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Nephew’s search for air crew hero
THE great nephew of a flight sergeant in Bomber Command who was lost returning from a mission in 1943 is hoping to trace the families of other crew members.
John Wilson was an air gunner on Stirling bomber R9286, identification code MG-C, which is believed to have ditched in the North Sea after being hit by enemy fire.
Also among the seven man crew was flight sergeant T J Bainbridge, 651014, who lived with his wife in Dickson Street, Colne.
Now, Mike Gilmore, who has been researching what happened to his great uncle on the night of June 11/12, would like to get in touch with the Bainbridge family.
He said: “I would be delighted to make contact with the family to maybe share any information they might have.
“Indeed, they may have been able to contact other families involved with that crew or have other information about those brave young men.”
Mike was among the guests at the recent unveiling of the Bomber Command in London, to honour the 55, 573 men who lost their lives during the Second World War.
He said: “As well as honouring my great uncle, I was also there to honour the crew of R9286 and all those who were lost in the service of Bomber Command.
“There were many families at the ceremony but unfortunately there was no facility to meet or connections to be made. Maybe someone from the Bainbridge family was there, too.”
The Stirling Mark I, belonging to number 7 squadron, was one of 72 aircraft which set out on a raid to Munster on the night of June 11.
Its crew were part of the elite Pathfinder Force, which dropped incendiaries and flares to guide the main bomber force to its target.
It’s reported that the raid, which lasted no longer than 10 minutes, caused much damage to railway installations as well as housing areas.
The cost, however, was two Halifaxes, two Lancasters and the Stirling, which made its last communication at 3.58am, when it appeared to be in distress 20 miles off the Norfolk coast.
Search and rescue operations swung into action within half an hour, with both squadron planes and air and sea rescue scouring the waves, but no trace of the aircraft or crew was ever found.
Other crew members were Flight Officer E Deville, Flight Lieut W Theobold and three other Flight Sergeants J Davies, H Humphreys and J Harrington.
If you have any information about Flt Sgt Bainbridge’s family, you can contact Mike on email email@example.com
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