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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 200499
Last updated: 15 October 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic LANC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Avro Lancaster Mk I
Owner/operator:97 (The Straits Settlements) Squadron Royal Air Force (97 (The Straits Settlements) Sqn RAF)
Registration: R5558
Fatalities:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:In sea 4 miles off Wells, Norfolk, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:
The aircraft crashed into the sea four miles off Wells, Norfolk. The aircraft returned by the correct route and with low cloud was down to 300 feet on return it asked for two QDMs. All the crew were killed in the crash.

The Wells lifeboat "Royal Silver Jubilee 1910 - 1935" was launched shortly after 06:15 on receiving a report of the downed aircraft, under the command of Coxswain Theodor Neilson. The still floating fuselage of the Lancaster was found, together with one seriously injured crew member (Fg Off Davies) clinging to the wing. Coxswain Theodor Neilson boarded the remains of the fuselage to search for possible survivors, even though there was a considerable risk of the aircraft sinking. Finding no-one in the fuselage, the lifeboat returned to Wells and Fg Off Davies was taken to Wells hospital where he unfortunately died shortly afterwards. The Lifeboat returned to search for the rest of the 7 crew and recovered the bodies of Fg Off Blease and Flt Sgt. McPhee. The other 4 crew members were never found, and are remembered on the RAF memorial at Runnymede. John Blease was buried on 18 July 1942 in joint funeral with his 2 fellow crew members. Coxswain Neilson was subsequently awarded an RNLI inscription of thanks on vellum, for his bravery in boarding the remains of the fuselage to search for possible survivors, in spite of the possibility of it sinking without warning.

Pilot:NZ/405221 Plt Off John Thomas Blease - Great Bircham (St Mary) Churchyard Plot 1. Row 3. Grave 5.
Navigator: Aus/401304 Plt Off Llewellyn Alfred Davies RAAF - Great Bircham (St Mary) Churchyard Plot 1. Row 3. Grave 6. (Died from his injuries the same day at Wells Hospital)
Flight Engineer:571775 Sgt Cecil G Leitch - Runnymede Memorial Panel 88
Observer:1057318 Sgt Bryan Earnshaw - Runnymede Memorial Panel 82
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner:755804 Flt Sgt James Tales - Barfield Road Burial Ground West Mersea Colchester Borough, Essex Grave 216.
Air Gunner:R/75116 Flt Sgt Allan Jeremiah McPhee RCAF - Great Bircham (St Mary) Churchyard Plot 1. Row 3. Grave 7.
Air Gunner:1228848 Sgt Leslie Robinson - Hurst Cemetery Ashton-Under-Lyne, Metropolitan Borough of Tameside Sec. P. Grave 165.

Bomber Command Losses 1942
Find A Grave

Revision history:

21-Oct-2017 14:35 w.bleumink Added
23-Oct-2017 14:32 w.bleumink Updated [Narrative]
12-Feb-2018 18:40 Red Dragon Updated [Cn, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Feb-2018 19:10 Red Dragon Updated [Aircraft type]
10-Nov-2018 22:37 Nepa Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Operator]

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