07/08.01.1945 No. 49 Squadron Lancaster III PB586 EA-V F/O. Alec J. Bolter
Date: 7/8th January 1945 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: 49 Squadron
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Fulbeck, Lincolnshire
Location: Le Coudray-Saint Germer, France
Pilot: F/O. Alec John Bolter 184364 RAFVR Age 27. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Jack Court 1880701 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Thomas Ellwood Walker 1623780 RAFVR Age 27. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. John Thomas Sanderson 1621826 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Frederick Charles Miller 421750 RAAF Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alfred Frank Butcher 1881458 RAFVR Age 36. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Clarence Leslie Atkins 1055862 RAFVR Age 35. Killed
UPDATE: December 2017: The memorial is still to go ahead, however due to health issues of the Mayor is has been delayed - we will keep you updated.
UPDATE: February 2017, We are very keen to locate relatives of the following as in January 2018 the Mayor of Le Coudray-Saint Germer, Mr. R. Gauillaux with the help of Mr. Claude Archambault have announced a formal ceremony at the crash site where a memorial plaque is to be unveiled. Sgt. Jack Court, Sgt. Thomas Walker, Sgt. John Sanderson, W/O. Frederick Miller.
REASON FOR LOSS:
On 7th January 1945, Lancaster III PB586 EA-V left Fulbeck at 16:50 Hrs on an operation to bomb Munich.
The weather was extremely bad and there is a possibility that they were involved in a mid air collision with ND 957 of 619 Squadron (1) as they made the homeward journey. The crew with the exception of W/O. “Dusty” Miller were on their fourth operation.
W/O. Miller was a spare W/Op/Air/Gnr. flying with the Bolter crew. Sergeant's Butcher and Atkins were well over the age associated with Bomber Command aircrew.
Martin Bolter has contacted the Ministry of Defence and was provided with the following details from the casualty file relating to the loss of Lancaster PB586:
On 7 January 1945 Avro Lancaster Mark III Serial number PB586 took off at 1658 hours to take part in a raid on Munich, Germany. Flying Officer Alec Bolter had completed four operational sorties totalling 33 hours flying time prior to this.
On 15 January the rear headquarters of the 2nd Tactical Air Force notified the Air Ministry in London that PB586 had crashed at approximately 0015 hours on 8 January at Le Coudray, Gemer, Gournay, map reference 7207 (Wartime Map reference).
The remains of Sergeant J.T. Sanderson, Air Bomber, and Flight Sergeant F.C. Miller (RAAF), Wireless Operator/Air Gunner were identified by their ID tags. The remains of the other crew members were found later. Due to the force of the crash and the resultant explosion they could not be identified.
The remains were transferred to the 201st Medical Dispensary at US AAF Beauvais. They were then buried on 25th January at the cemetery at Villeneuve St Georges.
The reason for the remains being buried close to the Australian crew of ND957 is simply that the the US AAF medics travelled with the remains of the PB586 crew to pick up the Australian crew's remains and then continued on to their final resting place in Villeneuve-St-Georges.
Martin has visited the site of PB586's crash with Mr. Claude Archambault who lives near the crash site. Pieces of the aircraft still rise to the surface to this day and he has gathered a small collection of parts of the aircraft wreckage from the field.
(1) 20 year old F/O. Colin Kelvin Flockhart 428679 RAAF from Earlwod, New South Wales, Australia sadly killed along with all 6 other crew members. They are buried at the same location.
Left AT-6 at Terrel and right F/O. Alec John Bolter during training at Terrel (courtesy Martin Bolter)
Left: Sgt. Clarence Leslie Atkins and right taken in Cairo, August 1941 with friends whilst training front row, left (courtesy Bill Atkins)
Left: Alec 'Jack' Bolter by the memorial in Toronto when en-route to initial pilot training at the Terrell Air base and right with Bill, his brother (courtesy Martin Bolter)
F/O. Alec John Bolter. Villeneuve-St-Georges Old Communal Cemetery, France. Coll. Grave 104. Further Information: Son of Henry and Ellen (née Clements) Bolter and younger brother of Marjorie, Doris, Ethel, and Arthur Bolter of Bennington, Hertfordshire. Born on the 24th of August 1918 and known as “Jack” by family and friends. Educated at Alleynes School, he played cricket as a member of the X1 team also excelling at chess, becoming secretary of the school chess and draughts club. After leaving school he was employed by Reekes and Goode of Hertford and in less than three years had become a licentiate of the Institute of auctioneers and estate agents, having passed all his exams with honours. In 1939 Alec was called up and stationed at a searchlight station in South Wales where he met his future wife. However he found it tedious and in 1941 transferred to the RAF. When he was due to be posted to the USA for pilot training, via Toronto, completing the course in just over a year (training in an AT-6 Texan plane) and proudly wearing his wings. He married Dorothy Cook in June 1942 at Caerleon, Newport, Monmouthshire before being posted onto an Instructors course, a position that left him bored and hoping for operational duties. He completed his training with distinction and went on to become a pilot instructor until October 1944 when he joined 49 Squadron.
Sgt. Jack Court. Villeneuve-St-Georges Old Communal Cemetery, France. Coll. Grave 104. Son of Mrs Ada Claire Court of Bordern, Hampshire, England. (His mother died when he was just 14)
Sgt. Thomas Ellwood Walker. Villeneuve-St-Georges Old Communal Cemetery, France. Coll. Grave 104. No further details as yet.
Sgt. John Thomas Sanderson. Villeneuve-St-Georges Old Communal Cemetery, France. Grave 106. Son of Jim and Beatrice Annie Sanderson of Morley, Yorkshire, England.
W/O. Frederick Charles Miller. Villeneuve-St-Georges Old Communal Cemetery, France. Grave 108. Son of Frederick Charles and Dorothy May Miller of Canberra, Australia.
Sgt. Alfred Frank Butcher. Villeneuve-St-Georges Old Communal Cemetery, France. Coll. Grave 104. Son of Alfred Isaac and Rose Butcher and husband of Grace Hilda Butcher of Cambridge, England.
Sgt. Clarence Leslie Atkins. Villeneuve-St-Georges Old Communal Cemetery, France. Coll. Grave 104. Further Information: Son of William W. and Mary M. Atkins of Glasgow, Scotland. Known as Leslie and had one brother, Clarence (a sister and other brother both died at a young age) Leslie was a keen sportsman, a scratch golfer and club champion, believed to be at the Williamwood Golf Club in Glasgow. He was also an excellent self taught pianist, a talent which has been passed down to the next generation. He turned down a commission, preferring to retain his Sergeants rank.
Researched by: Linda Ibrom for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to all the relatives of this crew. With thanks to Martin Bolter (nephew of F/O. Alec Bolter) and John Collwick, also to Bill Atkins, (nephew of Sgt. Clarence Atkins) Also to Claude Archambault for his continued research into this loss. Further thanks to the Bennington/ Stevenage War memorial site. Thanks to Martin Bolter for the casualty file details.