16/17.01.1945 15 Squadron Lancaster I PB802 LS:F Fg Off. John H. Crone
Date: 16th/17th January 1945 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: 15 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk.
Location: Harling, Norfolk, England
Pilot: Fg Off. John Henry Crone 419521 RAAF Age 21. Killed
Flt Eng: Sgt. Richard Devlin 1881244 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Nav: Sgt. George Russell Lake 1183934 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Leonard Richard Wilkins 1801112 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Plt Off. Lex Maitland Riordan 426468 RAAF Age 20. Killed
Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Fg Off. William Ernest Fuller 176263 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air Gnr (Rear): Fg Off. Harry Harold Freedman 176265 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
At Aircrew Remembered we are trying to record as many training losses as possible - many of these incidents simply go unrecorded.
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 Flt Lt. Philip Bonington Smith 102151 RAFVR from Asuncion, Paraguay who was killed along with 2 other crew. Plt Off. Lex Maitland Riordan escaped by baling out, along with 3 others and landed in allied held territory. Returned to England on the 26th September.
Above: Sadly the family of Plt Off. Riordan also lost another son, 20 year old, FltSgt Alan Douglas Riordan 420489 RAAF, No. 1 Torpedo Training Unit, RAF, was also killed in an accident, in Scotland, earlier on 16th August 1943.
Above: Initial grave markers for three of the crew (Credit: Jeffrey Devlin)
Fg Off. John Henry Crone. Cambridge City Cemetery. Coll. Grave 15951-15955. His grave inscription reads: “He Shall Be Remembered For His Deeds.” Son of Clifford and Agnes Crone of Donald, Victoria, Australia. Born 08th December 1923 at St. Arnold, Victoria, Australia - Enlisted at Melbourne.
Sgt. Richard Devlin. Cambridge City Cemetery. Coll. Grave 15951-15955. His grave inscription reads: “When You Go Home Tell Them Of Us And Say For Your Tomorrow We Gave Our Today.” Son of Henry and Sarah Devlin of Northern Ireland and husband of Millicent Emma Devlin of Northampton, England.
Sgt. George Russell Lake. Cambridge City Cemetery. Coll. Grave 15951-15955. His grave inscription reads: “Leaves Its Blessings Memories Of Days Gone By.” Husband of Olive Lillian Lake of Oulton broad, Lowestoft, Suffolk, England.
Flt Sgt. Leonard Richard Wilkins. Cambridge City Cemetery. Coll. Grave 15951-15955. His grave inscription reads: “Dearer To Us Than Words Can Tell Was The One We Lost But Loved So Well.” Son of Frederick and Edith Wilkins and husband of Olive Queenie Wilkins of Falconwood, Welling, Kent, England.
Plt Off. Lex Maitland Riordan. Cambridge City Cemetery. Coll. Grave 15951-15955. His grave inscription reads: “He Has Done His Duty.” Son of Guy Maitland and Emma Elizabeth Riordan of Goolmanger, New South Wales, Australia. Born 4th March - Lismore, NSW, Australia - Enlisted at Brisbane.
Fg Off. William Ernest Fuller. Sketty (St. Paul) Churchyard, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales New Part, Row A . Grave 7.
The following NoK details have not been corroborated. Born 3rd Qtr 1925 in Swansea, Glamorganshire. Mothers maiden name Webb. A record for the marriage of an Earnest G. Fuller and an Elizabeth Webb has been found for 1st Quarter 1917 in Swansea, Glamorganshire. His record of burial records that he was living on Gower Road, Sketty, Glamorganshire, Wales
Fg Off. 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. Tentative NoK details for Fg Off. Fuller added by Aircrew Remembered (Jan 2022). Thanks to Jeffrey Devlin, a nephew of Sgt Devlin for the initial grave marker photograph. (Jan 2022).