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Thread: Witchford

  1. #11

    Default Re: RAF Witchford & Mepal Memorabillia Collection

    Hello all, i am the grand son of nicholas and am now living in Ely, i would like to learn more about well everything and meet anyone associated with the organisation does any one have any advice on who to speak to?

  2. #12
    Senior Member Denis's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Witchford & Mepal Memorabillia Collection

    The same grand son who appeared on the television program 'Bomber Crew'?

  3. #13
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    Default Re: RAF Witchford & Mepal Memorabillia Collection

    Hi,

    I was very interested in the photos taken at the Witchford museum. I'm particularly interested in Lancaster LL867 A4-J of 115 Squadron, shot down by an intruder 18/19 April 1944. Can anyone help with any photos of this Lancaster or crew?

    Lancaster LL867 was shot down by a Me410, flown by Lt Wolfgang Wenning of Stab II./KG51. Six nights later the same pilot claimed Halifax LK789 MP-L of 76 Squadron, shot down near Welney Norfolk 25/4/44. My uncle Sgt N.M Harrison was among the crew killed. I have sent details to the website below:-


    http://www.aircrewremembrancesociety...4/dibbins.html



    Regards,
    Mike Harrison
    Last edited by Hawksley; 19-07-2011 at 06:28.

  4. #14
    Senior Member kebecker's Avatar
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    Default Re: RAF Witchford & Mepal Memorabillia Collection

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/43688219@N00/2495890018/

    This may be of help, but you may already have seen it

  5. #15
    Senior Member PETERTHEEATER's Avatar
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    Default Re: Witchford



    Construction of an airfield for No. 3 Group RAF at Witchford, Cambridgeshire: a bulldozer spreads bricks from bombed buildings as hardcore for the new runways.

    Courtesy of Imperial War Museum IWM (CE 29)

  6. #16
    Senior Member Bomber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Witchford

    Intersting photo there funny how they use rubble from bomed out buildings for hard core . Then thirty or so years latter they then remove the runways for hard core for new roads / Motorways What you might call a good bit of recycling !
    Last edited by Bomber; 29-01-2012 at 12:31.

  7. #17

    Default LM616 based at RAF Witchford

    Two or three years ago I did some research into a Lancaster Bomber that was based at RAF Witchford in 1944, it took part in the bombing of Nazis Panzer Divisions in the days after D-Day.

    The Lancaster Mk.III (LM616 KO J) belonged to 115 Sqn RAF it had taken off from Witchford in the early hours of 18 July 1944 and headed for Normandy to support Operation Goodwood in the Manneville area by bombing the 6th Luftwaffe Field Division and the 21st Panzer Division.

    During the operation LM616 was shot up by flak which damaged its navigation aids, this became more of a problem after the aircraft had crossed the channel as that morning the northern Home Counties were covered in thick fog, this led to the aircraft crew becoming disorientated and lost.

    Royal Observer Corps posts in North Hertfordshire reported hearing a large aircraft circling that sounded like it was in trouble from around 6am. The pilot must have decided to try and take the aircraft down in the hope that the fog would clear and they would get some bearing on their location.

    As the aircraft descended through the low cloud only to see a high escarpment of the north eastern ridge of the Chilterns immediately in their line of descent.

    LM616 hit the tops of the trees in a wood at the top of Birkitt Hill at Great Offley near Hitchin, then bounced at it hit the ground, taking a small metal water tower with it as it careered across School Lane and smashed into a farm house at West End Farm (one of the wings hit the milking shed where the farmer and his sons were just finishing milking.

    The Farmers wife and two daughters (one who was home on leave from the ATS) were killed in the resulting explosion and fire, none of the crew of LM616 survived.

    Fire and Rescue crews spend all day at the crash site trying to recover bodies, in some reports Fireman were said to say the bricks in the rubble were extremely hot for hours afterwards.

    The bodies of the women were found in the cellar of the house, the explosion was such that it blew out windows in nearby houses.

    The aircraft when it hit the ground was heading a south westerly direction towards Luton, if the weather had been more kinder then it may have been possible for the aircraft to make an emergency landing at the RAF fighter station/aircraft factory at Luton or nearby RAF Henlow, unfortunately it wasn't to be.

    RAF casualties

    • Pilot Officer S.A.Letts
    • Sergeant D.C.Clark
    • Sergeant K.J.Smith
    • Pilot Officer W.J.Kennedy RCAF
    • Flying Officer T.Richardson
    • Sergeant I.Morris
    • Sergeant E.D.White RCAF



    Farm House casualties

    • Mrs Alice Handley
    • Mary Handley
    • Pte Elsie Handley ATS



    There is no memorial to either the aircrew or the villagers killed in the crash, a photograph of the aftermath was included in a book about the village (without details of what exactly happened and who was killed).

    I did recently ask the Parish Council if a proper memorial could be considered but they weren't really that interested, with 2014 the 70th anniversary fast approaching I'm wondering is there time to raise money for a memorial?
    Last edited by merlinonline; 01-07-2012 at 18:59.

  8. #18
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    Default Re: Witchford

    Quote Originally Posted by merlinonline View Post
    There is no memorial to either the aircrew or the villagers killed in the crash, a photograph of the aftermath was included in a book about the village (without details of what exactly happened and who was killed).

    I did recently ask the Parish Council if a proper memorial could be considered but they weren't really that interested, with 2014 the 70th anniversary fast approaching I'm wondering is there time to raise money for a memorial?
    It's the sort of thing that you could probably set in motion yourself, all you need is a friendly landowner somewhere near the crash site and then some fund raising and a bit of hard work!
    A good example of this is here:
    http://www.airfieldresearchgroup.org.uk/?page_id=87

  9. #19

    Default Re: Witchford

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcade Al View Post
    It's the sort of thing that you could probably set in motion yourself, all you need is a friendly landowner somewhere near the crash site and then some fund raising and a bit of hard work!
    A good example of this is here:
    http://www.airfieldresearchgroup.org.uk/?page_id=87
    have a look at the crash site on Google Maps 51.93407,-0.343035 (http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=51.93...3407,-0.343035).

    The problem is the Farm House (no longer a Farm) is set back from the road and its garden has been landscaped with a boundary wall and high conifers, the best the Parish council came up with was a plaque on the wall, however the house owners won't want something identifying their house with a tragedy (hardly surprising) also if you look on street view you will see the site is on a blind bend, so there must not be anything that would be a potential hazard to road users (although its a dead end lane its very busy).

    If you look to the north east you will see Birkitt Hill House (formerly called Eagles Nest but name changed due to its being the namesake of Hitlers Alpine retreat) this is where the plane hit the trees, the plane first hit the ground next to where there are some farm buildings.

    I think the next stop will be to see if there is any interest from the locals via a short piece in the village newsletter.

  10. #20
    SuperMod stevie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Witchford

    A picture of the memorial taken by Bomber -


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