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Thread: Flt Lt William Elder AFC, S/no 88431, 207 Squadron

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    Default Flt Lt William Elder AFC, S/no 88431, 207 Squadron

    I am interested in finding out more about Flt Lt William Alexander Stevenson Elder AFC, Service No 88431, 207 Squadron, who was lost on a 2nd dickey trip flying with the Sexton crew, EM-W ED536, on a trip to Nuremberg on 25 Feb 1943. I have the ORB and CWGC details. I'd like to see the citation for his AFC, if possible. Many thanks in advance.
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    Chas

    The Scotsman Newspaper reports his award along with other recipients of the A.F.C. and A.F.M. in an article of October 1st 1941:

    FLYING INSTRUCTORS DECORATED
    Forty-seven flying instructors - the men who train the bomber and fighter boys how to handle a plane, have had their very important work officially recognised.
    Fourty-four have been awarded the A.F.C., and three the A.F.M.


    The article then lists thoase recipients, including your man.

    Regadrs

    Simon

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    Simon -- that's really helpful. Thanks very much.

    How terrible that he should (presumably) then volunteer for operational service and die on his first trip.
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    ELDER, William Alexander Stevenson, P/O (88431, RAFVR) - No.17 EFTS - Air Force Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 30 September 1941. Public Record Office Air 2/9544 (courtesy of Steve Brew) has recommendation drafted 27 May 1941.

    This officer has put in an exceptional amount of flying during the period under review. His instruction is of a high standard.

    To the above, the Air Officer Commanding, No.51 Group (Air Commodore B.S or R.S.. Baker ?) added the following on 11 June 1941.:

    Pilot Officer Elder is recommended for the Air Force Cross on account of his exceptionally meritorious service as an instructor. This officer has completed 1,330 hours instructional flying in the past 19 months, 438 of which have been completed in the last six months - a very fine record.

    This was digested for Air Ministry Awards Committee to read as below. Another sheet in the file indicated that he had flown 850 instructional hours as an NCO, 700 as an officer, and that he had been commissioned 20 November 1940.

    This officer has completed 1,350 instructional flying hours of which 430 have been flown in the past six months. His instruction is of a high standard.

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    Many thanks indeed, Hugh. This is very helpful!
    Simon -- do you have a link to the Scotsman article which you cited? Or the full text? I'd be interested to know if it names a home town for Elder. His CWGC record says that his wife was from Glasgow, but that could be a post-war address.
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    Chas

    The Scottish recipients have some details listed in the article - this is for Elder:

    F.O. Elder was born at Glasgow in 1917. Entered the R.A.F. in 1937 as an A.C.2, was trained as a pilot, and granted a commission as P.O. in Novemebr 1940. His wife lives in Oakham.

    However, their marriage is listed on the Scotland's People Statutory Register of Marriages, with the following information:

    January 23rd 1941, at St. Marys' Church, Glasgow.

    Address of Groom: 49 Beechwood Drive, Glasgow (now engaged on war service)
    Address of Bride: 571 Alexandra Parade, Glasgow

    His occupation is listed as Flying Instructor (Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force).

    Regards

    Simon

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    Thanks very much!
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    My Great Uncle Bob Hannah was the rear air gunner on this mission. The aircraft was shot down by flack on 25 Feb 43 and crashed on a foggy night near a church in Ludwigshafen Germany. The remains were gathered up and buried initially in the church grave yard. After the war the remains of all the crew were moved to Durnbach Commenwealth Cemetary near Bad Tolz Germany. A glove belonging to Flt Lt Elder was found at the crash site. This was Flt Lt Elder's first mission and he was added as an observer with the aircraft flown by Flying Officer Sexton. There was a rumour that 3 of the crew survived and were held in a POW camp. My other Great Uncle serving in the Army at the time spoke with a girlfriend of one of the crew who claimed that she had received a letter. Mrs Elder and members of my family attempted to have this investigated however no more came of it. The remains were all buried, except Sexton, in a common grave.

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    rrhannah -- Many thanks for this information. My interest in Flt Lt Elder came about because he was the pilot of a new crew which was formed at 1660 Conversion Unit in late 1942. The other members were F/E Sgt W Hatton, navigator Sgt V Nicholson, W/OP Sgt A Stone, B/A Plt Off J Fort, M/U gunner Sgt A Williams, R/G Sgt H Simmonds. The crew was transferred to 207 Squadron on 22 February 1943 to begin operations. On 25 Feb Elder was sent on a 2nd dickey trip in the Sexton crew, where he unfortunately lost his life. The pilot-less crew stayed at 207 Sqn for a couple more weeks before being transferred to 97 Squadron in mid-March. Here they became the crew of Flt Lt D J H Maltby, who had just returned to 97 Squadron to begin a second tour of operations. The whole crew was then transferred to 617 Squadron and took part in the Dams Raid on 16/17 May 1943.
    Maltby was not the only experienced Dams Raid pilot with a rookie crew. A similar set of circumstances occurred in the formation of the crew piloted by Flt LT W Astell. He inherited a crew from Sgt M Stephenson in 57 Sqn, when Stephenson was killed on a 2nd dickey trip.
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