16/17.01.1945 No. 15 Squadron Lancaster I PB802 LS-F F/O. John H. Crone
Date: 16/17th January 1945 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: No. 15 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk.
Location: Harling, Norfolk, England
Pilot: F/O. John Henry Crone AUS/419521 RAAF Age 21. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Richard Devlin 1881244 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Nav: Sgt. George Russell Lake 1183934 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Leonard Richard Wilkins 1801112 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Lex Maitland Riordan AUS/426468 RAAF Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: F/O. William Ernest Fuller 176263 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: F/O. Harry Harold Freedman 176265 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from Mildenhall at 16:03 hrs on a bombing and cross-country exercise. At 21:30 hrs. it dived into the ground at Harling, 8 miles east north east of Thetford in Norfolk.
Also whilst with 15 Squadron on an operation to Calais on the 24th September 1944 Lancaster I LM109 LS-E Flown by Fl/Lt. Philip Bonington Smith 102151 RAFVR from Asuncion, Paraguay who was killed along with 2 other crew. P/O. Lex Maitland Riordan escaped by baling out, along with 3 others and landed in allied held territory. Returned to England on the 26th September.
Sadly the family of P/O. Riordan also lost another son, 20 year old, Fl/Sgt Alan Douglas Riordan AUS/420489 RAAF, No. 1 Torpedo Training Unit, RAF, was also killed in an accident, in Scotland, earlier on 16th August 1943. (shown right)
F/O. John Henry Crone. Cambridge City Cemetery. Coll. Grave 15951-15955. Son of Clifford and Agnes Crone of Donald, Victoria, Australia. Born 08th December 1923 at St. Arnold, Victoria, Australia - Enlisted at Melbourne. His grave inscription reads: “He Shall Be Remembered For His Deeds.”
Sgt. Richard Devlin. Cambridge City Cemetery. Coll. Grave 15951-15955. Son of Henry and Sarah Devlin of Northern Ireland and husband of Millicent Emma Devlin of Northampton, England. His grave inscription reads: “When You Go Home Tell Them Of Us And Say For Your Tomorrow We Gave Our Today.”
Sgt. George Russell Lake. Cambridge City Cemetery. Coll. Grave 15951-15955. Husband of Olive Lillian Lake of Oulton broad, Lowestoft, Suffolk, England. His grave inscription reads: “Leaves Its Blessings Memories Of Days Gone By.”
Fl/Sgt. Leonard Richard Wilkins. Cambridge City Cemetery. Coll. Grave 15951-15955. Son of Frederick and Edith Wilkins and husband of Olive Queenie Wilkins of Falconwood, Welling, Kent, England. His grave inscription reads: “Dearer To Us Than Words Can Tell Was The One We Lost But Loved So Well.”
P/O. Lex Maitland Riordan. Cambridge City Cemetery. Coll. Grave 15951-15955. Son of Guy Maitland and Emma Elizabeth Riordan of Goolmanger, New South Wales, Australia. Born 04th March - Lismore, NSW, Australia - Enlisted at Brisbane. His grave inscription reads: “He Has Done His Duty.”
F/O. William Ernest Fuller. Sketty (St. Paul) Churchyard, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales New Part, Row A . Grave 7. No further details, from Swansea, Wales - can you assist with details?
F/O. Harry Harold Freedman. East Ham (Marlow Road) Jewish cemetery. Block U. Grave 27. Son of Alfred and Hannah Freedman and husband of Debbe Freedman of Upper Clapton, London, England.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered volunteer, researcher and genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Photo credits to G.H.B. McBurney (nephew of Richard Devlin) Dot Andison for photo of pilot John Crone. At Aircrew Remembered we are trying to record as many training losses as possible - many of these incidents simply go unrecorded.