22/23.04.1944 No 7 Squadron Lancaster III ND592 MG-J P/O. Aslett
Date: 22/23rd April 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 7 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire.
Location: Maizy, France.
Pilot: P/O. Percy Ronald Aslett 54222 RAF Age 24. Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. James Wilfred Bott 1765035 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Nav: P/O. Hugh Boys Cooper 172104 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Horton 1545049 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Laurence Alfred Scott 1382694 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Francis William Ingham 2216043 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (2)
Air/Gnr: P/O. Leon Francis George Noakes DFC. 171457 RAFVR Age 25. Killed (3)
REASON FOR LOSS:
The crew took off at 21:24 hrs. from Oakington to bomb the railway network at Laon, France. After dropping their bombs, they were attacked by a night fighter (4), the front half of the Lancaster taking all the blast, before crashing and exploding into fields at Maizy. P/O. Noakes was found in the rear turret of the Lancaster.
All the crew are buried in Maizy village churchyard, the graves were tended by a village member called Helene Kosta Hericlides, who in turn is buried nearby and the village still ensures that the crew are remembered with fresh flowers on their graves.
At 10:15 hrs. on the 17th of July 1945 Mrs Noakes proudly attended Buckingham Palace to receive her late husband’s DFC. from the King.
MG-J Crew: extreme right: P/O. Noakes DFC. 2nd from right: Sgt. Ingham, extreme left: P/O. Aslett (courtesy Wendy Gatenby - née Noakes)
(1) Pilot Officer Percy Ronald Aslett was born in 1920, He had one brother Arthur, born in 1925 and a sister Gwendoline born in 1929. Percy went to the local school and later trained to become a butcher. After attending Aberystwyth University, where he met his future wife, Megan Williams, he joined the RAF as an engineer before training as aircrew and at Moody and Turner Fields in Georgia and Florida, USA. He had completed 2 tours of operations before joining Pathfinders and sadly was near the end of his tour when he was killed.
Left: Sgt. Francis William Ingham (courtesy Margaret Ingham (sister in law of Francis Ingham) and her daughter, Mrs Jeanette Dawn Turrel-niece of Francis Ingham)
(2) Sgt. Francis William Ingham attended a local school and then worked on a farm before enlisting in the Air force. His father, William Albert was employed as a wages clerk in Blackburn, and his mother Mary Christina died in childbirth when his brother, Charles was born, leaving William to bring up both boys. Francis was engaged to a local girl.
(3) P/O. Leon Francis George Noakes DFC. was the eldest son of Reginald and Ellen (nee Yaldren) and brother of Dudley and Keith, both who served in the RAFVR. Born on the 3rd March 1919 at Sholing, Nr.Southampton, Hampshire, the family moved to Hayward’s Heath, Sussex before settling in Maidstone, Kent in 1928.He attended the McCabe Commercial School in Maidstone and married Emily Rogers of Newcastle Tyne and Wear, on the 7th October 1940 at Aldeburgh, Suffolk where Emily worked. Their daughter Wendy was born in 1943.His civilian occupation before joining the RAF was an agricultural assistant on Sir Bernard Greenwell’s Estate at Orford, Suffolk.
His service career commenced on 12th September 1939 at Uxbridge, Middlesex with Air Gunner training:
Served in 16 Squadron in May 1940.
68 Squadron February 1941.
23 Squadron July 1941.
277 Squadron April 1942.
35 Squadron April 1942.
76 Squadron July 1942(Middle East).
462 Squadron August 1942.
Joining 7 Squadron October 1943.
Right: P/O. Leon Francis George Noakes DFC (courtesy Wendy Gatenby - née Noakes)
P/O. Noakes DFC. Citation:
He was posthumously awarded the D.F.C. on the 19th May 1944 (London Gazette. Page 2292) In a letter to his wife it states-
'Warrant Officer now Pilot Officer Noakes has an outstanding operational record. He has served in both the Middle East and European Theatres of War. In December 1943 he was a mid upper gunner in an aircraft detailed for an attack on Leipzig.
On the outward flight the aircraft was attacked by an enemy fighter and sustained damage. Although wounded in the foot and suffering intense pain, Warrant Officer Noakes continued to man the turret through the time the aircraft was over enemy territory, and by his vigorous searching and excellent directions, enabled his captain to avoid any further combat with enemy fighters.
At all times this Warrant Officer has maintained the highest standing of keenness and courage'.
ND592 Crew and ground crew P/O. Leon Noakes D.F.C Middle row 3rd from right (courtesy Wendy Gatenby - née Noakes, daughter)
(4) Lancaster ND592 was shot down by Uffz. Konrad Beyer of 1./NJG4 with combat taking place over Maizy/Aisne at 2,900 mtrs., time of 22:32 hrs. Uffz. Beyer had 11 confirmed kills, making him an ace, survived the war. We dont have any further details of what happened to him.
Above: Maizy Churchyard and left the original grave marker.
P/O. Percy Aslett. Maizy Churchyard. Coll. Grave 2. Son of Charles and Louisa Kate (née Hawkins) Alton, Hampshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. James Wilfred Bott. Maizy Churchyard. Coll. Grave 2. Son of Frederick and Elsie Bott, husband of Lucy Bott, of Coppull, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription: 'Hath No Man Than This, That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends'.
P/O. Hugh Boys Cooper. Maizy Churchyard. Coll. Grave 2. No further details yet, are you able to assist?
Fl/Sgt. Thomas Horton. Maizy Churchyard. Coll. Grave 2. Son of Thomas and Nellie Horton, of Chorlton, Manchester, England. Grave inscription: 'Worthy Of Everlasting Remembrance'.
Fl/Sgt. Laurence Alfred Scott. Maizy Churchyard. Coll. Grave 2. No further details yet, are you able to assist?
Sgt. Francis William Ingham. Maizy Churchyard. Coll. Grave 2. Son of William Albert and Mary Christina of New Longton, Lancashire, England.
P/O. Leon Francis George Noakes DFC. Maizy Churchyard. Grave 1. Son of Reginald George Noakes and of Ellen Mary Noakes (nee Yaldren)of Sholing, Southampton, Hampshire, England. Husband of Emily Noakes (née Rogers), of Rustington, Sussex, England. Grave inscription: 'A True Patriot. He Died For England St.George's Day'.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. With special thanks to the following: Gwendoline and Arthur Aslett (brother and sister of P/O. Percy Aslett), Karen Pallister (daughter of Gwendoline and Arthur), Stewart McCoughlin, Eric Eames, Wendy Gatenby (née Noakes) Margaret Ingham (sister in law of Sgt. Francis William Ingham, Mrs Jeanette Dawn daughter of Jeanette) Turrell. Also thanks to Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'.