115 Squadron 115 Squadron 115 Squadron

Posts 2020

Lancaster DS624Flight Lieutenant 'AL' Avant DFC in Lancaster DS624.

The nose art was stage and is now in the Windsor and Eton Branch HQ of Royal Air Force Association.

With thanks to Royal Air Force Marham Aviation Heritage Centre.

AVANT, F/L Alan Frederick (J10503)

Mention in Despatches - No.115 Squadron - Award effective 20 April 1943 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 2198/43 dated 29 October 1943.
Born at Hughton, Saskatchewan, 20 September 1922.
To No.115 Squadron, 13 September 1942. Retired 28 December 1976.

One night in March 1943, this officer captained an aircraft detailed to attack Berlin.
Whilst over the city his aircraft was held in searchlights and subjected to intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire.
The bomber was repeatedly hit and one of its engines was damaged. Undeterred,
Flight Lieutenant Avant executed his bombing run exactly as planned,
releasing his bombs with precision.
By skilful evading tactics he then succeeded in piloting the bomber out of a perilous situation although, in so doing,
it sustained further damage and lost some height.
Almost as course was set for the homeward flight, the damaged engine burst into flames. Efforts to extinguish the fire were successful and displaying fine airmanship, this captain flew the damaged bomber to an airfield in this country.
Whilst over the airfield, one of the port engines became defective but Flight Lieutenant Avant effected a masterly landing with two engines unserviceable.

This officer has at all times displayed high courage and outstanding determination in the face of the enemy.

Ted SmithF/Lt. Ted Smith - DFC

115 Squadron, September 42 - May 43
514 Squadron, October 44 - September 45
90 Squadron, September 45- April 46

With thanks to Royal Air Force Marham Aviation Heritage Centre.

3 November 2020,

My mother's cousin, Stanley Percy Clark, was the pilot of the aircraft in which he, Alfred Dowsett and the rest of their crew were shot down and
all KIA on 4th December 1943 whilst flying their MkII Lancaster (115 Squadron DS765 KO-A) on a raid to Leipzig.

They were gazetted around a month earlier, having both been awarded the DFM, having been attacked in their Stirling (EH-694 / 620 Sqn),
with Alfred shooting down the attacking night-fighter, but not before the rear gunner had been killed and the aircraft having an engine shot out,
Percy then brought the aircraft back to RAF Station Chedburgh.

I have visited their grave in the Berlin, and just as they flew together, they are laid to rest together, side by side.

Mike Lavelle.

Flt Sgt A P Clarke, Captain (Pilot)
Sgt H M Butcher, (Flight Engineer) RCAF
Sgt A E Watkins, (Navigator)
Sgt G A Kirby, (Air Bomber)
Sgt R C Rigg, (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sgt A W Dowsett, (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flt Sgt K A Langley, (Rear Gunner) RAAF 4117896, burried Brookwood Military Cemetery

Lancaster DS765 Original wartime caption:

Were pilot and mid-upper gunner respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack Frankfurt one night in October 1943, and have both been awarded the Distinguished Flying medal.

Shortly after the bombs had been released on the target, the aircraft was attacked by a fighter whilst illuminated in the searchlights. The bomber was hit by the enemy's machine gun fire, sustaining much damage and the rear gunner (Sgt. Langley, age 24 – RAAF 417496) was killed. In spite of this, Flight Sergeant Clark coolly and skilfully out-manoeuvred the attacker.

Sergeant Dowsett was thus enabled to engage the enemy aircraft which he shot down with a devastating burst of fire. Although one engine was unserviceable, Flight Sergeant Clark flew the damaged bomber to base.

These airmen displayed great courage, skill and coolness. Picture (issued 1943) shows -

Source: via Mike Lavelle - www.iwm.org.uk/collections.

115 Squadron Wing Commander Hackforth's farewell party at Witchford.

Wing Commander Hackforth Wing Commander HackforthWith thanks to Royal Air Force Marham Aviation Heritage Centre.

115 SquadronRemembrance Day in Belgium for 115 Squadron.

photos Sint-Katelijne-Waver, remembering the Crew of Lancaster DS 734.

Photos Schoonselhof cemetery, Antwerp, visiting the graves of the DS 734 Crew.

Photos Heverlee cemetery, visiting the graves of the crew of Lancaster HK 542.

Photos of visiting the monument for the crew of HK 542.

My friends, Today we have some great news to bring to you from our good friend Sgt. Geoff Payne (Reargunner) of 115 Squadron.

It's his Birthday today we wish him a fantastic 96th Happy Birthday today in these bizarre times.

That's why Geoff Payne of all our friends from 115 Squadron, we all say to you. Thank you Geoff for what you have done for us and your fantastic service.

We wish you a fantastic Happy Birthday Geoff. Enjoy your day.

Dear friends of 115 Squadron,

we would like to thank Mellissa Shepherd for representing
the 115 Squadron in Witchford today on Remembrance Day.

From all our friends worldwide Mellissa.
Thank you.

And friends STAY SAFE.

6 November 2020.

115 Squadron Crew of lancaster MK II KO-L DS624,
East Wretham 1943.

Back Row L-R
Sgt. E. "Ted" Smith 944 - Rear Gunner,
F/O. George G. Eduards - Navigator,
F/L. A. F. "Al" Avant, DFC - Captain,
P/O. Fred Skinner - W/T. Operator

Front Row L-R
Sgt. W. "Bill" Hocking - Mid Upper,
Sgt. Johnny Hargreaves - Flt. Engineer,
F/S. L. "Len" Kennedy - Air Bomber

With thanks to Royal Air Force Marham Aviation Heritage Centre.

The Lancaster was transferred to 426 Squadron at Linton on Ouse on 7th June (?) 1943 and then onto 1679 Conversion Flight at East Moor on 8th August 1943. Crashed on 24th December 1943 and struck off charge on 12th January 1944.

DFC F/L. A. Avant. RCAF/J.10503,
mission 29/30 March 1943, target Berlin.
The London Gazette Of FRIDAY, the 16th of APRIL, 1943

One crew went missing on 29/30 March, Lancaster Mk II - DS625 KO-W , they are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.

Jennie King31 October 2020.

This photo shows L.A.C.W. (Leading Aircraftswoman) Jennie King dazzled
by the bright summer sunshine cradles the control tower staff adopted puppy.

Jenny worked in the Met. Office which was situated on the ground floor of the
control tower and shows an interesting view of the airfield in Witchford.

Lancaster DS725Little Snoring 1943 20 October 1943, target Leipzig. Lancaster Mk II - DS725 KO-F.

Photo of, F/O Boston Douglas James - WOP - Service no: 132413 Age:23 - RAFVR

Son of Arthur Henry Eaton Boston, and of Florence Elizabeth Boston of Greenford, Middelsex.

Buried at Berlin Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery - Grave 9.E.9

With thanks to Royal Air Force Marham Aviation Heritage Centre.

Lancaster DS725

115 Squadron East Wretham 1943.

Gavi Hall RCAF, Rear Gunner 2 July 1943.

With thanks Royal Air Force Marham Aviation Heritage Centre.

On 2 July 1943 Operations were cancelled at 2305. hours.

14 aircraft were assigned next day for mission on Cologne, Gavi's was a member of this crew,

Lancaster Mk.II. – P. DS660. – up 00.10 / down 04.40 hours.

P/O. M. W. Coles – Captain
F/O. O. Farrell – 2nd Pilot
P/O. J. A. Woof – Navigator
Sgt. Proud E. - W/T. Oprtr.
F/S. Coton W. – Air Bomber
Sgt. Scharpe A. – Mid Upper
Sgt. Hall G. – Rear Gunner
Sgt. Marshall A. – Flt. Engineer

On this mission Lancaster Mk II - DS662 KO-L was lost, one survivor,
Sgt. Shevels, who became POW

Fortunately, there was still time to get married in
115 Sqn during World War II.

Unfortunately I don't have any names of these people
and I suspect this photo was taken in Witchford.

Dear friends,
if there is anyone who recognizes these people please let us know.

Thank you.

With thanks to Royal Air Force Marham Aviation Heritage Centre.

Below, one of their missions, 22nd Feb. 1945.

John Leonard SnyderI received this mail and photos from Tiffany Hofeldt,

My Dad's obit:

Dr. John Leonard Snyder, 87, of Austin, passed away May 11, 2010.

He was born to Nick and Dorothy Kokinakos, Feb. 17, 1923, in Vancouver, B.C. John lost both his parents at an early age and grew up during the Great Depression supervised mostly by his older brother Conn Kokinakos, who passed in 2008. John was politely asked to leave high school after the ninth grade; however, after returning from WWII where he served as a Pilot for the Royal Canadian.

Air Force, went on to earn his B.S. from University of British Columbia at Vancouver, followed by his Masters and then went on to achieve his PhD from McGill University.
He married the late Trudy Stock (of Hamburg, Germany) and they lived together in Canada before relocating to Long Beach, California to work for Shell Oil and Development Company in the 1950s.
John was later transferred to Houston as a senior Research Chemist where he remained until he retired in 1985. During his tenure at Shell, his research team was responsible for the development of advancements in the field of synthetic rubbers developed from the petrochemical industry. The work of his team resulted in the development of thirteen separate patents, most of them with applications in the automobile industry.

After retiring, John traveled the world and, deciding it was the best place on earth, settled in Port Townsend, WA in the early 1990s. There, he was a resident of Cape George Colony, Master Gardener involved in several community gardens, dedicated volunteer, fish counter, tree planter and never missed a PT family portrait. He loved walking the Larry Scott Trail, spending time in the library and volunteering at the Wooden Boat festival. In 2007 he reached his goal of 100 volunteered hours. In 2008 he relocated to Austin to be closer to family. John was an avid traveler and life-long member of Hostelling International.

He loved to spend time with his two daughters and grandchildren, garden, cook, hike, and climb mountains. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa just before his 70th birthday.
He was very proud of his time in the RCAF and was fond of regaling family with stories of his thirty-one successful missions in his Lancaster bomber. John is survived by his two daughters: Angela Snyder of Seattle, and Tiffany Hofeldt and husband Brian, of Buda; He also is survived by two grandchildren Harlan and Van Hofeldt. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Nature Conservancy.

His logbook.

cutter innBombing Leader F/L. Ken Holt - DFC - centre wearing gloves, poses for the camera with a group of bomb aimers outside the cutter inn by Ely's riverside.

Ken lived in the village of Sutton 6 miles from Ely before the war.

After the war he became a teacher at Silver street boys school in Ely.

F/L. Ken Holt, died December 2013, aged 91.

Source: Soham Grammarians : Andrew Kenneth Holt DFC.

23 September 2020,

Here a selection from John Steel's collection,

My uncle Harold Taylor DFC and Bar was in 115 Squadron I have his log books and all his medals plus his Cap Jacket and 115 Blazer (Crimson and Yellow Strips).

Harold TAYLOR (176917), R.A.F.V.R., 115 Sqn.
Harold TaylorHarold Taylor

Group Photo at East Wretham in 1943.

With thanks to the Royal Air Force Marham Aviation Heritage Centre.

18 September 2020, a post from Ashley Woods,

Hi, my name is Ashley Woods, I am a grandson of James Mills who served during his long RAF career served as a rear gunner with 115 Squadron during 1941, with the rank of Pilot Officer.

My Grandfather served in the RAF from 1928 to 1961.

James MillsJames MillsHe was posted to 115 Squadron between January and July 1941 and during that time flew 16 active duty missions according to his log book. There are however some discrepancies between his logbook and the official RAF records which I am trying to investigate.

During that time he also earned his DFC on a mission to Brest in Feb 41.

As part of my ongoing and extensive research I have now finally digitised his log books from 1936 to 1961 onto excel (prior to 1936 log books are missing sadly).

It would be amazing to find anyone with any connection to the crews he flew with during that time also.

Kind regards

James Mills Hi Filip, please find attached the pdfs of the log book pages.

I know this information is already on other pages on your website but I thought the actual log book pages might be of interest. You will see the large number of flight hours my grandfather had already logged by the start of 1941, about 2,000. This is because he enlisted in the RAF in 1928, originally as a torpedo fitter, so was very experienced by the start of the war. He was 33 years when assigned to 115 so would have been a lot older than most of the aircrew he flew with.

His service time with 115 Squadron was part of his second tour I believe.
I understand from family that this was because after his first tour (log book lost - no records) during 1939/1940 he became 'bored' with ground duties and convinced his superiors to grant him another chance at active service flying, hence his attachment to the famous 115 Squadron.

I was lucky to visit where he was based with 115 at RAF Marham on Family day about 7 years ago, with all of his 5 children. They were able to see their fathers name on the 115 Squadron honours board in their main hall for his DFC.

Ashley Woods

Wellington T250915 September 2020, a post from Gina Bury,

On the anniversary of the Battle of Britain here is one of my father's photos titled 'Marham', but no idea who or when.

80 years ago today he (as Navigator) and the crew of T2509 piloted by F/O Beer and Sgt Morson had returned to RAF Marham at 01.30hrs after bombing Bruxelles rail transport.

Wellington Mk IC - T2509 - KO-W was lost on 14/15 November 1940.
It was reported by their own W/Op. Sgt. Cleverley that it had forced landed in the sea.

The crew was afterwards picked up and 5 were saved. The 2nd Pilot, Sgt. Dean, was unfortunately drowned.

Sgt. Morson – Pilot, and Sgt. Desmond - WOP., was awarded the DFM.

Jack MarshallHappy 100 to Jack Marshall DFC.

Jack survived time in the North Sea while flying with 115 squadron then finished a second tour with 7 pff squadron.

Fit , well and still driving, Jack is matching his father " old Wrinkle " who served in both World Wars.

Source: The New Zealand Bomber Command Association. (10 September 2020)

Biography by Kim Newth.

A keenness and desire to engage the enemy were qualities displayed at all times by Flying Officer Jack Marshall, according to his citation for the Distinguished Flying Cross on 12 April 19431.

A successful operational career as an air gunner also came at a price, draining reserves of courage and endurance through many long hours of fear, numbing cold and fatigue on life-threatening sorties.

This is his story, with photos.

8 September 2020, Who can help Klaas Visser from the Netherlands?

Can anyone tell me what piece of equipment this is? It belonged to a Wellington 1C, which was shot down on the 17th of November 1940.

Wellington Mk IC - P9286 - KO-K
Lancaster P9286Lancaster P9286

Also lost on this mission was,

Wellington Mk Ic - R3213 KO-S
crashed in Germany, no survivors, and

Wellington Mk Ic - T2606 KO-H
crashed at Bircham Newton, UK, 1 casualty.

Dear Mr Doms

Thank you for your enquiry regarding the item recovered from a Wellington IC crash site.

Sure enough it would appear to be part of a Mk. IXA Course Setting Bomb Sight which was, with the exception of 5 Group aircraft, the standard sight used on Bomber Command aircraft until the introduction of the Mk. XIV bomb sight during 1942.Royal air force museum

I hope you find the information provided useful and I would like to thank you once again for contacting the RAF Museum.

Kind regards,

Ewen Cameron

Royal Air Force Museum
T: 01902 376 245

With thanks to the Royal Air Force Marham Heritage Centre.

Left to the right,

Al Findley Rear Gunner,
Harry Lindort Bomb Aimer,
OB Mid Upper Gunner,
Eddie Boyle Flight Engineer.

Lancaster Mk.I. (KO) R.HK.691.
Base Witchford - 09-03-1945 - Up 1041 / down 1605.
Target Datteln, Ruhr, Germany.

The crew,
F/L. W. E. C. Burnett (C.24745 RCAF) Captain
F/O. G. F. Brady (J.40952 RCAF) Navigator
Sgt. Lindhorst H. N. (R.197063 RCAF) Air Bomber
Sgt. Wood S. WOP/Air
F/S. Blouin O. A. W. (R.207978 RCAF) Mid. Upper
F/S. Finlay A. G. (R.223742 RCAF) Rear Gunner
Sgt. BOYLE E. Flt. Eng.

23 August 2020, we received following mail and photo from John Fawke,

Can anybody help with any information on regards to both the crew and Lancaster in this photo?

Many thanks in advance.

9/10 July 1944. Probable the last mission of the crew, Target Nucourt, is one of the communes of the Val-d'Oise department in the Île-de-France region of northern France and the location of limestone caves which were used as a World War II V-1 flying bomb storage depot.

Lancaster Mk.I. (A4) G.ME.692. Up 04.22 / down 07.22.

P/O. D. Cameron Captain
P/O. R. C. Townshend Navigator
Sgt. Atwood G. Air bomber
F/S. Body C. WOP/Air
Sgt. Gallimore R. Mid Upper
F/S. Spurgeon C. Rear Gunner (NZ.42507 – R.N.Z.A.F.)
Sgt. Alexander R. Flt. Eng.

DONALD CAMERON October 28, 1921 - May 17, 2008

(Flight Lieutenant in the R.A.F. and Lancaster pilot in Squadron 115 during World War II).

With great sadness we announce the passing of Donald Cameron at the Ajax Pickering Hospital following a stroke.

He was the beloved husband and best friend of Mary for 65 years.
Devoted father of Glen (Linda), Patricia (David), and Neil (Diane).
Loving Papa and hero to his grandchildren Graeme (Louise), Dawn (Tony), Heather, Janice, and Keith.

Lancaster, ME836, joined No 115 in May or June 1944 (from No. 75 Squadron, but without any ops to its credit), and between 11/12th June, when it bombed Nantes and 24th April 1945, when it bombed Bad Oldesloe (using the G-H blind-bombing radar device with which it was then equipped), made 97 operational sorties. It made the first 37 as "A4-C" and the remainder - beginning 15th November 1944 - as "KO-S".

Sources: legacy.com - .roll-of-honour.com.

Contact via: friends115squadron@gmail.com

13th August 1944 - Lancaster Mk III – ND927 KO-B
T/O Witchford 2143 - target Brunswick, Germany.
Crashed at Ordinghausen 15 km W of Hoya - 01.00 hrs.

We received on 21 August 2020 following mail,

Lancaster ND927My uncle Sgt. Hugh Fraser Dott was on this flight and was one of those that died in action.

I have attached a picture of my uncle taken in early 1943 in uniform and a picture of him just after his birth with his mother Janet Dott, smallest sister May (my Mother now 98, listed by her nickname of Dolly), brother David Fraser Dott, eldest sister Janet (Netta) and cousin (tallest girl) Nettie.

There is one other brother who still survives, John Fraser Dott, who in 1923 had not yet been born.

F/O G. B. Hockey, after his release from P.O.W. Camp at the end of the war, visited all the families of the flight crew including my Grandparents at Port Bannatyne, on the Isle of Bute.

Do you know of any pictures existing of the flight crew?

Are there any sources for tracing other postings of Hugh?

Kind regards
David Fraser Rostron.

That night also Lancaster Mk III - PB127 KO-T was lost, and also just the Pilot survived and became POW.

Contact via: friends115squadron@gmail.com

Lancaster DS608Lancaster DS608 - 61,115 Sqs, 1657 Conversion Unit, Crashed 3 Sep 1943, 229 hrs.

Source info: www.sonsofdamien.co.uk

Nice Ronald Frank6 August 2020. Thanks to Maggie Wilkin (nee Nice), we have a new face for the Roll of Honour,

24/25 February 1944 - Lancaster Mk II - LL644 KO-N.

I have some photos and information regarding Flying Officer Ronald Frank Nice (my uncle) which we found when we cleared my Dad's house last year.

Ron was based in Canada for some time; I know that he trained there and went on to become a training officer at Claresholm Alberta. He became an officer in May 1942.

Ron's fiancee was also from Canada and after Ron died she corresponded with his parents until they died. She sent them various articles during that time and I suspect that she forwarded the press article to them plus information regarding another crew member.

My father Alan Nice died last year; he was also in the RAF a Navigator with Coastal Command. He spoke to my brothers and I a lot about Ron, their childhood growing up together and getting up to mischief as brothers do.

Lancaster MLL644 KO-NHe also told me about the last time he spoke to Ron on the phone - he said "I put the phone down and cried because I knew I would never see my brother again".

Dad lost his brother, cousin and best friend during the war (as did many others) and he said on more than one occasion that it was his responsibility to live his life fully.

<--- The press article (including picture) regarding F/O Patrick Gregory McGuire. Patrick was from Canada.

I think this article was from a Canadian news paper as it refers to a local school that he attended and being a carrier for The Edmonton Bulletin. The press article regarding Sgt Dallas Rex Robinson as above I think that this was sent to Ron's parents from Canada.

On the face book page John Jones posted 12 March 2020 18:41 (replying to your comment on the 28 February 20) wrote about there being some lack of clarity about where Ron and his crew had been buried.
I have a letter from the Air Ministry addressed to Ron's father dated 15th June 1949 advising where the crew are buried and then further communication from the Under Secretary of State for Air dated 27th January 1950 enclosing a photograph of the temporary cross (see webpage) with all the names of those buried in the multiple grave.

I hope the above may be of interest to you

Kind Regards Maggie Wilkin (nee Nice)

Lancaster MkII - LL701 KO-F was also lost on this Operation, no survivors, this crew has no grave and is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.

28 July 2020. We received following mail from Ria Schmieder, Netherlands.

Hi everyone,

I'm new in this group and am busy researching the crash of Lancaster DS834 from 115 squadron that crashed in Tungelroy (The Netherlands) on 29th December 1943.

F/S K. Bell KIA
Sgt. G. Johnson KIA
F/S A. Wilkinson KIA
Sgt. L. Jones KIA
F/S J. Lee POW
Sgt. M. Pike (or Pine) POW
Sgt. A. Gunnell ESC - (Escape Report 3350/1337, source: The Comet Network.)

if anyone has information about this crash and this crew than I would love to come in touch.
I'm especially looking for information about the two POW's.

thanks in advance.

26 July 2020.

Yesterday afternoon a small ceremony was held at the Commonwealth Heverlee War Cemetery with Bart Smets and Hans Loix and friends from Alken in memory of the killed crew of Lancaster KO-J HK542 on 25 April 1944.

They held a memorial ride because no reenactment events can take place by COVID-19.

May I thank you because of the friends of 115 Sqn. with this fantastic initiative.

Thank you very much.

22 July 2020, who can help Darren Sladden?

I'm trying to find info about a Lancaster that crashed in Great Dunmow,
a friend has sent me this but the N and E are for Dagenham?
Would anyone know why this is?

Thank you. Great Dunmow

Avro Lancaster MkII, DS827 A4-D, (A4-B) (4x Bristol Hercules radial engines-NOT Merlins), Delivered to 115sqn Oct 1943.
Crashed at Great Dunmow, Essex whilst on a 'Bullseye' training exercise. Cause unknown.

Source: Avro Lancaster-The definitive record' Book by Harry Holmes

The flags hang half-mast at the Lancaster monument in Papendrecht The Netherlands in memory of the killed crew.
Today exactly 76 years ago. (Lancaster Mk III - ND913 A4-M)

We commemorate:
The Australian crew members of the Royal Australian Air Force:
F/S Charles Alfred Barlow, rear gunner, age 19
F/O Colin Mervyn Clarey, pilot, age 30
The English crew members of the Royal Air Force:
Sgt Douglas Hancock, wireless operator, age 20
F/S Samuel Edward Kirkland, bomb aimer, age 25
Sgt Edward John Line, navigator, age 21
Sgt Herbert Charles Luton, flight engineer, age 25
Sgt Arthur Walter Middleton, mid gunner, age 21

Lest we forget

Text and photos from Peter Jan van der Giessen, dank u Peter Jan.

115 Squadron lost also Lancaster Mk III - LM510 KO-K, Crash landed at Woodbridge Aerodrome, Suffolk, 2 killed, 5 survivers.

May van der GiessenJuly 21, 2020, May van der Giessen, Netherlands.

Today is it exactly 76 years ago that the English Lancaster bomber 'Popeye' crashed in Papendrecht.

The seven crew members did not survived. Their graves are in the general cemetery.

In memory of the killed crew I sing The Aviators song by Gretchen Peters.

Lest we forget.

Visited the crash site of Lancaster KO-C LL943 in La Plaigne, Belgium
located in the province of Hainaut/Henegouwen this afternoon.
76 years after the crash on July 19th 1944 at the site of the deceased victims.

Pilot: Pellow Robert Everard, F/O- Service No. 417229 RAAF.
Flight Engineer: Morton Albert Edward. Sgt.- Service No 2220632 RAFVR
Navigator: Tibbits Eric Ronald P/O -Service No. 426444 RAAF.
WOP: Wakeman Edward Vivian. Sgt. - Service No. 1579920 RAFVR
Bomb-Aimer: Hollenback Fraser Clarke P/O - Service No. J/92611 RCAF
MUG: Simmonds Henry John William. Sgt. No. 1605077 RAFVR
Rear-Gunner: Allen Frederick. Sgt. - Service No. 1853859 RAFVR

Lancaster KO-C LL943Simmonds Henry John William

Due to time constraints, I did not get to Valenciennes in the St. Roch cemetery, located in France. my apologies for that.

Simmonds Henry John WilliamMy grandfathers best friend, Dinky Simmonds, who was a mid upper gunner in the aircraft
(Lancaster Mk I - LL943 KO-C) was shot down overnight on the 18th/19th July 1944 and tomorrow will be their anniversary.

Both went to sign up for the RAF before they turned 18.
My grandad was put on to deferred entry due to studying a chemistry degree whereas
Dinky was selected for the RAF and became a gunner.

Unfortunately he was shot down and killed, but even to the last few years before my grandad died,
he would talk about his friend who was shot down.

Please remember LL943 tomorrow, Dinky and the rest of the crew

Many thanks

Who can help Ian Davidson? Does anyone have a photo of the Ken Gray crew, operational April to Sept 1942.
Thank you.

Their first mission was on 15th April 1942, target DORTMUND.
Base, Marham. Wellington MK.III – D.X.3749.
Captain - Sgt. MORTON
2nd. Pilot - Sgt. DUNN
Navigator - Sgt. BURNETT
W/T. Oprtr. - Sgt. HIGHET
Fr. Gunner - Sgt. GRAY
Rr. Gunner - Sgt. HOLMES

Last mission was 24th August 1942, target FRANKFURT.
Base, Marham. Wellington MK.III-F.X.3447.
Captain - P/O. MURPHY K. C.
2nd Pilot - Sgt. HICKMAN J. C.
W/T. Oprtr. - Sgt. GRAY K.
Fr. Gunner - Sgt. JOHNS S.
Rr. Gunner - Sgt. COLEMAN P.

Contact via: friends115squadron@gmail.com

Les HickmanWe received following message (5 July 2020) and photo from Richard Hickman,

I have attached a photo of my father, Les Hickman, pilot of Wellington Mk III - X3351 - KO-T shot down on 31st December 1942.

I believe he was a Pilot Officer at that time. He rarely spoke about his experiences in the war, as did most of them.

My niece's partner once did some research, and told me he was in Stalag Luft 3.
He too was in the march across Germany at the end of the war.

Thank you for doing so much research into 115 squadron.

Regards, Richard Hickman.

Wellington X3351 Wellington X3351

Lancaster PB758This photo was donated by R. A. Hurrell (Sgt. - navigator) who flew on IL-H (PB756).

First OP 16 Dec 1944, target Siegen. (Flack damage on five of them).
Flew 31 OPS.

On February 19th. 1945, Sgt. Hurrell and the crew flew on Lancaster (IL)H.PB.765

To KO-S Sept 1945.
To 44 Sqn.: Soc. 20 Nov 1946. Shows yellow bars denoting G-H Leader.

Whith thanks to the Royal Air force Marham Aviation Heritage Centre.

Who can help Mathew Smith,

Hi I was wondering if records still exist from ww2 for

P/O Joseph Darcy Keith Sterling Service no 421540. RAAF.

Died 01/01/45 in crash of Lancaster Mk IL-D NG332.

Would like to know service history etc. He was a relation

On the return trip the Lancaster came under anti aircraft fire, believed to be from the American 184th Gun Battalion in Belgium, which brought it down.
It crashed at 2010 hrs. in a field on farmland at Emines, 5 miles N of Namen, Belgium.

Photo via Aircrew Remembered.

Contact via: friends115squadron@gmail.com

This has been a whole team effort with up to 8 people working on it.
My roll has been that of a 'co-ordinator' and have been heavily involved in tracing relatives, to which I am in contact with five crew members families.
These are the three ground crew and Sgt Bruce (pilot) and Sgt O'Shea (Observer).

I am still trying to trace more and hopefully over the winter months I will be successful.


7 August 2020, A fitting tribute.

The memorial for Wellington Z8863 (KO-G) is now finished with just some
tidying up around the plaques.
The finished memorial exceeds our expectations which I hope you will agree.

Mark Twiddy Mark Twiddy Mark Twiddy

26 June 2020. a update from Mark Twiddy,

Another update on the Wellington Z8863 (KO-G) memorial, still work in progress but hopefully finished in the next few weeks. Mark TwiddyMark Twiddy

22 June 2020. a update from Mark Twiddy,

We have created a display for Wellington Z8863 (KO-G) at work in conjunction for Armed Forces week along with other military equipment displays. It gives visitors an idea of what happened and what we are planning.
Sadly not open to the general public.

Wellington Z8863

30 May 2020. a update from Mark Twiddy,

The team I am with are in the process of building a memorial for the crew of Wellington Z8863 (KO-G) which crashed on Whitemoor marshalling yard on November 24th 1941.

I have attached a couple of pictures of the progress, the wall is up and the two brick pillars will have flagpoles in them.

The water behind the wall is apparently where some of the wreckage ended up.Wellington Z8863Wellington Z8863

Ken Denly14 June 2020. Louise Smith send us following photos, thanks.

Our Dad flew in a Lancaster called "The Bad Penny" named because it kept coming back!

Ken Denly was a bomb aimer and was awarded the DFC at 21 years of age.

He has sadly passed away (2012) now but my mum is still in contact with the one surviving crew member. Ken's obituary.

Dad is standing on the far left of the picture.

Thanks to all those who served and are still serving today.

One of missions from this crew was, 24 February 1944,
Mission on Schweinfurt. Lancaster Mk.II – A4A. LL726.
P/O. McKechnie – J.35153 RCAF – Captain
F/O. Leatherdale Frank R. – Navigator
Sgt. Payne B. – Wop/Air
Sgt. Denly K. – Air Bomber
Sgt. Wilkin – MU/AG
P/O. Wagner W. J. – Rear Gunner
Sgt. France – Flight Eng.

The Bad PennyFrank LeatherdaleThe 'full team' in front of Lancaster ND758 The Bad Penny on completion of McKechnie's crew's first Tour

Front row: the ground crew. Back Row: Sgt. Ken Denly, bomb aimer; Sgt. Joe Hayes, rear gunner; P/O. Eric Wilkin, mid-upper gunner; F/L. Don 'Mac' McKechnie, Pilot; F/O. Frank Leatherdale; Sgt. Bernard Payne, wireless operator; Sgt. Arthur France, flight engineer; at Witchford 11 July 1944.

Photo on the right: Flying Officer Frank Leatherdale in front of Lancaster III ND758 'The Bad Penny' on 115 Squadron at RAF Witchford.

All Frank Leatherdale Collection.
Source: Book, Voices in Flicht: The Path Finder Force.

Who can help? Simon Jones is searching for,

Hi have some pencil drawing of Lancaster Bomber K O R. (pdf file.)
This could be a mystery as could relate to any one of the planes.???
Only the signature holds a bit of this answer.
Could you pass these drawings on to any of the families and see what comes up? Or are any members of the squadron left alive that could help??
Also is there a memorial plaque at Bredfield for the one that crashed there ???
(22/23 March 1944 Lancaster Mk II - DS766 KO-R)

Several A/C. were coded KO-R,
DS627 crashed 19/30 May
DS668 crashed 20 June
DS683 crashed 18/19 October

DS766 crashed 22/23 March
LL667 crashed 18/19 April
NF960 crashed 28 October)

Contact via: friends115squadron@gmail.com

A new face for the Roll of Honour.

On 2 June 2020 we received a message from David Stark White,

Lancaster Mk II - DS765 KO-A

This was my great uncle (my nans brother) Alfred William Dowsett who was lost over Germany (3/4 December 1943) with his complete crew of 7.

I have a picture of him my mum managed to find in my grandads pictures.

Is there anything or anywhere else I can talk to to find out more about the missions the crew flew and what actually happened to them?

I'm obsessed with him now and what happened.

My nan and grandad have now passed and I have nobody else I can ask?

Hope all is well.

Who can help Adam ?

Contact via: friends115squadron@gmail.com

Robert Ernest GouldOn 19 May 2020 we received via Moon Kinnaird a photo of his granddad Sgt Robert Ernest Gould.

He was a crewmember on Lancaster DS668 KO-R, they were shot down by a night fighter on 20 June 1943.

The crew was forced to abondon,

F/O Brown, age 23, baled out but fell into the Loire and drowned.

Sgt. Trott and Sgt. Sheppard evaded capture.

P/O. Pitchford, Sgt. Davidson were wounded and became POW, also as Sgt. Gould and Sgt. King.

Thanks Moon.

DS55821 May 2020. Good Morning Filip and Friends,

There is some information about him,

the photograph I'm including in this email was used by the RAF Careers Service as a recruitment aid and that during the time when he was missing before the Germans notified the British of his capture, the Careers Office in Exeter had a cardboard cut-out of him in their window which my Nan would go to daily with my newly born father in her arms praying for his safe return.

I hope to research more about his Service Record and will keep you abreast of my discoveries.

Many many thanks
Moon Kinnaird

On May 12th 2020 Sammy Johnson this photo,

This is a painting of my grandads plane.
I know it's a Wellington.
Not sure which one it is ?
He was in the 115 squadron. I know he dropped leaflets and took photos .
Was rear gunner. I've looked on website. It doesn't really tell me alot.

I would love to know what he done.

He never spoke about it the war which I know lot of men didnt.
But I'm so proud of my grandad would love to get model of his plane.
Find out more about what he did.

His name Donald Frederick Bax.
Or other websites I could try.

Thank you any help would be brilliant.

From Operations Record Book dd. 7 April 1940.
Square search for cruiser and destroyers in area 100 miles N.W of SYLT.
No warships sighted. Although search lasted 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. (1345.-1525.).

Donald Frederick Bax

Yeah my grandad was wounded in his legs. I use bath the scars. Think I was making them better.

I'm just so proud of him and everyone. Just not a lot is mentioned about the Wellington bomber and what they did .. were he never like to talk about it. Not even to my nan or my mum.

So even that. Is nice to see.
I've tried forces records . Just has nothing.

So thank you so much for that little pieces information. Means alot .

On May 11th 2020, we received from Anthony Rickard this email

Further too our brief exchange on facebook some 3 weeks back relating to Dresden and 115 involvement (13/14 February 1945) I attach the promised photos (pdf file).

I also attach a scan of a letter my father wrote to my mother on VE Day international header to the page! Interestingly he says he will see her in 14 days - having got hold of hid service records I can say that twelve days after writing

i.e. 20.5.45 he was discharged, and on 21.5.45 was "Emerg Comm Plt Off on prob". Gazetted 17.7.45
He returned to 115 as a Flight Engineer, and was subsequently posted 21.1.46 to HQ 3 Group as " Educational & Vocational Trg Instruct ".
Subsequently He rebadged as a pilot 26.4.50 via 22 Flg Trg Sch, 101 Flg Refresh Sch, 19.6.51 201 Adv Flg Sch and 5.9.51 230 Op Conv Unit, where he learned the joys of the Lincoln.
18.12.51 he was posted to 49 Squadron and headed straight to Kenya as Flight Commander "A" Flight and had lots of fun with the Mau Mau.
54 - 57 he was at Upavon as Off Commanding Communications Flight, then (and I remember it well) he was posted to FEAF at RAF Changi whence we returned as a family in January 1960.
He is then listed as Flying Flight Commander of communications flight at Bovingdon before retiring 5.10.61 - however I clearly remember being stationed at Coastal Command HQ in 61!

We lived at 41 Grosvenor Road OMQ Northwood.. Maybe the last sheet didn't get posted!

I also attach an account by Archie Dick of his training, crewing up , conversion to Lancasters and his time with 115, including his account of the Dresden raid - when they had to abandon Lancaster Mk I - PB686 KO-D and walk home... without Geordie.

On May 10th 2020, Hal Constable send us a story regarding his father linked to the crash of
Wellington Mk III - BJ724 KO-P.

Good day Friends of 115 Squadron,

Attached is a picture of my uncle, Sgt Ralph Constable WOG, (never met) who was lost in WII – September 6 1942. He was attached to Bomber Command 115 Squadron stationed in Marham.

There was only one person who survived the crash in a field near Blofield England.

The following story relates to my father and the lone survivor of that crash. I hope you find it of some interest.


Time knows no boundaries. But in the case of one Prince Edward Island family, a mystery surrounding a watch once owned by Sgt. Ralph Constable who was killed in action during the Second World War has come to a timely end - 67 years after the fact. The story.

Wellington P0229On May 4th 2020, Kurtis Gale send us this photo of Cpl. Pilgrim Roger Colin John who was a crew member on Wellington Mk IC - P9229 - KO-S

Who has more information?

Im doing a write up of R. C. J. Pilgrim who served with 115 Sqdn. He was killed in Action on the 16th May 1940. would like to get the write up completed by the time of the 80th anniversary.

On the night of 15/16 May 1940 the Wellington was blown off course by high wind and crashed in high ground between Bernay and Rouen, France.

All crew were killed except Cpl. FALLOWS who died later.

F/L. Pringle Alec Edward - Pilot – DFC – age 26.
F/O. Evans Herbert Prestyl – Pilot – age ?.
Sgt. Kirkham Thomas Russell - Observer/Nav. – age 21.
Cpl. Pilgrim Roger Colin John - Wireless Operator/Air Gnr. – age 26.
Cpl. Fallows Reginald Frederick - Air Gnr. – age ?.

They rest at the Bernay Communal Cemetery (St. Croix), France.


On 30 April 2020 we received following message from Mark Twiddy,

Hello, I am part of a team planning memorial to the crew of Wellington Z8863 (KO-G) which crashed on November 24th 1941.

Tony Richardson who is part of the team has already contacted you but I am trying to locate relatives for an invite to the unveiling.

The crew were Sgt. G. R. Bruce, Sgt. P. M. Taylor, Sgt. H. N. O'Shea, Sgt. P. G. Crosbie, Sgt. W. M. Evans, Sgt. E. A. Lawrence. Also on board were three ground crew, Sgt. J. Dix, Cpl. J. C. Fox and AC2. G. S. Wakefield.

Can anyone help or know any relatives of these crew members and at this time I only have a response from a relative to AC2. G. S. Wakefield after contacting local newspapers.

Lancaster HK542On 29 April 2020, we received a mail of Bart Smets from Alken, Belgium.

Thanks to Bart we have a new face for the 115 Squadron Roll of Honour.

Sgt. Forth Norman Louis - WOP, was a crew member of Lancaster Mk I - HK542 KO-J that was attacked by night fighter Oberleutnant Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer of the IV./NJG 1. and crashed on 24/25 April 1944 at Alken, there were no survivors.

For this crew we and the village of Alken erected a monument on Saturday May 4th 2019.

Also lost on this mission was Lancaster Mk II: DS734 KO-Y, no survivors.

On 28 April 2020, we received a mail of Mairead Vaughan, who can help?

Lancaster DS675Lancaster DS675I was hoping your group would be able to assist me in the search for in formation about a family member, F/O. Patrick Thomas O'Farrell.

I believe he was a pilot with the Squadron 115 and that he was killed over Hanover in operations on the night of September 22 1943.

I was hoping that your group would have information, photos and records on Pat and his time flying. I would greatly appreciate anything that you may have on file.

Thank you so much for your assistance.


Thanks to Mairead we have now a photo of F/O. Patrick Thomas O'Farrell for our Roll of Honour.

F/O. O'Farrell RAAF and his crew flew on Lancaster Mk II - DS675 KO-E, ,on ths fatal night any more info and photos are welcome.

Lancaster LL730On 28 April 2020, David Walker posted this photo of his grandfather Sgt. Eric Meikle and info regarding Lancaster LL730 - KO-G on our FB. Thanks David.

T/O 1844 target Berlin. Shot down by night fighter and crashed at Kropelin, Mecklenburg, Germany.

This A/c ,LL730, KO-G, was brought down (24/25 March 1944) by a Nightfighter who's attack set the bomb-bay/bomb-load on fire. The a/c could not maintain height and Meikle left it moments before it crashed.
The fighter is not identified but the crash site is given as Ostseebad Rerik,12 kms WNW of Kropelin.
Those who died were originally buried in Rurik Friedhof but were later, probably post war, moved to their present resting places in Berlin.

Theo Boiten's book on the Nightfighter war diaries Vol I states that it was possibly shot down by a Ju88 flown by Obstit Helmut Lent of Stab NJG3 for his 94th victory. He went on to claim 121 aircraft before he was killed in an aircraft accident in October 1944. His claim was near Lubeck at 2200 hrs.

The crew,
F/Sgt I G Williams,pilot, + age ?
Sgt J A Morris,F/Eng, + age 19
Sgt M A Ward, Navigator, + age 24
Sgt E A Meikle, Air Bomber
Sgt J W Kearley,W/Op, + age 21
F/Sgt R Howells, M/U Gunner, + age 35
Sgt T C Watson, Rear Gunner, + age 22

Sgt. Meikle Eric A. was the only suvivor of this crew.

He recorded the following in his Diary.

Attacked by a fighter crossing the German coast en route to Berlin, fire in the Bomb bay. He released the bombs and saw them fall away, Then set course for Sweden, however the bomb bay doors would not close and the aircraft lost height.

They thought they were over the Baltic between Germany and Sweden.

Eric decided to jump rather than possibly ditch in the sea in a plane on fire with open bomb doors. Against the insistence of his crew-mates, that they could make it to Sweden, he jumped at about 900m, while descending via parachute, he viewed the aircraft explode and crash.

Lancaster LL730He landed in a field bouncing from frozen furrow to frozen furrow while trying to recover his parachute.

The next day he woke up in a field viewing a farmer with a shotgun and was taken to the house to await the authorities.

A Luftwaffe officer told him that the rest of the crew were found burnt and mangled inside the plane about 4kms from where he landed. The engineer was the only one they could identify.

Eric ended up in Stalag Luft 1, Barth, released 25/4/45.

Also lost on this mission:
Lancaster Mk II LL694 KO-N, 7 KIA
Lancaster Mk II DS664 A4-K, "Werewolf", 4 KIA, 3 POW
Lancaster Mk II DS678 KO-J, 5 KIA 2 POW

On 16/4/2020. Graham Waterton send us two new photos.

the first was regarding his uncle, Flt.Lt. Brian Slade DFC who served with 115 between November 41 and July 42. The second photo was aboud the Davie Crew, see photo Wellington Mk III - Z1614 - KO-R.Wellington X3726

I spotted a post on the website posted in 2018 (I'm not sure why I had not seen it before) which shows this photo of 2 Wellington crews which suggested that it is crew of X3726.
This posted from Jonathan Cooper about Maurice Colclough. (Wellington Mk III - X3726 - KO-A)

I have always understand that this was one of a series of publicity photos taken by a National newspaper the day after the first 1,000 raid on Cologne on the 30th May 1942.

My Uncle Brian Slade is 3rd from the left and he left the squadron before the end on June having completed his first tour so I suspect it could not have been taken before the Duisberg raid on the 21st July 1942.

The aircraft shown is also not X3726 but my uncles regular a/c X3662.

These were taken, I believe, at Marham between 3rd and 12th July 1942. My uncle (the smoker) was in 115 Squadron so assume the others were also. Any ideas who the others were? I suspect they are all pilots. July 42 was a bad month for the Squadron … they lost 11 aircraft that month.

Flt.Lt. Brian Slade DFCFlt.Lt. Brian Slade DFCFlt.Lt. Brian Slade DFC

On 1/3/2020. Fiona Johnson send us a photo of her fathers crew. Thanks.

My Father John (Jack /Tug) Wilson was a mid upper gunner on a Lancaster in WW2, in 115 squadron
based at Witchford.

Sgt. Wilson J. on the far left, 3rd from the left W/O. Lenny Shea - A.429355 RAAF Navigator - ,
an Australian , from Queensland.

He finished his training in June 44, then went to 115 to fly in Lancasters.

Francis Leonard KennedyKristian Kennedy sended this photo on 28/2/20202. Thanks.

On the night of Feb. 24-25, 1944 LL701 of RAF 115 Squadron left RAF Witchford on a bombing raid of the Schweinfurt ball bearing factories.

My great-uncle, Sgt. Francis Leonard Kennedy, RCAF,(pictured) was the tail gunner on Lancaster Mk II - LL701 KO-F.

The crash site is unknown but likely the North Sea.

His crewmen: John Clement Hornby (Pilot)
Arthur Frederick Challinor (Flight Engineer)
Leonard Charles "Cyril" Casper (Navigator)
Kenneth Morley (Wireless Operator)
John Buller Colthurst (Bomb Aimer/Bombardier)
Gordon Lewis Ward, RCAF (Gunner)

Also lost on this mission, Lancaster Mk II - LL644 KO-N, no survivors.

25/2/2020. Thanks to Graham Waterton we received this photo,

This is the photo of the Davie crew. Taken spring 1942 at Marham.
(F/S. Davie crew dd. 25/3/42, P/O. Howard – 2nd Pilot, Sgt. Slatter – Navigator, Sgt. Boyle – W/T. Oprtr., Sgt. McLeod – Fr. Gunner, Sgt. Sproston – Rr. Gunner.)

As I mentioned in my post, after Davie was posted, Sgt Edwards became their skipper.
All were lost on the Cologne 1000 raid.

(30/31 May 1942) - Wellington Mk III - Z1614 - KO-R)

The only individual I can identify is the extreme right who is Sgt. Hubert Croston, the Rear Gunner.
(His last flight with F/S. Davie was on 19/5/42, with Wellington RX.1614 which was lost on the Cologne raid.)

Interesting that the largest man had the smallest place on the aircraft!

I would like to hear from you if you can identify any of the others, thanks.

Via Mark Every we received new info, P/O. Howard 2nd left, F/S. Davie 3rd from left, thanks.

On 21/2/2020 we saw following message of Tina Campion,

My uncle, Frank L.Godden was in 115 Sqd. at East Wretham.

He was previously in a reserved occupation but after helping recover victims of The Sheffield Blitz, he joined Bomber Command to train as a pilot.

He was the flight engineer and second dicky on a raid on Berlin 29/30th March 1943.

His Lancaster Mk II - DS625 KO-W was lost without trace with loss of all crew.

This was the first mk2 Lancaster to be lost in the war and the first Lancaster lost from 115 sqd.

My uncle was 22yrs old.R.I.P to all the crew.

Thanks via Klaas Visser from the Netherlands we received on 21/2/2020 a photo of the crew of Wellington P9286 KO-K.

Early in the war, on 17th November 1940 they crashed at Groetpolder nearby Winkel, no survivors.

Left to right: Sgt. Donald Larkman, Sgt. Frederick Core, Sgt. Malcolm Mott, Sgt. Robert Rodger, Sgt. Thomas Gostick and Sgt. John Carse Walton.

On this mission with target Hamburg 115 Squadron lost also, Wellington R3213 KO-S, no survivors.

Who can help? On February 3rd we received folowing mail,

Good afternoon!

I wonder if you can help me – my name is Dr Phil Marter and I am running a project to investigate the crash site of Lancaster DS793 KO-L.

I would like to start tracing crew family members, and I wondered if you would be able to put something on your website to that effect?

I would be more than happy to feedback any information I collect as part of this project.

In fact I will be speaking (in part) about this aircraft and her crew at the RAF Museum in London later this month.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give,

With best wishes,
Dr Phil Marter (University of Winchester)

Who can help? On January 30th we received folowing mail from Tony Richardson

Dear Sir/Madam,

I'm enquiring to see if you may be able to help me please.

Our department is currently making plans for a memorial to a crew lost on the 24th November 1941 who were flying a wellington from 115 squadron.

I'm trying to find a picture of Wellington Z8863 KO-G which crashed at night during a non ops flight, but ao far have had no sucess in tracking a picture down.

Would you be able to help me out please.

Yours sincerely,
Tony Richardson

Wellington Z8863Wellinton Z8863