BLANCHARD, Eric, F/L (160859, RAFVR) - No.57 Squadron - Distinguished Flying Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 26 October 1945. Born 1922 in Yorkshire. Enlisted July 1940 (1169112). Commissioned 15 October 1943. Joined squadron in April 1943 and served both tours in it. Mentioned in Despatches, 2 June 1944. Died in Devon, 31 October 2010. Citation from Air Ministry Bulletin 20047.
This officer has completed two tours of operational duty during which he has participated in attacks against most of the major and heavily defended targets in Germany. On one occasion, during an attack against Leipzz=ig, all four engines of his aircraft nearly failed owing to severe icing. It was Flight Lieutenant Blanchard’s skillful and calm manipulation of the hot air controls which averted disaster. At all times this officer has set a high standard of courage and enthusiasm and, during his second tourof duty as squadron engineer leader, he has displayed fine qualities of leadership.
His captain was F/O Sidney Stevens (DFC) In an interview with the Imperial War Museum, he recalled their first flight in a Lancaster on 19 April 1943, and the birthday celebrations which followed it: “My Pilot, Sergeant Stevens, who had trained on Wellington bombers in the Heavy Conversion Unit, had to learn how to fly the Lancaster bomber. It was quite exciting. On my 21st birthday my father sent me a 5 pound note, which was a lot of money then, and my mother had sent me a home-made sponge cake. We sat underneath our Lancaster, somebody produced a penknife, and we all had a little bit of cake. We went for a short flight and came back, then we went to a pub in the village nearby — out of beer and the hatch came down! We went back to the Sergeants’ Mess, but we were too late there, too. The hatch went down again, so we never did get to have that birthday drink ! “