This crew flew on Black Thursday in Lancaster JB470-OF-T, T-Tommy
CREW on BLACK THURSDAY
Pilot: S/L EF Cawdery
2nd Pilot: F/L E Clarke (Clarke crew link)
Flight Engineer: Sgt J Pearsons
Navigator: Sgt Ken Swale – Believed killed with Pilot Pete Drane in an 8 Group Mosquito, 15-Jan-45, buried in Chesterfield (Boythorpe) Cemetery
Bomb Aimer: F/O Jake Peden
W/Op: Sgt Arthur Tindall
Mid-Upper Gunner: Sgt James Harvey McGregor – Killed 31-May-44 in air crash whilst at OTU Chipping Warden, buried in Wick Cemetery
Rear Gunner: F/S EH Hanson
Above, L-R, back row: Jake Peden, Arthur Tindall, Ken Swale, J Pearsons, E F Cawdery
Cawdery, very unusually, was a prewar pilot, of about 31 years of age; most of his contemporaries were either dead or had already finished their tours. His crew were all youngsters, of 19 to 21 years old, and they used to get joshed for the age of their skipper – “What on earth are you flying with an old man like that for? What right has he to still be alive?” However, they were to be among the few who would survive their Pathfinder tour. On this night, their luck was in as usual. Arthur Tindall, the wireless operator, remembers this night as their “longest trip ever to Berlin”. By the time they landed at Bourn, they had been in the air for 7 hours 45 minutes.
It was 12.35 when the crew landed after their third attempt at SBA. It was not actually the pilot, Cawdery, who was flying but the second pilot, Flight Lieutenant Clarke. He had been the crew’s instructor at No 14 OTU, and he had come to 97 Squadron to do his second tour – as was customary, his first trip out was made as second pilot.
Cawdery had handed him control sometime before the end of the trip, so that he could get some practice. Clarke muffed the first two attempts to land using SBA, and then offered to let Cawdery take over the controls. Cawdery with supreme coolness of nerve replied, “No, you’ve got the practice in now”, and at his last attempt Clarke landed the Lancaster without mishap.