Lancaster ND734 was one of eight No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Essen on the night of 26th / 27th April 1944.
Its seven-man crew comprised:
- Mauritz Bernard Berndsson (Pilot)
- Howard Monckton Pringle (Navigator)
- Norman Thomas Adams (Air Bomber)
- Raymond Perkins (Wireless Operator)
- Thomas Nainby (Air Gunner)
- Walter Edmond Crawford (Air Gunner)
- Arthur George Page (Flight Engineer)
The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Lancaster ND734 made a normal landing and was almost stationary on the runway when a Mosquito of No. 692 Squadron, landing without R/T and with very poor lighting, collided with it, killing the mid-upper gunner, WE Crawford and dangerously injuring the tail gunner, T Nainby.
On 6th May 1944, the Record Book shows “T Nainby, injured in crash with Mosquito on 27th April 1944, died in RAF Hospital, Ely”.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) records show the following burial details:
- CRAWFORD, WALTER EDMOND Sergeant ‘2206157’ HOOTON (ST. PAUL) CHURCHYARD Sec. B. Row 78. Grave 1.
- NAINBY, THOMAS Sergeant ‘1591232’ WHITLEY BAY (HARTLEY SOUTH) CEMETERY Sec. J. Grave 3521.
AM Form 78
The AM Form 78 shows that the aircraft was repaired on site by AV Roe and returned to the squadron on 27th May 1944
AM Form 1180
The AM Form 1180 shows “Aircraft finishing landing run was struck by Mosquito ND977 which landed behind. Slight blame this pilot for not having downward ident. lights on
Note: The form incorrectly shows serial as ND148
RAF Graveley ORB
Mosquito aircraft ML977 on return from operational sortie crashed into tail of Lancaster ND734 while taxying on landing. S/L Saunderson and F/L Clarkson, pilot and navigator of the Mosquito sustained only a few bruises but Sgt Crawford, mid upper gunner of the Lancaster died from injuries sustained in the wreckage and Sgt Nainby, rear gunner, was very seriously injured. He was admitted to Huntingdon County Hospital forthwith and transferred to RAF General Hospital, Ely when fit to travel 36 hours later