Lancaster Crew Reunion.

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Airframes, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I've now received the original photographs, which I'd thought were lost, which I mentioned and promised to post, in a thread elsewhere on the forum - so here they are.
    The surviving crew members of 625 Squadron, RAF, Lancaster BIII, LM546, coded CF-O, named "Oozlum Bird", met together for the first time in 47 years, at the former RAF bomber base at East Kirkby, Lincolnshire, on 1st May, 1991. The occasion was the signing of prints from my painting of their aircraft, depicted departing on its final flight in July 1944. The Lancaster was shot down by a Bf110 night fighter, over Stuttgart, and all crew members bailed out to be captured, and sent to PoW camps until the end of the war in Europe.
    At the time of the print signing, only four of the crew were in touch with each other, and travelled from various parts of England and Wales to be together again.
    The signing took place in the shadow of the Lancaster preserved in the hangar at East Kirkby, and later at a nearby hotel, where a celebration dinner was enjoyed by all, the party including our respective wives. The hotel staff, upon learning that it was Ernie Evison's Birthday (radio operator), very quickly and generously provided a splendid Birthday cake.
    Before we left the airfield, we were lucky enough to be given a tour of the Lancaster, when I was able to take these photos (with a compact, 35mm film camera) of the chaps in their former crew positions.
    Sadly, today, only Norman Jones survives, the other members having passed on.
    PIC 1. Left to Right - Norman Jones (Flight Engineer), Lawrence Naylor (Upper Gunner), Frank Collett (Pilot) and Ernie Evison (Wireless Op.).
    PIC 2. The crew at Lawrence's normal 'office', the rear turret, although on their final 'Op', he occupied the mid-upper turret. Note that this is a later aircraft, with the Rose turret mounting twin .50 cal Browning guns.
    PIC 3. The access to the rear turret, over the tail plane, showing why Lawrence didn't enter his old domain !
    PIC 4. Here, Lawrence is sitting in the extra crew position, installed during this aircraft's service with the French Navy. This equipment, not fitted to wartime Lancs, has since been removed, and the aircraft returned to 'normal' configuration, including the fitting of an upper turret.
    PIC 5. Norman at the Flight Engineers station, going through pre-start checks.
    PIC 6. Norman and Frank in the cockpit.
    PIC 7. Ernie in his old Wireless Ops position, complete with original transmitter and receiver.
    PIC 8. Signing the prints for the Press and TV cameras in the hangar.
    PIC 9. Signing the remaining prints at the hotel.
    PIC 10. The celebration dinner, and Ernie's Birthday.
     

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  2. casa2020

    casa2020 New Member

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    Hi Terry, absolutely great to see these Pictures, I have looked on and off for many years to see anything related to the Final Flight of the Oozlum Bird and I am delighted to see the crew of that flight, to be able to put faces to there names.
    I don't know if you can recall, not long after you had the painting finished just before you went to print, you were a Rep for Kodak at the time and my friend, myself and my twin brother did the composing for the text before it went to print. We worked at Sir Robert Jones Workshops, Liverpool.
    It must have been so humbling to be involved in the creation of the painting,the history behind it and with the involvement with the crew.
    Thank you for uploading the pictures.
    Roy.
     
  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Hi Roy, and thanks. Yes, I remember you and the guys, although it seems a long time ago now.
     
  4. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    good stuff Dogsbody.

    who's that rugged looking chap with the 'tache ????
     
  5. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Great stuff Terry. Didn't catch the year?
     
  6. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Great photos Terry. Thoise guys look pleased as punch to be there. In those first two pics of the interior of the Lanc you can see mods for its maritime patrol role, as NX611 is one of the French Western Union aircraft (although you probably know that already). Those brackets forward of the tailplane spar are racks for markers or sonobouys and the second pic with the gent sitting at the radar screen is between the aft and the fwd spar, visible in the shot.

    [​IMG]

    Very interesting to see.
     
  7. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    You're quite right, and as far as I remember, the entry door still had the window. The aircraft had been at Blackpool for many years, starting to deteriorate, before being rescued and partly restored by the RAF, when it was displayed at Scampton's main gate for many years, before the Panton brothers obtained it. As far as I know, the interior is now back to typical WW2 standard, and a mid-upper turret has been fitted.
    Andy, the photos were taken at the signing of the prints, on 5th May, 1991 (not 1st May as stated above).
     
  8. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Ah, sorry Terry, I missed the date on the 1st go 'round.
     
  9. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    No problem mate.
     
  10. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    That is just so cool!
     
  11. Philip Evison

    Philip Evison New Member

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    I remember my father ( Ernie Evison) returning from the weekend having really enjoyed meeting his friends and reliving the memories of flying in the Lancaster during the war before being shot down on a raid to Stutgart. I am trying to obtain one of the original signed prints for my grandson who has just been born . Any help would be appreciated.
     
  12. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I've replied to your PM Phil.
    As soon as I get your details. I'll send a print to you. Not sure if I have any with the crew signatures, but I certainly have a few left with just my signature..
     
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