Date: 17th March 1945 (Saturday)
Unit No: 550 Squadron (motto: er Ignem Vincimus - 'Through fire we conquer'), 1 Group
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF North Killingholme, Lincolnshire
Location: Withernsea sea front, Yorkshire
Pilot: Plt Off. Alfred Churchill Lockyer 428130 RNZAF Age 23. Killed (1)
Flt Eng: Sgt. Frederick Edward Drawbridge 1897969 RAFVR Age 22. Baled out - injured (2)
Nav: Sgt. William Berry 1802847 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Bomb Aimer: WO. Harry Lawrence Farmer 1333628 RAFVR Age? Missing - believed killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Leslie Elliot 1591992 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air Gnr (Mid Upper): Sgt. Sidney Matthews 1597703 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Dennis Lucey 1796049 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Lancaster NG13 had taken off from RAF North Killingholme at 17:04 hrs on a night-fighter affiliation exercise. 10 minutes into the flight the crew were informed that it had been cancelled and that they were to proceed to the bombing range at Alkborough.
During the exercise, after dropping some 10 bombs out of the 16 they carried, base advised them at 21:15 hrs to return. This they did flying at about 6,500 ft. Arrived near the airfield flying at 4,000 ft noticed no sign of any circuit lights.
At 21:35 air raid warnings were heard over Hull and at 21:37 hrs the crew were advised that there were bandits about and to douse their lights, which they immediately did.
Sgt. Lucy reported that a twin engined aircraft was flying behind them and began to close rapidly. He gave the instruction 'Corkscrew Port', which the pilot carried out and the night fighter overshot them. A two further attacks were made and in each the pilot evaded by making corkscrews.
Description of Corkscrew Manoeuvre
The final attack hit the Lancaster at the rear and fire broke out.
Losing control of the aircraft the pilot ordered the crew to bale out. It is known that W/O. Farmer did, and locals heard cries for help, but it seems that despite the lifeboat being launched and the navy informed he was lost over the sea. Sgt. Drawbridge also managed to bale out after some difficulty making his way to the escape hatch. He landed in a field about a mile east of Partington and severely sprained his ankle on landing. He then crawled across a field to a road and managed to stop a bus which took him to a doctor in Withernsea where he was collected by the local Police station and called his base.
The bombing of Hull during the night caused some 13 fatalities with a further 22 seriously injured. Some 41 houses suffered light damage with 10 shops reaching the same.
NG132 was claimed by Fw. Heinz Hommel, his 3rd Abschuss, from 7./NJG2 over Withensea at 21:35 hrs.
Fw. Hommel took off from Marx airfield in Ju-88 G-6 4R+MR at 19:42 hrs and claimed a Lancaster shot down into the Humber Estuary. He subsequently recorded in his Leistungsbuch (Flight Log Book) "88th Feindflug. Ju 88 G-6. 17.3.1945. 19.42 -23.23. Duration of the sortie 221 mins, including 30 mins over England Enemy contact : combat with one Lancaster and light flak. Long range intruding over England in area of Hull. 3rd Schuss, 1 Lancaster. Hull brightly illuminated. Engaged 1 Lancaster, made strong evasive manoeuvres. Suffered failure of port engine. Shot down adversary on minute later on one engine. Texted dropped 2 AB-500 with 37 SD-10 into main street of Hull (holderness Road), causing dark-red fires, probably from trams or automobiles. Flight back at 2500 m. Smooth single-engined landing". (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1 January 1945 - 3 May 1945) Part 6 - Theo Boiten).
Fw. Heinz Hommel survived the war despite being wounded on the 3rd/4th April 1945 by anti-aircraft fire near Stolzenau. Total of 3 Abschüsse.
Note: Some publications have the crash site as Sunk Island, which is further south on the River Humber, we feel that we have the correct location but of course, if you know different we would like to hear from you.
Darren has contacted Aircrew Remembered and informed us that NG132 crashed in a field behind a water tower at Rimswell, Withernsea. He has copies of telegrams sent to Beverley by the Withernsea police confirming the crash site. Darren has spoken with a living witness and the daughter of another, and has arranged for written accounts and the exact location.
He tells us that the farmer, in whose field the aircraft crashed, left the location to nature. After the farmer passed away the land was sold to another farmer who was not aware of the reason and started farming the location again.
(1) Plt Off. Lockyer then Flt Sgt. with 12 Operational Training Unit (OTU), escaped with injuries when the Wellington X NC452 force landed at 00:47 hrs at RAF Chipping Borden when the navigator inadvertently turned off the fuel supply whilst changing tanks. All crew injured but no fatalities.
During training with 12 OTU the pilot, Flt Sgt. Lockyer had been involved in three accidents:
30th/31st July Wellington X NC452: Out of RAF Chipping Warden at 22:07 hrs. on a night training exercise made a wheels retracted forced landing as the navigator inadvertently switched off the fuel supply whilst changing tanks. The 3 crew survived with injuries.
14th August 1944 Wellington X HE754: Out of RAF Chipping Warden at 22:09 hrs. on a 'flashlight' sortie. Whilst at 15000 ft the port engine failed. Heading for RAF Castle Comb Flt Sgt. Lockyer ordered the 5 crew to bale out which they all did successfully. He managed to crash land the aircraft at 23:25 hrs he escaped from the Wellington before it caught fire.
The other accident which took place on the 30th May 1944. No further details found.
10th February 1943 No. 3 Squad, 'B' Flight Pilots course 37B. No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School
L-R: Rear; Allan Graham Moffitt 422973, Alfred Churchill Lockyer 428130 - Killed 17 March 1945, Kenneth Allan Richdale 425291, Richard Edward Ralph Robertshawe 429919, W.D.F May.
Centre; Sydney Logan Scott 428157, John Austin White Pauling 422976, John Charnley Simpson 427333, John Desmond Nash 424826, C.H.T Morrison.
Front; P.W Nicholas, R.D Norrish, Norman Kay Robson 428151, B.R Shakes, Robert Stewart Montgomery 422974.
(2) Sgt. Frederick Edward Drawbridge survived the war. Born on the 7th November 1922 at Aylesbury. He had been a member of the Fenland Aviation Museum. He is shown below showing a print of NG132 which the museum were selling to raise funds, the painting was done by Mr. Les Pooley of Wisbech St. Mary. Sadly Frederick passed away on the 18th January 1992, age 69.
Plt Off. Alfred Churchill Lockyer. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonewall) Sec H. Row J. Grave 9. Born on the 02nd October 1921 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Moved tp New Zealand in around 1930. Educated at Rongota College. A shipping and customs clerk for W.D and H.O Wills Limited in Wellington. Served 6 months in New Zealand territorial army. Enlisted in the RNZAF at New Plymouth on the 11th of July 1942. Trained at No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School on the 06th of February 1943 and No. 2 Service Flying Training School on the on 03rd of April 1943. Pilot badge awarded on the 07th June 1943 and promoted to sergeant on the 31st of July 1943. Embaked for England on the 21st of August 1943. With No. 12 Personnel Reception Centre on the 15th October 1943. Awarded commission on the 23rd of February 1945. Joined 550 squadron the 13th March 1945. Son of John Adams Lockyer (died 15th November 1957, age 59) and Gertrude Lockyer (née Stuart - died 18th July 1967, age 69), of Wellington City, New Zealand. Total of 527 hours logged and completed a single operational sortie before he was killed.
Sgt. William Berry. Eastbourne Cemetery (Ocklynge) Plot Z. Grave 686. Son of Alfred and Ethel Winifred Berry, of Eastbourne, Sussex, England.
WO. Harry Lawrence Farmer. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 269. Husband to Olive (née Preston) Farmer of Pwllheli, Caernarfonshire, Gwynedd, Wales.
Sgt. Leslie Elliot. Goole Cemetery. Sec. B. Plot 4. Grave 758. Son of Wilfred and Esther Ann Elliott, of Goole, Yorkshire, England.
Sgt. Sidney Matthews. Holme-Upon-Spalding Moor Churchyard (All Saints). Sec.C. Grave 35. Son of William (died 20th March 1959, age 80) and Gertrude Matthews (died 15th July 1968, age 82), of Holme on Spalding Moor, Yorkshire, England.
Sgt. Dennis Lucey. Canovee Graveyard, Irish Republic. Son of Denis and Annie Lucey (née Brown - died 3rd May 1965), of Model Village, Tower, County Cork, Irish Republic.
Researched by Kelvin Youngs (Webmaster) and placed for relatives of the crew. We are in contact with the daughter of the sole survivor, Sgt. Drawbridge Mrs. Sheila Kimberley and also the Nephew of WO. Harry Farmer, Mr, Derek Saunders. (Nov 2021). Also to RAF Commands Forum and Errol Martyn’s publications - “For Your Tomorrow” for additional details, Auckland Library Heritage Collection. Update with new information for crash site, thanks to Darren (Aug 2022).
RS 27.08.2022 - Update to crash site
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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