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Avro Lancaster flypast

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  • Propstrike
    Rank 5 Registered User

    #21
    An aerial photography mission gave a chance to photograph the site yesterday.

    The big stone cairn can be seen, and the gap in the hedge where the aeroplane came down

    The site is on a bearing of 350 degrees, 465 metres from the Blue Ball Pub, Asheridge.
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    Last edited by Propstrike; 25th February 2015, 19:34.

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    • JezG
      Rank 4 Registered User

      #22
      Apologies for bringing up this old thread. F/O John Gould (the pilot of PB475) was my uncle. I recall that some parts of his recovered aircraft (including a couple of engines) were on display at the now defunct Booker Air Museum. I don't suppose anyone here has any information about what may have happened to them? I'd be very interested to find out. One of the items was his log book (which was lent to the museum by John's older brother as I recall), but luckily David King from the Aircrew Remembrance Society was wise enough to take pictures of every page. I'm gradually uploading copies of the operational pages here:

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/jezgou...7646525964404/
      My JetPhotos.net images
      My Airliners.net images

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      • Propstrike
        Rank 5 Registered User

        #23
        Hi Jez,

        No apologies needed, and thanks for taking the time to register, and letting us know your connection to this sad event

        I do not have any contact to help you, I am afraid, but this forum is widely read, and may well come up with some answers.

        The location of this aeroplane is the nearest crash site my home I think, and I have a special affinity with it. I pass the site often, and always pause to remember the crew who so nearly made it through the war, just another 8 weeks to VE Day.

        Thanks again, and best wishes


        Andy Smith

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        • JezG
          Rank 4 Registered User

          #24
          Thanks Andy. Hopefully some help will be forthcoming. I did find old auction on ebay via a Google search a few months ago for a part of PB475. I did contact the seller asking about any further information about the other parts but didn't get a response.
          My JetPhotos.net images
          My Airliners.net images

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          • JFecht
            Registered User

            #25
            Just came across this thread and made an account just to post here. Bill Hart, the tailgunner and lone survivor of PB475, is/was my grandfather. First, my grandfather died in 1994 after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer. The information on https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=159300 has been updated.

            My grandfather only spoke of the crash to me once, but the story is well known by his children (my mum and uncles) and I will try to recount it as best I can. I am sure there will be inaccuracies in the telling. The story goes:

            Two days before the crash, my grandfather was in a pub talking to another Lancaster tailgunner. In the course of the conversation, the other tailgunner told my grandfather of a new way to pack a parachute that, while it made sitting in the cramped glass bubble even more uncomfortable, allowed for the chute to deploy at low altitudes. The night of the crash was the first time my grandfather packed his parachute in that manner, and is the reason her survived. As PB475 was flying to their primary target, they discovered it had been bombed thoroughly already, and for some reason their secondary target was unfeasible, so they returned home. Upon descent, one of the bomb altimeters went off, causing a catastrophic chain reaction and explosion. My grandfather blamed the altimeter on the ground crew, whom he said was rushing off to go on a date whilst loading the bombs, and it was his fault the plane crashed; he said that when he saw this person days after, he had to be restrained as he wanted to murder the crewman. Back to the plane, after the first altimeter went off, my grandfather felt the noise and vibration like never before, and without even thinking, he jumped through the escape hatch. He said he felt the heat from the blast, and the shockwave likely saved him from death or being burnt alive, as it pushed him clear of the blast before his chute deployed. As he drifted down safely, unharmed, he watched his friends die, and knew there was nothing he could do to save them. He said that those men on board were his brothers, and that a part of him died that night as well.

            From personal experience, this incident had a profound effect on our family. Both my grandfather and grandmother, an RAF nurse, suffered from what would now be classified as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and their relationship crumbled. Of course this affected their children: my mother and 2 uncles, all of whom bear the psychological scars of being raised by troubled parents. Both grandparents were prone to self-medicating with alcohol, cigarettes, and questionable romantic relationships, and both turned a corner in their 60s for the better. Unfortunately, that was also the last decade of life for them both.

            I am truly sorry I just came across this post now. My grandfather passed when I was still very young, and as he didn't talk about this incident much, it was relatively hard to find information until the internet. My mum has visited the Asheridge before the commemoration, looking for the crash site, so she will be thrilled to know this happened and the stone exists. Next time I am in England (family is in Canada), I will be sure to go.

            Thank you to everyone who posted, and for the commemoration. My grandad would have been a mess of tears and gratitude had he been there.

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            • Seafuryfan
              Rank 5 Registered User

              #26
              I just want to register my thanks for the posters to this thread. It is rare indeed (and, judging by a recent programme on The Blitz becoming more common) to read from a connected family member about the ripple effect caused by the loss of a loved one during the war. Powerful reading.

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              • trumper
                Rank 5 Registered User

                #27
                The knock on effect from the war and PTSD affected the generations afterwards .Thank you for posting the update ,it certainly shows the human side and the aftermath

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                • Propstrike
                  Rank 5 Registered User

                  #28
                  J Fecht, I am so pleased you have registered here , and are able to throw more light on the events of March 6th. As you observe, pre-interenet it was a long lonely slog to dig back into past events , and it is amazing how now you can suddenly stumble upon a cache of information for which you have searching for years. Your account of Bill Hart's escape is an incredible story, and it is gratifying that even now, new details can emerge.

                  This is a forum about historic aircraft, but as often happens, it is the human stories which end up having the most resonance, and show how traumatic past events echo down through the years, shaping people and their outlook, one or even two generations later. I hope you are able to come to the UK sometime, and visit that peaceful valley. If you can come, I would be pleased to take you to the site, and show you round . Drop me a line at andrew4547@ntlworld.com if that might be of interest.

                  They were all very brave men, and paid a terrible price, even the sole survivor. As their living representatives, to you and J Gould, we thank you for their service.
                  Last edited by Propstrike; 4th September 2018, 10:32.

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