2018/06 Newsletter

Can you help

Planned memorial for the crew of Lancaster ND762

David and Ernest Holmes
Photograph of David Holmes, with his father, Ernest

I received the following e-mail from David Holmes, regarding his father, Ernest Holmes, who served with the squadron during 1943 / 1944 and was involved in the loss of Lancaster ND762 on the night of 22nd May 1944

“My father, Ernie Holmes DFC, as you can see from the attached photograph, is still very much alive, and has crystal clear memories of the night and subsequent events.  He is 97 now and blind but is able to speak on the ‘phone.  My wife and I have recently been to the crash site and to visit the family of the farmer (subsequently shot by the Germans the day before the village of Netersel was liberated) who sheltered him and set him off on the Comet escape route.  Sadly he was betrayed in Antwerp and after being interrogated by the Gestapo in Brussels ended the war in Stalag Luft lll.   As a result of our visit, there is a move to put a memorial at the crash site”

There are provisional plans to unveil / dedicate the memorial at the crash site in Holland at the end of September 2018 and David is keen to hear from relatives of the other crew members who would be interested in attending the event.

Full crew list:

  • E Holmes (Pilot)
  • JK Stewart (Navigator)
  • DE Coleman (Air Bomber)
  • HT Maskell (2nd A/B)
  • FJ Tudor (Wireless Operator)
  • AW Cox (Air Gunner)
  • AS McLaren (Air Gunner)
  • JR Cursiter (Flight Engineer)

If you are relative of any of the crew members, please get in touch with either Adrian or David (the event organisers):

Adrian Van Zantvoort  

David Holmes

Alternatively, please leave a comment on the Comments / Feedback page on this site and I will pass the message on.

For more information on the loss:

https://35squadron.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/lancaster-nd762-22051944/


June Research Work

Research Projects Image

This month, I have carried out research on the following airmen who served with No. 35 Squadron:

  • P Moorhead, Air Bomber, 1944 [POW]
  • E Holmes, Pilot, 1943 / 1944 [POW] – see separate article

Extract from WS Muego’s POW Log

I was contacted by Dougie Muego, the son of WS Muego, who served with the squadron as an Air Bomber in 1943 / 1944 before being taken Prisoner of War as a result of the loss of Lancaster ND597 on 24th March 1944

He sent me copies of a newspaper article written about the loss and advised me that he has documents relating to his father’s time as a POW.

Dougie kindly sent me a copy of the final entry from his father’s POW Log

17th – 22nd April [1945]

For the past week we have been expecting to be relieved by the Americans from the bridgehead across the Elbe. As the week went by and nothing happened we turned to the east. The Russians opened up an attack and we expected them to cut us off. On the 20th the goons pulled out and we waited patiently. On the 21st we heard the front approach and Luckenwalde started to burn. The goons appeared to be in utter confusion and many comical instances occurred. At 6.00am on 22nd, the Russian armoured search car appeared at the camp. We were all organised and for the last 48 hours had been running things ourselves. About 11.00hours, the first Russian tanks appeared and they were very impressive. All their lorries, trucks, cars, jeeps etc are American. Their tanks however, Russian made are very fine. Each man in the spearhead which came through here was armed to the teeth. The troops, young, 18-25 are tough looking babies and their officers look very good types indeed. 

For a year now, I have been looking forward to this day. However, now that it has come I find myself somewhat disillusioned. I had expected to be full of life but find myself somewhat weary. I realise now that nothing but Margaret’s voice on the phone will suffice. How I long for that day. As it is here, I am just waiting. I hope we won’t go from Odessa – I long to go back via the Americans and France to Britain. That would be the speediest way out for us and I long for that to come true. However, until something is organised we will remain here and hope that all will be easy. I doubt it, but I hope.

At the moment our existence is merely one of uncertainty. We are free, but we are not free – rather a complex situation