Lancaster PB685 (23/12/1944)

Lancaster PB685 was one of ten No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack the Gremburg Marshalling Yards (Cologne) on the morning of 23rd December 1944.

It was carrying 11 x 1000lb MC.

Its eight-man crew comprised:

  • Louis Basil Lawson (Pilot)
  • James Patrick Leydon (Navigator)
  • Alan John Card (Air Bomber)
  • Peter James Leeves (Set Operator)
  • George Edward Herod (Wireless Operator)
  • Lawrence Nicholson (Air Gunner)
  • Stanley Rudolph Gale (Air Gunner)
  • Frederick Worsley Edmondson (Flight Engineer)

The route was Base, 5030N 0500E, 5036N 0620E, Target, 5110N 0400E, Southwold, Base

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Three aircraft, including PB685, after being seriously damaged over the target, landed at Manston. AJ Card and GE Herod received slight injuries”


RAF Graveley ORB

Lancaster PB685 hit by flak over target area. F/O Card sustained abrasion over right eyebrow. Injuries considered to be slight and returned to flying duties with effect from the same date. F/O Herod sustained flak wound over right eyebrow. Injuries considered to be slight but was admitted to SSQ, Manston

AM Form 78

The movement card shows that the aircraft was classified as FB/AC; it was repaired on site and returned to the squadron on 9th February 1945

AJ Card DFC Award (London Gazette 27/02/1945)

This officer was the air bomber in an aircraft detailed to attack the Gremburg railway sidings near Cologne. When over the target, much anti-aircraft fire was directed at the bomber, which was hit. A piece of shrapnel from a close burst struck Flying Officer Card over the eye. The wound bled profusely but this resolute member of aircraft crew made no complaint. He continued to direct the bombing run. The aircraft was again hit. The microphone leads, part of Flying Officer Card’s equipment and his oxygen tube were torn away. Despite this he displayed excellent cooperation with his pilot, to whom his directions were passed by the flight engineer, and thus the target was successfully attacked. This air bomber set a fine example of determination and devotion to duty

“Heroic Endeavour -The Remarkable Story of One Pathfinder Force Attack, a Victoria Cross and 206 Brave Men” by Sean Feast.

The complete story of the attack on Gremberg Marshalling Yards on 23rd December 1944 (190 pages)


  1. AJ Card returned to operational flying immediately; GE Herod returned on 22nd January 1945