I am indebted to Howard Stanley for the following photographs. Howard lives 90 minutes from Île d'Oléron and paid a recent visit and his respects at Richard Curle's grave. Howard undertook to clear the weeds and debris from the grave and leave a poppy in remembrance.
Howard mentioned just two Second World War graves in the area. The other being in La Rochelle for Sgt. James Merry of 10 OTU, the pilot of a Whitley undertaking an anti-submarine operation in the Bay of Biscay. The Whitley crashed into the Bay of Biscay but the rest of Merry's crew survived and were taken prisoner. Howard is seeking any further information regarding this crew - contact me if you know more.
All photographs courtesy of Howard Stanley
…seven men climbed onboard Lancaster ED559. Their loss still felt across the years.
F/Lt Richard A. Curle (Pilot) — RAF 121280 (Age 28)
Sgt David A. Hart (Flight Engineer) — RAF 567377 (Age 24)
F/O Harry Riding (Wireless Operator) — RAAF 403699 (Age 25)
F/O Errol C. Crapp (Navigator) — RAAF 411113 (Age 24)
P/O Charles S. Challoner (Bomb Aimer) — RAF 131995 (Age 37)
Sgt Daniel L. Gooch (Mid-Upper Gunner) — RAF 1336491 (Age 19)
Sgt Garnet W. Durdin (Rear Gunner) — RAAF 416149 (Age 25)
I recently came across the website for No. 1 Wireless Air Gunners School that operated at Ballarat between 1940 and 1945. Ballarat is located in the Central Highlands of Victoria, Australia.
The website contains excellent information about the service personnel that undertook training at the establishment. One of those men was Flight Sergeant Garnet Walter Durdin, Lancaster RD559's rear gunner.
The memorial page on the 1WAGS site contains a lot of information about Garnet's courses. Some details are not quite right and I have let the website know.
The website also had a much better image of Garnet. The one I had appears to have been a newspaper version of this photo.
As and when information is found I'll post to this blog.
|The last flight of Lancaster ED559|