01.02.1945 No. 170 Squadron Lancaster I NG202 P/O. Virgil J. Fernquist
Date: 1st February 1945
Unit: 170 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Location: Mid-air collision over France
Pilot: F/O. Dixie RCAF Survived - with all other crew
Air/Gnr: P/O. Virgil John Fernquist J/95301 RCAF Age 20. Killed.
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REASON FOR LOSS:
On the night of February 1st 1945 Lancaster NG202 was involved in a mid-air collision, the crew were on the Homeward leg of a mission to Ludwigshafen when they were struck from behind by a second Lancaster RA502, BQ-Z, of 550 Squadron, which then fell away out of control.
5 of the crew from RA502 were able to abandon the aircraft before it crashed at 20:02 hrs at Fleville-devent-Nancy, some 5km south south east from the centre of Nancy, sadly two of her crew were killed, Sgt. N Tinsley, and Sgt A James, their bodies were never found and they are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, both were aged 20. The pilot of NG202, F/O. Dixie DFC was able to regain control of the aircraft and return safely to RAF Hemswell, but sadly his tail gunner, P/O. Fernquist had sustained mortal injuries.
Damage to NG202 photographed the next morning
Reporter, Greg Van Moorsel of the "London Free Press" Ontario, Canada covered the passing of the mid upper gunner from this crew, Fl/Sgt. William Crabe in the September 19th 2009 publication. Following kind permission they have agreed to allow us use of the article on our website. (We would be honoured to forward the article at a higher resolution to relatives)
P/O. Virgil John Fernquist. Harrogate, Stonefall, Cemetery. Sec G. Row. F. Grave. 2. Son of Victor and Viola Christina Fernquist, of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.
Right: Grave of P/O. Virgil John Fernquist at Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery.