115 Squadron 115 Squadron 115 Squadron

Posts 2021

Harry BeckettOn the 13th April Pierre Lagacé send the following message,

I just had to find more about Harry Beckett, one LAC who earned his
observer wings and survived.

Harry Beckett died on January 7, 1980 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
He was 69 years old. Harry was born on August 12, 1910 in Hull, Yorkshire, England.
His parents were Frank Beckett and Mary Shepherdson.
He married Patricia Viola Flanagan.

Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
No.115 Squadron.
Award effective 1 July 1943 as per London Gazette dated 9 July 1943
and AFRO 1724/43 dated 27 August 1943.

As navigator this officer has completed numerous sorties over enemy territory.
These have included flights in such heavily defended objectives as Hamburg,
Berlin and Essen and several long distance missions to such places as Spezia and Turin.
Flying Officer Beckett has always displayed a most commendable enthusiasm for operations and
great courage in the face of the enemy.

For more info see the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan website.

Lancaster LL7306th April 2021, Thanks to Ian Bawdon we have a new face for the Roll of Honour,
Sgt. Morris James Arthur.

This is my mother's brother who was in 115 squadron at Witchford and the F/E. on
Lancaster Mk II - LL730 KO-G and was shot down on 24/25 March 1944.
Only Sgt. Meikle - B/A. survived.

4 aircraft went missing on this dramatic night:

Lancaster Mk II - DS678 KO-J, 5 KIA, 2 POW,
Lancaster Mk II - LL694 KO-N, 7 KIA,
Lancaster Mk II - DS664 A4-K, "Werewolf", 4 KIA, 3 POW.

On 26 April 2021, we received mail from Ruby Collins,

Huge thanks to whoever posted this picture. Our Dad - Peter Mitchell - is the Mid Upper Gunner. Would love to know if you've any others of him?

My twin boys didn't meet him - they would have adored each other - so incredibly poignant to find this picture - we've never seen it before!

On 17th March 2021 we received from Geoff Milner following pictures from
his Dad and his crew,

First picture taken on air raid shelter at RAF Witchford early 1945,

from left to right Front row:

F/Sgt. John Edward Milner - Co Pilot/Flight Eng.,
Sgt. Albert Bevan A. - Rear Gunner,
F/O. Bob Leonard R. H. - Wireless Operator,
W/O. Hugh Hernan - Pilot,

Back row:

Sgt. William Pollock - Navigator,
Sgt. Pete Mitchell - Mid Upper Gunner,
F/S. Junior Fellows - Bomb Aimer.

Second photo taken in front of one of their Lancs at Witchford, with ground crew and Land girl.

Third picture Dad training on Lancs.

regards Geoff Milner

Daniel burgessWe received following photos and obituary from Katie Emily Sharma
regarding her great, great Uncle, Daniel George "Buzz" Burgess.

During the war Dan flew many different aeroplanes including Stirlings, Wellingtons and Halifax.

He was with 115 Squadron and flew Lancaster bombers completing 54 missions and was
awarded the D.F.C. He was known as Buzz to his crew.

Dan was always very modest about his war efforts.

Following the war he also flew Halifax ex bombers on the Berlin airlift.

A quote taken from his colleague Stan wards book describes how in 1953 he started to restore Ipswich airport.

"The place was quite derelict by then and a considerable amount of work was required in getting it up to the standard required for a passenger
terminal and for licensing as a public aerodrome. This task was in the hands of Dan Burgess."

He goes on to write "One of nature's gentlemen and one of the calmest men I ever met, Dan directed and worked as leading hand in demolishing,
re-building, re-wiring and plumbing to say nothing of the enormous administrative task in getting an airport operational for scheduled passenger service.

After re-opening Dan remained as manager and pilot with which he combined a task he loved, of a farmer to the 160 acres put down to corn,
sugar beet and potatoes, all of which helped to make Ipswich one of the few financially viable airports at that time.

Passengers and friends were frequently seen in a packed lobby moving out of the way of a filthy farmer who had come off a farm tractor.
Little did they know that this was the pilot of the aeroplane they were about to board, and that he had come in with just enough time to
shower and change into his immaculate blue uniform".

Dan was a fit and active man who played squash well into his eighties but said he found it difficult to find somebody to play
with as his friends had given up playing and the younger ones didn't like being beaten by an older man!

After leaving Ipswich airport he ran a tarmac lorry business and later ran a paper round, getting up at 4a.m. to sort papers.

He was quite a remarkable man, though of very highly and respected by all who knew him.

Kenneth DunnWe received on 14th March 2021, following mail from Kevin Thornton,

I have come into possession of the medals and log books of pilot WK
(Kenneth) Dunn who joined 115 Squadron 30/11/1941.

He flew with the squadron until his tour expired in 9 July 1942, then to 15 OTU.

He received the DFM after his Wellington was attacked by a night fighter on the 29/06/1942,
and by his flying skills managed to allow his gunners to drive the aircraft off.

I have photographs of the damaged Wellington, and a group photo when he was training.

He later served a second tour in 40 Squadron in Italy, where he received the DFC.

I feel privileged to have possession of the medals and log books of a very brave man,
and thought it may be of interest to you.

Dunn Kenneth More information and photos

On the 10th of march 2021, Jane Guest, sent us flowing photos, thanks

Charles EnglandSquadron 115, taken June 1944,
with my father Charles England
second from the right on the back row. Charles England


End of tour photo, 115 Squadron,
taken July 1944 with my
father Charles England, an air bomber, second from the right.

The last mission was on 11th/12th June 1944, target Nantes, France on Lancaster KO-S ND.900.

The crew,

S/L. C. D. RASH, DFC - Captain
P/O. J. GREEN - Navigator
F/S. ENGLAND, C. - Air Bomber
F/S. RICE, S. - Rear Gunner
F/S. PITCHER, A. - Mid Upper
Sgt. SEPHTON, B. - Flt. Eng.

Lancaster LL701We received on 11 February 2021 following post from Chris Thomson,

Hello from Montreal!

We have recently come into friendship with the Grandson (Chris Sandham-Bailey) of Kenneth Morley Sgt - Service No 1531492, He was the wireless operator on LL701.

Lancaster Mk II - LL701 KO-F

In his memory can you please add the attached picture of him to the page? The credit should go to his grandson Chris Sandham-Bailey please.

Also we have started a facebook group looking for the family of the crew from LL701.

Thank you and stay safe!

Chris Thomson (great nephew of Francis Leonard Kennedy from LL701) Montreal, Canada.

Jean LeatherdaleWe received following said news from Paul Leatherdale,

Mum passed away on 16th Jan from COVID.

Best rgds, Paul

Obituary from Jean Leatherdale (Nee Clarke)

Died suddenly on 16th January 2021 at her home in Dell Rose Court, Norwich aged 92.

Loving widow of Sqn. Ldr. Frank Leatherdale DFC, and mother of Paul.

Survived by her brothers Gerald and Philip and sister Beryl.

No flowers please but donations may be made to Alzheimer's Research UK directly or via Shayne Stork Family Funeral Services (01603 702702).