F/O. Maurice Stanley Edmonds DFC 138047 RAFVR
Maurice passed away peacefully in his sleep on December 25th 2010, aged 96. He was in hospice care. He is survived by one son, Christopher, and also has a nephew and wife, John and Sandra Ball, located in the London area.
Maurice joined the Finsbury Park Cycling Club on 10th May 1934 and was the club’s oldest member.
Starting as an apprentice in London, he worked in the more expensive jewellery using platinum, from age fourteen to 89, seventy-five years. He became one of the premier platinum jewellery manufacturers in downtown Chicago for twenty five years. He made his last jewellery at age 89, when minor arthritis became too inhibiting.
LAC Edmonds 1390094 76 Squadron RAF, flew as a navigator on Halifax Bombers completing 35 bombing missions over Germany and France, and survived. One of only three of the original 79 flight crews during 1941-43 in 76 squadron, who survived, 76 crews were shot down. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, in 1945.
His crew on the 76 Squadron Halifax III LK785 MP-T (1):
2nd Lt Carl Ludwig Larsen DFC - Pilot. F/O. ‘Eddie’ Maurice Edmonds - navigator. Sgt. ‘Johnnie A.C. Wilson - Flight Engineer. Sgt. ‘Darkie’ EE. Willis - Air Bomber. Sgt. ’Bert’ H.W. Kirtland - W/Op/Air Gunner. ‘Taff’ Davis - Air Gunner. Sgt. ‘Lill Arthur’ Horn - Air Gunner (another crew member, Sgt. M. Ransome was mentioned in his records)
‘Target For Tonight’ written by Maurice Edmonds
It was three hours ago that I called out “full power”, and Bill, the Flight Engineer, had squeezed all the horses he could out of “S for Sugar’s” four Merlins.
“Ten minutes to zero hour: we may be a couple of minutes late”, says Jerry, my Navigator.
I check my watch, and warn the bomb-aimer. “Bombs fused, bombsight OK?” I ask. “All ready, Skip” he answers, as I turn up the oxygen supply a bit. Things happen very fast over the target, and a little more oxygen helps to keep everybody on their toes in case the Hun gives us any trouble.
I look at my watch again. Two minutes to zero and all I can see is one solitary searchlight ahead of us. I hope that the pathfinders won’t be late.
Only a minute to go - forty five seconds. Then, “T.I’s” (Target Indicators) going down slightly to port ahead, Skip”, says Jack, the bomb aimer. “Fighter flares” reports Reg, my mid upper gunner. Then the searchlights come on and night turns to day. There’s a thin layer of cloud below which makes it worse. I can see the Halifaxes silhouetted against that vast white blanket and know that we must appear the same to the fighters lurking above. “Keep your eyes skinned”, I tell the gunners.
“Running up, Jack”, I tell my bomb aimer, and the worst part of the trip commences. You must fly dead straight and level on a bombing run, ignoring flak and searchlights, and relying on the gunners to keep the fighters off your tail. Jock starts giving his corrections. “Left quite a bit, Skip, gosh, did you see that, he’s had it”. I had seen “that”. It was a kite just ahead of us going down in flames, just like a huge shooting star, as its flares and bomb explode. He’d “had it” all right.
Jock continues, “Left, left, steady. Right, steady steady. Bomb doors open - bombs gone”. I feel a jolt as the cookie hits the bomb-doors, which had opened too slowly. I hear Jock counting, “five, four, three, two, one, incendiaries going, going, gone - bomb doors closed.
I close the bomb-doors, and a red light flashes the message that the camera has finished its job. I heave a sigh of relief over the intercom, as Sugar starts a gentle dive in order to hurry out of the target area.
We see a Lancaster go by overhead and I wonder if it’s from our own Squadron. “Pumph! pumph! pumph!” That’s flak, and when you can hear it’s close, you start weaving a bit. There’s a lot of tracer coming up ahead. It would be quite a beautiful sight if there wasn’t a war on. A searchlight breaks through a hole in the cloud, holds us for a second and then goes out. We’re almost clear of the target now, but the famous flare path is going down ahead. The rear gunner speaks for the first time on the trip, “There’s an ‘88’ over to port, watch him, mid-upper. He’s coming in dead astern, he’s getting close. Get weaving, Skip”.
As I put Sugar into a diving turn, we hear a “tat tat tat tat” over the intercom. The rear gunner has left his mike on, and it’s his guns we can hear.
“OK Skip, he’s breaking away now, all clear”, says Eddie. “Did you get him?” “I don’t think so, but I scared him”. “Good show”
We’re well clear of the target now, and in the dark again. It won’t be long before we’re eating our eggs and bacon, and we can’t help feeling very satisfied when we look back and see that huge red glow in the sky. The Big City should have no fuel shortage with those fires going.
A really wizard “prang”.
(1) Halifax LK785 then with code number SV-A was written off on the 10th May 1945 whilst with 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit. Halifax III NA621 SV-S piloted by Fl/Sgt. Seekings took off at 23:40 hrs on a night circuit training practice. During take off the aircraft swung to starboard and despite throttling back he could not prevent this aircraft hitting into LK785 parked at its dispersal. No injuries reported but aircraft destroyed.
With thanks to Brian Edrupt who runs the Finsbury Park Cycle Club for contacting us in June 2017 - enabling us to add this record. Also to his son, Christopher, for other photographs used.
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