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Thread: 101 Sqn Ludford Magna Lancaster MK1 - LL862 Crashed 21 July 1944 s. of Cambrai

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    Default 101 Sqn Ludford Magna Lancaster MK1 - LL862 Crashed 21 July 1944 s. of Cambrai

    Hello all. I am new to this site, so apologies if I have fallen foul of protocol. I am trying to obtain the definitive researched account, with documents, of the investigation of the crash of the Squadron 101 Lancaster Mk1 - LL862 that left Ludford Magna airfield on 20 July 1944 and crashed a few hours later just south of Cambrai, killing six airmen. In particular, documents relating to the evidence given by the surviving pilot, Daniel Meier and the surviving bomb aimer, L K Gwilliam - including the latter's, evaders report. The backdrop appears to be this may have been a deliberate act of sabotage and treason on the part of Meier, who defected to Germany after baling from the plane and only re-surfaced in 1952 and that Gwilliam might have somehow been complicit in the actions of Meier. I have found quite a bit online about this and the best evidence appears to be some research of sabotage that was put on a website relating to air crashes in France 1939-45. Unfortunately, the key documents that were translated into French by Lawrence Richier, are still in French and I cannot find their English translation anywhere. Does anyone know this story in some detail who can help me please or know where I can get the English translation of the documents researched by Lawrence? My interest is that I am a local historian, who has a local history site relating to Frizinghall, Bradford. This was the home of one of the six airmen killed, Keith Gosling - I knew his mum. It seems as though this may well have been 19 year-old Keith's first mission following the completion of his training as a Special Duties Wireless Operator. Would really appreciate any help that can be given

    https://francecrashes39--45-net.tran...n&_x_tr_pto=sc
    Last edited by ZebedeeMike; 2nd May 2022 at 09:39.

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    Default Re: Squadron 101 Ludford Magna Lancaster MK1 - LL862 Crashed 21 July 1944 s. of Cambr

    Aircrew Remembered pretty much says the same about meier.. but not sure if Gwilliam was 'in' on it.
    Pretty engrossing reading on what I thought was a run-of-the-mill Bomber command loss..
    http://aircrewremembered.com/meier-d...is-walter.html

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    Default Re: Squadron 101 Ludford Magna Lancaster MK1 - LL862 Crashed 21 July 1944 s. of Cambr

    Hello All,
    I read this LL862 thread with some very considerable interest!! I had not come across it before!! Fascinating!!

    For many years I have been following another a/c, and its crew, who possibly (rpt, possibly) had an analogous “crisis of conscience” (or similar)? I do not propose to raise this latter case again (crew descendants relatives may resort to litigation?!) but the defection (or treason?) – for that is what it was - of both crews raises some interesting psychological issues. Many on this forum will know the a/c I am talking about – and some will know (because of off-forum communications) that I hold some very strong views about both its crew, and commanding superiors!

    One should, I think, bear in mind the military situation in WW2 at the time. The 2nd Battle of Alamein ended 4 Nov 42. Very broadly speaking, prior to that the Axis were winning – after that the Allies were superior. “My” a/c went missing in the autumn of 1942. LL862 went missing 21 Jul 1944 (post-D-Day!).

    I am not suggesting that the two cases are comparable, but there is a certain degree of commonality? A great deal more hard fact is clearly known about the LL862 case than is known about “my” a/c. In the latter case there has been much obfuscation, and hiding behind medical non-disclosure, etc.

    There is certainly a First Degree Dissertation (if not a PhD Thesis!) to be written about this subject - and also those aviators who found themselves in Switzerland, Sweden, and/or Spain.. I am now too old and decrepit to start major undertakings of this sort – but somebody should! And if anybody does – can they please remember to keep me in the “Info Copy” loop?

    I grew up in WW2. The development of my politico-military thinking was largely governed by that experience – others may not look through the same end of the telescope as I?

    I merely seek knowledge!
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Re: Squadron 101 Ludford Magna Lancaster MK1 - LL862 Crashed 21 July 1944 s. of Cambr

    Quote Originally Posted by Jagan View Post
    Aircrew Remembered pretty much says the same about meier.. but not sure if Gwilliam was 'in' on it.
    Pretty engrossing reading on what I thought was a run-of-the-mill Bomber command loss..
    http://aircrewremembered.com/meier-d...is-walter.html

    Thanks Jagan. I am keeping an open mind on this until I have as much evidence as I can gather, so apologies if my comment re. Gwilliam appeared prejudicial. It is just that what I have read from others suggests his evidence was not compelling and that he was keeping something back and that there wasn't much in the way of empathy from him for the six men that died.

    I don't know if the link below works, but if it is cut and pasted into a search bar, it should be accessible. Near the bottom in the section about 'official inquiry into suspicion of sabotage...' there are documents accessible where the blue 'HERE' is highlighted. Those appear to be key documents, but they are all in French. My limited grasp of French tells me that some documents I have already seen the English version, but most I haven't. If someone knows where the English translated documents are, that would be great. I don't want to reinvent the wheel here. If someone has fully researched this matter and is prepared to share their research and all the documents, that would be fantastic.

    https://francecrashes39--45-net.tran...n&_x_tr_pto=sc

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    Default Re: Squadron 101 Ludford Magna Lancaster MK1 - LL862 Crashed 21 July 1944 s. of Cambr

    Hello

    I've been researching this loss, as it's local for me, and years ago, I accompagnied a "special operator" of No. 101 Squadron who wanted to pay his respects to Keith Gosling in Cambrai cemetery. They were in the Squadron at the same time and knew each other.

    As this is a No. 101 Squadron crew, a very detailed research had been done by Dave Champion.

    The FranceCrash page was published without much tact for the families, in my humble opinion. It is a very touchy subject, and it was researched in depth by Dave, hence we were very surprised to see this Lawrence Richier publishment without too much caution or care for the families.

    Gwilliam left the Lancaster long before the crash, so he can't give precise details about the last minutes of the flight.

    The German side of the story, unfolded by Dave, is also eye opening, in many aspects.

    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 4th May 2022 at 07:44.

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    Default Re: 101 Sqn Ludford Magna Lancaster MK1 - LL862 Crashed 21 July 1944 s. of Cambrai

    There is a multi-page report on the Meier "FTR" somewhere in Air 40 from memory, possibly around 40/259 to 262 or maybe 40/1552 ish. I cant find my note book sadly. I remember reading the report probably when the PRO was at Chancery Lane or very early days at Kew, I did get it copied at the time and pondered an article for Flypast but decided against it.
    Last edited by PeteS; 4th May 2022 at 11:48.

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    Default Re: Squadron 101 Ludford Magna Lancaster MK1 - LL862 Crashed 21 July 1944 s. of Cambr

    I reply appreciate your response Joss. As there is a personal element to this matter for me - I grew up in Frizinghall, I knew Keith's mum and I run an online Frizinghall local history site - when I started finding out more about this crash, I developed a deep fascination with it and a desire to find out more. The more I found out, the harder it was for me to comprehend what might have happened. It appeared to me as though the two survivors, Meier and Gwilliam, gave differing accounts and every new piece of evidence I found, seemed to conflict with the last. As a very simple example, I read that Gwilliam's account said that he baled because the pilot was unresponsive to a message from the navigator that the plane was off course, that the plane suddenly went into a dive and he left, believing it was about to crash - the inference being, that the crash occurred shortly afterwards. But I did read another account that said the crash happened some twenty minutes after Gwilliam baled out, which would tie into the report that Gwilliam was taken in at a place called Estinnes, which is some way north east of the crash site. You have confirmed Gwilliam left long before the crash.

    Do you think it would be possible for me to access the evidence gathered in this matter please? What I would be interested in is:

    1/ Seeing your research work and documents.
    2/ Seeing Dave's research work and documents, obviously with Dave's permission were he prepared to give it. Is there a way of contacting him please?
    3/ Obtaining an English copy of the Richier inquiry into potential sabotage (I only seem to be able to find a French translation) and the underlying documents.
    4/ The first hand evidence of Gwilliam and Meier and any other relevant documents.

    I realise this is a big ask, but would be grateful for any further information you could give me. If it is not against the rules of this site, I can be contacted by e-mail at mikebrotherton0962@gmail.com

    Many thanks again for your assistance in this fascinating story.

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    Default Re: Squadron 101 Ludford Magna Lancaster MK1 - LL862 Crashed 21 July 1944 s. of Cambr

    Hello

    Dave is member of this board so he'll notice the thread sooner or later.

    No problem to give one's e-mail adress on this board. It can be written in one's profile (accessible by clicling on the user's name in blue in the upper left corner). I'll suggest you edit your message and replace @ by AT to avoid any robot spammer to detect yours.

    I confirm Gwilliam came down in Belgium in Estinnes, and the plane crashed just south of Cambrai, close to Cambrai-Niergnies airfield (then also known as Cambrai-Süd by the Germans).

    I'll contact you off board, but please give me some time as I'm quite busy. I'm just visiting the board during a short break from work (and driven by curiosity, as well).

    Joss


    PS : @ Jagan and the database moderators : F.K. GOSLING was a "special operator", not pilot.
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 4th May 2022 at 12:45.

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    Default Re: Squadron 101 Ludford Magna Lancaster MK1 - LL862 Crashed 21 July 1944 s. of Cambr

    Again, I really appreciate your assistance Joss and there is no rush regarding whatever it is you can provide for me. Hopefully, Dave will notice this thread at some stage and might kindly supply the information that might enable me to better understand the events in question.

    Kind regards,

    Mike

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