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Lancaster ED886 - Aircraft Details - Aviation Directory

Lancaster ED886


Type : Lancaster
Last Flew : 10th December 1943
Known Codes :
AJ-O


Known information
23rd April 1943Joined No.617 Sqn with code AJ-O.
16th May 1943Took part in the Dambusters Raid, dropping a mine on the Ennepe dam, but it failed to destroy it. The aircraft returned to base safely. Crew : Flight Sergeant William Clifford Townsend (Pilot), Sergeant Dennis John Dean Powell (Flight Engineer), Pilot Officer Cecil Lancelot Howard (Navigator), Flight Sergeant George Alexander Chalmers (Wireless Operator), Sergeant Charles Ernest Franklin (Bomb Aimer), Sergeant Douglas Edward Webb (Front Gunner), Sergeant Raymond Wilkinson (Rear Gunner).
10th December 1943Failed to return from a special operations mission, crashed near Terramesnil.



Pilots and Aircrew who flew : Lancaster ED886
A list of all aircrew from our database who are associated with this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking their name.
NameInfo
Chalmers, George Alexander
Click the name above to see a profile of Chalmers, George Alexander

   Died : 0 / 8 / 2002
Chalmers, George Alexander

George Alexander Chalmers was born on February 12 1921 at Peterhead in Scotland. He was educated at Aberdeen Academy before working briefly at a local Crosse & Blackwell factory and joining the RAF as a boy entrant. After boy's service and qualifying as a wireless operator and air-gunner, Chalmer joined the RAF in 1938. Geogre Chalmers was posted to No 10, a two-engine Whitley bomber squadron at Dishforth, Yorkshire, from where he took part in leaflet-dropping operations over Germany after the outbreak of war. In August 1940 Chalmers transferred to No 7, the RAF's first four-engine Stirling bomber squadron which was operating from Leeming. There followed a spell with No 35, a four-engine Halifax bomber squadron, with which Chalmers was fortunate to survive an attack on the battle cruiser Scharnhorst at La Rochelle - his captain managed to make base despite being severely wounded and piloting a badly-damaged aircraft. When he joined 617 Squadron he was a Flight Sergeant and served as wireless operator on Lancaster AJ-O during the Dambusters raid which was piloted by Bill Townsend. Awarded the DFM for his part in the attack on the Ennepe Dam he was commissioned a few months later and awarded the DFC after 65 operations. In 1946 Chalmers was granted an extended service commission, and served in No 617 and No 12 Squadrons until 1950, when he was posted to No 38, a Lancaster squadron in the Middle East. He was released as a flight lieutenant in 1954, and served in the Reserve until 1961. Meanwhile, he had joined the civil service at Harrogate, where he worked for the Ministry of Defence dealing with the RAF's technical requirements. In this period his advice was much valued in the sphere of flight refuelling. On his retirement from the MoD in 1984, the company Flight Refuelling hosted a farewell party for him at which he was hailed as an "expert in specialised spares procurement", especially in relation to a refuelling system of outstanding value used by the RAF in the Falklands conflict. Sadly, George Chalmers passed away in August 2002 aged 81.
Franklin, Charles Ernest
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Franklin, Charles Ernest

He was Bomb Aimer on Lancaster ED886 AJ-O on the Dambusters Raid. The aircraft flew below tree top level en route to their target - the Ennepe dam - where they successfully hit the target, but the dam held firm. The aircraft was the last of the Dambusters to return to base.
Howard, Cecil Lancelot
Click the name above to see a profile of Howard, Cecil Lancelot
Howard, Cecil Lancelot

He was Navigator on Lancaster ED886 AJ-O on the Dambusters Raid. The aircraft flew below tree top level en route to their target - the Ennepe dam - where they successfully hit the target, but the dam held firm. The aircraft was the last of the Dambusters to return to base.
Powell, Dennis John Dean
Click the name above to see a profile of Powell, Dennis John Dean

   Died : 16 / 9 / 1943
Powell, Dennis John Dean

He was Flight Engineer on Lancaster ED886 AJ-O on the Dambusters Raid. The aircraft flew below tree top level en route to their target - the Ennepe dam - where they successfully hit the target, but the dam held firm. The aircraft was the last of the Dambusters to return to base. He was later killed in action on 16th September 1943.
Townsend, William Clifford
Click the name above to see a profile of Townsend, William Clifford

   Died : 0 / 4 / 1991
Townsend, William Clifford

Pilot and Captain of Lancaster AJ-O, he attacked the Ennepe Dam. Transferring to the RAF from the Army in 1941, Bill Townsend served a tour as a pilot with 49 Squadron, before joining 617 Squadron, at the time a Flight Sergeant. As part of 617 Squadron Bill Townsend flew Lancaster ED886 codenamed AJO for Orange in the famous dambuster raid of May 1944. Flight Sergeant Townsend flew his bomber and crew in the third wave of the famous raid. After the first two dams (Mohne and Eder) were breached, O for Orange was tasked to attack the Ennepe dam. With no anti-aircraft firing at them, they had time to do three trial runs before they released their bomb, but it failed to damage the dam. Forced to fly back at tree top level by enemy action, his Lancaster was the last to return. It limped home short of one engine. He was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for his courageous actions in the raid. Bill Townsend was later promoted to Flight Lieutenant. He had been a pupil at Monmouth and after the war studied at Lincoln College, Oxford. He became a business man and a civil servant after his studies. FLt/Lt Townsend passed away in April 1991 , there with a flypast by 617 Tornadoes at his cremation on the 15th April 1991.
Webb, Douglas Edward
Click the name above to see a profile of Webb, Douglas Edward

   Died : 0 / 0 / 2002
Webb, Douglas Edward

Mr Webb flew 27 missions as a gunner on Lancaster bombers before being selected in March 1943 for the 617 Squadron, which attacked the Mohne, Sorpe, and Eder dams - flooding the German war industry. He was Front Gunner on Lancaster ED886 AJ-O on the Dambusters Raid. The aircraft flew below tree top level en route to their target - the Ennepe dam - where they successfully hit the target, but the dam held firm. The aircraft was the last of the Dambusters to return to base. He passed away in 2002.
Wilkinson, Raymond
Click the name above to see a profile of Wilkinson, Raymond
Wilkinson, Raymond

He was Rear Gunner on Lancaster ED886 AJ-O on the Dambusters Raid. The aircraft flew below tree top level en route to their target - the Ennepe dam - where they successfully hit the target, but the dam held firm. The aircraft was the last of the Dambusters to return to base.



Squadrons for : Lancaster ED886
A list of all squadrons known to have flown Lancaster ED886. A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.
SquadronInfo

No.617 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 23rd March 1943

Apres mois, le deluge - After me, the flood

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No.617 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.



Aircraft type : Lancaster
A profile page including a list of all art prints for the Lancaster is available by clicking the aircraft name.
AircraftInfo

Lancaster



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Manufacturer : Avro
Production Began : 1942
Retired : 1963
Number Built : 7377

Lancaster

The Avro Lancaster arose from the avro Manchester and the first prototype Lancaster was a converted Manchester with four engines. The Lancaster was first flown in January 1941, and started operations in March 1942. By March 1945 The Royal Air Force had 56 squadrons of Lancasters with the first squadron equipped being No.44 Squadron. During World War Two the Avro Lancaster flew 156,000 sorties and dropped 618,378 tonnes of bombs between 1942 and 1945. Lancaster Bomberss took part in the devastating round-the-clock raids on Hamburg during Air Marshall Harris' Operation Gomorrah in July 1943. Just 35 Lancasters completed more than 100 successful operations each, and 3,249 were lost in action. The most successful survivor completed 139 operations, and the Lancaster was scrapped after the war in 1947. A few Lancasters were converted into tankers and the two tanker aircraft were joined by another converted Lancaster and were used in the Berlin Airlift, achieving 757 tanker sorties. A famous Lancaster bombing raid was the 1943 mission, codenamed Operation Chastise, to destroy the dams of the Ruhr Valley. The operation was carried out by 617 Squadron in modified Mk IIIs carrying special drum shaped bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis. Also famous was a series of Lancaster attacks using Tallboy bombs against the German battleship Tirpitz, which first disabled and later sank the ship. The Lancaster bomber was the basis of the new Avro Lincoln bomber, initially known as the Lancaster IV and Lancaster V. (Becoming Lincoln B1 and B2 respectively.) Their Lancastrian airliner was also based on the Lancaster but was not very successful. Other developments were the Avro York and the successful Shackleton which continued in airborne early warning service up to 1992.



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