COMMUNITY: Gainsborough Probus


Professor Trevor Kerry was the speaker at the Probus group on February 27.

His talk was about one ‘plane, one day, one crew, one place – The Last Flight of Lancaster DV403 24th June 1944.

Trevor explained his personal interest in the subject, and then filled in the detail, with many visual illustrations, bringing the story to life.

The flight was part of a mission to destroy or disable the V weapon site in France. These missiles needed to be eliminated because of the terrible damage and fear they were causing - the Doodlebugs, as they were known.

However the launch and production sites were underground, well away from ordinary bombing tactics.

The names of Barnes Wallis and Werner von Braun occurred in the background to the tale, but the crew of this Lancaster are much less well-known.

Members learnt much about their lives to this point, and their previous war service. On this day they flew as part of 617 Squadron from Woodhall Spa to France, in a ‘plane they had not flown before, with a new crew member – and in daylight.

Members knew what happened, because a French Resistance fighter found the crashed Lancaster in a field, with only three of the eight surviving and being taken to a Prisoner of War Camp.

One unheralded incident, perhaps, but a worthwhile one, related by Trevor with expertise and humour.