115 squadron
115 squadron
115 Squadron

Despite the elements

115 Squadron
the Y's OwellsWelcome on the website of the Friends of 115 Squadron

Our aim as a small group of local amateur historians:

History – We wish to search and pass historical information, to try to link up to the future in a digital area, that way preserving and applying new found data in an effort to complied history’s unspoken answers.

Respect – We cannot pay more tribute to them who have fallen, than to pay respect for them. In our research, we always respect the family's wishes and also the privacy of those who are left behind.

Remembrance - We wish to ensure that the people who fell, military and civilian are never forgotten. There for, each year, we lay a wreath at the monument of a crashed Lancaster.

Education – We support initiatives as; school projects and private quests, enabling us to understand the reasons for the freedom we have today and look to the future in a positive manner.

Future generations must be reminded of what happened in WWII so that they never forget that their freedom was gained by acts and sacrifices of these men and women in history.

Members, Geert Bourguignon, Filip Doms, Erwin Sollie, Danny Van Den Broeck, Dirk Vermeulen.

Losses over Belgium.
115 Squadron
Roll of Honour.
1940 - 1941 - 1942 - 1943 1944/45
Research – Who can help ?
New pictures – New faces.
2017 - 2018
Old newsletters.
The Tiller
The story of
"The Y's 'Owells"
TV reportage & slideshows.
In memorian.
He made it back, evade from Belgium to Gibraltar

Family Howell handing the Y's 'Owells Emblem over to Sue Aldridge at the 115 Memorabilia museum at Witchford.

Mail your photo's of former members of 115 squadron during WW II. Every contribution is welcome.

Newspaper articles and photo's 2017

24 April - Gazet van Antwerpen Remembering Lancaster DS734, Sint-Katelijne-Waver.
24 April - photo's with thanks to Bob Lams - Facebook

Wellington Mk IC - T2563 - KO-D

Chris Rice sent following story: I have just inherited some ww2 relics/items from a crashed Wellington bomber T2563 which crashed on 12/13 Aug 1941 in Ashmanhaugh killing one of the crew, I have found some information on internet about the crash, I was wondering if you had anymore information on this or could point me in the right direction? I am happy to send pictures if required and the information I was told by my nan and grandad who both witnessed it in 1941 Many thanks.

The aircraft was had been on a raid to Essen Germany 12/13 August 1941 it took off at 2135 from Marham, on one web page it say it crashed at 2200 on another it say 0220 but it must of been 0220 as it was trying to get to RAF Coltishall after being damaged by a night fighter flown by Peter Laufts.

It crashed in a small village in Norfolk called Ashmanhaugh not Scottow as on one web page, this is where my nan lived she was 14 years old, it crashed just down the road from their house and caught fire.

The next morning she went to the crash site and went inside it and took the items as a souvenir which she has kept in a cupboard ever since she told me this story many times.

Two pieces of parachute one is burnt from the fire when it crashed, a piece of Perspex from a window and Aluminium foil strips to jam the radar.

My grandad also told me about this crash he was 16 year old and lived in a village called Tunstead 2/3 miles away his dad was an ARP warden in the war and was on duty that night when crash happened so he biked over to help with rescue.

My grandad went over next day to view the crash next day aswell. My nan and grandad did not meet till 1945 then they married.

My grandad trained as an RAF rear gunner in a Wellington bomber then he trained on Lancaster's but then the war finished so he never saw action but he went to German in 1945 to help in a stores.

< The one man who died on plane is Sgt B. G. Evans a rear gunner.
The rest of crew all survived but had minor injury's.

Geoff Payne Sgt Geoff Payne - R/G and Sgt Cyril Bridges - F/eng,
photo taken at the Centenary dining-in night last November next to the Squadron Standard..

With thanks to Squadron Leader Andy Tagg, the current OC 115 Sqn.

Crew photo send by Sgt Geoff Payne R/G taken at Witchford, February 1944.
Geoff Payne

back row L to R

Sgt Sid Longhurst - W/op
Sgt Cyril Bridges - F/eng
Sgt Dick Hollis - M/U Gunner.
Sgt John Henry RAAF - Nav

Front row L to R

Sgt Geoff Payne - R/G
F/lt Bill Martin - Pilot DFC
Sgt Joe Waple - Bomb Aimer

Colclough Maurice James - Wellington Mk III - X3726 KO-A

21 July 2018. Thanks to Jonathan Cooper we can at a new face to the Roll of Honour.

On the evening of 21st July 1942, at 23:49HRS, crews from 115 Squadron took off from RAF Marham, Norfolk. Target Duisburg, Germany.

One crew were carried in 'Wellington Mk III ~ X3726 - KO-A', and was hit whilst over the target by flak while flying at 8,000 feet which set the flares alight. The fire was soon out of control which forced the crew to bale out.

Five of the six crew members survived and became PoW's. The sixth; 1265631 Sgt Maurice James Colclough was killed in action, and is buried at the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery - 9. B. 9.

This is the last photograph taken of these particular crews of 115 Squadron and it fell into my hands quite unexpectedly through the miracle that is Facebook one December evening, and it's significant in so many ways. The events that occurred after (and even before) this photograph was taken, changed so many lives forever, particularly of course the members of 'Maurice's' family, whose son I spoke to soon after this photo was unearthed in December 2017.
The crew boarding their Wellington on 21 July 1942, the evening they were shot down.

Sgt Maurice Colclough and Sgt Fred Cooper stand together in the far right of the photo, Sgt Colclough extreme right.
Source: Jonathan Cooper.

As always ... 'Blue Skies Gentlemen' 💙💙💙💙

Dedicated to 'The Crew' ...
Sgt M. J. Colclough. KIA
Front Gunner - 1265631.
Flight Sgt K. J. Stanford.
DMF. Pilot - NZ 401293.
Sgt F. Cooper.
Wireless Op - 1112152.
Missing photo's, who can help?:

Sgt R. F. Butler - 2nd Pilot -1376499.
Sgt L. F. G. Darlington - Observer - 126698.
Sgt D. Gardiner - Rear Gunner - 1344495.

115 Squadron lost also on this mission,

Wellington Mk III X3561 KO-X - 3 KIA, 2 POW

Wellington Mk III X3750 KO-B - no survivors.

Linwood William - Wellington Mk III - BJ796 KO-H
William Linwood
29 June 2018.

Via Jonathan Cooper we received more info on Sgt. William Linwood, always apriciated, Thanks.

Sgt William Linwood was born on 13th January 1922 in Saskatoon, in the Candian province of Saskatchewan Canada.

Flight Sgt Linwood was the son of Alexander, a civic worker, and Helen (Kerr) Linwood who came from Scotland. William graduated from Princess Alexandra school and Bedford Road collegiate and went straight from school to the RCAF at Saskatoon in 1940. William became a Front Gunner who served with Bomber Command ~ 115 Squadron

On the night of 29/30th June 1942, his aircraft (Wellington III HBJ 796) was forced to turn back from operations on Bremen, Germany because of engine failure. The aircraft was forced to jettison its bombs before being forced to ditch into the North Sea, 40 miles off Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Sgt W Linwood was the only fatality of the crew of six.

(It was his first operational flight with the Squadron. The survivors were picked up by ASRS - Air Sea Rescue Services.) Flight Sgt W Linwood (115 Squadron) is commemorated at the Runnymede Memorial (panel 105), for airmen who have no known grave.

As always, 'Blue Skies' William 💙

Watson Victor John "Johnnie" - Lancaster Mk II - DS678 KO-J
Watson Victor John Watson Victor JohnSgt Watson bottom row third from right at training school.

28 June 2018.

Thanks to his great niece we have a second face of this crew, Sgt Johnnie Watson He was the only son of Walter William Watson and Eliza Watson of Manor Park, East London. He was unmarried and had 6 sisters.

Five were killed 24 March 1944 during Ops Berlin and buried at POW Cemetery at Ohrdruf, two became POW.

He was rededicated with the other crewmembers at Niederzwehren War Cemetery 27 June 2018.

115 Squadron lost also on this mission;
Lancaster Mk II LL694 KO-N, 7 KIA
Lancaster Mk II LL730 KO-G, 6 KIA, 1 POW
Lancaster Mk II DS664 A4-K, "Werewolf", 4 KIA, 3 POW

Source: CWGC.

Rededication Ceremony for five members of the crew of Lancaster DS678 (115 Squadron)

Lancaster DS678 took off on the night of 24 March 1944 to attack Berlin but failed to return. Two of the crew survived and were taken as prisoners of war but the other five members of the crew were killed and were buried in the PoW cemetery at Ohrdruf.

As it has not been possible to locate the graves of Pilot Officer Leonard McCann, Sergeant William Bowey, Sergeant Victor Watson, Sergeant Donald Keeley and Sergeant John Burke, they will now be commemorated at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany.

The CWGC will provide Special Memorials engraved with the circumstances of their original burial and bearing their names.

The service has been organised by the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre, Ministry of Defence and will be attended by family members, British Defence Staff, Regimental representatives, CWGC staff and local dignitaries. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Former posts 2018
Now on sale at Burrows Bookshop in Ely’s High Street Passage.

To purchase a copy, please contact Sue Aldridge via email at:


RRP £16.00

Barry passed away peacefully in Soham Lodge Care Centre on Friday 1st January 2016, aged 68.

All profits will go to the RAF Witchford Display of Memorabilia and Soham Lodge Residents Fund.

Visit the RAF Witchford Display of Memorabilia at the Lancaster Way Business Park - the former RAF Witchford airfield.
Info on Traces of War.com