Lancaster ME831

"Green Markers Ahead Skipper"

mercredi 18 mai 2005

Dear Graham

Fortunately my crew was on leave when the two attacks on St Leu D'Esserent took place with such disastrous results for the Squadron. 

The crew with whom we shared our Nissen hut just outside the village of Martin were victims though, as we now know, they escaped with their lives. Normally we shared its limited space with the crew skippered by Australian Pilot Officer Alan Monaghan, but now the beds were obviously not in use and the steel storage wardrobes were empty. There was no sign of occupancy. The crew was gone! The chaps with whom we bantered when our paths crossed had disappeared.

Flight Engineer Charles Winley from Dysart in Fife - not to far from my own home near Dumfermline

Bomb Aimer Hubert Philpot

Navigator Norman Ward

Wireless Operator George Poulter

M.U.G Stan Gay (RCAF)

R.G Bob Bob Sheridan (RCAF)

The events of the evenings have been recorded in the News Letter of 'The Friends of Metheringham Airfield' which may still be available from the Visitor Centre via Mr Peter Scoley, Westmoor Farm, Martin Moor, METHERINGHAM, LINCOLN,  LN4 3BQ.  Much of the research was done by a chap who took part (Syd Geater).  Also recorded are the exploits of some of the crew who evaded.

You may also wish to consult www.aircrew-saltire.org where I have an article entitled 'The Swinley Story'......Swinley being the Flight Engineer in Monaghan's crew who did not return from St Leu.

Kind regards

Gilbert A Gray

 

Sources:

Keith Stevens

Revue Municipale n18 Saint Leu 1984

Paul Morel, ANACR,Marc Pilot, Mr Boudinel, Mr Jean Francois Bernard, Mr Arnaud Vandellie, Mrs Bernadette Coffin, Mr Joel Math & Sylvain Math, Mr Douchet, and Fifi

"Un intrus en territoire ennemi a Canappeville"

By Loic Lemarchand:

Under less than three hours of flight, the bomber formation closes on its target at around 01H00, the 8th July 1944. German night fighters are out in force and Lancaster bomber ME831 ZN-R is set upon by two fighters of the Luftwaffe. The first attack succeeds in making the Lancaster break formation and the second knocking out three engines which burst into flames. The Lancaster losses altitude, the pilot Alan Monaghan, gives the order to bail out. Stanley Gay, is the first out, Monaghan keeps the craft steady to allow the rest of the crew to jump finally getting clear himself before the aircraft crashes into the ground near Thuit-Signol.

Gay's Evasion:

Stanly Gay who managed to jump out of the burning craft was burnt in the face and landed in a tree at Surtauville. He hid his parachute, flight suite and life jacket so not to be seen by the Germans. He makes hast south and ends up at Landes de Canappeville at dawn. He seeks refuge, and to the surprise of Mr. & Mrs Legiemble, they assist and give him food. Mr. George Legiemble tends to Gays wounds before being taken to Mr Marcel Christot that same day. The next day Stanley Gay is taken to meet up with the Resistance who's hide is at the Chateau de Houetteville. Here he changes cloths, before moving hides again. A bicycle ride away, to the town of La Haye Malherbe and joins the Devillers family.

A week later another crew member Phil Renwick joins him and both stay hidden until, on the 23rd August 1944, the Americans and Canadien troops enter the town. Both crew men are taken to Bayeux where they meet up with the rest Gay's crew.

Alan Monaghan

Being the last to jump clear of the Lancaster, Alan lands near to Thuit-Signol. His fall to the ground was very harsh and upon hitting the earth, breaks his foot. Two frenchmen come to his rescue, tell him to stay put before coming back to pick him up. They take him to see the Doctor Hocard then driven to a farm at Tourville la Campagne whe he stays until the liberation.

H.Philpott

Following his jump, Hubert Philpot, lands in a factory court yard. Here he is escorted by two frenchmen and is hidden in a house in Elbeuf.

Robert Sheridan,

Just like Stanley Gay, Robert Sheridan had his face burnt. Upon landing he is helped by five frenchmen and then put in contact with the Resistance. Hidden at Elfeuf before joinning up with the advancing Allies.

N. Ward & G. Poulter are not as lucky as their crew members, they are picked up by the Germans and sent to Stalag Luft 7 at Bankau in Poland, liberated at the end of the war.

Alan Monaghan:

On the night of the 4/5 July 1944, Alan and his crew carried out a successful attack and were sent back to the same target 3 nights later (7th/8th July 1944), but were shot down before arrival.