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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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No. 61 Squadron Crest
25/26.03.1942 No. 61 Squadron Manchester I L7518 QR-O P/O. John Ralph Hubbard

Operation: Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Date: 25/26 March 1942 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 61 Squadron - Motto: "Per purum tonantes" ("Thundering through the clear air").

Badge: The Lincoln Imp. The Lincoln Imp associates the squadron with the district in which it was re-formed in 1937. Authority: King George VI, March 1940.

Type: Avro Manchester I

Serial: L7518

Code: QR-O

Base: RAF Woolfox Lodge, Rutland

Location: Polder Het Meertje east of Warmenhuizen

Pilot: P/O. John Ralph Hubbard (Johnny) 109513 RAFVR Age 27 - Killed (1)

2nd Pilot: P/O. Alastair William Buchan 108664 RAFVR Age 20 - Killed (2) 1st Op

Obs/Air/Bmr: P/O. Robert Heggie (Bob) J/6137 RCAF Age 29 - Killed (3)

1st W/Op: F/Sgt. John George Clelland (Jock) 966275 RAFVR Age 30 - Killed (4)

2nd W/Op: Sgt. Albert Wallace Baker 1182487 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (5)

1st Air/Gnr (R): Sgt. Thomas Charles Stanley (Stan) MBE, BSM, 615062 RAFVR Age 30 PoW No. 445 Camp: Sagan and Belaria - L3 (6)

2nd Air/Gnr (MU): Sgt. Peter Jones 650108 RAFVR PoW No. 24812 Camp: Sagan and Belaria - L3 (7)

We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs to please contact us via our HELPDESK


In August 2017 Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock contacted Michele Hailey requesting information about her uncle Benjamin Charles Lock who was killed whilst flying as a crew member of Wellington HF906 on 3 March 1943. Michele duly obliged but also offered details relating to the loss of Manchester L7518 shot down in 1942. Her late friend Daphne's brother Sgt. Albert Wallace Baker was a member of the crew and sadly killed in the crash.

After Daphne's death Michele became responsible for her collection of documents and letters relating to her brother Albert. Retaining scanned copies she donated the originals to The Shoreham RAF Museum in Kent. In addition to the documents she also donated Albert's Gold Caterpillar Club badge awarded for successfully baling out of an aircraft by parachute. Sadly Albert did not live to receive the award and it was sent to his family. Of particular interest was a most informative letter written to Daphne in November 2000 by Co Maarschalkerweerd, a Dutchman that she neither knew nor ever met. It contained information about her brother's final moments on 26 March 1942.

In 1983 Dutchman Co Maarschalkerweerd, a Member and Researcher of the Airwar Study Group 1939-1945 in Holland, attended the unveiling of a war memorial at the village of Dirkshorn where he met former local general practitioner Rein Posthuma, who told him of the crash of a Manchester bomber in the nearby village of Warmenhuizen in March 1942. At the time of the crash he was the assistant to Warmenhuizen local practitioner Dr. Gijsbrecht Van Hesteren and had been instrumental in rescuing air gunner Tom Stanley.

After the war Rein had tried to find Tom Stanley but had been unable to do so. Co offered his assistance and having managed to find Tom, put him in contact with the doctor. Thanks to Co's efforts and on the invitation of the Mayor of Warmenhuizen Tom attended the unveiling of a memorial in the village in honour of his five fallen comrades.

Tom and Co became firm friends and with his wife Doris, Tom visited Holland every year afterwards, staying with Co's family for two weeks around Commemoration Day 4 May and laying floral tributes to his five friends at the General Cemetery in Bergen and at the monument at Warmenhuizen.

In 1994 Tom became ill and was unable to manage to make the trip again so Co and his wife took over the annual laying of the floral tributes. Tom died in 2000.

In 1991 Co also managed to find Peter Jones, the other survivor of the crash and still living in Newcastle upon Tyne. Peter had had a stroke and was in a nursing home when Co and his wife visited him whilst holidaying in Great Britain. Co however was never able to get Tom and Peter together before Peter died in 1996.

But both Peter and Tom gave Co full accounts of their experiences during the war and Co later wrote the letter to Albert Baker's sister Daphne, giving her the details of the crash.

Michele Hailey and Daphne's Executor have kindly granted permission for Aircrew Remembered to use the letters and other documents to enable the compilation of this memorial page.

The story of the crew and its final fateful mission has been compiled using Daphne's collection of letters and documents together with No. 61 Squadron records. Additional details concerning the rescue of Tom Stanley are from an account of the incident written by Rein Posthuma in 1995 for a publication by the Harengkarspel [sic] Historical Association, entitled "zicht op haringcarspel 1940-1945" [View on Haringcarspel 1940-1945]


The Avro Manchester was a British twin-engine medium bomber developed and manufactured by the Avro aircraft company in the United Kingdom. While not being built in great numbers, it was the forerunner of the famed and vastly more successful four-engine Avro Lancaster, which would become one of the most capable strategic bombers of the Second World War.

The Manchester was designed by Avro in conformance with the requirements laid out by the British Air Ministry Specification P.13/36, which sought a capable medium bomber with which to equip the Royal Air Force and to replace its twin-engine bombers, such as the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, Handley Page Hampden and Vickers Wellington. Making its maiden flight on 25 July 1939, the Manchester entered squadron service in November 1940 and remained in service from November 1940 until the end of June 1942.

In all 202 Manchesters were built before production was switched to the Lancaster. Of the 193 operational Manchesters, around 80 were lost in action, and another 50 to general unreliability

No. 61 Squadron flew Manchesters from July 1941 to June 1942 when it converted to Lancasters


Having crewed up at No. 25 Operational Training Unit Johnny Hubbard and his crew were posted to No. 61 Squadron at RAF Woolfox Lodge on 2 December 1941. Johnny's crew at that time comprised Londoner Peter Joslin (2nd Pilot) aged 29 (see Biographical details No. 8), Canadian Bob Heggie (Observer) aged 29, Scot Jock Clelland (1st Wireless Operator) aged 30, another Londoner and baby of the crew Albert Baker (2nd Wireless Operator) aged 21, and "Daddy" of the crew (just), Lancastrian Tom Stanley (1st Air Gunner) aged 30.

The 2nd Air Gunner was either Sgt. Drake who flew the first operation with the crew or Peter Jones who flew on all the other operations.

December 1941 found 61 Squadron enjoying a rare quiet month being called upon only once when four Manchesters were detailed for a raid on Boulogne Docks on the night of 7/8 December.

January 1942 was to prove much busier with 37 sorties being flown, two of them by the Johnny Hubbard crew.

The first of these was on 9 January as 6 Manchesters of 61 Squadron joined a force of 31 aircraft to bomb Cherbourg Docks. Flying R5787 Johnny Hubbard, despite descending to 4000 feet, failed to break cloud and returned to base with his bomb load still on board. This was the sole operation on which Sgt. Drake flew with the crew.

The second operation that the crew flew was on 28 January, a night raid to attack battle cruisers at Brest. Despite heavy accurate flak and searchlights the crew pressed home their attack and bombed from 9000 feet.

The crew was engaged four times in February including 2 Gardening (mine-laying) operations in the Terschelling area. And on 12 February the crew took part in the largest daylight operation by Bomber Command. It was a day of bad weather and low cloud and subsequently most of Bomber Command was stood down for the day with only Group 5 on 4 hours notice. However it was also an ideal day for concealment and because of this the day was chosen for the battle-cruisers, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and the lighter cruiser Prinz Eugen to sail from Brest to Germany through the English Channel, the so called Channel Dash. The first Bomber Command aircraft were airborne by 1.30 and 242 sorties were flown before dark. Alas most bombers were unable to find the ships in the poor weather conditions and those that did bomb failed to score hits. The Johnny Hubbard crew flying L7473 took off at 1500 hours but having failed to locate the ships returned to base with their bomb load and landed at 1805.

On 27/28 February a force of 68 aircraft was despatched to bomb the floating dock at Kiel harbour and the Gneisenau docked there. The Hubbard crew was one of eight crews detailed by 61 Squadron for the evening operation. The crew failed to locate the target however and jettisoned the bomb load off the Danish coast before returning to base.

On 10 March Johnny Hubbard and his crew were detailed as one 10 crews from 61 Squadron as part of a 126 strong force of bombers despatched for a raid on Essen. Encountering heavy accurate flak they bombed the target from 14000 feet and turned for home. On landing back at base at 00:45 hours the next morning one leg of their undercarriage gave way and though the aircraft was severely damaged the crew were uninjured but remained very shaken by the experience.

Just two days later, 13 March, and probably still feeling the effects of the crash, they were detailed for a raid on Cologne as part of a force of 135 aircraft. The crew, flying Manchester L7495 took off at 1950 hours and after setting course via Orfordness Johnny Hubbard began to experience trouble with aircraft tending to stall and behave abnormally. As it continued he decided to jettison his bombs safely about 50 miles out to sea and after doing so set course for home. 20 minutes from base the port engine coolant needle flickering and the temperature began to rise.

Although nearly on track Johnny made "Darky" calls (a system of homing at night on radio bearings provided by base) and asked for QDMs (the magnetic headings that he should steer) on North Luffenham until he reached Woolfox beacon. Despite spending 10 minutes in the vicinity of base calling them on the TR9 radio transceiver he received no reply. It was later reported that his calls were received and answered but apparently the TR9 was faulty and thus he did not receive their replies.

With the coolant temperature reaching 135° C the flame dampers on the part engine suddenly went white hot, large flames coming from the exhausts. The port air-screw was feathered and the aircraft began to lose height. By this time they were over Woolfox beacon at 4000 feet and as Johnny needed no further assistance from the crew he ordered them to bale out.

Minutes later the gyro instruments ceased to function as the vacuum pump being used was on the port engine and as Johnny realised what was happening he changed over to the starboard pump, but it was too late, the aircraft having lost considerable height and control.

When the direction indicator stopped he had lost the beacon and at 2200 feet, unable to see any flare path and still losing height he abandoned the aircraft.

The aircraft crashed in a field 1½ miles south of Wittering Aerodrome at 2202 hours and as it burned out there had been insufficient evidence to show the cause of the coolant leak.

On investigation it was discovered that 2 x 1000lb bombs and 1 x 250lb incendiary bomb had hung up in the racks and this combined with the large fuel load would have made it very difficult if not impossible to maintain height on one engine. Had all the bombs been jettisoned and the fuel from the wing of the failed engine it would have helped the aircraft to maintain height and equalised the trim.

In the later report of 26 March concerning the crash the Station Commander of RAF North Luffenham remarked that it was the Observer's responsibility to check that all bombs had been jettisoned.

The crew all landed safely, Tom Stanley albeit in a tree. The crash report indicated that Wireless Operator Jock Clelland was injured but gave no details of the extent or type of injury sustained. However, he flew again 12 days later so the injury was clearly not too severe.

Having crashed on two consecutive operations crew confidence must have been low to say the least but apart from 2 aircraft on mine-laying operations on 23 March the services of 61 Squadron were not required by Bomber Command until 25 March. Essen was the nominated target once more and the squadron was to detail 10 Manchesters for the operation: the Johnny Hubbard crew was to be one of them.


A force of some 254 bombers comprised of 192 Wellingtons, 26 Stirlings, 20 Manchester, 9 Hampdens and 7 Lancasters was despatched for this operation to bomb Essen. It was the largest force to date sent against one target. Although 181 crews claimed to have bombed the target and many of them the Krupps works specifically, bombing photographic evidence showed that this was not the case. Many aircraft were drawn off by a decoy fire site 18 miles west of Essen at Rheinberg. Essen reported that only 9 high-explosive bombs and 700 incendiaries had fallen there. It was also reported that 1627 leaflets had had been dropped on Essen though it is hard to imagine that someone with actually charged with counting them. 1 house was reported destroyed, 2 seriously damaged, 5 people killed and 11 injured.

9 bombers were lost representing 3.5% of the force but much more significantly 5 of the 9 losses were Manchesters thus representing a staggering 25% of the 20 despatched.

2005 hours and the first of the ten 61 Squadron Manchesters detailed for the raid on Essen was airborne, followed 5 minutes later by the second. Somewhat surprisingly it was thirty minutes later at 2040 before the third Manchester took off followed at 5 minute intervals thereafter by the others. Despite 5/10 cloud it was a fine March evening of good visibility over base.

Johnny Hubbard and his crew were away by 2045 hours and shortly afterwards en route for Essen some 300 miles East. Missing from the usual crew was previously ever present 2nd pilot Peter Joslin: taking his place was Pilot Officer Alastair William Buchan, barely 20 years old and embarking on his first operational flight. Another Scot, he had abandoned his medical course at Aberdeen University and volunteered for the air force as soon as he turned 18.

By 2155 the target was in sight, already burning and shrouded in smoke. Johnny Hubbard lined up the aircraft and as he began the run in Bob Heggie, now in his capacity as Air Bomber, began issuing instructions to Johnny. Despite the heavy accurate flak bursting around them and numerous searchlights picking out potential victims Bob dropped the bomb load and to the crew's relief at about 2205 Johnny turned for home.

Whilst maintaining a constant look out for enemy fighters they crossed the Dutch border and apart from the constant following of searchlights all seemed to be OK. But nearing the coast over Northern Holland Peter Jones in the mid upper turret gave a warning of an aircraft approaching from the lower port quarter and immediately opened fire. In the same instant the attacker, an Me110, also opened fire, machine guns and cannon spitting bullets and shells at the Manchester.

Meanwhile, in the rear turret, Tom Stanley was confronted with a second Me110 attacking from astern and opened up at him with his four Brownings.

Seeing that the Manchester was badly ablaze and with the intercom unserviceable Peter Jones left his turret. He discovered that the aircraft was also severely damaged, badly holed, and in total disarray. Moving towards the front he found Observer Bob Heggie slumped over his table apparently dead and the 2nd Pilot, youngster Alastair Buchan lying in the gangway, also dead.

Johnny, although appearing to be wounded, was still flying the stricken aircraft whilst Jock Clelland was still manning the wireless, presumably sending to base.

Peter beckoned Jock to follow him to the rear where conditions were better but as Jock rose to follow him another burst of fire from the enemy fighter ripped into the aircraft and Jock collapsed over his radio. At the same time the Manchester went into a shallow dive as Johnny, apparently having been hit again, lifted his head and ordered Peter to abandon the burning aircraft.

Clutching his parachute Peter reached the rear turret to find a wounded Tom Stanley, who, having managed to turn his damaged turret manually was now sitting on the floor with his overall covered in blood. Peter, who was himself slightly injured, told Tom they had to bale out and after opening the exit door helped him into his parachute. Tom however, told Peter to go first and he would follow, so out Peter went.

Tom then went forward to see if he could do anything for the others, but finding all five dead, including Johnny, returned to the escape hatch in the tail section. As he was preparing to bale out however the aircraft turned on its side and with the exit door now facing downwards Tom jumped...and instantly collided nose first with the tail fin.

Already seriously wounded and now with a broken nose and temporarily unconscious Tom fell, but luckily came to just in time to open his parachute before hitting the ground.


Rein Posthuma had arrived home late that night: he had been to Oude Niedorp to see a patient and having cycled the six or seven miles home was looking forward to having something to eat. In those days Rein was a young assistant doctor to the local G.P., Doctor Gijsbrecht Van Hesteren at Warmenhuizen in North Holland.

Some time later Rein heard the sound of an aircraft and machine gun fire. He dashed outside but all he could see was the flash of tracer until finally one of the aircraft caught fire and went into a shallow dive apparently heading towards nearby houses just west of the Dutch Reformed church. He ran to warn his mother who lived there but by the time they came back outside the burning aircraft had crashed about 800 metres west of the church, the approximate location indicated by a fire glow in the Meertje, a small lake. Along with neighbour, Willem Sevenhuysen, Rein set off towards the lake where taking a boat, they made for the burning wreck.

Willem, handling the pole, guided the boat towards the blazing aircraft while Rein peered towards the flames looking for survivors. Conscious of the possibility of explosion the pair were proceeding cautiously when Willem heard a whistle. He alerted Rein to it and following the sound they soon discovered a seriously injured airman about 150 metres east of the burning plane.

Luck had once more intervened and instead of hitting the frozen ground Tom Stanley had landed on the soft bank of a small lake, half in and half out of the water. Still dazed following his encounter with the tail fin, in desperate pain from his wounds and struggling with his parachute Tom had somehow dragged himself up the bank and blown his whistle hoping to attract Peter Jones. Tom later described his first sighting of his rescuer as "a shape, just a black angel, in the light of the flames".

In his confused state Tom had not realised that his clothes were also burning but Rein instantly pulled off the parachute and rolled Tom on the ground to extinguish the flames before getting him into the boat and in due course back to the doctor's surgery.

Back at the surgery Doctor Van Hesteran and Rein dealt with Tom's wounds. Apart from several shrapnel wounds, a broken nose and a bruised face he had a bullet in his right shoulder, another in his side and a third in his right thigh. Despite his condition he managed to give them his name and address, 12 Neptune Street, Liverpool. And when Rein asked about the situation in England it soon became clear from Tom's reply that things were not nearly as bad as the Germans would have the Dutch believe. But soon the Germans duly arrived and took Tom away. It would be 42 years before Tom returned to Holland where he was re-united with Rein.

It was some time later before Rein learned that providing medical assistance to allied airmen was not always approved of by the Germans and in some instances such transgressors had been executed for their pains.


Early the following morning, on his way to work, Rein's brother in law Klaas Mink saw another British airman at the former Zuiderbrug [South bridge] at Warmenhuizen. Klass was angered to see that the airman having been arrested by the Germans was being forced to march with his hands in the air in front of a soldier who trained his gun on him. The airman was Peter Jones who had also survived the crash.

Peter, having baled out when the aircraft was at a higher altitude had landed after Tom and having apparently drifted further east landed in the North Sea. He saw his aircraft crash on land and after landing in the sea and extricating himself from his parachute, inflated his Mae West. Checking his watch he noted that the time was 10.35. Seeing searchlights on the shore he began to swim towards them. Swimming and resting it was some three hours later and by then exhausted, that he dragged himself ashore. He staggered into a ploughed filed where he collapsed and slept fitfully until daybreak before setting out across fields and canals. He eventually had the misfortune to be spotted and arrested by two German soldiers on a barge manned by Dutchmen. Marched to Warmenhuizen he was then taken by car into captivity.

In a diary written by Peter Jones whilst a prisoner of war he gives the details of his final flight, subsequent capture and incarceration. To read Peter's story click here

Tom Stanley and Peter Jones spent the next three years as prisoners of war. After baling out of the stricken Manchester they never met again. Peter Jones died in 1996 and Tom Stanley in 2000.

The five crew members killed in the crash were laid to rest at the Bergen General Cemetery on the coast of Noord-Holland about 6km north west of Alkmaar.

One of the two German fighters that attacked Manchester L7518 was flown by the then Hauptmann (later Oberst) Helmut Johannes Siegfried Lent of II/NJG 2 stationed at Leeuwarden airfield, Friesland. He claimed it as his 31st victory in a career total of 110. See biographical details number 9)


(1) P/O. John Ralph "Johnny" Hubbard was born on 18 March 1915 at Rhu, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, Scotland the son of Robert Sowter Hubbard (an Engineer) and Marion Stevenson Hubbard nee Steel later of East Blatchington, Sussex. He had four siblings: Robert Pearce Steel Hubbard (1909-1969), Mary Dickson Hubbard (1911-1996), Elizabeth Sowter Hubbard (1913-2000) and Archibald Douglas Hubbard (1917-1968).

742549 Sgt. John Ralph Hubbard was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 15 October 1941 (London Gazette 2 December 1941)

On 23 October 1941 he was posted to No. 25 Operational Training Unit at RAF Finingley in the West Riding of Yorkshire and completed operational training on 24 November. He was posted to No. 61 Squadron based at RAF Woolfox Lodge, Rutland on 2 December 1941.

He is commemorated on the Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle

(2) P/O. Alastair William Buchan was born in 1922 at Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, Scotland the son of Councillor George Buchan and Janetta Wilson M. Buchan nee West later of Torquay, Devon. He was educated at Fraserburgh Academy and Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen.

He began his medical course at the University of Aberdeen, but volunteered for the Royal Air Force on reaching the required age.

1369753 LAC Alastair William Buchan was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 30 September 1941 (London Gazette 11 November 1941)

He is commemorated on the University of Aberdeen Roll of Honour, the Fraserburgh War Memorial, Aberdeenshire and the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.

In June 2023 we were informed by Jude Hewlett, that P/O. Buchan is also commemorated on The Torquay War Memorial at Princess Gardens, Torquay, Devon.

(3) P/O. Robert Heggie was born on 6 September 1912 at Brampton, Ontario, Canada the son of Dr. David Livingstone Heggie, M.D., and Margaret Edith Heggie nee Crawford. He had five siblings: Helen Hope Heggie born 1899, David Colin Heggie born 1900, Mary Margaret Heggie born 1906, Ian Coulson Heggie born 1909 and William Laurie Heggie born 1914. The family lived at 625 Avenue Road Toronto. His father died in 1930.

Bob Heggie was educated at Brampton Public School and Brampton High School until he was 18 in 1930. He then studied Forestry Engineering at the University of Toronto graduating in 1935 with a BSc. in Forestry. After graduating he worked as a Forestry Engineer for Hammermill Paper Company and Spruce Falls Power and Paper Company until enlisting at Montreal Quebec on 24 October 1940. He played lacrosse, football and tennis: he had some experience of using aerial photographs and had a knowledge of Morse code and semaphore. He was 5' 8½" tall weighing 152 lbs with medium a complexion, brown eyes and brown hair.

After training at No. 31 Air Navigation School at RCAF Port Albert Ontario, No. 1 Air Observer School at RCAF Malton Ontario and No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Jarvis Ontario he was awarded his Observers Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 9 June 1941. He was then posted to No. 1 Air Navigation School at RCAF Rivers Manitoba and on 8 July 1941 was commissioned as a Pilot Officer. He was posted to RCAF St Hubert Quebec on 19 July until 25 July before embarking for the UK where on 16 August 1941 he was posted to No. 25 Operational Training Unit at RAF Finningley in the West Riding of Yorkshire. On completion of operational training at RAF Finningley he was posted with the rest of his crew to No. 61 Squadron based at RAF Woolfox Lodge, Rutland on 2 December 1941.

(4) F/Sgt. John George Clelland was probably born Hutchesontown, Glasgow, Scotland in 1911.

He is commemorated on the Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle.

Nothing further known, if you have any information please contact our helpdesk

(5) Sgt. Albert Wallace Baker was born in 1920 at Whetstone, Barnet, London the son of Albert William Baker (a Dairyman) and Ellen Elizabeth Baker nee Dove later of 55 Arcadian Avenue, Bexley, Kent.

Albert joined the RAFVR in the summer of 1940 and after basic training and initial wireless training in November 1940 he was posted for the final three months of his wireless operators course including aerial training to RAF Yatesbury in Wiltshire.

In January 1941 he qualified as a wireless operator and was awarded his "sparks badge". He was later posted for air gunnery training and then to No. 25 Operational Training Unit at RAF Finingley in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He was posted to No. 61 Squadron based at RAF Woolfox Lodge, Rutland on 2 December 1941.

Left: Second World War period unofficial British award, the Caterpillar Club badge was presented to Royal Air Force personnel who had 'baled out' successfully wearing an Irvin parachute made by the Irvin Air Chute Company. The recipient's name was engraved on the reverse. The badge was not worn on uniform but on the lapel of civilian clothing. Photograph courtesy Imperial War Museum showing actual size.

(6) W/O. Thomas Charles Stanley MBE, BSM was born on 25 September 1911 at Prescot, Lancashire the son of Edward Stanley and Frances Jane Stanley nee Pennington

On 28 December 1945 he was awarded the MBE for distinguished service whilst a prisoner of war and promulgated in the London Gazette of the same date.

He was also the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal conferred upon him by the President of the United States of America in recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the war: awarded on 19 November 1946 and promulgated in the London Gazette of that date.

After being liberated in 1945 Tom returned to the UK and in February 1946 married his girl friend Doris Hancocks in Liverpool. Tom rarely spoke of the war but deeply missed the crew with which he had flown and never forgot the moment that he had to leave them lying dead in the stricken Manchester.

The first he knew of their last resting place was when a Dutch historical society placed an appeal in a newspaper. Ever after, until too ill to do so, he had travelled each May to lay flowers on the five graves of his pals.

Tom Stanley died at Liverpool on Sunday 13 August 2000 aged 88. His funeral service and cremation took place on 16 August 2000. But that was not to be the end of Tom's story.

Doris Stanley was determined that Tom should be reunited with the pals of whom he thought so much. Special permission was obtained from the Commonwealth Graves Commission for his cremated remains to be interred with those of his crew mates on condition that there was no ceremony. Somewhat sadly because Tom did not die during war service his name could not appear on a headstone. Nevertheless Doris went ahead with her request.

On Friday 13 October 2000 Doris looked on proudly as the casket containing Tom's cremated remains was interred in the grave of Wireless Operator Jock Clelland at Bergan General Cemetery alongside his other crew mates; Johnny Hubbard, Bob Heggie, Albert Baker and Alastair Buchan.

After 58 years Tom was finally reunited with his pals.

(7) W/O. Peter Jones of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Nothing further known, if you have any information please contact our helpdesk

(8) Sgt Peter Clement Vellacott Joslin was born in 1912 at Hornchurch, Essex the son of John Henry Joslin (a Farmer) and Mary Ruth Joslin nee Vellacott. He had a brother John Henry Joslin born 1909. In 1933 he married Mildren Ellen Johnson at Stockport and later of Black Notley, Essex

903564 Sgt, P.C.V. Joslin was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) 131479 on 1 August 1942 (London Gazette 27 October 1942)

He was killed on 5 September 1942 when Lancaster R5682 of No. 61 Squadron and of which he was the Captain, crashed near Wartena, Holland whilst on a raid to Bremen. Three of the crew were killed, the other four becoming prisoners of war.

Peter Joslin was buried at Idaarderadeel (Wartena) General Cemetery, Friesland. Grave Ref: B.12.21

(9) Oberst Helmut Johannes Siegfried Lent was born 13 June 1918 at Pyrehne near Landsberg, Brandenburg, Germany the son of a Lutheran minister. He came from a devoutly religious family and against his father's wishes he joined the Luftwaffe in 1936. During his career he shot down a total of 110 aircraft, 102 of them at night. He was the first night fighter pilot to claim 100 night victories which earned him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds on 31 July 1944. On 5 October 1944, he flew a Junkers Ju 88 on a routine transit flight from Stade to Nordborchen, 5km south of Paderborn. On approaching Paderborn Airfield his aircraft suffered engine failure and collided with power lines. All four members of the crew were mortally injured. Three of the crew died shortly after the crash and Helmut Lent succumbed to his injuries two days later on 7 October 1944.


(1) P/O. John Ralph Hubbard was buried at Bergen General Cemetery Plot 1. Row D. Grave 14

No epitaph

(2) P/O. Alastair William Buchan was buried at Bergen General Cemetery Plot 1. Row D. Grave 13

His epitaph reads:


Are the pure in heart:

For they shall see God

(3) P/O. Robert Heggie was buried at Bergen General Cemetery Plot 1. Row D. Grave 10

No epitaph

(4) F/Sgt. John George Clelland was buried at Bergen General Cemetery Plot 1. Row D. Grave 12

No epitaph

(5) Sgt. Albert Wallace Baker was buried at Bergen General Cemetery Plot 1. Row D. Grave 11

His epitaph reads:

He gave his life

That others might live

"Thy will be done"

Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - November 2017

With thanks to the sources quoted below.

RW 10.11.2017

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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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