I visited the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral today. The cathedral was a prominent landmark for many aircrew during the war. Within the cathedral is the Airmen's Chapel (the Chapel of St. Michael) which contains the Roll of Honour of 25, 611 aircrew who lost their lives between 1939 and 1945. The seven members of ED559 are recorded within the book. I was allowed to photograph the names of each crewman.
A remarkable recording of a Lancaster crew on the bomb run over Berlin and being attacked by a German night-fighter.
The recording, made by BBC correspondent Wynford Vaughan-Thomas, on the night of 3 September 1943, recorded live from a Lancaster bomber on a bombing raid. The BBC outside sound engineer was Reginald Pidsley
The Lancaster ED586, EM-F (F for Freddie) was from No. 207 Squadron Lancaster and piloted by Acting F/Lt Kenneth Harry Francis Letford 132892 RAFVR. They dropped their bombs at 23.28 at 20,000 ft. During the bomb run they were attacked by an unidentified enemy aircraft, which was claimed shot down by rear gunner Sgt Devenish and Mid Upper Gunner W/O Fieldhouse.
Came across this remarkable colour image of the Lancaster 'Admiral Prune' with sea mines in 1942. There are so few photographs of sea mines so it was especially interesting to see one in colour. For some reason Getty have inadvertently reversed the image.
Via a number of forums (for example, colour photographs of WW2 aircraft) and sites I have collated a number of colour photographs from the Second World War showing Lancasters in flight, being constructed and serviced and on various airfields.
Charles Challoner, ED559's bomb aimer, has unfortunately, not been easy to trace. However, I came across a match for a Pilot Officer CS Challoner on a memorial to members of the Manchester Police who died whilst on active service in the Second World War. I am assuming this is the same person as on ED559. Hopefully, this will provide an additional avenue for research.
UPDATE: I emailed the Greater Manchester Police Museum regarding Challoner and received some limited information confirming he was indeed a policeman before resigning to join the RAF.
He joined the police on 18 April 1934 aged 19 and it shows he was from Shrewsbury and was a Salesman. He married on the 21 April 1937. He resigned from the police service on 5 October, 1941 to join the RAF and his record card notes he was Killed in Action on 4 March 1943.
I emailed the local historical society in Singleton, New South Wales asking if they had any information on Errol Crapp, ED559's navigator. Unfortunately, they informed my that Errol's father, the Rev. Arthur Frank Crapp, had only moved to the town in 1941 when he became a local Methodist minister. Due to this they surmised there would be relatively little about Errol in their records. They did send a small piece dated 10 January, 1944, from the local newspaper, the Argus, confirming that Errol Crapp was now presumed dead. The information from the same source did mention that Errol has two brothers in service, Bombardier Garth Crapp of the 7th Div (elder brother) and Gunner Alan G. Crapp (younger brother). The snippet also confirmed Errol Crapp's birthday as 17 February, 1919 in Grenfell, NSW.
I made contact with 100 Squadron Association's historian, Greg Harrison, over the bank holiday weekend. He supplied the movement card for ED559, something I had not seen. Greg has also be kind enough to answer my myriad questions about ED559, 100 Squadron, Lancasters and the RAF.
One gem Greg sent me was a picture of Richard Curle during training at his OTU.
As and when information is found I'll post to this blog.
|The last flight of Lancaster ED559|