21.04.1943 No. 21 Squadron Ventura II AE913 F/O. Gerald Lambert Hicks
Date: 21st April 1943 (Wednesday)
Unit: 21 Squadron
Type: Ventura II
Base: RAF Oulton, Norfolk
Pilot: F/O. Gerald Lambert Hicks 104530 RAFVR Age 32. Killed
Co/pilot: Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Bowles 1163245 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Taylor 1017135 RAFVR Age 29. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald Watson 652631 RAF Age 22. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 10:58 hrs from RAF Oulton to bomb the marshalling yards at Abbeville.
Along with 2 other Ventura's from 21 squadron, shot down by Luftwaffe fighters after leaving the target area. Shot down at 12:15 hrs. Three of this crew survived a ditching earlier on in this month.
The other two:
Ventura I AE692 Flown by Sgt. Ronald Herbert Wells 1331819 RAFVR, missing with 2 other crew, one other killed.
Ventura I AE743 Flown by 22 year old F/O. Geoffrey Brian Chippendale 127842 RAFVR from Guarlford, Worcestershire, killed with 3 other crew members.
F/O. Gerald Lambert Hicks. Abbeville Communal Cemetery. Plot 6, Row A, Grave 4. Son of Thomas Edwin and Mildred, of Epsom, Surrey, England, husband of June Hicks. Further information (kindly supplied by Brian Bouchards - December 2017) The marriage of Thomas Edwin Hicks to Mary Mildred Lambert was registered at Norwich for the June Quarter of 1904. Birth of their son Gerald Lambert Hicks came to be recorded in Edmonton, June 1910. Grave inscription reads: "A Beloved Only Son; On Whose Soul, Sweet Jesus, Have Mercy R.I.P".
The Ampleforth Journal reported that:-
'Gerald Hicks was at Ampleforth from 1922 to 1927 and was a member of St Bede's House. He will be remembered by his contemporaries as a boy of buoyant and adventurous disposition, overflowing with energy and a zest for life. He represented his House in all games, and was also in the School XV. On leaving School he went into business and at the outbreak of war, joined the L.C.C. Ambulance Corps, and did valuable rescue work... ' Enlisted with the RAFVR at Euston in August 1940 with a Service Number 1382461 but having risen to the rank of LAC was commissioned Pilot Officer (prob) on 10 August 1941. Confirmation of rank and promotion to Flying Officer followed, 9 August 1942. His marriage to June M Garlick had been recorded at Marylebone, 3/1942.
Fl/Sgt. Frederick James Bowles. Abbeville Communal Cemetery. Plot 6, Row A, Grave 1. Son of Frank and Lilian, husband of Winifred Bowles, of East Dulwich, London, England. Grave inscription reads: "So Dearly Loved In Life Let Us Not Forget Him In Death "Thy Will Be Done" R.I.P".
Sgt. Frank Taylor. Abbeville Communal Cemetery. Plot 6, Row A, Grave 3. Son of Mark Reed Taylor and Emily Taylor, of Hull, England.
Fl/Sgt. Ronald Watson. Abbeville Communal Cemetery. Plot 6, Row A, Grave 2. Son of James Thomas and Florence Edith, of Wandsworth, London, England, husband of Violet Mary, of Wandsworth Common. Grave inscription reads: "I See Him Everywhere, In Everything He Knew & Loved, Fields, Woods & Gardens Fair".