Monthly Archives: January 2016

Barry Aldridge

In commemoration…


Barry and Sue Aldridge, pictured with their book, ‘Memories of RAF Witchford’, in 2013.

It is with great sadness that I must pass on to all of you news from Kevin of the passing of Barry Aldridge.

Barry was 68 and died after long battle with dementia.

In 1995 Barry along with his wife Sue started the museum at Witchford, dedicated to 115 and 75 NZ Squadrons.

The artefacts and photographs on display  give a vivid history of the Squadrons. Barry’s dedication earned him awards and praise in equal measure. It had always been Barry’s ambition to write a history of RAF Witchford.

He started the project and was making good progress when his illness struck. His wife Sue, knew how much the project meant to him, and decided to complete it. This she archived in 2013 with the publication of ‘ Memories of RAF Witchford’. It sold so well…

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Voorwoord – Foreword

Met trots kunnen wij aankondigen dat het voorwoord voor het boek over de crash van Lancaster KO-Y DS734 zal worden geschreven door de voormalige Squadron Leader van 115 Sqn, dhr. Frank Leatherdale DFC.

Oorspronkelijk begon hij als navigator bij 115 Squadron.
Hij ging bij de RAF op 18-jarige leeftijd in 1940 en werd zo navigator bij de Pathfinders in 1942. Hij vloog 59 operaties en werd gelauwerd met het DFC. Nadien werd hij instructeur bij RAF Warboys. Hij bleef na de oorlog in dienst en deed gedurende zijn 25 jarige carrière landen als Korea en Polen aan.

We are proud to announce, the foreword of our book about Lancaster KO-Y DS734 will b written by the former Squadron Leader of 115 Squadron, Frank Leatherdale DFC.

Originally flew as a Navigator with 115 Squadron on Lancasters.
He had joined the RAF at the age of 18 in 1940 and became a navigator on the Pathfinder Force when it was set up in 1942 flying 59 operations and being awarded the DFC. Initially based at RAF Oakington, he subsequently became an instructor at RAF Warboys. He continued to serve with the RAF after the war, seeing service in a number of countries including Korea and Poland during a 25 year career. (source RAF)

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Website of the month #1

In deze rubriek komt er elke maand een website aan bod die de moeite waard is om te bezoeken.
Dit gaat heel breed, gaande van informatie over de Tweede Wereldoorlog, tot websites die zich tot een specifiek item uit deze oorlog richten.

Als eerste website komt aan bod. Dit is een website waaraan ik ook meehelp.


Op deze website kan je verschillende zaken terugvinden. We plaatsen ze even op een rijtje voor u.

Op de homepagina staat er algemene informatie en kan u onderaan informatie vinden over het boek dat Barry (+ 2016) en Sue Aldridge schreven over R.A.F. Witchford.

* The Y’s Owells

Dit is waar het hoofdzakelijk mee begonnen is.
Op deze pagina krijgt u meer informatie over de nose art di zich op Lancaster KO-Y DS734 bevond toen Aubrey Howell DFC piloot was.
De tekst, ter beschikking gesteld door zijn zoon, Dave Howell staat op de twee pagina’s integraal weergegeven.wotm1_2

* Nose art “Y’s Owells”’s%20’Owells%20Emblem.html

Deze pagina toont de restauratie en schenking van de originel nose art door de familie Howell aan het RAF Witchford Display of Memorobilia.
Op de homepagina kan u onderaan trouwens informatie vinden over het boek dat Barry & Sue Aldridge schreven over dit voormalige vliegveld, dat van november 1943 tot oktober 1945 de thuisbasis was van 115 Sqn RAF, dat van november 1943 tot oktober 1945 de thuisbasis was van 115 Sqn RAF.

* Informatie over gecrashte bommenwerpers

wotm1_4Op deze pagina kan u een overzicht zien van de gekende crashes op Belgisch grondgebied door bommenwerpers van 115 Sqn RAF. Door rechts op het mapje te klikken, komt u op de specifiek pagina terecht van die bepaalde bommenwerper.
Bovenaan staat algemene informatie vermeld over de missie die nacht.
Waar mogelijk is er een foto geplaatst bij het desbetreffende crewlid.

* The Tiller


Op deze pagina kan je nieuwsbrieven terugvinden die de veteranen van 115 Sqn RAF kregen. Helaas slaagden we er niet in om elke nieuwsbrief terug te vinden.

* Belgium to Gibraltar

Het is gelukkig niet allemaal kommer en kwel. Jack Edward Cope slaagde er in om na de crash van zijn toestel te ontsnappen met behulp van de bekende “Comete Line”
Een samenvatting hiervan kan u op deze pagina terugvinden.wotm1_6

* Aubrey Howell DFC

De eerste pagina toont het gebedsboekje dat de aanwezigen hadden tijdens de begrafenisdienst van Aubrey Howell DFC.
Op de tweede pagina kan u de tekst terugvinden die Dave Howell voor/over zijn vader voorlas.

In this rubric, each month a website will be the  in the spotlight in our new “website of the month”.
Not only websites about Lancasters will be addes, also websites about WW2 will be part of this new rubric.

The first website is “” a website I help with.


On this website you can find back several things about 115 Squadron RAF crashes in Belgium.
Let us guide you around.

At the homepage there is some general information and you can find after scrolling down more information about the book Barry (+2016) and Sue Aldridge wrote about R.A.F. Witchford, which was the base of 115 Sqn RAF from November 1943 until October 1945. O

* The Y’s Owells

This is mainly were it began.
At this pages you receive more information about the nose art on Lancaster KO-Y DS734 when Aubrey Howell DFC, was pilot.
Texts were made available by Dave Howell, son of Aubrey.

* Nose art “Y’s Owells”’s%20’Owells%20Emblem.html

Thise page shows the work that has been done on the original nose art by the Howell family and was a gift for the RAF Witchford Display of Memorabilia.

* Informatie over gecrashte bommenwerpers

wotm1_4Here are the bombers listed that crashed in Belgium.
By clicking on the “folder” icon, you can find out more about a particular bomber (e.g. mission, target, crewmembers)
Photos are placed there where possible.

* The Tiller


Here are some of the newsletters listed that veterans of 115 Sqn RAF received. Unfortunately we were unable to trace back all the newsletters.

* Belgium to Gibraltar

wotm1_6Luckily, not all this is sad to read. Jack Edward Cope managed to get back to the allied forces, thanks to the ‘Comete Line”.
A summary of that story can be found here.

* Aubrey Howell DFC

The first page shows the prayers from the funeral of Aubrey Howell DFC.
The second page is the text Dave Howell said at the funeral.


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Happy Birthday!


Margaret Dove was the Bomber Command Museum of Canada’s honourary president from 1990 Until her death in 2008. She provided the museum with the following description of the day she joined her father, legendary aircraft designer Roy Chadwick, to watch the first flight of the Avro Lancaster.

“Would you like to drive to Woodford with me?” Roy Chadwick asked his eighteen year old daughter. “With luck, it’s going to be a special day because Sam is likely to fly the new big bomber.”Margaret recalled, “It was a lovely day, with blue sky and a few scattered white clouds, but very cold, so we were well wrapped up. All the way there we chatted happily in his car . . . We always turned down the small lane of Woodford Church that led directly to the Club House and the Avro hangars and tarmac apron where my father parked the car. A few hundred yards away stood the huge new Avro, its four engines already ticking over. Sam Brown and Bill Thorn, distinctive in white overalls, could be seen sitting side-by-side in the cockpit high above the ground.

“We strolled across to a crowd intently watching the proceedings and were greeted by Roy Dobson and Mr. Fielding with whom my father talked for a while as we stood together at the left-hand side of the group. Presently the engines began to roar, and as the plane moved forward my father turned and walked away with me for quite a distance. Though he seemed calm and expressionless, I’m sure he was very tense. Then the plane began its run and soared upward, climbing into the blue between the occasional large white clouds, and sailed away into the distance. Presently it returned and circled the aerodrome. Then with impressive din it flew low in front of us, climbed up again and made smoothly banked turns to left and right before magnificently rumbling in and landing. We all began to move across the field to where it rested. As we approached, the fuselage door opened, and Capt. Brown, his white overalls brilliant in the sun, appeared in the doorway. There was an eager cry, ‘How did it go, Sam?’ and smilingly he said, ‘It was marvelous -easy to handle and light on the controls.’ Then he descended the steps and everyone was talking to him.

“When we were in the car going home, I turned to my father and said, ‘Well Daddy, you must be very pleased that this new aeroplane is such a success.’ He replied, ‘Yes I am -but in this business one cannot rest on one’s laurels. There is always another and another aeroplane.'”

Source: Bomber Command Museum of Canada (

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Hierbij enkele statistieken van 2015
Here are some 2015 stats of the webblog

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