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Remembering the Crew of Lancaster LM325 SR-J

During the late evening of 22 June 1943, Sergeant Roy Waterhouse
(aged 20), the pilot of No. 101 Squadron Avro Lancaster LM325 SR-J,
took off with his crew from Royal Air Force Ludford Magna, as
part of a 557 aircraft formation, to attack the war industry near
the German city of Mulheim.

Decoration - image of a thin line used as a section divider

Photo showing a member of the RAF Akrotiri team saluting the memorial to the crew of Lancaster SR-J

At approximately 1.40am on the morning of 23 June, the Lancaster was intercepted by a Messerschmitt Bf 110 night fighter above the village of Beuningen, near Nijmegen, in the Netherlands. While having been hit, and on fire, the crew were able to jettison the bomb load into nearby fields before crashing with the loss of five crew members.

Photo of the memorial for crew of Lancaster SR-J

The Navigator, Flying Officer Bevan Tomkins, had escaped from the aircraft but did not survive the jump. Bomb Aimer, Sergeant Ted Williams, also escaped from the stricken aircraft by parachute, landing in the garden of a house in Heesch close to Nijmegen. Here, Sergeant Williams was given help by the home owner and the local Doctor, however, the Germans were aware of a parachute that had been seen to land and very soon found Ted. He subsequently spent the remainder of the war as a Prisoner of War in Stalag Luft VI near to the Polish Lithuanian border. Sadly, Ted died in 2004 but not before he met the Dutch home owner and the Doctor from Heesch who had assisted him.

Photo showing the graves and gravestones of the crew of Lancaster SR-J

In 2013 a small memorial was placed at the crash site and in 2016 a permanent memorial was erected. In 2014 the local Scouts adopted the memorial and continue to maintain the site, and assist with the organisation of ceremonies. The crash site is on the route of the second day of the 4 Days International Marches (de Vierdaagse), which take place each year in the third week of July.

Photo showing the graves and gravestones of the crew of Lancaster SR-J

To mark the 80th Anniversary, and to commemorate the crew of Lancaster SR-J, Andy Skinner from Bexhill on-sea in Sussex, who previously served in the RAF from 1975 to 1985, and who was participating in the 4 days marches, contacted the 101 Squadron Association and informed Mr Paul Thompson of his intention to visit the site in July 2023. Subsequently, a No. 101 Squadron wreath was quickly organised and contact made with the Squadron Association representative Mr Jan Schipper from Huizen in the Netherlands; firm arrangements were then made for Andy and Jan to meet at the crash site at 10:30 on Wednesday 19 July. At the crash site Andy and Jan were joined by a joint Royal Air Force and British Army team from RAF Akrotiri, also participating in the marches, along with the local Scouts, where the wreath was formally laid at the memorial.

Photo of the grave and gravestone of Sergeant Roy Waterhouse, pilot of Lancaster SR-J

On Sunday 23 July Andy attended the War Cemetery at Uden near Eindhoven where he visited the graves of the crew of Lancaster SR-J and laid a wreath on the cenotaph.

Photo of Mr Andy Skinner laying a wreath on the Cenotaph in the War Cemetery at Uden near Eindhoven

Andy said:

“It was both an honour and a privilege to have been a part of this act of remembrance to the crew of Lancaster SR-J and all of our young men who lie buried here. We also remember the countless brave Dutch people who helped them”.

Mr Andy Skinner

Paul Thompson added:

“The 101 Squadron Association would like to express their sincere gratitude to Andy, Jan and all those who took part in laying the wreath at the SR-J crash site memorial. We shall always remember all those brave young men who, ‘sacrificed their today for our tomorrow’”.

Mr Paul Thompson


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