Crew: Penny

jim penny
Jim Penny


Pilot: F/Sgt J.A.Penny
Became PoW
Flight Engineer: Sgt Richard Thomas Fathers, 1803112
Killed, commemorated on Runnymede Memorial
Navigator: James.Graham, 655372
Killed, commemorated on Runnymede Memorial
Bomb Aimer: Robert Allison Campbell, 978248
Killed, commemorated on Runnymede Memorial
W/Op: John Robert Cowen, 1036940
Killed, commemorated on Runnymede Memorial
M/U Gunner: F/Sgt Richard Sidney Mortham, 1332299
Killed, buried in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery
Rear Gunner: F/Sgt Paul William Dries, RCAF, R/152345
Killed, commemorated on Runnymede Memorial

penny crew
The Crew, with thanks to Jim Penny

From left to right: back row; James “Jimmy” Graham (28) and Paul W. “Red” Dries (age unknown).  Front row: Jim Penny (21), Bob Cowan (23), Richard T. “Dicky” Fathers (21), and Robert “Bob” Campbell (22).

Jim Penny noted of this photograph in an email of August 2012: “This is the only photo I have of my crew. Our mid-upper gunner at the time was an officer (not in photo) as this was taken in late summer/early fall 1943 outside our NCO’s hut.”


The most extraordinary flukes of chance can occur in war. Over Berlin, Penny’s Lancaster took a hit in the bomb bay, setting off a Target Indicator and causing a loss of communications. Unable to communicate with his crew,  Penny  released his Sutton harness and lent forward to point his engineer to his parachute behind the pilot’s seat. Moments later the cookie which the Lancaster was carrying exploded. Penny found himself in mid-air still in a sitting position.  His pilot-type shute saved his life but his crew perished.

Penny became a POW for the rest of the war. Ken Smith, the son of Sid Smith who was a flight engineer on the Nicholls crew (see Crew: Nicholls) shot down the following year, wrote:  “When Dad turned up at Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug, Flt Sgt Penny, whom he knew well, was standing at the wire and called out to greet Dad on his arrival!”

For further details of this crew and the career of Jim Penny, see The Lucky Penny, The Memoirs of James A Penny, published in October 2013



Dries - Pernny crew - Copy
Paul Dries, RCAF, who lost his life