218 Squadron 1943

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Earl
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218 Squadron 1943

Post by Earl »

I posted the below on the general post in February. Since then I have managed to get hold of Alberts service record and have a better insight into where he went before he was posted to 218 squadron, however I still dont have any information on what actually happened on the day he was killed. I assume I will need to go to the National Archive and look at the Squadron records but wondered if anyone on this thread could add any information?

AS PREVIOUSLY POSTED

I wonder if anyone can help?

My father had a step brother who flew out of RAF Downham Market during the war, who was sadly killed. Dad has decided to send off to see if he is eligible to recieve his war medal and it got me thinking it would be nice if I could get some more information about his time at the air base, the pane he flew in, its crew and their missions and a little more information on how he died.

We are told he was killed in an accident when a returning plance crashed into him, killing him and many more on the ground.

Details:
Albert Ronald Denzy
Service number 1333519
Position: Wireless operator
Squadron: 218
Based: Downham Market
Died 14/05/43 aged 20

I have manged to get hold of a copy of an accident card which I am told is the only one listed on that day, which seems to state BF480 made a difficult landing and crashed into the watch office killing two on board with one injured, however there is no mention of fatlities on the ground other than the word '3rd Party' which i assume means there were casulaties.

Any information about the actual event or how I can build a picture of his life at the base would be welcome

Bob Wilton
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Re: 218 Squadron 1943

Post by Bob Wilton »

Hi Earl,

Please let me welcome you to the Stirling Aircraft Society, and I am sure you will get the information you require.

You already know that it was Stirling BF480 which crashed into the watch office. These are the basic details of what happend when the crash occured:-

Two crew members of another 218 Squadron aircraft, Sgt. Denzy, and Sgt. Lancaster both from Stirling BF413 HA-T, had just landed from a bombing operation to Bochum Germany, on the 13/14th May 1943, both airmen were killed when they were hit by the out of control Stirling BF480.I can only assume that they had both vacated their aircraft when the unfortunate accident happened!

Bob

Lancaster, Harold
Sergeant (Flt. Engr.)
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
218 Sqdn.
Age 21
14/05/1943
1507263
Son of William Edward and Edith Lancaster, of Prestwich.

Cemetery: Prestwich St. Mary Churchyard, Clough Sec. 8. Row 8. Grave 112.
Dicam ex animo. Sed nostri evocatis, ut debemus eis libertatem.

Earl
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Re: 218 Squadron 1943

Post by Earl »

Hi Bob

Thank you for taking the time to respond - much appreciated.

Albert was one of the two killed and was dads step brother

I have managed to piece together all the training he did as a Wireless op/Air gunner prior to joining 218 Squadron, and it seems from his service record, he was only with the squadron for around 45 days before he was killed, which after 2 years training seems such a shame.

From the accident report you can see that the plane that crashed into him had no on-board fatalities, but our family was always told around 20 died, Albert apparently was in a jeep or something similar, if the plane hit a watch tower as well, would there have been people in it or would they have seen what was happening and got out? - it seems hard to believe a plane as big as a Sterling could hit something without you being able to get out of the way first!

Thanks to you telling me Alberts plane was BF413HA-T, I was able to google it and found a site called 'Lost Bombers' which is quite useful, it says however that one of the airmen killed was on his first mission but I cant tell which, Harold Lancaster or Albert Denzey.

What I would like to know more about though is where he went on his missions (if, in that short space of time he did very many), who his crew were where there mission were to and ultimately more details about the accident - would the RAF take pictures if the plane hit the watch Tower, or was this fairly common?
Once I get as much info as I can I will put it into a small book and give it all to dad - he has just sent off for Alberts war medals so it will be something the family will be able to look at in years to come.

Is there anywhere else I can look other than the National Archives?

Hope I am not asking too many questions (feel free to ignore if I am), but the more I look into it the more interesting it all becomes!

Earl

Theletterwriter
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Re: 218 Squadron 1943

Post by Theletterwriter »

Earl

The man you need to contact is Smudger Smith who is a member of the forum. He is the 218 gen man. Click on members and look for Smudger's profile.

I hope he can be of help to you.

Douglas

Bob Wilton
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Re: 218 Squadron 1943

Post by Bob Wilton »

Earl wrote:Hi Bob

Thank you for taking the time to respond - much appreciated.

Albert was one of the two killed and was dads step brother

I have managed to piece together all the training he did as a Wireless op/Air gunner prior to joining 218 Squadron, and it seems from his service record, he was only with the squadron for around 45 days before he was killed, which after 2 years training seems such a shame.

From the accident report you can see that the plane that crashed into him had no on-board fatalities, but our family was always told around 20 died, Albert apparently was in a jeep or something similar, if the plane hit a watch tower as well, would there have been people in it or would they have seen what was happening and got out? - it seems hard to believe a plane as big as a Sterling could hit something without you being able to get out of the way first!

Thanks to you telling me Alberts plane was BF413HA-T, I was able to google it and found a site called 'Lost Bombers' which is quite useful, it says however that one of the airmen killed was on his first mission but I cant tell which, Harold Lancaster or Albert Denzey.

What I would like to know more about though is where he went on his missions (if, in that short space of time he did very many), who his crew were where there mission were to and ultimately more details about the accident - would the RAF take pictures if the plane hit the watch Tower, or was this fairly common?
Once I get as much info as I can I will put it into a small book and give it all to dad - he has just sent off for Alberts war medals so it will be something the family will be able to look at in years to come.

Is there anywhere else I can look other than the National Archives?

Hope I am not asking too many questions (feel free to ignore if I am), but the more I look into it the more interesting it all becomes!

Earl

Hi Earl,



I think the only way to find out if more airmen died in the crash is the squadron ORB’s.Maybe there is a Squadron Roll of Honour on the internet. I have been trying, but have had no luck yet. Its true that the aircraft who hit them had no casualties, but no doubt the crew would have felt sick about it. I cannot answer how many would have been in the watch tower, but no doubt their would have been ! Maybe, this is where the twenty you talk about died.

The information you found out about Alberts aircraft originally came from Bill Chorley’s Bomber Command Losses. Researcher’s do not use that site, because the information is practically identical to Bill Chorley’s book. Reference who was killed on their first mission, may be hard to find out, and this is where the ORB’s would come in handy.

Whether official photographs were taken of the watch tower, I cannot say, but I think other airman might have taken photographs, and there may be some about. Don’t worry about asking questions, as what you write will be read by many people, and someone out there might know something new, and anyway the members on this site are always willing to help by adding more information to the thread.

Regards

Bob
Dicam ex animo. Sed nostri evocatis, ut debemus eis libertatem.

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smudgersmith218
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Re: 218 Squadron 1943

Post by smudgersmith218 »

Earl wrote:I posted the below on the general post in February. Since then I have managed to get hold of Alberts service record and have a better insight into where he went before he was posted to 218 squadron, however I still dont have any information on what actually happened on the day he was killed. I assume I will need to go to the National Archive and look at the Squadron records but wondered if anyone on this thread could add any information?

AS PREVIOUSLY POSTED

I wonder if anyone can help?

My father had a step brother who flew out of RAF Downham Market during the war, who was sadly killed. Dad has decided to send off to see if he is eligible to recieve his war medal and it got me thinking it would be nice if I could get some more information about his time at the air base, the pane he flew in, its crew and their missions and a little more information on how he died.

We are told he was killed in an accident when a returning plance crashed into him, killing him and many more on the ground.

Details:
Albert Ronald Denzy
Service number 1333519
Position: Wireless operator
Squadron: 218
Based: Downham Market
Died 14/05/43 aged 20

I have manged to get hold of a copy of an accident card which I am told is the only one listed on that day, which seems to state BF480 made a difficult landing and crashed into the watch office killing two on board with one injured, however there is no mention of fatlities on the ground other than the word '3rd Party' which i assume means there were casulaties.

Any information about the actual event or how I can build a picture of his life at the base would be welcome

Earl,

As previously posted, please contact me off board. Due to the sensitive nature of the information I am not prepared to answer on an open forum. What I am prepared to say is that the circumstances are not generally known and the details I have were from a surviving member of the crew. I think somewhere I have a photograph of the crew, however it maybe with the association.

Regards

Steve
No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron 1918-1945
The Nomads

growland2607
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Re: 218 Squadron 1943

Post by growland2607 »

I came across your discussion forum whilst researching the life of my Uncle, Sgt. Harold Lancaster. I still have family in Prestwich and pleased to say that his grave is well cared for by 'the friends of St. Marys Church'. He is remembered in the church and on the village 'Roll of Honour' in the Longfield Centre in the centre of Prestwich.
All that I know of Harold is that he was trained at RAF Halton and have a photo of him there in February 1942. The raid on Bochum was his first operation in Bomber Command.
I learnt much of the accident in the book 'Strike Hard, a bomber airfield at war' by John Hilling but I am keen to learn of any more details you have.
many thanks

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smudgersmith218
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Re: 218 Squadron 1943

Post by smudgersmith218 »

Hi,

You maybe interested to know that the crew had not attacked Bochum as mentioned about. In fact they had just returned from a mining operation off Terschelling (position 53,45,26N / 05,12,38E). This was the crews first operation ( A Freshman trip) having joined the squadron from No.1657 Conversion Unit on April 29th 1943. The crew had successfully located and dropped 6 x mines on their allotted garden area from 3,500ft. They were back at RAF Downham Market within 3 hours 6 minutes of take off.

The circumstances surrounding their deaths is as I have already mentioned a sensitive matter, I am happy to provide you with the details off board.

My revised history of No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron is to be published by Pen & Sword in April 2015.

Regards

Steve
No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron 1918-1945
The Nomads

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