Operation: Stuttgart, Germany
Date: 15/16th March 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 408 Squadron (motto: 'For Freedom')
Type: Lancaster II
Base: RAF Linton-On-Ouse, Yorkshire
Location: Hilsenheim, French / German border
Pilot: P/O. Norman Andrew Lumgair J/86440 RCAF Age 23. Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Douglas Cruickshank 620947 RAF Age 23. Killed
Nav: P/O. George Parker J/85528 RCAF Age 29. Killed
Air/Bmr: P/O. William Taylor J/89913 RCAF Age 24. Killed (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. William Lawrence Doran J/86233 RCAF Age 30. Killed (3)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Henry Hudson 305164 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. 'Bud' Robert George Alfred Burt R/206418 RCAF Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Lancaster II LL637 EQ-P took off from Linton-On-Ouse, Yorkshire at 19:18 hrs. Shot down by Luftwaffe night fighter and crashed at Hilsenheim some 9 km northeast of Selestat, France.
Left to right: Bill Taylor, Norman Lumgair, Wally Richmond, George Parker and William Doran
Above left: Brothers, Left Bob Lumgair and right Norman - both served in 408 Squadron
Above right: Buddy (3rd from left middle row), taken during training June 1943 at Trenton, Ontario, Canada. Can you name any of the others?863 aircraft - made up of 617 Lancasters, 230 Halifaxes and 16 Mosquitos took part in this raid.
The German night fighters split the force into two parts. The bombers flew over France nearly as far as the Swiss border before turning North East to approach Stuttgart. This resulted in delaying the Luftwaffe from making contact with the bomber force. When the German fighters did arrive just before Stuttgart was reached fierce combat followed.
Above left to right: P/O. Norman Lumgair, Sgt. Douglas Cruickshank, P/O. George Parker and P/O. William Taylor
P/O. William Doran, Sgt. Robert Hudson and Sgt. Robert BurtA total of 37 aircraft were lost (27 Lancasters and 10 Halifaxes - 2 other Lancasters force landed in Switzerland.)
Adverse winds delayed the opening of the attack and the same winds may have caused the pathfinder marking to fall back well short of the target area - despite the clear weather conditions.
Some of the bombings fell in the city centre but most were ineffective and fell into the open country south-west of the city.
The bombing destroyed some housing and a college. A total of 88 people on the ground were killed and a further 203 injured.
Stuttgart raid 14/15th March 1944, Aircrew losses:
Killed: 218 - Injured: 3 - PoW: 47 - Interned: 1 - Evaded: 17
We have received other reports that this aircraft had been taken down by the anti-aircraft fire and these are being researched. Another report writes that the Lancaster collided with another. We would be very pleased to hear from anyone who is able to provide any further information on this. Any information received will also be passed on to the families (Mrs Lisa Russ) who has written a memorial book for this crew.'Lumgair Creek' which flows east into Sipiwesk Lake in Manitoba is named after Norman Lumgair
(2) 'Taylor Bay' in Russell Lake, Saskatchewan is named after William Taylor.
(3) 'Doran Creek', in the Cariboo Land District, BC is named after William Doran
The sister of P/O. William Taylor, Ms Isabel Taylor, wrote and dedicated a poem to him. We have also received further information from Lisa regarding other members of the crew. The first article is in regards to 'P/O. William Taylor' is reproduced on our website.
Photo courtesy Lisa Jean Russ: LL637 Headstones, Hilsenheim Communal Cemetery
Last Flight to Stuttgart: Searching for the Bomber Boys of Lancaster LL637. Author: Lisa Russ.
Publisher: Heritage House (16 Oct. 2018) 257 Pages.
P/O. Norman Andrew Lumgair. Hilsenheim Communal Cemetery Collective grave No. 4. Born on the 12 April 1922 in Franklin. Son of Robert Wallace Lumgair and Hannah Louisa Lumgair (née Ching), of Thornhill, Manitoba, Canada. His epitaph reads:
After he had
In his own generation
Served the council of God,
He fell asleep
Sgt. Douglas Cruickshank. Hilsenheim Communal Cemetery Collective grave No. 4. Son of William and Ellen Cruickshank, of Oatlands, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. His epitaph reads:
By his father and mother,
Brother and sisters
P/O. George Parker. Hilsenheim Communal Cemetery Collective grave No. 4. Son of Levi and Mary Ann Parker; husband of Patricia Anne Parker, of Morinville, Alberta, Canada. His epitaph reads:
Ever remembered by
Pat, Gail, George, Levi Parker.
P/O. William Taylor. Hilsenheim Communal Cemetery Grave No. 1. Born on the 20th of April 1920 in Saskatchewan. Son of Harry Herbert (died in 1969, age 98) and Mary Ann Taylor (née Quail - died in 1956, age 76), of Nottingham, Saskatchewan, Canada.
His epitaph reads:
“ Thy will be done “
P/O. William Lawrence Doran. Hilsenheim Communal Cemetery Collective grave No. 4. Born on the 02nd September 1914 in Vancouver. Son of William John and Jessie Hearst Doran; husband of Marjorie Evelyn Doran, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
His epitaph reads:
We loved him in life,
Let us not forget him
Sgt. Robert Henry Hudson. Hilsenheim Communal Cemetery Grave No. 3. Son of Walter Henry and Madeline Hudson, of Sileby, Leicestershire, England. His epitaph reads:
At the going down
Of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember him
Sgt. 'Bud' Robert George Alfred Burt. Hilsenheim Communal Cemetery Collective grave No. 2. Born on the 08th April 1924 in Brampton. Son of Robert Oliver (died 16th March 1969, age 69) and Myrtle Bessie Burt (née Weller - died 04th December 1952, age 52), of Brampton, Ontario, Canada. Epitaph pending via Lisa Russ
Researched by Lisa Russ, Canberra, Australia. (Relative of Sgt. Rober Burt) for Aircrew Remembered - all photographs courtesy Lisa. As soon as her book is published - details are now on this page. With thanks also to Tina O who corrected personal details on Sgt. ‘Bud’ Burt, September 2015.
ADDENDUM: LL637 AND LAST FLIGHT TO STUTTGART
LAST FLIGHT TO STUTTGART by Lisa Jean Russ
For most of her life, Lisa Russ knew little about her second cousin, Robert “Bud” George Alfred Burt, other than the fact that he was a tail gunner in a Lancaster Bomber during the Second World War. It was only when Russ found herself displaced, unemployed, and homesick in Australia that she began to search for a deeper connection to her family back in Canada and stumbled upon the remarkable story of Bud and his fellow crewmen, who were shot down on an operation to Stuttgart, Germany, in March 1944. Although they were but a few of the tens of thousands of Allied soldiers who perished in the War, for Russ they became an emblem of courage and sacrifice. Last Flight to Stuttgart is a riveting story, told in parallel timelines, of one woman’s quest for remembrance of a brave crew and their ill-fated mission.
This is a captivating read in all aspects, diligently researched and gently crafted. One is introduced to this rookie crew from cradle to their last fateful mission. Their personalities are moulded, strengths and flaws, as they develop through childhood, maturation, marriage and military training. In the process it is impossible not to experience their journeys vicariously, with the peaks and valleys of life’s challenges. As a result there is a sense of a temporal tour of seven individual lives that fate has them converging, to crew up for their operational tour. By the time of their last mission, one is attached to them spiritually and emotionally.
With the Last Flight to Stuttgart, the author exemplifies the mysterious, magical connectivity that in special circumstances results in the development of a mystical bond between a relative and a combatant killed in action. This connection is inexplicable and lifelong. Time is not a factor and this can germinate generations after the tragic event.
As the reader is carried along with this predominantly Canadian crew, one is mesmerized as the author adopts this crew as her ‘family’, through recruitment, attestation, initial training, crewing up, operational and heavy conversion training, and finally posting to their operational Squadron. One is carried from their home Base haunts to their final resting place in Occupied France. It is almost impossible not to assume this crew as an integral part of one’s own family. The effect is infectious for many of us who have travelled an identical journey.
Last Flight to Stuttgart provides a rare opportunity to experience this phenomenon.
Parker Family: Rear- l. to r. George Jr,, George and Gail, Front- Patricia Anne Parker (ca. 1943)
The Infamous Beningbrough Hall Bathtub
Dear Mr Albrecht
Please find an image of the bathtub attached. You may already be aware but there is an anonymous account from a 408 Squadron Canadian SNCO about the bath which comments:
‘There was only one bathroom for twenty five men. Ah but the bathtub. A huge seven foot crater! The only time I was ever warm in an English winter was when immersed to the chin in that tub. Government regulations prohibited the use of more than five inches of hot water. The frozen young Canadians said , “B***,” and plunged in to their necks.’
I often smile when I pass through the bathroom and think of the joy that simple pleasure must have given them at such a challenging time.
Kind regards and festive tidings
Caroline (Hill, National Trust, Collections & Manager)
REASON FOR LOSS:
It is interesting that the author postulates the demise of LL637 and her crew as the result of a night fighter attack with evasive action culminating in a mid-air collision with another, and possibly a third Lancaster. Theo Boiten in the relevant volume of the Nachtjagd Combat Archives provides the following account of these events:
Uffz. Robert Koch: 1 6./NJG1 4-mot Rosheim near Mussig, 6 km SE Sélestat: 6.500 m. 22.35 101 Sqn Lancaster ME558.
Note: ME558 collided in mid-air with 408 Sqn Lancaster LL637, LL637 being cut in half, the front part crashing at the entrance of Hilsenheim and the rear part hitting the ground near Wittisheim. ME558 crashed at Breitenheim near Mussig, the sole survivor, Sgt. John F. Ennis, baling out near Wittisheim, where he was taken PoW. Tragically, he was executed two days later by a Wittisheim-based German soldier who had lost his wife and daughter in an Allied bombing raid on Köln. .
This is a very close fit to Lisa Russ’s recounting and clarifies the following statement in Last Flight to Stuttgart:
“Sgt. Ennis, the flight engineer from the ABC-equipped Lancaster, SR-Q (ME558), …, parachuted from the plane, which was seen “ablaze” in the sky “and partly burnt out before crashing” at Breitenheim near Mussig. Ennis was later found dead, floating on Lake Baggerloch on the edge of Wittisheim, not far from the tail end of EQ-P (LL637). His last moments remain a mystery. Those who found the body first assumed he had drowned or died of some injury incurred while parachuting from the plane, but a bullet hole in the nape of his neck suggested another cause.” Note 28: Patrick Baumann, personal notes given to the author, August 28, 2010.
Crash sites of Lancasters: LL637 and ME558
This supports the information provided in the account provided by Theo Boiten in the Nachtjagd Combat Archives, for the losses of Lancasters ME558 and LL637, with the statement that it was ME558 initially attacked by Uffz Koch and LL637 falling victim in the ensuing collision. This could have resulted from ME558 being rendered uncontrollable from the attack or taking evasive action, unaware of the proximity of LL637 in the bomber stream.
The loss of No. 101 Squadron’s ME558 was tragic for the Squadron and crew’s families. They were a seasoned, battle-hardened team:
Pilot: P/O James Clegg GM 171637 RAFVR age 29 died March 15, 1944
Fl/Eng: Sgt John Frederick Ennis 1582755 RAFVR age 20 died March 15 (?), 1944 (See note above in Reason for Loss by Theo Boiten)
Nav: F/Sgt Victor Jack Pickford 1339536 RAFVR age 21 died March 15, 1944
Air/Bmr: Sgt Edward Andrew Cunningham 1339759 RAFVR age 21 died March 15, 1944
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt Lawrence Rex Melbourne RAFVR 1493493 age 23, died March 15,1944
Air/Gnr: F/Sgt Cecil Glen Arthur 429902 RAAF age 20 died March 15, 1944
Air/Gnr: Sgt Joseph Bagnall Bull 1806789 RAFVR age 21 died March 15, 1944
Air/Gnr: Sgt Robert Liderth 2208850 RAFVR age 35 died March 15, 1944
BURIAL DETAILS FOR THE CREW OF ME558:
Mussig and Choloy Cemeteries
P/O James Clegg GM: Son of Thomas and Florence Clegg, husband of Gladys Clegg, of Peel, Isle of Man. Buried at Mussig Churchyard No. 1, France, Coll. Gr. 3. His epitaph reads:
Of a dear husband
Son and daddy
Sgt John Frederick Ennis: Son of William Edgar and Isabella Ennis of West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire. Buried at Choloy War Cemetery, France, 3.F.13. His epitaph reads:
Live in our hearts always
CWGC: Headstone page notation:—
Name of Burial Place: COMM. CEMS. FRANCE GROUP NO. 15B (RAILHEAD COLMAR)
1582775 Sergeant J.F. Ennis III,F.13 CHOLOY WAR CEMETERY. NO.16
WITTISHEIM COM. CTY., NO 1
Hand written in red ink: Burial removed to Choloy War Cem., (Grave location
F/Sgt Victor Jack Pickford: Son of Walter Thomas and Elsie Louise Pickford, of Romford, Essex. Buried at Mussig Churchyard No. 1, France, Coll. Gr. 7. His epitaph reads:
Far away but not forgotten
Sgt. Edward Andrew Cunningham: Son of William and Grace Cunningham, of Bristol. Buried at Mussig Churchyard No. 1, France, Coll. Gr. 4. His epitaph reads:
That he shall rise again
In the resurrection
At the last day”
Sgt Lawrence Rex Melbourne: Son of Arthur and Mary Melbourne, of Wharton, Winsford, Cheshire. Buried at Mussig Churchyard No.1, France, Coll. Gr. 6. His epitaph reads:
Sweet is the word
Remembrance—of one you loved
And sadly miss.
F/Sgt Cecil Glen Arthur: Son of Cecil Clarence and Anne Arthur, of Booleroo Centre, South Australia. Buried at Mussig Churchyard No. 1, France, Coll. Gr. 1. His epitaph reads:
Greater love hath no man
Sgt Joseph Bagnall Bull: Son of Ernest Reuben and Alice Elizabeth Bull; husband of Audrey Louise Bull, of Winston, Bournemouth, Hampshire. Buried at Mussig Churchyard No.1, France, Coll. Gr. 2 His epitaph reads:
At the going down
Of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them
Sgt Robert Liderth: Son of Robert and Martha Liderth, of Liverpool; husband of Elsie Jane Liderth, of Huyton, Liverpool. Buried at Mussig Churchyard No. 1, France, Coll. Gr. 5. His epitaph reads:
That we might live.
Wife and sons
Arthur, Robert, Ronald
AUTHOR’S NOTES 1:
I am most grateful to my brother-in-law, Phil Asher, for gifting me with a copy of Lisa Jean Russ’s, Last Flight to Stuttgart. This amazing work provided the catalyst for the addendum to the Aircrew Remembered archive report on the loss of No. 408 Squadron’s Lancaster, LL637. With this book Lisa manages to convey the mystical connectivity that develops between an individual and a relative who may have been killed in action. It is a compelling read, exceeding expectation in exemplifying the genesis of this magical bond.
One finds it difficult to comprehend the transition aboard Lancasters ME558 and LL637, tracking straight and level in the dark, cocooned in the bomber stream, en route to Stuttgart, 120 km to the northeast, unaware that they were being stalked by Uffz. Robert Koch. Within a matter of seconds, ME558 was in collision with LL637, slicing her in two at the aft fuselage. It is not surprising that there were no survivors from F/Sgt. Lumgair’s crew and first impression is that there were none from those of P/O Clegg’s. However, Lisa in her research discovered that Sgt. John Frederick Ennis’s body was found with evidence of a suspicious gunshot wound. Theo Boiten has confirmed that Sgt. Ennis was murdered two days after the Stuttgart raid. The CWGC website indicates that Sgt. Ennis died on March 15, 1944, initially buried at the Wittisheim Communal Cemetery and reburied at the Choloy War Cemetery, 120 kms to the northwest of Mussig, the resting place for the remainder of his crew. This is rather unusual and the lack of access to MRES documents with an exhumation report is perplexing. We are hopeful that Theo will be able to provide additional documentation to set the record straight regarding Sgt. Ennis’s date and cause of death.
Little did Uffz. Koch realize the devastating impact, as he initiated his attack on Lancaster ME558 resulting in the collision with LL637. As the flames died down it was apparent that there were no survivors from the crew of LL637. With the loss of ME558, seven crew members perished on impact and Sgt. Ennis lost his life under suspicious circumstances, two days later.
As a result of this combat, five wives would be widowed, at least six children left fatherless and fifteen Squadron mess hall seats and billets vacant. Interestingly, Uffz. Koch would be credited with the loss of ME558 as his first victory but not LL637, as collateral damage. Seven months later, with a total ‘score’ of seven Allied viermots, Uffz. Koch would pay the price by becoming a POW on 7-8.10.44, when he was forced to bale out near Peer, Belgium, following an attack by a No. 409 Squadron Mosquito. We do not know if he survived the war.
Perhaps one of the most remarkable contributions of Lisa Jean Russ’s work is the exemplification of the emotional and motivational factors that result in surviving family and relatives developing a mystical, connective link with their deceased relative, who, on many occasions they had never met.
It is a sobering thought that Sgt. 'Bud' Burt would never be able to savour his deserved, first post op breakfast and have the
satisfaction of entering his initial 3 hours and 17 minutes of operational flying into his Air Gunners Logbook. After all the training and anticipation, gone with slash by the fickle finger of fate!
During the past four years I have been compiling Aircrew Remembered archive reports for the loss of seventy-four 625 Squadron Lancs that ‘failed to return’, or did so with catastrophic or dramatic results. In the process I have encountered many different factors that have resulted in a bond between the living and the dead. I have requested and received permission from relatives to share their unique experiences and motivational factors. Below are attached some examples along with the name and relationship of the next of kin, with the link to the appropriate Aircrew Remembered archive report, resulting in these comments and disclosures. JEA
“I wrote this book because I was compelled by the seven young men of EQ-P. To those men, I say: You will always be an inspiration for simply being who you were. You are not forgotten. You continue to shape my life. You are in my thoughts almost every day and so you will remain.” Lisa Jean Russ
'Brother’ and ‘Sister’
Second cousins: Sgt. 'Bud' Burt and author, Lisa Jean Russ
Prop Hub and LL637 Crash Debris
625 Squadron Loss #10: DV364, F/L Spark DFC and Crew. Details here.
Debbie Billing, a distant relative of P/O J.E. Alves, Navigator;
You asked how the archive report impacted our family. We were thrilled to learn the name of Sonny's son Pete Pearson and to reconnect with family lost to us for 70 years! We knew that Sonny married an English girl and had a child but we lost contact with his wife after WW II. We have since been in touch with Pete by email and shared family photographs. We hope to visit England and to meet up in person one day. We are so very grateful to you and Pete and thank you so very much.
625 Squadron Loss #21: ND641, W/O II J.D. Owen and Crew. Details here.
Peter Broadmore, son of Sgt. W.H. Broadmore, Flight Engineer;
I suppose the simplest explanation of the way I came into the ND641 family is that I was born into it. "Bill" Broadmore, the Flight Engineer, was my father.
I didn't know about the rest of 'the family' until I was well into my thirties. My mother had remarried after the war and, out of respect for my stepfather, didn't often speak of them. I knew only the broadest and vaguest of outlines. I was told that my father had been killed somewhere over Germany; that he was born in London; that there had been only one survivor (my mother always mistakenly referred to him as 'the pilot'); and that he was buried somewhere in the Netherlands.
The only source of information about him was my mother and, not to put too fine a point on it, she wasn't terribly helpful. I always had the impression that she was reluctant to say anything that might offend my ‘Dad'. When I was old enough to start asking questions, she was never able to tell me anything useful about his service life. She didn't know what squadron he was in or where it was based. For the longest time, I was under the impression that it flew out of Blackpool.
I had met my Broadmore grandparents briefly as a child, but London was a long way from Lancashire and, in the postwar years, visiting them was a major undertaking. They were pleasant and kind but I was a child. I was never with them long enough to get to know them properly. The last time I saw them, I was thirteen years old. A few months later, we boarded a ship for Canada.
I was well into my late thirties by the time I learned anything more about my father and that, was quite by chance. It wasn't something I obsessed about, but it's fair to say that I've spent most of my life wondering about my father and it's only over the last couple of decades that, piece by piece, I've managed to develop some sort of picture of his life.
About the rest of the ND-641 'family', I know very little. My mother was always the point of contact and she wasn't always as careful about keeping me in the loop.
Drs. John and Verna Shepherd, son-in-law and daughter of Sgt. F.B. Magee, Bomb Aimer;
As you know, but for other info, our relationship with ND641 is very close and personal. Verna’s father, the late Francis B Magee, was the bomb aimer and sole survivor of the shooting down of the plane on March 24/25, 1944. His rescue by the Dutch and Belgian underground is an amazing story in itself and is well covered in the news articles of which we have some and have given some to Mark Veldhuis in the Netherlands.
What is less well known is the “other relationship” with the plane and crew. My late mother in law, Vera F Magee, was originally married to Percival Simpkin, the wireless operator and air gunner on the crew. They had grown up close to each other in South London and had (like many others I suspect) gotten married in a bit of a rush prior to his tour of duty. The circumstances of this are not clear to me however as it was something that Vera never discussed with anyone and Frank was uncomfortable discussing. After Frank returned to London in the fall of 1944 he visited her and then 3 years later contacted her from Salmon Arm and asked if she would come out to Canada and marry him. She had the pluck (having survived the blitz I guess most Londoners had “the pluck”) to book a trans-Atlantic passage, take the train from Quebec City to just west of Salmon Arm (Tappen specifically) and get off to marry the third son of a struggling farm family (Frank’s 2 older brothers had both served and one had been a PoW for several years in Germany so the family was quite emotionally fractured I would imagine).
Frank and Vera were married on November 7, 1947, and remained married until her death in May 2012 and his subsequent death in August 2013.
When we visited the graves in Tubbergen in 2016, on Good Friday, March 25, the 72nd anniversary of the crash, we spread a small aliquot of Frank’s ashes across the stones in front of the graves and laid the roses in front of each gravestone. Although there was no one there except Verna and me, I said a few words and still recall them vividly: “Gentlemen, we commend to you the mortal remains of your comrade in arms, Francis Berry Magee. He loved you as brothers and revered your memory every single day of his life”.
Dr. David Baugh, cousin and godson of Sgt. J.C.A.D. Lavender, Navigator;
John Charles Anthony David Lavender
Anthony was born on 3rd October 1923, the first son of Percy and Mary Lavender. His only sibling was a brother Bernard, who died in 1966 of asthma; Bernard was married to Peggy and had two children, Robin and Jillian, but Anthony never married. The Lavenders lived on small-holding rearing chickens, rabbits, dogs and ducks in Sussex, but later moved to Hutton in Essex; later Percy had a milk round. Anthony was brought up a devout Roman Catholic, as his mother came from a strongly religious family. He left school at 15 but continued to study at home, doing correspondence courses in French, arithmetic and Latin. He helped considerably around the house as his mother had severe asthma, and had frequent admissions to the hospital. His extensive diary from January 1939 to November 1941 is punctuated with domestic duties, cleaning and cooking, helping on the small-holding, visits to the church where he served at mass, visits to Hastings to shows and films, and hearing lectures at nearby institutions. He was a close follower of the news and his diary is full of various press-cuttings showing the build-up to the war. He makes comments on the politics in Germany, Poland as well as in England. He understood the possible extension of the war to the Middle East, Finland and the involvement of Russia. He attempted to enrol as an air-warden but became a messenger instead. The detailed progress of the war in Europe occupied a lot of his attention but he still continued with his education in English, Arithmetic, and music, only to be interrupted by a bicycle accident in October 1940 when he broke his arm badly aged 16. He worked for a time as a postman but in 1941 September decided to join the RAF but was initially turned down on account of “cardio-vascular instability”. He started to get fit by blowing balloons and running and on Tuesday 4th November 1941 was accepted and sworn in as AC2 John Charles Anthony David Lavender 1398485, a very proud moment.
By May 1943, Anthony was training to be navigator/air gunner at West Freugh on Ansons, later on Wellingtons at Seighford, and by September 1943 on Lancasters at Faldingworth. He joined 625 squadron in October 1943 at Kelstern and his first mission was to Cassel on 22nd October with Flight Sergeant Owen as Captain. He was on 24 flights to enemy territory, his final one on 24th March when his plane, MK 111-type Lancaster ND-641 was shot down over Tubbergen, Holland. All the crew, bar one (Warrant Officer Frank Magee, bombardier) were killed. Sgt Anthony Lavender as he then was, is buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery at Tubbergen along with his comrades; Warrant Officer John (Jack) Owen, pilot; Sgt. Harry Nixon, gunner; Sgt Wilfred Broadmore, flight engineer; Sgt William Clark, gunner; and Sgt Percival Simpkin, signals officer/gunner.
In his will, he left his bible to his father, his daily missal to his mother, to his brother Bernard he left his bicycle and a much treasured religious book. He left legacies to Southwark Catholic Rescue society (for orphans), the hospital which cared for him when he broke his arm, his local parish, and various catholic education organisations. His clothes were to be given to the poor. He asked in his will that “…..all those who mourn me not to weep unduly, because parting is not the greatest evil. Death is but the gate to the greater happiness…..”
Anthony held his religion in the highest esteem. His sister-in-law is of the opinion that after the war, he would have become a Roman Catholic priest.
Anthony was my cousin and my godfather, and although I never met him, my parents knew him well. He left me a legacy in his will. I came across his diary which had been in the keeping of his aunts and I read with great interest his developing maturity and his eventual joining up in the RAF. I came into contact with the 625 Squadron and ND641 family through internet searches and managed to meet up in London with Jack Albrecht, nephew of Jack Owen, pilot of ND641. I attended a very moving reunion in Kelstern in 2018., where there were present three crew members from the war. I went to Tubbergen on the 75th anniversary of the crash in 2019 and met Mark Veldhuis who maintains the graves, putting poppies and crosses on Remembrance Day, ensuring that the crew’s sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Dr. John Albrecht, nephew of Pilot, W/O II J.D. Owen;
I was named in memory of my Uncle Jack. He became an integral part of my life as I progressed through my childhood into my adult years, and has never left me. A day does not go by that I ponder the final moments of his and the crew’s experience as they fell to earth over the eastern Netherlands—their thoughts, recollections and regrets. For two decades Frank Magee, and his family, became my ‘uncle in absentia’.
I am not a religious individual but have a belief there is a psychic phenomenon that develops between a military combatant KIA, wherein that individual’s soul/spirit searches for a relative to ‘share’ the remainder of their life with a form of ‘selective reincarnation’. The relative selected will have a special interest in ensuring that the sacrifice of the soul/spirit is not forgotten with the passage of time. In return, the soul/spirit will be rewarded to experiencing the lost years, a one-way ticket that ends with the relative’s death. In my unique ‘ten for the price of one’ life, I am quite certain that my Uncle Jack was looking over my shoulder for the first four aviation ‘lives’, whispering guidance into my ear to extract me from yet another spatial disorientation catastrophe—“I wouldn’t do that if I were you”. During my years of training to become a family physician he was there to enhance my learning processes and in practice was a factor in minimizing my diagnostic errors. Along with the ride, he was rewarded to learn the patient’s perspective, as I experienced cerebrovascular, cardiovascular and malignant life-threatening ‘adventures’. I am quite certain that he has been a significant guide/editor/censor as I have progressed with my retirement 625 Squadron Project—“There is no way that could have happened!”
Our ‘joint’ beat goes on, in my mind.
625 Squadron Loss #22, ED317, F/Sgt R.D.W. Jamieson and Crew. Details here.
Mr. and Mrs. Mark and Elizabeth Baillie, Elizabeth being the second cousin of F/Sgt R.D.W. Jamieson, Pilot. Flight Sergeant Ronald David Whamond Jamieson (my second cousin), No. 625 Squadron Lancaster I ED317
There are so many contributing factors towards my being so very interested in the story of my 2nd cousin Ronald's service career in the RAF. The whole story of the two brothers Ronald Whamond David Jamieson 625 Squadron and his brother John Alexander Barrie Jamieson 51 Squadron, both were killed in action, both being young men. The whole sad story has haunted me from a young age. The devastation on his parents was too much to bear and I believe that their Mother on receiving the news of the death of Ronald, some years following the death of John, she would not accept it, hence there being no message on the bottom of Ronald's gravestone in Berlin. As so many families experience, that was their family gone. Where and how does one try to recover and carry on with life and not even being able to see or bury their own flesh and blood. I had not heard this story regarding the headstone until talking to Uncle Harry and he told me about it. Their father died in Ceylon as quite a young man. Their Mother returned to Scotland, sadly, she died in a house fire. It's such a sad story, it had always been with me and will always remain with me. My family on my father's side are blood relatives of the author of Peter Pan, Sir JM Barrie who was born in Kirriemuir, Angus, where my Aunt and late Uncle live. Hence the Barrie in my relatives names and my Father is Archibald Arthur Barrie Jamieson and I have two cousins named Barrie.
John Alexander Barrie Jamieson is buried in Holland and I would very much like Mark and I to visit there.
I write this in memory of my dearest Uncle Harry (Jamieson) who sadly passed away earlier this year.
Towards the end of 2018, I received a phone call from my Aunt and Uncle (Harry and Maimie Jamieson), regarding an invitation they had received from Germany concerning a memorial cairn and service to commemorate the crashing of the above Lancaster and crew, exactly 75 years to the day at the site of the tragedy.
My Uncle was an R.A.F. enthusiast and was a member of the R.A.F. Aircrew Remembered team and he was able to provide information relating to various pieces of research. The invitation came via the Aircrew Remembered connection.
Sadly, neither my Aunt nor Uncle were able to attend. Myself and my husband, Mark, were overwhelmed when they asked us to represent them at this event. As my husband’s father was a Wireless Operator in the Lancaster during WWII (William H Baillie, ‘Bill’, Baillie) and with my fascination for war events, we were honoured to accept. As a tribute from my Aunt and Uncle, we were able to record a message from their home which my Aunt read in German. This message was played at the Ceremony in Germany. I was asked to speak, which I did and this was recorded and shown on German TV and radio. There was a piper at the Ceremony. The whole event was a life-changing and overwhelming experience. Mark and I will never forget it. We met wonderful people and were made so welcome. We met some gentlemen who remembered witnessing the actual crash. This was something I did not expect, to talk to people who witnessed and remembered. I was presented with a plaque that held a piece of the actual Lancaster. On our return, we were able to give this to Uncle Harry and Auntie Maimie as a gesture of our thanks and appreciation for asking us to attend on their behalf.
We spent an incredible time in Germany, visiting the War Grave in Berlin and then headed to Nägelstedt, Germany for the Ceremony on 24 March 2019 which was exactly 75 years to the day since the crash of ED317 (this operation is known as the night of the bad winds).
We thank everyone involved. Wonderful people, wonderful time.
Elizabeth and Mark Baillie, Brechin, Angus, Scotland (17/12/2020)
625 Squadron Loss: ND995, F/Sgt. F.P. Adams. Details here.
Scott Raymond, grandson of F/Sgt. Adams;
I've always been interested in his service, particularly as I also served in the military. I used to look at his log books long before the internet, which now allows access to so much more these days.
My older brother looks very much like him as well.
625 Squadron Loss #41, SD Flight: ND975, P/O W.M. Knowles. Details here.
Maureen Hicks, niece of F/Sgt. L.H. Lloyd, Bomb Aimer;
Why my continuing interest in Leslie Harold Lloyd and the Bomber Boys? You will now regret asking that question! I’ve never really thought about it – it’s something that’s always interested me, even in childhood. Maybe it stems from growing up in post-war Britain when WW2 was still fresh in people’s minds and there was a general attitude that the RAF’s ‘War in the Air’ saved us from Nazism. My family and their friends always had colourful WW2 stories to relate to - with the RAF often featuring like the ‘cavalry charging over the hill just in time to save the wagon train’.
My parents, 2 sets of grandparents, uncles, and aunts were Londoners and had lived through the Blitz. My father was RAFVR (selected for the pilot), but given deferment for ‘Reserved Occupation’ to manage transportation of food and essential goods across the UK. Deferment included a second night-time job in the Auxiliary Fire Service tackling fires in London Docklands – he said he never had time for sleep! His own father (WW1 Battle of Ypres veteran) worked at the
Lee-Enfield gun factory. His 3 brothers served in Royal Marines and Royal Navy and 3 of his sisters worked in munitions factories.
My mother had been due to join the ATS but was deferred due to kidney problems. Her father (WW1 RNAS veteran) had lung cancer and was unable to serve. Her brothers Joe and Ken served in the Tank and Parachute Regiments, and Leslie in the RAF. So began my interest in WW2.
Why particular interest in Leslie? My parents moved to Brighton after the war and during school holidays I would stay with my grandmother in south London. Leslie’s room was now the refurbished guest bedroom and I slept in his bed. The room had a lovely peaceful and friendly atmosphere, where one could sit and read or write or draw or just relax away from all the usual hussle and bussle of London life. There was a large white wardrobe built into the alcove beside the fireplace, which I was not allowed to open or use. Many of Leslie’s belongings were stored inside this cupboard plus a very large piece of mangled aluminium – part of ND975’s fuselage given to my grandmother by the La Ferte St Cyr villagers in 1952. It sounds macabre but to me it was interesting and I wanted to know more about Leslie and the reasons for his aircraft crashing into the ground and ending up as a mass of mangled metal.
My grandmother was an excellent pianist and, fortunately for me, taught me to read music correctly and how to produce wonderful musical sounds from that piano. However, sitting on top of her piano, smiling down at us, was a large photo of Leslie. It felt like he was there, enjoying the music, and so my interest grew in uncle Leslie. I enjoyed listening to family stories about his childhood, schooldays, teenage years and joining the RAF. But I was especially intrigued by a great mystery surrounding (what my grandmother called) his last ‘secret mission!’ She said he’d joined a secret ‘Special Duty Flight’ so we’d never know what had really happened to him. Leslie had told the family he was training as a pathfinder but the family couldn’t tell anyone about it as there were no official records! I was also puzzled why the RAF took so long to notify and confirm that Leslie and ND975 crew had been KIA on 1/7/1944 when P/O Marks had witnessed the attack. Why, even after the war ended, was the family still given false hope that Leslie could have survived. Many of these questions were only answered when Alain Charpentier wrote to my mother some 50yrs later – but even today there are parts of the mystery to be solved – there are still no official records on SDF.
My research on ND975 and the SDF over the years also opened up interest in all the other crews that failed to return. I started building up a library of reference books and autobiographies, visited National Archives at Kew and RAF museums, searched on-line ancestry websites etc., attended events that raised money for Bomber Command memorials and spoke to veteran Bomber Boys, where I met men like Joe Williams. I joined 625 Squadron Memorial Assoc., Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Assoc., Royal Air Force Benevolent Assoc. etc and attended air shows to watch WW2 aircraft displays. And then, of course, Alain Charpentier told me about your AR submission on ND975, and so opened up another wonderful world to explore and research – thank you Jack.
Lastly, I get annoyed when TV programmes continually quote just the first part of Churchill’s famous speech ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few …..’ Churchill did go on to say ‘but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss ….. and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power ……’
625 Squadron Loss #44: LM546, F/O F. Collett. Details here.
Peter Barcroft, grandson of F/O Collett, Pilot;
Painting of LM546 over RAF Kelstern
It was this painting of LM546’s final flight for 625 Squadron that began my interest in my grandfather’s war time exploits. As a little boy I used to stare at this picture when I used to visit my grandparents. Then, however I was too young to understand and too interested in other things a young boy could get into mischief with. Sadly, as I became older and more interested in history and the love of all things aviation and British military history it was too late. My grandfather in his later years destroyed all his memorabilia, believing no one would be interested. In 1996 my grandfather died aged 73, I was 24 not too many years older than the brave men who put their lives on the line night after night. I felt saddened that as time marched on my grandfather’s memory and those that gave so much sacrifice would fade away. I therefore gave myself the mission and find out all I could about his wartime career and in doing so keep his memory alive.
I began with a simple google search of his name and 625 squadron, since then I have been on an incredible journey of discovery and been in contact with many people all over the world, who all have the same aim to keep the memories alive, this in itself has been rewarding as we have been able to swop information and share our contacts. I have visited RAF Kelstern, joined the 625-squadron association and discovered a wealth of information about my grandfather, I feel at peace now that I have kept his memory alive and immensely proud of him and those he served with.
John Naylor, son of Sgt. L. Naylor, Mid-upper Gunner;
My Father had been a railway engineer, (a reserved occupation), prior to volunteering for flying duties in the Royal Air Force in 1943.
He had met and married my Mother in Manchester, where Mum was working at the Fairey Aviation works in Stockport, building parts for Fairey Albacore aircraft. When the Air Raid sounded, Mum said he would refuse to go to the shelter and told her, ( if I am to die tonight, it will be in my own bed!). A rather foolish thing to do, but typical of my Fathers' approach to life.
I had always known that he used to be an Air Gunner from a very early age but never quite understood what it really entailed. He used to tell me many stories of his escapades, though strangely, only when we were alone. He would never discuss it in front of any of my other brothers and sisters and seemed to sense my longing for more detailed information that none of my other siblings seemed interested in.
I was conscious sometimes of his wanting to tell someone, but they had to understand. Not only had he survived a serious crash in a Lancaster at RAF Riccall, from No.1 Lancaster Finishing School at RAF Hemswell, but then the ultimate demise of his own crews' Lancaster over Stuttgart in July 1944.
Prior to that, though on Operations with 625 Sqn. at RAF Kelstern, he seemed to shield himself from what may have been the obvious, and always made the most of his time 'off duty' with his fellow crew mates in most of the Pubs in Louth, Lincolnshire.
He was a master at 'beer bottle walking' and could hold a bottle in each hand, whilst walking with his feet in the air and his head near the floor! He said he was never beaten by any of the others' that took part, and held the distance record.
If they knew they were not flying the next day, they would get together with the ground crew and jointly do a 'pub crawl' through Louth, playing darts and bar skittles.
Needless to say, it was often a struggle to get back to Kelstern, so they would often pile 6 to 8 men into a sports two seater, belonging to one of the party. It was done by holding onto anything that would support their weight, including laying on top of each other across the back, two on the running boards and one on the bonnet! Otherwise, it would mean ‘borrowing' bicycles left nearby, (Dad thought deliberately) and somehow finding your way back to camp in the dark, being slightly inebriated! Of course the bicycles were returned by the station the next day.
I was not really aware of how the War had affected him, until he one day said to me 'you don't know what cold is' when I complained about the weather. He then went on to tell me about his experience during the 'Death March' from his prison camp at Bankau in Poland in January 1945.
I never again complained to him about being cold!
It was not until September 1954, at RAF Benson 'Battle of Britain' day that I realised just how much he was holding back. He had taken me to see a Lincoln Bomber that was on display and spoke to the crew that were in front of it.
He took me inside and went straight to the mid upper turret, where he climbed in to 'adjust' the seat, so that I could sit in there after him. After some while tugging at his leg through impatience, I realised he was not aware that I was there. He was staring toward the rear turret and seemed in another world.
Indeed he was, but eventually suddenly realised I was still waiting, and climbed out so that I could have a go. He explained about the guns and the shooting by means of deflection, how to rotate both the guns and the turret.
We explored the rest of the Lincoln, and after that, I was 'hooked' on everything Lancaster and 625 Squadron!
John Naylor, son of Sgt. L. Naylor, Mid-upper Gunner;
‘My Father had been a railway engineer, (a reserved occupation), prior to volunteering for flying duties in the Royal Air Force in 1943. He had met and married my Mother in Manchester, where Mum was working at the Fairey Aviation works in Stockport, building parts for Fairey Albacore aircraft. When the Air Raid sounded, Mum said he would refuse to go to the shelter and told her, ( if I am to die tonight, it will be in my own bed!). A rather foolish thing to do, but typical of my Fathers’ approach to life ….’
Comment 2: just reminded me of my own father – apparently my father used to say the very same thing to my mother! And it was also typical of my father’s approach to life in general. But on the few occasions my mother stayed in bed beside him during an air raid, he complained he couldn’t sleep because she kept trembling! In his teens and 20s he also enjoyed a good ‘pub crawl .
625 Squadron Loss #52: LL956, F/O L.A. Hannah. Details here.
David Langner, nephew of F/Os Lloyd and Harold Hannah;
Good questions! When I was young I wondered about my two uncles, and what they were like. I was sad to know they died, and they were my boyhood heroes.
But the enormity of what they went through didn't hit me until I was 24 and visited their graves. As I looked at Harold's grave, I realized I was almost the exact same age as Harold was when he died. I was away from home for the first time, and a bit scared to be in a new country. Harold was already a seasoned bomber pilot, facing death regularly.
My urge to tell their stories became even greater when I had kids of my own. I kept imagining what it would be like to say goodbye to them, if they went to war - I can't think of that scenario without becoming very emotional, and my reaction gets stronger the older I get. I remember my uncle Cecil (also a bomber pilot, but he survived) crying and apologizing when he spoke of his brothers; now I understand why.
I suppose it comes down to not wanting my uncles to be forgotten - they were my grandmother's boys, and I feel the need to tell their story whenever possible.
As for Luke's reasons, I imagine he may have felt a debt to Lloyd for saving his grandfather. He may also want me to know that he's ensuring Lloyd's story will continue to be told. I was very happy to hear that, although his kids are too young to understand the sacrifices.
Is that close to how you feel about your uncle?
Recent update: January 16, 2022:—
Let me know if "Stealing from God" is worth a read - I'm always up for questioning existence.
Speaking of which, I don't think I've mentioned this to you, but my Mom and my aunts used to tell us that my Grandma said she was visited by Lloyd on the night he died (it was night in Saskatchewan). She knew he had died, and was expecting the telegram.
That's another story I wish I had asked her about when she was still alive! But I remember my aunts mentioning it.
Recent update: January 26, 2022:—
Good afternoon Jack! I just read your portion, and was fascinated by your description of "selective reincarnation". I think I may have something similar. I've never discussed it with anyone, because it's hard to convey. But I'm glad you've had a similar experience!
I've felt a bond with uncle Harold from as far back as I can remember, even though I was born 20 years after he died. I physically resemble him - my high school graduation photo looks a lot like one of his photos as a teen. My grandma wrote on the back of one of my pictures (I was 2) "He looks so much like Harold". My aunt Gladys said I had a similar sense of humour to him, and he collected coins, like I do.
I had a very vivid dream in my late 20s, that I was playing "hide and seek" on the Hannah farm; I don't know what prompted that! I'd never seen their farmland before. In my dream, there was a slough beside their barn, to the west. Mom didn't remember any slough. But we visited the site a few years later with my Aunt Dorothy as a guide - she knew where the farm was. It was the same as in my dream - I felt strong deja-vu.
When I joined army cadets, the smell of the drill hall (mainly gun oil) was very familiar - I'd never been in an armoury before. The familiarity with the drill hall scent continued through my time with the reserves.
I felt as though I was completing a circle when I first visited Stonefall cemetery in 1989, especially when I realized Harold died at the same age I was at that time.
Even stranger, when I had my heart attack in 2018, I was in denial at first. "Just a muscle pain in my chest" I thought. But when I said to myself "it can't be a heart attack", a distinctly separate thought came immediately: "why not?!"
I called 911, thankfully. I had a 100% blockage of the left anterior descending artery - the "widow maker". In the operating room, the nurse noted it was January 27th. That was the day Harold died, in 1944.
I'm not sure what my 'mission' is on behalf of Harold, but I've recently wondered whether it isn't to keep the story of Lloyd alive. I know Harold was crushed when he learned his brother had died. That was a big motivator for me to attend the 75th anniversary ceremony in 2019, despite my fear of flying.
625 Squadron Loss #60: NG238, F/O J.R. Copland. Details here.
Mike Edwards, great nephew of F/O Copland, Pilot;
To be honest this is a question I don't feel I can answer simply. My interest in WW1 and WW2 history started at a very young age. I was a big reader and started reading war books, starting with the Gallipoli campaign, and it just carried on from there. I honestly can’t even remember why, how or when this all began, that’s how young I was. I guess it was part due to my Dad being an ex- serviceman. I was given the portrait of Ross in uniform when I was very young, and told he was killed in WW2 and that I was named after him. That’s pretty much as far as it went for many years in regards to Ross, although I continued to read books all the way through. Then I started collecting militaria, mainly German, and this lead into me reading a number of books from the German side, many of these to do with the Luftwaffe. At that time I decided to do a proper research into him as it was clear the info my family had was limited, and false in some ways - everyone thought he trained in Canada, which turned out to be false. I also wanted to find out who had his medals. Unfortunately, I have only been able to locate 1 from this research.
I regret never asking my Grandmother more questions about him and talking about him more. Even though I do remember talking about him when I was very young.
I take an immense interest and pride in everything in my collection. I often wonder who were their rightful, original owners, what their names were, what they did, what kind of men they were and think how good it would be if these inanimate objects could tell me their story. Weird I know, but to me they really are historic and link me directly back to the men I truly admire and respect. "Back in the day when men were men and posts were posts" as my Grandad used to say!
Over the weekend I finally received the military records (Army) of another family member. His daughter has asked me to look into his history and see what I can find out. This stemmed directly from the Aircrew Remembered report you and Roy completed. The feedback from the family has been tremendous from this report. I would one day like to write a history book for the family that includes all known service members of my family. These include the Boer War, WW1, WW2, the Dutch-Indonesian War and more recently the Bosnian War - My late father-in-law who was KIA in 1992.)
625 Squadron Loss #66: PB815, F/O D.R. Paige. Details here.
Luke Dennis, grandson of Sgt. R.B. Bennett, Flight Engineer;
I find this time of year often brings connections from all sorts of places. I served in the Army Infantry for 10 years and met some old friends on the parade this morning. People I hadn’t seen in years and a few new ones.
I contacted David through Aircrew Remembered. I went back to the site of the crash of Q in Little Grimsby with my children. It was important that they know what happened, and what they owe. Amazingly that day my son found a piece of Q Queenie churned up by the farmers plough 76 years after! (Pics attached by the crater). I wanted to thank him for helping make the only online report of Q Queenie that I can find. I was close with my Grandfather, he loved telling me stories and I loved to listen. It was nice to have it recorded accurately for his sake.
625 Squadron Loss #74: PD204, F/O J.F. Mooney. Details here.
Robert Morris, son of Sgt. E. Morris, Rear Gunner;
My dad, Ernest Morris, passed away in 2005 and I had always regretted not asking him more about his WW11 experiences, particularly his Lancaster being hit by anti-aircraft fire over Germany and eventually crashing in Belgium. From the little my dad had told me, I sensed there was a fascinating untold story behind the loss of Squadron 625 - PD204 but it was probably to be lost forever. But with the help and persistence of my cousin Colin Morris, we were put in contact with Jack Albrecht.
Reg Price DFC: 625 Squadron veteran, the second pilot with his crew to tour expire. Co-author of the 625 Squadron Project ‘crew’.. Details here.
Re: the 625 Squadron reunions - it was not until several years after we retired that I heard about the Squadron Memorial Association, so on one of our visits to England we also attended our first of many reunions. On one of the early ones my wife, Elsie, was asked to present a bouquet of flowers to the wife of the Station Commander at the Reunion Dinner, which she was happy to do. This was at RAF Station Hemswell in Lincolnshire and one reason she enjoyed this task was that before she was posted to Kelstern, in Oct. 1943, where we met, she was stationed at Hemswell, as a driver and would never have been allowed inside the Officers Mess where the dinner was held.
On another visit we first visited Les Knowles and his wife at their home at Quedgeley, near Gloucester where Jack Conley was also a visitor. Later I was also able to meet and spend time with Frank Sutton’s son, Iain, and his wife, daughter and son.. I cannot find his address anywhere so if anyone knows it please forward to me...
Psychic Insights: Tom Drybrough, aviation associate, aviation medical patient and flight instructor:
I have always had an extra sense. A sense of knowing what is to come, including danger and both good and bad events. I would say I am “connected” to an information network. At about the age of 20 I said to the universe “I can learn at a much faster rate, why don’t you speed up my learning process and let’s see what happens” That lasted for approximately one year when I said “ok…that’s enough” I received so much information that I couldn’t work and could only receive this vast amount of information and sleep. Any spare time was spent trying to digest all that I had received and try to make some sense out of it all.
As a child I had always been interested in war…tanks, fighters (never bombers) to the point where I built models of all war planes and as a very small child I used to put a saw horse out in the yard and put planks from it to the ground and sit on it all day long flying my own personal fighter plane.
A major event in my life, 1970
There was one particular event in my life that started me thinking very seriously about the possibility that I had lived a prior life.
In 1970, at the age of 22 my brother passed from a hit and run. He was 10 years old when it happened. I had been forewarned that someone very close to me would pass over very soon. I was questioned (by spirit?) “what will you do?”, “how will you feel?” “how will you react”?
Soon after this tragedy I had a vision of me as a German fighter pilot flying a fighter plane during the Second World War. I knew I had flown a BF 109G model. I was told that it was imperative that I knew and remembered it was a G model. Also a must was that I had died at the end of September 1942 at the age of 22 years.
I also “saw” what the cockpit looked like and I “sat” inside the cockpit viewing all the instruments and wishing that they had designed it better, including a rear view mirror above the windscreen like the Spitfires had. I saw smashed instruments damaged from bullets entering the cockpit during battle. There was also a black wolf’s head insignia on the instrument panel and when I saw it I realized it was either a personal choice to have it there where I could always see it or I belonged to that group. ( years later my daughter bought me a picture of a wolf peering out from behind a tree)
I also saw a woman. I “felt” I recognized her. She was older and could possibly be my Mother. She was all alone carrying her groceries in bags up a hill on a street located in a town in Germany where she now lived. It appeared as though she was struggling with her life. She looked as though the war years had been very hard for her and it was as if she had lost her son or family in the war.
For some time I thought that I should go find her but I had to walk away from that idea. I now had my own family to consider and running off to satisfy some memory or vision was just not in the cards. Besides we have to live in this lifetime…not in any previous incarnation. In the end I thought it best to just forget the whole thing.
In early 2005 we went to Cairo, Egypt to attend a music festival that my two granddaughters were invited to perform. We landed in Cairo, boarded the bus and were driving through the desert to our hotel. As we were driving through the desert I had a window seat and was looking out over the desert and had this incredible feeling come over me, a feeling that I had been there before and felt as though I had come home. It was so strong that tears ran down my cheeks to the point where I had to turn my head so that no one could see my tears of realization. I actually thought that maybe I had in a previous incarnation there and had possibly helped build the pyramids or was a goat herder or something (LOL). I had definitely been there before…no doubt about it.
When we arrived at the hotel and settled in I told my wife what had happened to me and asked her if she would consider moving there. That was how strong my connection was. I spent a lot of time thinking of how we could relocate there and how much fun it would be to have a flying business that flew tourists around the pyramids….then of course reality set in and we came back to Canada and soon forgot about any relocation to Cairo…I think my wife was very happy to hear that it was after all, just an idea.
Summer 2014. My sister, Charlotte
My sister Charlotte was diagnosed with ALS and was going downhill very quickly. I made all kinds of excuses not to go see her but finally decided that I just had to get over the fear and just go. (I don’t do well with death) My father and brother had passed from the same disease a few years earlier.
We drove up to Kamloops where we met her at a hospice where she was staying. She was dying a constant death and I knew she would not last very long. We had some very nice private time together where I raised the subject of dying and how she would just go through a short period of discomfort and then she would pass and be whole again and with a new healthy body. I told her that when our father had passed (from ALS) he had come back to see me and that I had also seen him a few more times and each time I saw him he was young and very healthy and at one time when he appeared he was smoking a pipe, which he did when he was younger.
I asked her to try to help me from the other side, that is if she wanted to, or could. She passed soon after and I sincerely wished I had not been so afraid and had visited her much more often.
We had always been close and she was always someone I loved, very much. And I know she loved me.
One day in my office I received a message…..” why don’t you investigate that German pilot”
I said to myself “I can’t do that,” “there is no way I can get any information on him”
The answer came…”you know he flew for the German Airforce, died at the end of September 1942 at the age of 22 flying a BF 109G” “The internet will have all the info you need…just look into it”.
I typed in all the information I knew and up popped Hans Joachim Marseille. I had never heard of him before or anything about him. After reading about him I just could not believe that I had never heard of this guy…there are books written about him, YouTube is full of him. It was truly unbelievable. I credit my sister, Charlotte, with putting me in touch with this pilot even though I had told her nothing of a possibility of me having a previous incarnation as a German fighter pilot. I was also floored to see how much Marseille and I have in common. Note: prior to the internet there was never anything made public about German fighter pilots, only British, Canadian and American.
Hans Joachim Marseille died September 30, 1942 at the age of 22. I was made aware of a previous incarnation as a German fighter pilot at my age of 22.
He died bailing out of his BF109G after engine failure…very near Cairo, Egypt
I have always had a fascination with the name Hans and the name Marseille (never together) I thought it was because of the city, Marseille, France. The name Stahl and Schmidt have also been familiar names. His best friend was Hans-Arnold Stahlschmidt
He started flying at the age of 19…same age I started.
He was considered a virtuoso. My instructors all marvelled at my incredible natural ability and commented that they all believed I had experience and flown before. I had not.
He was an incredible shot…so am I.
He was estranged from his Father at a young age…so was I.
He was known to be very carefree because of lack of discipline from an authority figure such as his estranged Father. …I was also care free and still am today. My mother and father allowed me to go anywhere I wanted, alone, from a very young age. When I was 10 years old I travelled by train from Port Coquitlam, where I lived, to Calgary and while there I visited the city of Calgary including the Calgary Stampede, all by myself.
He was very upfront bordering on rude. I can be that way but have thought it was just being honest…many have asked if I have a military background.
He was known to be very honest and loyal, and so am I.
His Mother’s name was Charlotte…same name as my sister. Her other name was Gertrude…same as my Mothers.
His Birthdate is Dec 13, 1919. My granddaughter, Alexandria (Egypt connection) was born Dec 13th. Kristene and I were married Dec 19th
His fiancé was a singer…so is my granddaughter, Alexandria.
His sister was murdered…my brother died from a hit and run.
He hated the G model BF109 as the engine was a bad design. He was forced to fly the G model and the engine failed, killing him. For 17 years I built racing engines for a living, trying constantly to build a better engine. I was quite well known for my engine building skills and in 1980 I was offered a job building WW2 aircraft engines for air racing in California.
I always wanted to paint my aircraft desert camo with yellow …same colors as his aircraft. (I have since found that there is a black wolf insignia on some German fighter aircraft.)
He owned a “jeep” like vehicle (VW) called “Otto”. Otto is 8 in Italian and was painted on his jeep for 8 kills in one day…I was born March 8 1948. Otto was painted desert camo…I have a similar vehicle used for taking my float plane in and out of the water, painted…desert camo.
For years I have worn flight clothes almost identical to what he wore in Africa, tan shirt and tan shorts…
He was born at 11:45 pm …same time as me.
He was a big partier …so was I when I was his age.
He was known to listen to one song over and over…so do I, up to 20 times or more.
We both have the same identical personalities. He could not stand overbearing authority figures or religion or politics, etc. nor can I. He was outspoken, so am I. Right is right, wrong is wrong.
We both felt we had to be the best. Second place does not exist. For me, it’s the challenge that I seek.
He played the piano very well…The piano is the only instrument that I think I should be able to play, however I cannot play a note.
German is the only language that I feel that I should be able to speak, but I cannot.
He did very well in school in his last years. In my early school years I was always top of my class, until I reached my early teens.…then I lost interest. Teachers were too unsophisticated and immature for my liking.
I have been flying for many years and every time I see another aircraft in the sky close to me (within attacking range)…something happens to me. My energy peaks and a killing instinct rises…like a tiger ready to pounce. I immediately start thinking about where and how I should position myself in order to attack. It’s a very deep, strong sensation of excitement combined with challenge and it feels that this is a natural thing for me, there is NO fear, just intention…as if it’s part of my nature. It only lasts for about a few seconds (thank goodness)…but it feels like minutes. I just cannot explain it…it is a very powerful emotion. I played lacrosse for many years and it would happen then also…a very strong emotion that you are going to battle and you are going to will yourself to win. It also hits me when I have a new idea or a new goal I have set for myself. In this case, it lasts until I have completed the task. When these ideas happen, I don’t want anyone around me. I like to be alone with my own thoughts.
If you do any reading on him you will see he was a relentless attacker. He gave no regard to his personal safety at all…he was there to win. There was NO fear. He was known to attack on his own preferring not to have his wingmen around him…just him with pure intention, irregardless of the numbers or the danger.
When I first started to fly my instructor was amazed that I would not wear sunglasses on sunny days. One day, he asked me why? I stated that I had to condition my eyes to the sun so if I was ever in a position where the sun was in my eyes they would be preconditioned. I was surprised at my answer. You can imagine my surprise again when I read that Hans Marseille used to sit for hours staring into the sun without sunglasses to train his eyes to be able to see aircraft attacking with the sun to their back. (I recently spoke to Ray Horton, my initial instructor, and asked if he remembered that and he said that he did indeed remember)
I always remembered a tactic for attacking aircraft…you approach the enemy fighter and when you are close you roll your aircraft inverted, shoot and dive down at high speed…this was a very common maneuver for him to use.
Resemblance…everyone says face on he looks like my Dad. Side view it gives me the shivers, I know it’s me. Our heads are identically shaped.
When I showed his picture to my 26 year-old granddaughter she said, “OMG grandpa, that’s you” We are the same height and body shape (when I was 22) He was very slight as there was no food where he was and I live in a western culture where there is lots. LOL.
I sent all this info to an organization that studies reincarnation, especially where people look like the person who they think they were. They telephoned me and also emailed me saying that my case is one of their most convincing cases they’ve ever seen and would like to publish my story on their website and in a book. I decided this is not a good idea as this revelation is for me and I’d like to keep it just between me and those I feel can benefit from my experience.
To whomever is reading this…If you think you would like to share my story with others because you think it will help them or mean something to them, then please do.
This is all still very new to me and there is a lot of adjustment to the idea that we do live on and in some or most cases, for many lives. It is one thing to think that there is such a thing as reincarnation but another when something you consider close to proof is put before you. Please keep in mind that even though my story and experiences are very unusual it’s still not absolute proof. But, I’d like to imagine what this would mean to people and the world if it is true. We would all have to rethink everything we know or have been told. Could this end wars, poverty, illness, greed and all the other things negative? Could this finally be the change we’re all hoping for?
Comment 1: I’ve heard this story before. About 3 or 4 years ago my friend knowing my ‘WW2 RAF’ interests, told me she had read an incredible story in the ‘Sunday Mail’ newspaper regarding a 22 year old man claiming to be the reincarnation of a dead 22 year old German Fighter Pilot, and as she and I believe in ‘all things psychic’ she thought I’d like to read it. She (and others) believed I had ‘special powers’!!!!!!!!!!!! because I’m psychic and telepathic. Friends and family often contact me for advice because I get ‘Feelings’ for best courses of action for them to take. Another friend calls me ‘the Oracle’ and before she died, my cousin Julie would phone regularly from Australia for advice!
However, many people think it’s absolute rubbish, including my late husband! He put my ‘talents’ down to ‘pure luck’ or ‘good old-fashioned common-sense’. But my son believes in ‘psychic powers’ as he too has the same gift. Therefore I’m pondering on whether I’d feel comfortable for Tom Drybrough’s psychic experiences being added into this Addendum. His story is quite long and very detailed and I suspect may detract from the theme and ‘seriousness’ of other contributors’ stories, especially if some contributors and readers don’t believe in psychics or clairvoyance etc. But I must admit,
Tom’s story is very interesting and well worth mentioning because so many people admit to ‘strange experiences’ when visiting ‘new’ places 29 and ‘feeling’ they’d been there before, or met ‘new’ people who actually seemed strangely familiar from another age or life. Until recently we believed there were only 4 known types of ‘Energy’ and now scientists have discovered a 5 th . We know ‘Energy’ cannot be destroyed only transformed to another type, so maybe the ‘energy’ that drives each one of us passes on to another level yet to be discovered. Maybe Tom’s story could be condensed with a LINK to another page for readers wishing to know more and read whole story. Co-Author: Maureen Hicks .
Left: German Fighter Ace—Hans-Joachim Marseille Centre: 'Jochen' Marseille, age 22 Right: Tom Drybrough, age 22
AUTHOR’S NOTES 2:
In March 1994, I acquired a copy of Franz Kurowski’s German Fighter Ace Hans-Joachim Marseille, The Life Story of the Star of Africa, for my aviation library. It gathered dust, unread, for the next twenty-seven years.
After reviewing Tom’s account of his psychic experiences, I was compelled to explore this ‘ice cream’ of a book, as bedtime dessert. In less than a week it was devoured and assimilated—with the spooky sensation that Tom was reading over one shoulder and ‘Jochen’ over the other.
In the process it became apparent that Hans-Joachim Marseille also was ‘gifted’ with psychic traits:
The Staffelkapitän had a good word for everyone. There were ground crewmen in his Staffel who were older than him by one or two decades. They had taken their Jochen to heart as if he were their own son. He was Jochen and only officially the ‘boss’…
Once in a while he would talk about those things he valued most. Such as what his plans were following the war. In a conversation with his later Rottenflieger, Leutnant Schlang, Marseille sat on a sofa in the Staffel tent. Schlang brought the discussion around to life after the war. In Marseille’s answer can be found the longing of any young pilot for world adventure and desire to fly:
“You know, Schlang, when the war is over, you’ve got to have an airplane, a fast machine, then go out and see the world.”
“You want to continue flying, then?”, asked Schlang.
“Of course!”, answered Marseille. “Flying is the way to overcome the limitless expanse of the world.”
During this conversation Marseille told Schlang of a dream he had recently had:
“I’m flying, then suddenly it gets dark all around me. I know I’m falling, but I don’t feel anything. And before I hit the ground, it’s already over for me.”
This macabre dream would someday become a reality for Marseille.
On 17th June, 1942, he would claim five victories including his 100th. Combat was taking its toll:
An atmosphere of jubilation reigned over the Gazala airfield. All eyes were fixed on Marseille’s approaching plane, which wagged five times before finally settling down for a landing. The men ran over as Marseille slipped along to his own parking area.
As they reached the aircraft, Marseille shut off his engine. However, he remained motionless, still strapped tightly in the safety harness. His two ground crew, having reached him first, saw an entirely different face on their Jochen. The jovial, youthful laugh was missing. The tension and stress of this mission had replaced it with a haggard, gaunt face, looking almost like a mask. His view remained fixed on the instrument gauges, the arms hung lifeless by his side.
Finally, as if removing a great burden, he took off his helmet and turned to his crew. Slowly the mask-like gaze disappeared. Meyer lifted the canopy back. In that moment Marseille took in the hundreds of voices of his comrades, who had by now run up and were now shouting out their congratulations on his 100th victory. He lifted himself over the cockpit sill, his legs in front, and grabbed the proffered right hand of Meyer, pressing it briefly.
Suddenly life came back into him. Still standing on the wing, he waved to his colleagues. Marseille’s face began recovering its relaxed appearance. Happiness, and relief, began to radiate from his countenance. He had survived another brush with death, and even cut the tail feathers of those last two enemy fighters…
At 1047 hrs on the 30th of September, 3 Staffel finally took off, led by Hptm. Marseille. They were eight altogether and were providing top cover for the Stukas…
At 1130 hrs the receiver in the Geschwader command post crackled alive. Then a clear voice rang out:
“My engine’s burning!”
“Who’s engine is on fire?”, asked the radio operator.
“What’s wrong, over?”
It was Marseille who reported in:
“from Elbe 1—have considerable smoke in the cockpit, can’t see anything.”
It was 1135 hrs. Schlang and Pötten continued their efforts. Marseille’s voice called out
“Are we over our lines yet?’ There was a hint of urgency in its tone.
“Just two more minutes, Jochen”, came Pöttgen’s response.
Marseille’s plane was drifting lower and lower. Then the group reached the white mosque of Didi Abd el Rahman. They had made it to the German lines.
“I’ve got to get out now” called Marseille, “I can’t stand it anymore.”
These were the last words his colleagues heard from him.
Marseille’s photo on page 118, A relaxing siesta follows of tough day of combat, foreshadows the one of his body, taken nine months later, on page 210, in a similar pose, ‘resting’ peacefully on a stretcher, September 30, 1942, bringing his dream to tragic closure.
For those with similar interests, Ghost Stations: True Ghost Stories (1986) by Bruce Barrymore Halpenny is a fascinating read. In particular for those focused on the history of No. 625 Squadron, are the vignettes of THE GHOSTS OF RAF KELSTERN, pp 85-6.
THE TRAVELLING SGT. JOHN FREDERICK ENNIS 158755 RAFVR MEMORIAL
For those who have persevered to this point of a convoluted Aircrew Remembered addendum, this memorial is dedicated to Sgt. Ennis, the crews of ME558, LL637 and airmen serving with Bomber Command who failed to return under unusual circumstances. This memorial will consist of my three personal copies of:
Last Flight to Stuttgart by Lisa Jean Russ (soft cover)
German Fighter Ace Hans-Joachim Marseille, The Life Story of the Star of Africa by Franz Kurowski (hard cover)
Ghost Stations: True Ghost Stories by Bruce Barrymore Halpenny (soft cover)
If this concept is accepted by the founders of Aircrew Remembered, individuals interested in this project would apply to the AR Helpdesk to have the books mailed or couriered to their home address. I would be prepared to cover the postal cost for the initial mailing. Sequential mailings would be the responsibility of the recipient with directions from myself or the AR Helpdesk. Names of recipients would be entered at the front of each book before forwarding to the next on the list. Memorial progress could be followed on the LL637 page by myself or AR Helpdesk. Food for thought. I am open to feedback. Will it fly???
At my age, my library has to go as I wind down in life number ten. JEA.
Submission by Kelvin Youngs, Theo Boiten and Jack Albrecht
Courtesy of Lisa Jean Russ
Courtesy of Tom Drybrough
Courtesy of German Fighter Ace: Hans-Joachim Marseille:
Courtesy of the CWGC
Courtesy of Pete Barcrof
Courtesy of Beningbrough Hall Trust
Courtesy of JEA/KY: Map
KTY 18.09.2015 Further details added.
KTY 23-01-2022 Details on book added
KTY 18-03-2022 New crew grave photo added
KTY/JEA 06-04-2022 Addendum: LL637 and Last Flight to Stuttgart
JEA 18-06-2022 Original Email from Elizabeth Baillie
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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