Seven members of the RAF honoured in France having been killed in Northern France

Black and white image of the crew

 The crew consisting of seven flying officers and sergeants, including Warrant Officer Thomas Jackson, were killed when their Lancaster Bomber crashed in northern France on December 17, 1944.

The Lancaster bomber crew – Thomas ‘Paddy’ Moore, Donald Carl Stephens, Geoffrey Edward Franklin, George Edward Kirkpatrick, Albert Stanley Cole, John Frederick West, and William Leonard Powell – none of whom survived the crash after being shot down by enemy fire over France. The pilot William Powell bravely steered them away from the village as they crashed avoiding any more casualties.

Thomas who was 24 left behind his 12 week old baby and wife of 18th months. His daughter Margaret with help from a historian has been finding out more about the crash and theories about what may have happened.

Only three of the bodies were found in the wreckage and they were buried in France. In a ceremony held in Grand-Bourgtheroulde a plaque has been unveiled to honour the men whose aircraft crashed.

 “One theory is that another bomber collided with my father’s,” Margaret explained. “And the second is that my dad’s Lancaster hadn’t shed all of its bombs, and so created a larger explosion than expected when it crashed, but there needs to be more proof for both.”

Commenting on Thomas being memorialised in the form of a plaque, Margaret said: “I think commemorating my father and the rest of the crew us absolutely brilliant, and I’m so pleased he’s being honoured in this way.”

She added: “We’ve got his medals and were sent an honour some years ago, but it’s just fantastic that he and his crewmates are receiving a plaque in their memory as well.”

As well as unveiling the touching plaque, the French authorities have chosen to combine the ceremony with the 75th celebrations of the release of northern France from German control.

Margaret is thrilled that her father and his colleagues are being honoured in this way.

 

 

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