07/08.07.1944 630 Squadron Lancaster III ND688 LE-R W/C William Inglis Deas DSO DFC and Bar
Operation: Saint-Leu-d’Esserent, France
Date: July 7/8 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: 630 Squadron - Motto: Nocturna Mors (Death by night)
Squadron Badge: On an ogress, a Lancaster rose fimbriated
Type: Avro Lancaster III
Base: RAF East Kirby, Lincolnshire
Location: near Villers-en-Arthies, France
Pilot: W/C. William Inglis (Bill) Deas DSO DFC & Bar 87060 RAFVR Age 29 - Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: F/O. Joseph Thomas (Joe) Taylor DFC 143798 RAFVR Age 23 - Killed (2)
Navigator: P/O. Charles Norman Wright 174338 RAFVR Age 29 - Killed (3)
Bomb Aimer: Fl/Lt. George Grafron Haig Farara DFC DFM 143472 RAFVR Age 26 - Killed (4)
Wireless Operator: F/O. Walter Thomas (Wally) Upton DFM 157278 RAFVR Age 22 POW No. 5306 Camp: Stalag Luft Barth - L1 (5)
Mid Upper: Sgt. Leonard Augustus Alfred (Len) Page 1814068 RAFVR Age 19 - Killed (6)
Rear Gunner: P/O Roland James Locke 182693 RAFVR Age 24 - Killed (7)
We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs to please contact us via our Helpdesk
630 Squadron - Operations Record Book
RAF EAST KIRBY, LINCOLNSHIRE - 1944
1 February - Signal received posting in A/W.C. W. I. Deas to command.
5 February - Wing Commander W.I. Deas DFC & Bar arrived and assumed command.
First concert held on the station given by concert party from RAF Woodhall Spa. Well attended by Squadron personnel.
Whether the new CO was one of those attending is not recorded but he probably had more pressing matters to attend to.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War, William Inglis 'Bill' Deas, a 29 year old South African from Piet Retief in the Transvaal, had quickly arranged passage to England. Sailing from Durban, aboard Union Castle’s mail liner, 'Winchester Castle', he disembarked at Southampton on 15th October 1939 and just four days later, on 19 October, was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) (London Gazette November 1940).
At the end of pilot training, he joined 61 Squadron and completed his first tour in 1941 flying Handley Page Hampdens and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (London Gazette 21 November 1941).
Following a spell instructing at 14 OTU he returned to 61 Squadron by which time the Squadron had converted to Lancasters on which he went on to complete a second tour whilst also being promoted to Squadron Leader, Flight Commander and awarded a bar to his DFC (London Gazette 20 April 1943).
He was a born leader, highly popular with both aircrew and ground crew alike and was to make an indelible impression on the 82 day old Squadron.
The first week of Bill Deas' tenure was a 'moon period', thus, with no operations being undertaken, a training programme of morning lectures and afternoon practice flying was instigated and rounded off on the night of 12 February with a Squadron 'party', the aircrew being hosted by the groundcrew.
Operations resumed on 15 February, the Squadron providing 'maximum effort plus', by despatching 21 aircraft for a raid on Berlin, including Lancaster ND563 flown by Bill Deas. With him were five of the six men who were to be with him on his final fateful mission some 5 months hence, the exception being air bomber F/O. K. Barker who would later be replaced by F/O. George Farara.
From there on in, Bill flew regularly on operations. Alongside him, with only the odd exception, were the same crew members, some of whom also flew with other crews when not requisitioned by their CO. They were wireless op and the Squadron Signal's Leader Wally Upton, aged 22 from Kent; Lancastrian flight engineer and 'B' Flight Engineer Leader Joe Taylor, 23, and from May onwards air bomber and Squadron Bombing Leader George Farara who had been born in Antigua but had lived in England since he was 11. Married to Deborah, he was 26. Navigator on all but two of Bill Deas' 14 ops, was former Carpenter, Charles Wright aged 29. Married to Phyllis with whom he had two children, he hailed from Flintshire. Charles also flew 7 ops with the crew of P/O. Peter Albert Nash until Peter was tragically killed in a motor accident in May 1944. Completing the crew were the two air gunners, Len Page and Roland Locke. Len, from Surrey, and aged just 19, was the youngest member of the crew, whilst Roland was 24 and from Birmingham. Len flew all 14 Deas ops and Roland, all except one of them. Both air gunners also flew numerous ops with several other crews.
On 10 March, Bill Deas had the distinction of leading a combined force of 33 aircraft from his own and two other squadrons for a raid on the Michelin Works at Clarmont-Farrand in France, and by the end of June he had completed 13 ops with 630 Squadron bringing his totally tally to 68.
On the night of 4/5 July the Squadron provided 20 Lancasters and crews for a 246 strong force to attack a 'Supply Site at St Leu d'Esserent' some 30 miles north of Paris.
The target was a flying bomb store located in tunnels originally formed by the extraction of limestone for building, but which by 1939 had been turned into an enormous underground factory manufacturing LEO 45 bomber fuselages with, amongst other facilities, accommodation for a 1100 strong workforce.
Following the German occupation in 1940 the complex became a Luftwaffe production and storage facility and in 1943 it was upgraded to allow storage and assembly of V1 flying bombs, including the construction of new access roads, blast protection and flak defences. On completion in early 1944 the first bombs began to arrive from Germany.
In 1947, after the French military had cleared the tunnels, limestone extraction was recommenced with the tunnels also being used for growing mushroom.
One of the Lancasters taking part in the raid of 4/5 July was ND688. Delivered brand new to 630 Squadron on 4 March 1944, ND688 became the aircraft of choice of Acting Sqn Ldr. Roy Calvert DFC and Bar (a second Bar was to follow later that year).
The erstwhile Wool Grader from New Zealand flew ND688 on all bar three of its operational flights prior to its loss. During its 12th operation on 22/23 April 1944, a raid on Brunswick, the Lancaster sustained cannon damage to the starboard wing which kept it out of commission until 13 May. It flew three further operations including its 15th on 22 May when flown by P/O Gordon Maxwell, again a raid on Brunswick, during which, it was hit by cannon and machine gun fire, damaging the rear fuselage beneath the gun turret, the rear wheel and wounding the rear gunner. The Lancaster was once more out of commission until 24 June.
Its next operation was on 4/5 July when flown once more by Roy Calvert on the Saint Leu raid referred to earlier.
Because their usual mount, Lancaster LL962, was undergoing repairs to flak damage sustained on their previous op, Bill Deas and his crew were allocated Lancaster ND688 for a further raid on the storage tunnels at Saint-Leu-d'Esserent planned for the night of 7/8 July 1944. 630 Squadron was to provide a total of 17 Lancasters for the raid.
Another raid, to be conducted concurrently with that against Saint-Leu-d'Esserent, was to be made on the railway yards at Vaires-sur-Marne some 15 miles east of Paris. In an attempt to confuse the Germans as to the intended target, the two combined forces were to split into three groups in mid Channel with about half the Saint-Leu-d'Esserent force and the total Vaires force taking the most westerly route to cross the French coast near Le Havre. This combined force was later to divide, with the Vaires force continuing south whilst the Saint- Leu- d'Esserent force was to turn east and eventually rendezvous with the other two Saint-Leu groups, at a point just north of the Parisian commune of Saint Denis, before heading north to the target.
H - Hour for the Saint-Leu raid was timed for 0110 and the Vaires raid for 0130 hours.
Support and other operations
In the event an additional 106 aircraft of various types carried out an uneventful diversionary sweep almost to the Dutch coast whilst 32 Mosquitos were despatched to Berlin and 9 OBOE Mosquitos were sent against the synthetic oil plant at Scholven/Buer.
In more direct relationship to the Saint Leu-d’Esserent raid, 7 Mosquitos dropped ‘spoof’ markers, 16 Stirlings operated a Mandrel screen and 45 Mosquitos made Serrate and intruder patrols.
In addition 16 Mosquitos patrolled against flying bombs and 54 aircraft were active on special operations a total effort of 634 sorties.
REASON FOR LOSS
Led off by Canadian F/O. Arthur Frederick Kemp at 22.28, flying ND797, the 17 Lancasters of 630 Squadron laboured skyward, each toting a bomb load of 11 x 1000lb AN-M and 4 x 500lb LD (6 hours) bombs. (The ORB records erroneously that ND797 was flown by P/O. Alan Kerr.)
Next to last in line, ND688, with Bill Deas at the controls, lifted off at 22.44 and when all 17 were airborne the Squadron turned south towards Reading.
[The above times are as per the 630 Squadron Operations Record Book. It should be noted that wireless operator Walter Upton was quite certain that ND688 took off at 22.30 hours on 7 July 1944 - see his story, below]
A force of 208 Lancasters and 13 Mosquitos, mainly from No 5 Group but with some Pathfinder aircraft, were to attack the tunnels at Saint-Leu-d'Esserent whilst 123 Lancasters and 5 Mosquitos of 1 and 8 Groups were despatched against the Vaires-sur-Marne railway yards.
Once formed, the combined bomber stream crossed the coast of England near Worthing and set out across the Channel. Approximately 25 miles out, the force split into three as planned.
The Saint-Leu and Vaires group, on the western most route, duly parted company separated between 0031 and 0045 hours, the former turning east, whilst the latter proceeded in a south easterly direction.
Meanwhile, German controllers, who had become aware of the force shortly after it crossed the English coast and suspecting that it was bound for a target in the Paris area, assembled the majority of its night fighter force around two beacons in the vicinity of St. Leu.
With H-hour some 25 minutes hence, the three sections of the Saint-Leu-d'Esserent were preparing to re-unite just north of Saint Denis when the night fighters struck. In ideal conditions and moonlit skies the Nachtjagd pilots quickly brought down 6 Lancasters on the approach and another 5 over the target area.
'The German fighter controllers concentrated their aircraft against the St Leu force, assembling them first over a searchlight concentration S. of Dieppe. The fighters, assisted by moonlight and good visibility, achieved exceptional success and were reinforced from the Low Countries, where the groups were apparently not diverted as usual by the Mandrel Screen. About 30 heavy guns fired at St. Leu, but no serious flak was met elsewhere. The Vaires force met hardly any fighters.' (Bomber Command Night Raid Report)
'Small amounts of cloud at 7000 feet with a layer of stratus at 19000 feet. Visibility excellent
The marking was completed with the aid of flares and at 0116 the main force ordered to bomb Red TI overshooting by 1 second. The bombing appeared well concentrated and there was one large fire about 400 yards south of the markers. Armed defences at the Target were heavier than on previous nights and fighter activity was intense on the outward and homeward routes and over the Target. There were six combats.' (630 Squadron Operations Record Book)
The attacking force bombed the target between 0116 and 0130 delivering 1124 tons of high explosive and 2.9 tons of incendiary bombs before once more dividing into three groups for the homeward run.
It was then that the German night fighters began their slaughter in earnest, bringing down a further 20 aircraft before the last of the returning bombers finally staggered across the French coast.
'No aircraft was lost on Vaires, but the St Leu force suffered most grievously, no less than 14% of the aircraft despatched being destroyed. 6 of the 31 losses appear to have occurred on the outward route, 5 N of Paris and 20 homeward. At least 17 were due to fighters, and 7 to flak. No landing or taxying accidents were reported, but one aircraft was irreparably damaged by [a] fighter.' (Bomber Command Night Raid Report)
The cost in RAF aircrew was equally expensive, with 139 killed, 2 who died of wounds, 30 made prisoners of war and 47 who evaded capture.
3 concentrations of craters occurred over the northern, central and southern tunnel entrances respectively, causing displacement of soil and destruction of buildings. The lines of the main railway were cut many times, and a direct hit was scored on a gun position. 13 craters occurred on the tracks serving the tunnels.' (Bomber Command Night Raid Report)
EAST KIRBY - LINCOLNSHIRE 8 JULY 1944
At 0304 hours P/O. Alfred George Henriquez put ME796 safely back down on terra firma, followed one minute later by two more of the Squadron's 17 Lancasters that had set out some four and a half hours earlier. One by one the others returned and when P/O. John Bolton landed in ME639 at 03.55 all were safely home and dry, save one.
But with anxious eyes straining skywards and sinking hearts willing him home, there was to be no safe return for ND688 captained by the Squadron's popular C.O., Bill Deas.
'13 [sic] aircraft attacked successfully and returned safely to Base but "R" Captain Wing Commander W. I. Deas DFC is missing without trace. This is the saddest blow and most grievous loss the Squadron could have, Wing Commander Deas was a most popular and efficient Commanding officer a Squadron could have and the Unit will suffer very much indeed, he was on his 69th Trip' (630 Squadron Operations Record Book)
Sources consistently agree that ND688 crashed at approximately 0130 hours between the communes of Aincourt and Dracourt some 2½ miles southeast of Villers-en-Arthies, Val-d'Oise department in Île-de-France and was very probably the first night fighting victory of Oberfeldwebel Manfred Gromoll of 3/JG301 who claimed a Lancaster at 01.36 at Bray/Gasny, E. Vernon at 1.500m.
The RAF Loss Card for ND688 also records a fix at '01.30 1/2km SE Villers-en-Arthies 11km N Mantes'.
As will be revealed later, the time of the crash of Lancaster ND688 is now a matter of serious doubt and in turn the identity of the fighter pilot responsible for the loss.
The sole survivor of the crew of ND688 was wireless operator Wally Upton DFM, who, although suffering severe burns, parachuted to safety. He was soon captured however and interrogated by at the local military barracks all the while being denied treatment for his injuries. He was later sent to the notorious Fresnes prison near Paris where he was again interrogated and severely beaten by the Gestapo. Transferred on 2 September to the Wiesbaden prison near Frankfurt he again suffered at the hands of the Gestapo and was threatened with transfer to a concentration camp, presumably Buchenwald, where 168 Allied aircrew were held between 20 August and 19 October 1944 before being transferred to Stalag Luft III after intervention by the Luftwaffe.
On 10 September 1944 he was sent to Stalag Luft I at Barth in Western Pomerania, where he received the first proper medical treatment for his injuries.
The camp was liberated by the Red Army on 1 May 1945. However, it was two weeks later before the British prisoners of war were airlifted to the UK by American aircraft in "Operation Revival" whilst the Americans were taken to Camp Lucky Strike near Le Havre, prior to sailing for the USA.
See below for a comprehensive account by Walter Upton recalling his experiences during the raid.
The timing of the fix and loss given above would indicate that ND688 was on the homeward trip when it was shot down. However, on 30 December 2020, as part of his research into the loss, Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock contacted Pamela Stewart Panting, niece of navigator Charles Wright. She was most helpful in providing the photograph of her uncle, shown below, and enabling access to a copy of a document detailing Walter Upton's recollections of the incident. The document was presented to the Wright family by a relative of Len Page to whom the statement had originally been made in 2003.
The loss of Lancaster ND688 on 7/8 July 1944 as recollected by Walter Thomas Upton - May 2003
Courtesy: the Wright family
This was the first time that we had used [ND-688 LE-R], the reason being our own aircraft LE-T had been hit by flak on our previous trip and was being repaired. (This was a trip to St Valery-en-Caux.) The aircraft ND-688 LE-R was normally flown by S/Ldr Roy Calvert, DFC, the O/C of “B” Flight. It was a good aircraft and had done many operations, and knew what it was to be shot up; the tail plane was new as the old one had been damaged on its last trip.
We definitely took off at 2230 hours that night and we crashed at 0055 hours. This date was recorded in the back of the Bible I always carried with me in my top pocket on all Ops. I did not have a pen or pencil with me and this time is scratched in the Bible with a nail, as were all events that took place until I was in a POW camp. We were certainly not attacked at 0230 hours; we had not reached the target before we were shot down. Whilst I was seriously burnt about the hands and not so seriously about the face and legs, I was not taken to the hospital by the local doctor but was taken to the nearest town where a German soldier on a motor bicycle with gun in hand was waiting for me. I was being driven into town by a Frenchman and he pulled over to the Soldier who was obviously expecting me. He did permit me to go to the Hospital where my hands were attended to.
Bill Deas or I had not flown in [ND-688] before we did the Air Test on the afternoon of the 7th July 1944. [none of the crew had flown in ND688 prior to 7 July 1944]
We were on the way to the target when we were hit, and my time of crashing is definitely 0055 hours on the morning of 8th July. I do not know whether French time was ½ hour ahead of us, but this would answer that timing problem.
On the afternoon of the 7th July 1944, we were briefed to go on an Op to St-Leu d’Esserent to destroy a flying bomb storage dump. There was nothing unusual about it as it was a reasonably short trip. After the briefing there was the usual hurry to get things together for the trip, make sure all the equipment was in good condition, etc. Then after a good flying supper we made our way to the aircraft, the time being about 10 o’clock; it was a fine night, clear with just a few light clouds in the sky. We took off from East Kirby at 2230 hours, nothing unusual happened on the flight, everyone was quite normal, and all went well until we were nearing the target area and we were hit and burst into flames.
My story of the last few moments of the aircraft from lots of notes I made in 1945 is as follows – at five minutes to one exactly we were hit, there was a large explosion and the aircraft burst into flames from nose to tail; this was followed almost immediately by a second explosion and the aircraft heeled over and dived straight for the ground, a power dive, completely out of control. My first thought was Upton you have had it, there was fire all around me, the intercom was dead. I turned round, picked up my parachute, placed it on the table in front of me, and was ready to give up and go down with the aircraft, but then I realized I must try to get out, all of these thoughts obviously took only parts of a second. I clipped on my parachute, stood up. The wireless operator would normally go to the rear of the plane to bale out, but I could not do this as the fire was too intense to go that way so I went forward intending to out through the front hatch. Bill Deas was standing looking down into the front, I could see the ground coming up very fast, realized that I could not go out of the front hatch, because the bomb aimer, flight engineer and navigator would be down there. I decided to go out by the hatch above the pilot’s seat. This would not normally be a good idea, as one could hit the aerial, etc, but I did not have a choice, all this seemed like a long time but I am sure it was only seconds. One’s sense of survival is very acute in these circumstances, and one’s thought processes are mighty quick. I stood on the pilot’s seat, opened the hatch and worked hard to get out, one leg was behind the pilot’s seat and my left leg became jammed between the navigational set and the back of the seat, the force of being in a power dive was great: it was necessary for me to ease my foot out of my flying boot. As silly as I now think it was, I was concerned because I had a rather lovely dagger type knife tucked into my boot and did not want to lose it, however, I did lose it and the boot as well. It was difficult to get my parachute out through the hatch, and then I got my bottom out and off I went out into the night. Whilst laying along the top of the aircraft I noticed a parachute, stretched along the underside of the aircraft from the front… Len Page would not have been alive as it appeared the back of the aircraft had been strafed by machine gun bullets when we were hit. I have always thought that as I left the aircraft, parts of the tail plane left with me, I often wondered if I hit it, but I do not think so. I pulled the ripcord immediately as we were very near the ground. I was swung out as the parachute opened with a jerk and hit the ground heavily. I do not know what it is like to hang from a parachute as I hit the ground before I had the chance. I landed, as it seemed to me at the time, at almost the same time as the aircraft crashed and the bombs exploded. I often thought I was knocked out by the bomb blast, or that saved my life as I hit the ground. I do know that my parachute was burning, so I quickly put it out. I was in a cornfield. It was then that I realized that my hands were badly burnt, and they appeared to be covered by a clear substance. I wanted a cigarette, but I could not get the packet out of my pocket. I stood up and could clearly see the fire the aircraft had caused near the farm. It appeared trucks arrived at the farm and I thought Germans were there. I discreetly, with great difficulty, buried my parachute under some faggots [a bundle of branches or twigs] by the hedge at the side of the corn field. Incidentally, when we went back to the crash site on 29th April 2000, a woman told us her father had found my parachute and the silk had been divided between people in the village at the time.
I moved away from the crash site as quickly as possible and walked across many fields until I came to a graveyard and slept that night between two graves.
…[The] happenings of that night are still very vivid in my mind, and just typing it now is quite emotional. I will leave it at that for the time being.
In his recollections, the only survivor of the crew, Walter Upton, is most precise about the time that ND688 crashed (0055 hours) and that the aircraft was shot down before reaching the target: 'We were on the way to the target when we were hit' his assertions being further reinforced as he adds 'I landed, as it seemed to me at the time, at almost the same time as the aircraft crashed AND THE BOMBS EXPLODED.'
In his book ‘Sledgehammers for Tintacks’ author Steve Darlow gives the following timings for the phases of the St Leu d’Esserent, raid immediately before the attack.
0031 to 0045 hours - The first two waves proceed south-east towards the target area. The third wave prepares to turn eastward and departs from the Vaires force.
0046 to 0100 hours - All three waves converge on a position just to the south-south-west of the target. Aircrews begin to witness the demise of some of their RAF colleagues.
0101 to 0115 hours - The three waves converge, approach and attack the target. Stricken RAF bombers, going down, continue to be witnessed and recorded by more fortunate bomber crews.
There is no evidence to suggest that these timings are anything but correct and Walter Uptons recollection of crashing at 0055 hours ON THE WAY to the target is within the correct time frame, occurring just prior to convergence of the three waves of the St Leu force. His evidence would therefore seem to contradict previously held theories that Lancaster ND688 was shot down by Fw. Manfred Gromoll at 0136.
Following contact from Canadian researcher, Jack Albrecht, concerning the re-appraisal of time of the loss as per the archive report for Lancaster ND688 Theo Boiten notes that in the latest NCA he provides the claimant as Fw. Manfred Gromoll for ND688. However, taking into account the revised time for the loss of ND688, provided by Wally Upton, he notes the most likely fit as a claimant for ND688 was Oblt. Franz Brinkhaus 12 Lancaster 00.54.
It is unfortunate that Walter Upton gives no indication as to where he landed or where his Lancaster crashed or to which of the three outbound routes the 630 Squadron Lancasters were assigned.
The note on the RAF Loss Card i.e. '01.30 1/2km SE Villers-en-Arthies 11km N Mantes' may well be correct regarding the location but the time of the fix has apparently not been entered at the same time, is much feinter and possibly in a different hand. See image below.
Walter Upton's evidence clearly disproves the timing of the fix at 0130 hours.
If you have any further evidence of the time and place of the crash, or other information, please contact our helpdesk
Discrepancy re original burial place of the crew
According to the Grave Concentration Report of the Commonwealth Graves Commission (see below) the six crew members killed in the crash were originally buried in a communal grave in the Omerville Military plot situated in a field behind the Mairie (Town Hall) and on 4 March 1948 they were re-interred in the Omerville Communal Cemetery. However the Loss Card (shown above), bears a note that one of crew was buried at Aincourt.
BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS OF THE CREW
1. W/C William Inglis Deas DSO DFC and Bar was born c 1915 the son of William Inglis and Ursula Grace Deas nee Van Der Spuy of Piet Retief, Transvaal, South Africa. He had two siblings: Estelle Agnes Inglis Deas born 1909 and George Inglis Deas born 1911
905021 LAC William Inglis Deas was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation on 19 October 1940 (London Gazette 19 November 1940): confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) on 19 October 1941 (London Gazette 18 November 1941). He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant (war subs) on 19 October 1942 (London Gazette 20 November 1942) and to Squadron Leader (war subs) on 1 May 1944 (London Gazette 7 July 1944)
He was awarded the DFC on 21 November 1941 whilst serving with 61 Squadron (London Gazette 21 November 1941) and a Bar to his DFC on 20 April 1943 whilst serving with 61 Squadron (London Gazette 20 April 1943)
Distinguished Service Order Citation: London Gazette, Tuesday, September 26, 1944:
Acting Wing Commander William Inglis DEAS, D.F.C. (87060), R.A.F.V.R., 630 Sqn.
This officer, now on his third tour of operations, has completed a large number of sorties, many of them against dangerous and difficult targets. Throughout he has never failed to bring his missions to a successful conclusion. His leadership and determination have been an inspiration to all.
2. F/O Joseph Thomas Taylor DFC was born in 1921 at Preston, Lancashire the son of Joseph Michael Taylor (a Commercial Traveller (Tobacco)) and Mary Taylor nee Rigby. He had two siblings: James Young Taylor (1913-1991) and Robert Rigby Taylor (1917-2005)
In 1939 the family lived at San Rafael, Saunders Lane, Preston.
1136019 Sergeant Joseph Thomas Taylor was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 5 April 1943 (London Gazette 25 May 1943): confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) on 5 October 1943 (London Gazette 8 October 1943)
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 14 September 1943 whilst serving with 49 Squadron and promulgated in the London Gazette of that date.
3. P/O Charles Norman Wright was born on 24 May 1915 at Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales, the son of Joseph Wright (a Pattern Maker) and Maud Eliza Wright nee Bellis. He had two siblings: Josephine Greta Maud Wright (1911-1995) and Joseph Theodore Geoffrey Wright (1917-2001), Charles attended Hawarden Grammar School from 1928 until December 1931. After leaving school he was employed as a Carpenter, Joiner and Pattern maker.
In 1937 he married Phyllis Collins Garston at St Cynfarch’s Church, Hope, Flintshire They later had two children and in 1939 lived at 66 Spon Green Buckley, Flintshire
1178966 Sergeant Charles Norman Wright was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 26 March 1944 (London Gazette 16 May 1944)
Charles is commemorated on the Hawarden War Memorial and the Hawarden County School (Grammar) Roll of Honour.
4. Fl/Lt George Grafron Haig Farara DFC DFM, was born on 2 May 1918 in Antigua, British West Indies the son of Emanuel Farara and Jessie Farara nee Pitcairn. He had 5 siblings: Iris Pearl Farara (1909-1965), Allan Farara (1911-1969), Leslie W. Farara (1912-1987), Lilian May Farara (1914-1994) and Maurice Selwyn Farara (1916-1986).
Following the death of Emanuel Farara in 1929 Jessie brought her four youngest children to England. Arriving at London aboard the SS Inanda on 9 May 1930 their proposed address in England was given as Thorpe Ashbourne, Derbyshire and whilst the children were all described as students Jessie's occupation was recorded as 'Planter'.
In 1939 the family were living at 72, Fairhazel Gardens, Hampstead.
The family now included all six siblings living with Jessie and a live in Cook/General [housekeeper]
In 1941 he married Deborah M. Barnett at Hampstead London.
920368 Sergeant George Grafron Haigh Farara was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 8 December 1942 (London Gazette 9 March 1943): confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) on 8 June 1943 (London Gazette 23 July 1943)
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal on 15 June 1943 (London Gazette 15 June 1943)
He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross wef 6 July 1945 (London Gazette 29 June 1945)
5. F/O. Walter Thomas Upton DFM OAM was born on 18 January 1922 at Dymchurch, Kent the son of Anthony P. Upton and Emily Upton nee Fagg. He had two siblings: Emma M. Upton born 1917 and Rita P. Upton (1928-1936)
In 1933 Walter's father Anthony died at the age of 44. At the time of the 1939 Registration Emily Upton was the proprietor of a Confectioners and General Store at 5 Coronation Villas, Chapel Hill at Eastry, Kent where the family also lived. Living with them was a single lady, Louisa Fagg aged 68, an invalid, and probably Emily's aunt.
Walter studied at the Folkestone Commercial College from 1936 until 1938 and after leaving school was employed as an accountants clerk
He joined the Royal Air Force in 1940 and completed a tour with 61 Squadron prior to joining 630 Squadron.
12254726 Flight Sergeant Walter Thomas Upton was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 22 August 1943 (London Gazette 2 November 1943): confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer on 22 February 1944 (London Gazette 10 March 1944). He was further promoted to Flight Lieutenant (war subs) on 22 August 1945 (London Gazette 21 September 1945)
In June 1944 he married Marion Jill Speight at Lincoln. They lived at 44 Avondale Street Lincoln. Their son, Colin A. Upton was born in 1947 and their daughter, Penelope A. Upton, in 1949
They sailed on the HMT Asturias from Southampton on 23 November 1950 arriving at Sydney 18 December 1950. Their intended address in Australia was 8 Rickards Road, Narrabeen Sydney
After the war Walter Upton settled in Australia and became a world recognised Orchid authority, lecturing to fellow enthusiasts in most English speaking countries across the globe. He wrote three books about orchids, completed over 500 botanical drawings of orchids and registered over 165 orchid hybrids. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday honours list of 2007 for service to the conservation, cultivation and recognition of Australian native orchids.
Walter died at Bonnells Bay, NSW on 10 August 2012 aged 90
UPTON, Walter Thomas DFM OAM.
18.01.1922 - 10.08.2012.
Formerly of Elanora Heights and Kariong.
Passed away peacefully at Bonnells Bay.
Dearest husband of Jill, brother of Emma, loving father and father-in-law of Colin and Lynore, Penny and David, Andrew and Marian, beloved grandpa and great-grandpa to all his grandchildren. Much loved by Jack and Barrie, Joan and Tony (deceased).
Family and friends are invited to farewell WALTER in the Rose Chapel of Palmdale Memorial Park, Ourimbah, on Thursday (August 16, 2012), commencing 2 p.m.
A Tribute to Walter Thomas Upton by the Australian Orchid Foundation can be seen here
6. Sgt Leonard Augustus Alfred Page was born on 20 November 1924 at Kingston, Surrey the son of Arthur Walter Burcham Page (Managing Director of a Wine Shop) and Jane Frances Page nee Boultwood later of Surbiton, Surrey. He had three siblings: Gladys Elsie Page (1915-2000), Doris Frances Page (1915-2012) and Frank George Page (1919-1983)
In 1939 the family lived at 102 Ellerton Road, Surbiton, Surrey
7. P/O Roland James Locke was born in 1919 at Aston, Birmingham the son of Francis Albert Locke (a Foreman Toolmaker) and Louisa Locke nee Griffin. He had one sibling: Albert J. Locke born 1916.
In 1939 the family lived at 33 Victoria Road, Birmingham.
956399 Temporary Warrant Officer Roland James Locke was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 6 July 1944 (London Gazette 3 October 1944)
BURIAL DETAILS, MEMORIALS AND EPITAPHS
1. W/C William Inglis Deas DSO DFC and Bar was buried at Omerville Communal Cemetery Val d'Oise, France - Coll. grave 2,
2. F/O Joseph Thomas Taylor DFC was buried at Omerville Communal Cemetery Val d'Oise, France - Coll. grave 2,
3. P/O Charles Norman Wright was buried at Omerville Communal Cemetery Val d'Oise, France - Coll. grave 2,
Wright, of Dobshill, Flintshire.
His inscription reads:
Faithful unto death
4. Fl/Lt George Grafron Haig Farara DFC DFM was buried at Omerville Communal Cemetery Val d'Oise, France - Coll. grave 2,
6. Sgt Leonard Augustus Alfred Page was buried at Omerville Communal Cemetery Val d'Oise, France - Coll. grave 2,
His inscription reads:
Deep in the memory
That never fades
Of him we loved
But could not save
7. P/O Roland James Locke was buried in Omerville Communal Cemetery, Coll. grave 2, France.
His inscription reads:
A duty well done
For further information see the archive report for Lancaster ME789
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew -January 2021
With thanks to the sources quoted below.