Alain Libert, who for some years has been researching the Ottignies operation, 20 April 1944, and the loss of the Mansbridge crew, has produced a two-part video on the subject. Although it is in French, it can be easier to follow for English-speakers if you turn on the auto subtitles in YouTube. With thanks to Debbie Kennett, niece of Gerald Cruwys, the navigator of the Mansbridge crew.
Author: RAF PATHFINDERS ARCHIVE
Jeff Pelletier – Black Thursday
We at last have two images of Jeff Pelletier, one of the last three pilots flying on 16/17 December 1943, Black Thursday, for whom we did not have a photograph. He was identified this year as being one of a group of pilots in a photograph sent by Wilfred Riches’ family ten years ago.
Mandy Lyell, his grand-daughter, who identified him, also sent a picture of Jeff in 1945, after he had become a test pilot.
Jeff was one of 97 Squadron’s top pilots.
Of the 21 pilots and 4 second pilots flying on Black Thursday, we are now only missing photographs for David Brill and Victor Flack with his second pilot Roderick Emerson.
If anyone can find anything on these two elusive pilots, please contact us.
One for the wireless operators, particularly David Dushman and Joe Mack. I am currently writing a chapter on David Dushman for my new book, and Joe Mack was my father.
Jennie Mack Gray
The Wakley page has finally been transferred from the old website. This page is a good illustration of the cross-currents between crews, who did not necessarily fly their entire tour in the original seven-men group which had come from the Conversion Units or another squadron.
Armstrong crew & Paul David
Claude David has recently contacted us to give the correct name for Paul David, his uncle, who was killed on his 23rd birthday on June 23 1943 over Utrecht.
Sgt Jean Baptiste Sylviel Paul David (RCAF) was known at home as Paul and not Jean or Jean Baptiste. We are pleased to say that the correction has now been made.
A Wartime Station
RAF Station Bourn was the home of 97 Squadron for one year. This new page contains images, old and new, of the station.
Update on Doug Jones Crew
Doug Jones’ crew is one of those I have known about for several years, but have only just got round to putting more of the information on the crew online. This had been largely prompted by the arrival here of Maurice Hemming’s memoir, Achieve Your Aim – Maurice was the Flight Engineer. My thanks to Rob Churchyard for sending the memoir.
All the crew survived their tour. They were part of B-Flight, and appear in a well-known photograph from around September 1943.
It was extremely rare for a bomber crew in dire trouble to be able to send a message before the aircraft came down, but this was the case for the Moroney crew on 22 March 1944, whose w/op transmitted from the North Sea. Sadly, rescue never came and all the crew were lost.
Burns Crew – Dolby
The Burns crew page has finally been set up properly, and a photograph of the Flight Engineer Earle George Dolby has been added.
16/17 December 1943
Tonight, at about this time, the first of the 21 Lancasters would be departing from Bourn. Right now, on the darkening airfield, all of the engines would be roaring and the air would be electric.
In three hours time, the Brill crew would be lost over Berlin. Crew: Brill
In seven hours time, the first of the returning aircraft would be landing. In the two hours after that, the numerous crashes would take place.
Tonight we remember all those who died, and those who survived horribly injured. See Memorial Page