Tales from the Archive – Black Thursday Anniversary

This evening, 74 years ago, saw the death of all eight members of the Brill crew when their Lancaster was hit by flak and exploded over Berlin.

Tales from the Archive No. 3 is dedicated to the extraordinary story of Robert Butler’s prayer book, which was in the aircraft with him when it was hit by flak.

Tales from the Archive – 3. 16-17 December 2017

Steven Crew

The Steven crew are one of the most important on this website, and Heavens knows why it took so long to transfer them from the old site. They have now been given a new and detailed page.

This was prompted partly by the wonderful surprise of receiving a photograph of Ridley Brown, the bomb aimer, from his grandson, Simon Brown, which is now on the page.

Ridley Brown and Albert East were the two survivors from the loss of the plane, and after the war, once they had returned from prisoner of war camp, they gave all the information that they could to the families of the men who had died.

 

Mansbridge Crew – Gerry Cruwys

Unfortunately, in the transfer from the old website, the biography of Gerry Cruwys written by his niece, Debbie Kennett, was mislaid. It is now back on the Mansbridge crew page.

Cruwys - Gerry in pilot uniform colour web (2)
Gerald Cruwys. The white band on his cap shows that he was designated for aircrew training. Courtesy of Debbie Kennett.

See also this post on a video about the Ottignies operation in which this crew was lost.

 

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.

Wilfrid Riches with other pilots including Pelletier
The pilots’ training group. Jeff Pelletier: back row, far left; Wilfred Riches: front row, second from right. Probably taken late in 1942.

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.