my feet danglingout over the sky and Les shoved me in the backto get me out so he could jump himself. 'I remember turning around and telling him to 'Get off.''We'd had no parachute training, it was too expensive, so it was pretty terrifying.'I landed in someone's back yard. It was cobbled and set off a dog barking - not a very good placeto land really. 'I walked for about an hour and saw a cottage with a light on. I knocked on the doorand it opened a crack. As soon as she saw my uniform the old lady snatched me inside.181


Lancaster ND424'There was a little noise at the other end of the room and the pilot of our bomber walked in, whichthought was quite amazing considering I had been walking for an hour. 'I was the first out at theback, he was the last out at the front and we ended up in the same cottage."Mr Faircloth also survived the jump and both men managed to make contact with the FrenchResistance in Paris.Brave: Dougie Jordin jumped out of their plane overParis on June 27, 1944.'I was bit luckier than Dougie, it must have beenmy schoolboy French,' Mr Faircloth, ofWrexham, North Wales, said. 'I came across acouple working on a vegetable plot after aboutthree days and they took me in.'A couple of days later a police inspector turnedup, which was a bit worrying, but he handed mea French identity card - I was now a Jean HenriLe Paul - and a travel card and wished me "bonchance''.' Mr Faircloth decided to walk tofreedom and trekked hundreds of miles to thePyrenees mountain range and into Spain.Once there, he was detained by Spanish troopsand put into prison in Figueras, North East Spain, before being freed by the British consulate andreturned to the UK 44 days later.Mr Jordin, however, was not so fortunate. He met up with two of the other crew members who alsosurvived the jump but the trio were betrayed by a member of the Gestapo who had infiltrated thebranch of the French Resistance which was helping them home.Crew: Mr Faircloth, second from left at back, andMr Jordin, Bottom right, by their Lancaster bomber.They were taken to the notorious Nazi prisonin Fresnes, near Paris, before being loadedonto cattle trucks and sent to the Buchenwaldconcentration camp, near Weimar, Germany.Mr Jordin, a retired farm manager, ofStalmine, near Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire,recalled: 'On the way there, SS guards shot ayoung French man who was stood next to mein the truck because he was inadvertentlyplaying with the barbed wire fencing. 'We hadeverything taken off us, were clipped all overand had sheep dip thrown at us.'We were allocated a spot in the compound,just stones and sand, and were given a pair oftrousers, a shirt and a funny envelope shaped hat. 'We had no shoes and lived outside. I lost a lotof weight - I dropped from 12 stone to just 7.5 stone and we lost two men, a British and anAmerican, who died because of the conditions.'After around four months the airmen managed to get a message out and were transferred to -Stalag Luft III - the prisoner of war camp for captured air force personnel, near Zagan, Poland.182


Lancaster ND424Memento: A formal photo with Mr Jordin,bottom right, and Mr Faircloth, top rightThis was where the 'Great Escape' - thebid for freedom immortalised in thefamous film - took place just monthsbefore their arrival.From there, Mr Jordin was moved toanother POW camp near Bremen,Germany, before finally being liberated,10 months after he was first captured, inMay 1945.On his return home Mr Jordin, who hasthree children, five grandchildren and onegreat grandchild, married his childhoodsweetheart, Lucy, now 81, and set aboutraising his family. 'It was very difficult forher while I was away,' he said. 'Sheknew I was missing in action, but formonths without word she feared I haddied.'I always wondered what had happenedto the other lads, but never dreamed Iwould see them again.'Mr Faircloth, who is married to Megan,82, has two sons, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, went into the pub trade afterleaving the RAF, before working as a commercial salesman until he retired.He and Mr Faircloth finally met for the first time for a pub lunch in Warrington, Cheshire, lastSunday. 'We never knew whether we would meet again and we have, it's wonderful,' Mr Fairclothadded.Leap of faith: The two gunners jumped outof their Lancaster bomber over France whenit was damaged by enemy fire (file photo)Read more at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1035316/Reunited-64-years-The-RAFgunners-shook-hands-jumped-plane-thinking-died.html#ixzz0dcxfNlHG183


Lancaster ND424184


Lancaster ND424Appendix IIBBC Article on Search for David DaviesIn September 2010 I sent an e-mail to BBC Wales to ask if they could help to find out what hadhappened to David Davies who was originally from Blackwood in South Wales. The BBC phonedme to ask how my father Leslie would feel if David was found, so I suggested they speak to himdirectly. Alys Lewis, who is based in the BBC Wales offices in Wrexham, interviewed Leslie duringlunch at the Wrexham Lager Club on 29 September 2010. She wrote the following article that wasplaced initially on the North East Wales and later on the South East Wales news web sites. Fromhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/local/northeastwales/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_9038000/9038346.stmWrexham war veteran's search for his old colleagueMore than 60 years after being shot down overFrance, a World War II veteran from Wrexhamis still trying to find out what happened to oneof the other six members of his air crew.Leslie Faircloth, 86, who lives in Pentre Broughton,Wrexham, has succeeded in finding out what happenedto the other members of the crew with one exception,Hugh David Davies, known as Dai to his crewmates.He described the incident which led to the crew beingseparated: "We had carried out a raid on the Vaires-sur- The World War II crew, with Dai in theMarne railway yards in June 1944 when we were shot top row second from the rightdown."We'd lost three engines out of four so we knew there was not much chance of getting homeand we had to bail out."All seven crew survived by parachuting from the stricken Lancaster to the south-west of Paris."All seven of us survived the landing, which is quite unusual," Mr Faircloth said. "We bailed outat 1.30am and all landed within a five mile area but didn't meet up again."I found a local working his vegetable patch and he let me stay a couple of nights in his toolshed."On the second day he and his family got me some overalls and took me to Paris, helping meat risk to themselves."Mr Faircloth travelled to Spain and from there managed to make it home, six weeks after beingshot down. He was just 19 at the time.Since then he has managed to find out what happenedto five of his crewmates, and has met up with one ofthem, but the fate of the sixth remains a mystery,something all the more frustrating because he was theonly other member of the crew from Wales."The others were from Jamaica, Canada, Australia,Scotland and England," Mr Faircloth said. "Dai was partof the Principality yet I can't seem to find him or hisfamily."His son, Paul, who has also been researching the storyon his father's behalf, has succeeded in establishingLeslie Faircloth is trying to find outthat 'Dai' was originally from Blackwood, now in Gwent.what became of his crew mateBorn in 1925 he was a fitter before the war and joined185


Lancaster ND424the RAF in March 1943.It's known that, following the crash in 1944, Dai walked and cycled around 190 miles from Paristo the south and eventually returned to the UK in late July 1944 in an RAF Lockeed Hudson.However, after that the trail goes cold.Mr Faircloth is hoping that someone may recognise Dai's picture and get in touch: "I'd like toput the final piece of the puzzle together", he said. "I'd just like to find out what happened tohim."Should anyone have information about Dai they can get in touch with Mr Faircloth via email:faircloth55@btinternet.comBelow is a copy of the front page of the North East Wales website on 30/09/2010 with a lead to the abovearticle circled. From http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/northeastwales/hi/186


Lancaster ND424Appendix JJ National Archive & File ReferencesThe UK National Archive (formerly the Public Records Office in Kew) web site has a facility thatenables searches for particular file references. They provide a cost estimate via e-mail and you canpay online via a secure link. They can send the estimates or copies of the documents online or bypost.The following tables show the document ‘piece references’ found when searching the NationalArchive catalogue. Copies of all of the original Escape, POW and Crash reports are in Appendix C.Escape ReportsThe original evader references were found in the book ‘Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses1944’ (page 544) author W. R. Chorley. Details of the fourth evader F/S J.S.J. Stephen is notincluded in the book but a report has since been found.National Archive Piece Ref. Name Force Original ReferenceWO 208/3321 report 2059 H.D. Davis RAF M.I.9/S/P.G. (-) 2059WO 208/3321 report 2182 J.S.J. Stephen RAF M.I.9/S/P.G. (-) 2182WO 208/3321 report 2321 R.E. Yates RAAF M.I.9/S/P.G. (-) 2321WO 208/3321 report 2069 L.J. Faircloth RAF M.I.9/S/P.G. (-) 2069POW ReportsThese are the POW reports I requested in the summer of 2010.National Archive Piece Reference Name Force Original ReferenceWO 344/127/1 (GROAT - GUMPSTY) M.A. Guilfoyle RAF M.I.9/Gen/1421397 (?)WO 344/168/1 (JONKER – JOUGHIN) D.F. Jordin RAF M.I.9/S/P.G./LIB/945N/A J. Sonshine RCAF N/AI asked if there was a POW report for Joe Sonshine within piece reference WO 344/297 SOAL –SOWTER but it could not be found by the National Archive staff.Crash ReportDuring a search on the internet for ‘Lancaster ND424’ a reference to the crash report was found,then a search of the National Archive web site found the ‘crash report’ reference below.NA Piece Ref. Aircraft No. SquadronAIR 14/1442 'K' report 203 Lancaster III ND424 12BuchenwaldA copy of this has not been requested.NA Piece Ref. Descrption DateWO 208/3639(LF/736) Buchenwald: Details of construction and layout, conditions,atrocities, camp personnel, plans of camp.Further National Archive ReferencesNA Piece Ref. Description Dates1944AIR 14/4592* List of Bomber Command reports, memoranda and notes for the record. 1944AIR 27/168No 12 Squadron. Operations Record Book. Compiled by 12 SquadronAdjutant F/Lt K.M. Smith after an operation. They consist of two forms:RAF Form 540 – ‘Summary of Events’. Weather & details of theJan44-Dec44187


Lancaster ND424AIR 27/170AIR 27/171AIR 28/945AIR 37/747*operation.RAF Form 541 – ‘Details of Sortie or Flight’. Individual crew reportsincluding duration and bomb load.No 12 Squadron. Operations Record Book. Appendices. Item openfrom 1972.No 12 Squadron. Operations Record Book. Appendices. Compiledbefore the operations so these are planned not actual.WICKENBY. Air Ministry and Ministry of Defence. Operations RecordBooks, Royal Air Force Stations. ‘Summary of Events’.AIR COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, AEAF, AIR CHIEF MARSHALL LEIGH-MALLORY. Operational Research Section. Bomber Command reportson railway centres.Dec39-Jan46Jan44-Jan45May43-Dec4501Jan44-31Dec68AIR 40/1452 Folder of loose pages of letters and reports from 12 Squadron. 1944?AIR 50/181No. 12 Squadron. Air Ministry. Combat Reports, Second World War,Bomber Command.Dec41-Aug44*Requests were sent to the National Archive in September 2010 to see if archives AIR 14/4592 andAIR 37/747 contain references to the 12 Squadron raid on Vaires on 27/28 June 1944. Theyresponded that this requires specific research as it is not a single document reference. They cando the research for a charge, an independent researcher can be employed or we can do itourselves by visiting the N.A. in Kew.RAF Operations Record Books (ORB’s): ORB’s are a primary source of RAF Information. AllRAF units keep an ORB (known also as RAF Form 540) but the quality of input to them varies.These records document the activities of the Unit and may include details of the operations flownby Service personnel with listings of aircraft and crews. The ORB was a brief summary entered ina Squadron log book for each crew after they returned from an operation. There are usually 4crews per page with following info; Aircraft Type, Call Letter, Crew names with reg. #, Position,Time up/Time down, Bomb Load, Target, Date, Notation if F.T.R. Description or problemencountered during flight. An ORB can provide a researcher with a flavour of the life on a RAF Unitas well as more specific details.Other Sources – Conscript HeroesSince I first began this investigation other sources have appeared on the internet, e.g. referencesto the escape reports on the Conscript Heroes website at http://www.conscript-heroes.com/MI9-05.htmlNA Piece Ref. Name Description3320 2059 (-) Sgt Hugh David Davies 12 Sqn Lancaster ND424. FTR Vaires June 44 -returned by SD Hudson July 44 Op Tenerife.3321 2069 (-) Sgt Leslie J Faircloth 12 Sqn Lancaster ND424. FTR Vaires June 44 -Pyrenees July 44 - Alhama de Aragon.3321 2182 (-) F/Sgt John S J Stephen 12 Sqn Lancaster ND424. FTR Vaires June 44 -sheltered at Bures-sur-Yvettes until Aug 44.3322 2321 (-) W/O R E Yates RAAF 12 Sqn Lancaster ND424. FTR Vaires June 44.188


Lancaster ND424Appendix KK Full List of Flights & National ArchiveReferencesThe table below list the flights in which ND424 or our crew were involved in, including trainingflights, as found in the documents from the National Archive in February 2011. We attempted tomake copies of all relevant documents during our visit but it is quite difficult so there may be gaps.On any future visit will try to fill any gaps found.Date (1944) Target (F = France,G = Germany, B = Belgium)PilotAircraftIDNARefComments15/16 Feb Stuttgart (G) Adams ND424 A+C+ First raid for ND424?19/20 Feb Leipzig? (G) Adams ND424 A+++21/22 Feb? Stuttgart? (G) Adams ND424 A+++ No date on ‘A’24/25 Feb? Schweinfurt? (G) Black ND424 A+++ No date on ‘A’25/26 Feb? Augsberg? (G) Black ND424 A+++ Poor date on ‘A’1/2 Mar? Stuttgart? (G) Black ND424 A+++ No date on ‘A’15/16 Mar Stuttgart (G) Adams ND424 A++D26/27 Apr OR30 Apr/1 MaySchweinfurt (G) ORMaintenon (F)Dawley 627 U A+++ Mike Guilfoyle as 2ndpilot so his first raid.3/4 May 1. Mailly-le-Camp (F) Guilfoyle ND424 AB++ First raid for our crew7/8 May 2. Bruz (F) Guilfoyle ND424 ABC+8 May Training 1 - Bombing training Guilfoyle ND424? +B++9/10 May 3. Merville-Franceville (F) Guilfoyle ND424 +BC+10/11 May Rouxmesnils-Boliteilles (F) Vernon ND424 A+++ Not our crew11/12 May Hasselt (B) but was called off. Kernahan ND424 A+++ Rep. Officers & NCO’s15 May Training 2 - H2S & level bombsight Guilfoyle ND424? +B+21/22 May 4. Duisburg (G) Guilfoyle ND424 ABC+22/23 May 5. Dortmund (G) Guilfoyle ND424 ABC+24/25 May 6. Aachen West (G) Guilfoyle ND424 ABC+26 May Training 3 - Air to sea firing Guilfoyle ND424? ++C+27/28 May 7. Aachen West (G) Guilfoyle ND424 A+C+9/10 Jun 8. Flers 1 (F) Guilfoyle ND424 ABC+11/12 Jun 9. Evreux (F) Guilfoyle ND424 AB++12/13 Jun 10. Gelsenkirchen (G) Guilfoyle ND424 ABC+14/15 Jun 11. Le Havre (F) Guilfoyle ND424 ABC+15/16 Jun 12. Boulogne (F) Guilfoyle ND424 ABC+17/18 Jun 13. Aulnoye-Aymeries (F) Guilfoyle ND424 ABC+22/23 Jun 14. Marquise-Mimoyecques (F) Guilfoyle ND424 +BC+23/24 Jun 15. Saintes (F) Guilfoyle ND424 ABC+24/25 Jun 16. Flers 2 (G) Guilfoyle ND424? A+C+ ND749 in ‘C’?27/28 Jun 17. Vaires (& Vitry) (F) Guilfoyle ND424 ABCD Last raid for our crewNA Ref (National Archive References):A = 12 Squadron ‘Orders for Night Flying’ (AIR 27/171).B = 12 Squadron ‘Form 540 – Summary of Events’ (AIR 27/168).C = 12 Squadron ‘Form 541 – Details of Sortie or Flight’ (AIR 27/168).D = RAF Wickenby ‘Summary of Events’ (AIR 28/945).+ = No entry found in National Archive documents but they may exist.The ‘A’ documents are the least reliable as they are plans written before the operations took place.The ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ documents are more reliable as they were written after the operations.189


Lancaster ND424The following 7 entries were removed from the above table as no official National Archivedocuments were found during our visit but they may still exist. The three operations marked with *are listed on the Lost Bombers website as key operations for ND424 along with Stuttgart on 15/16March 1944. None of these operations involved our crew.24/25 March* Berlin (G)30/31 March* Nuremberg (G)9/10 April Villeneuve St. Georges (F)10/11 April Aulnoye-Aymeries (F)26/27 April* Schweinfurt (G)19/20 May Orleans (F)31 May/1 June Tergnier (F)Based on the available information above it is thought that ND424 took part in a total of around 32operations between 15/16 Feb and 27/28 June. It may not be possible to agree an exact figure asnot all National Archive documents were found, some were incomplete, some had been badlycopied onto microfilm and some of the originals were of a poor quality.190


Lancaster ND424Appendix LL Glossary of TermsAstrodome. This was a Perspex dome at the rear of the cockpit canopy above the wirelessoperator’s position. It was used by the navigator to view the night sky for celestialnavigation using a sextant and the stars, hence astrodome. It was also used by thewireless operator for visual signalling to controllers on the ground or with other aircraftusing signal light, also known as an Aldis lamp.Bombsight. This device was used by the bomb-aimer to align the aircraft with the target. Using thebombsight computer on his left and looking through the bombsight would indicate when topull the bomb release selectors on his right.Carte de Travail A work permit showing you were allowed to work in France.Creep-Back. This happened when bombers dropped their bombs slightly ahead of the target, andthis continued with bombers dropping their bombs further and further ahead of theoriginal target.D.F.C. Distinguished Flying Cross. Awarded to all ranks of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army,and RAF in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemyin the air.D.F.M. Distinguished Flying Medal. This was (until 1993) awarded to personnel of the RAF andthe other services, and formerly also to personnel of other Commonwealth countries,below commissioned rank, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilstflying in active operations against the enemy".Evd or Evader. An evader was an airman who was shot down over enemy territory but evadedcapture by the Germans.Flak. German anti-aircraft gun. Short for Fliegerabwehrkanone.F/L. Flight LieutenantF/O. Flying OfficerF/S. Flight SergeantFW190. Focke-Wulf 190 German fighter.Gardening. Mine-laying operation at sea.H.C. High Capacity (bomb). Drum full of explosive with no fins.H.E. High ExplosiveHE111. Heinkel 111 German bomber.KIA. Killed in ActionLt. Lieutenant. Rank used by the USAAF but not by the RAF.Master Bomber. This was an experienced senior pilot who would circle the target throughout theraid, giving instructions by radio to approaching bombers as to which part of the target,marked with coloured flares, to aim at. This highly dangerous task was invaluable inmaintaining accurate bombing even when the target and markers became obscured bysmoke and flames, or when the Germans lit decoy flares away from the correct aimingpoint.Markers. These were coloured flares attached to parachutes that were dropped over the target bythe Pathfinders to guide the main bomber force.M.U. RAF Maintenance Unit that repaired damaged aircraft so they could be put back into service.For example 32MU was based at RAF St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan.Oboe. This was a very accurate navigation system that used widely separated radio transmitters insouthern England which enabled the receiving aircraft to determine their range andbearing. The system was normally fitted to Pathfinder aircraft, usually a fast andmanoeuvrable Mosquito, which marked the target for the main force.Pathfinders. This was a specialised target-finding force formed in 1942 to improve bombingaccuracy and consisted generally of more experienced crews. They flew ahead of the191


Lancaster ND424main bomber force and, using the most modern technology available, would locate andmark the target with coloured flares. This helped the less experienced and less wellequippedcrews to bomb the target as accurately as possible. Based onhttp://www.rafbombercommand.com/tactics_pathfinders.htmlP.F.F. Pathfinder Force, see above.P.O.W. Prisoner of War. Airmen who were captured by the Germans became prisoners of warand were incarcerated in POW camps in Germany, Poland, etc.P/O. Pilot OfficerR.A.A.F. Royal Australian Air ForceR.C.A.F. Royal Canadian Air ForceSgt. SergeantSortie. A sortie is a single aircraft on an operation, e.g. the number of sorties on a night is 200, so200 aircraft were involved.Stalag Luft. Stammlager Luft, a P.O.W. Camp for allied airmen.Struck Off Charge. Aircraft no longer in service, e.g. crashed landed and written off.Terrorflieger. Terror flyer or terrorist airman. Name given to allied bomber crews by the uppersenior members of the Nazi party in Germany following the heavy raids.Tour of Operations. A normal tour of operations for Bomber Command crew was 30 operations.However some specialised crews such as the Pathfinders had a longer tour of 45operations because of their extra skills and training they had undergone.W/O. Warrant Officer192


Lancaster ND424Appendix MM Selected BibliographyRoyal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War - 1944Author: W.R.Chorley. ISBN: 0 904597 91 1. First published 1997. Copy owned. This is volume 5of a series. It contains details of the crew of ND424 and references to evasion and crash reportdocuments held by the National Archive. Note: Amendments and additions to this book can befound on the web site: http://www.rafinfo.org.uk/BCWW2Losses/The Bomber Command War Diaries: An Operational Reference Book, 1939-45Authors: Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt. ISBN: 978-1-85780-033-3. Copy owned.168 Jump Into Hell – A True Story of Betrayed Allied AirmenAuthors: Arthur G Kinnis and Stanley Booker MBE. ISBN: 0-9684198. Published in 1999. Copyowned. Copies were sent to us from Canada by Robert Pike the son-in-law of the late JoeSonshine. We passed copies to Doug Jordin and to the Wrexham branch of the Air Cadets.Flying into Hell: The Bomber Command Offensive as in WWIIAuthor: Mel Rolfe. ISBN: 978-1904010890. Contains a version of Doug’s story. Copy owned.Jump For ItAuthor: Gerald Bowman. ISBN: 85617 739 3. First published in 1955. Copy owned. Story of theCaterpillar Club & Leslie Irvin’s invention & perfection of a reliable parachute system. Copy owned.Bomber CommandAuthor: Sir Max Hastings. ISBN: 978-0330392044. Copy owned.Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy, 1944Author: Sir Max Hastings. ISBN: 978-0330390125. Copy owned.D-Day: The Battle for NormandyAuthor: Antony Beevor. ISBN: 978-0141048130. Copy owned.The Lancaster Manual: The Official Air Publication for the Lancaster Mk I and III 1942-1945Author: RAF Museum. ISBN-13: 978-1853675683. Reprinted in 2003. Copy owned.The Nuremberg Raid: 30-31 March 1944Author: Martin Middlebrook. ISBN-13: 978-1844158751. Copy owned.Battle Under the Moon: The RAF Raid on Mailly-le-Camp, May 1944Author: Jack Currie. ISBN-13: 978-0859791090. Crecy Publishing. First published in 1995. Copyowned. The author served with 12 Squadron in 1944.Lancaster: WWII Night Bomber and Dam BusterAuthor: Nigel Cawthorne. ISBN-13: 978-1861472861. First published July 2009. Copy owned.193


Lancaster ND424MI9: Escape and EvasionAuthors: M.R.D. Foot and J.M. Langley. ISBN-13: 978-1849541312. First published May 1979.Copy owned.The Lancaster StoryAuthor: Peter Jacobs. ISBN-13: 978-1854092885. First published September 1996. Copy owned.The Resistance - The French Fight Against the NazisAuthor: Mathew Cobb. ISBN-13: 978-1-84739-156-8. First published September 2009.owned.CopyThe Bomber Command MemorialAuthors: Robin Gibb, Jim Dooley, Gordon Rayner, Steve Darlow and Sean Feast. ISBN 978 0 9571163 1 3. First published in 2012. Copy owned.194


Lancaster ND424Appendix NN Related Web Siteswww.rcafmuseum.on.ca/Inventory_July_2006.pdf The Royal Canadian Air Force. They holdcopies of 168 ‘Jump into Hell’ by Arthur G. Kinnis and Stanley Booker. PLU #160 $28.30.http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ National Archive, Kew (Formerly the Public Records Office)http://www.raf.mod.uk/organisation/12squadron.cfm 12 Squadron RAFhttp://www.rafwmm.flyer.co.uk/ RAF Wickenby Memorial Collectionhttp://www.war-experience.org/index.html The Second World War Experience Centrehttp://www.lostbombers.co.uk/bomber.php?id=3571 Details of RAF bombers lost in WWII.http://www.yorkshireairmuseum.co.uk/ Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington, Yorkhttp://www.rafinfo.org.uk/BCWW2Losses/ Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of theSecond World War by WR Chorley, Amendments and Additionshttp://www.lancaster-archive.com/ The Lancaster and Manchester Bomber Archive.http://ww2timeline.info/ww21944jun.htm Chronology of World War II.www.controltowers.co.uk Information on UK airfields.http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca Library and Archives of Canada.www.naa.gov.au National Archives of Australiahttp://francecrashes39-45.net/ Details of Allied aircraft crash sites in France from 1939 to1945.Les & Doug Reunionhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/32/a5548232.shtmlBBC NEWS | UK | Wales | War veterans reunited 64 years onhttp://issuu.com/trinitymirrorcheshire/docs/wrexhamchron29http://www.vetsreunite.com/blog/2009/03/17/reuniting-war-veterans.htmlhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1035316/Reunited-64-years-The-RAF-gunners-shookhands-jumped-plane-thinking-died.htmlhttp://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23516472-reunited-after-64-years-the-raf-gunners-whoshook-hands-and-jumped-out-of-their-plane-thinking-each-other-had-died.do195


Lancaster ND424196


Lancaster ND424Bomber Command Badgewith the motto ‘Strike Hard Strike Sure’The Crew of Lancaster ND424 of 12 Squadron, Bomber CommandPaul Leslie Faircloth 2013a

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