They Failed to Return

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They Failed to Return

This page is dedicated to the members of Arthur's crew who lost their lives during the performance of their duty.
The original page can be seen in Arthur's Wartime Log - Part 4

Below are messages and photographs we have kindly received from relatives of the crew.

Sgt. Richard William Butler

Sgt. Richard William Butler

I have a couple of photos of my father, not great quality the one, presumably taken with a brownie or similar camera, I think at Operation Training Unit RAF Kinloss, but I am not certain of that. The other is a more formal portrait my mother had, feel free to use either or both as you prefer, it would be a thoughtful gesture to add a page on the crew.

One question, although I realise you may not know the answer. Were your grandfather and my father part of regular crew, or were they assembled for that night only? I know that the original pilot scheduled to fly that night was not allowed to fly because of toothache, which automatically grounded you, but I never knew if they simply replaced a pilot or the whole crew.

Your grandfather cannot have been claustrophobic, getting in and out of the rear turret must have been a nightmare. There was a good programme on BBC2 the other week by Ewen MacGregor on Bomber Boys, well worth watching if you did not catch it. I hope to attend the opening commemoration of the Bomber Command Memorial in London this summer, hopefully well before the Olympics. I saw it under construction last year, near to the Ritz in Green Park.Will you be going? Sorry to have gone on so long, I hope we can keep in touch, thanks again,

R. Butler 28th February 2012

Sgt. Garnet James Bailey

Sgt. Garnet James Bailey RAAF

My great uncle, 403491 Sgt. Garnet James Bailey RAAF, was one of the crew members (bomb aimer) on Lancaster R5608 that night of the 25 / 26th July, 1942. Unfortunately, he was one of the crew that died, but it was very interesting and eerie at the same time, to read a first hand account of the events leading up to and after the plane being bought down. Also the experiences of Arthur during the years as a prisoner of war. He was obviously a very intelligent man and an excellent artist.

It was also great to learn his name finally, as I have been researching my great uncle's war service for some time now, and in his service history / casualty records, it only refers to the two survivors as "A. E. Adams and H. A. Church". Being in Australia, it is hard to trace family members of servicemen from this era, so to be able to find this on the internet, was a great thrill. Hopefully I may, in the future, come into contact with some of the other crew members families. Thank you again.

D. Bailey 16th February 2012

The following information has been sourced from the Aircrew Rememberance Society

Mission: Gardening (Deodars)

Date: 25/26th July 1942 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 106 Squadron

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: R5608

Code: ZN-?

Base: R.A.F. Coningsby, Lincolnshire

Location: Bay of Biscay

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. H.A. Church R.A.F.V.R. Survived P.O.W. No: 25088 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Richard William Butler 1191385 R.A.F.V.R. Age 30. Killed

Nav: Sgt. William McPhie Samuel 749547 R.A.F.V.R. Age 23. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Garnet James Bailey 403491 R.A.A.F. Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ernest Bradley 997206 R.A.F.V.R. Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr (Mid Upper): Sgt. Diamond Freeman 942986 R.A.F.V.R. Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr (Rear): Sgt. A.E. Adams R.A.F.V.R. Survived P.O.W. No: 25024 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria


Took off at 22.55 hrs from R.A.F. Coningsby, Lincolnshire on a gardening operation to the Deodars area (see Gardening operations "Link")

Believed to have been shot down by a flak ship who also rescued two of the crew. The area of the loss, according to German reports, was between the islands of D'Oleron and Ree on the west coast of France.

The Germans explained that they did hear cries for assistance from whom it is believed to be Sgt. Bailey who had exited the aircraft through the forward escape hatch before the aircraft had ditched. He was a considerable way from the aircraft and despite efforts the Germans failed to locate him.

The body of Sgt. Samuel was washed up on the 7th August 1942 at St La Continere and buried in the town of Ile D'Oleron with full military honours.

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