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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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50 Squadron Crest
25.06.1945 No. 50 Squadron Lancaster I PB755 VN-Y P/O. Gordon Douglas

Operation: Operation Post Mortem

Date: 25th June 1945 (Monday)

Unit: No. 50 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: PB755

Code: VN-Y

Base: RAF Sturgate, Lincolnshire

Location: Satrup, Germany

Pilot: P/O. Gordon Douglas 198106 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

Crew details: Unknown.


Lancaster I PB 755 VN-Y, piloted by Pilot Officer Douglas left Sturgate on Operation “Post Mortem”, to assess the effectiveness of the captured German radar and defence systems, which were left behind after the end of the war. German Military personnel were held back to show the Allies how it worked before it was dismantled.

Above area of crash and right, the wedding of Douglas to Mary Violet (see credits)

The Lancaster was airborne for just over two and a half hours from base at Sturgate. The port inner engine oil pressure fell to 35lbs/sq.inch and then to zero, and after running for a while it over sped and would not feather. It then began to vibrate and caught fire. The Pilot ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft which they did safely, except for Pilot Douglas whose parachute failed to open.

The cause of the engine fire was unable to be detected as the Lancaster had burnt out. The Flight Engineer was criticised for his failure to shut down the engine when it started to cause problems, but it was also found that a special instruction about minimum oil pressure had not been included into the Squadron Flight Engineer’s order book.

Burial details:

P/O. Gordon Douglas. Kiel War Cemetery. Grave 6A.10. Son of Edward and Teresa Douglas and husband of Mary Violet of Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Worked for the family business in Grimsby before volunteering for the airforce.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of P/O. Douglas. Thanks to Colin Cummings- “The Price of Peace” for the details of this crash. Photo credits and information to David Amos. Other sources as quoted below.

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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