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(Courtesy of Jean-Michel Dominique)

TO THE MEMORY OF

SQUADRON LEADER

DONALD WILLIAM MANSBRIDGE,

AFC, RAF,

AND HIS CREW

Donald Mansbridge

 On the night of 20-21 April I944, lancaster III ND826 F2-W of 635 (PFF) Squadron, Bomber  Command, crashed at Dion-le-Mont, 2.5 miles ESE of Wavre, having taken off from RAF Downham Market in Norfolk at 21.28 hours. All seven crew now rest in Heverlee War Cemetery. Their skipper, Donald William Mansbridge AFC had completed 42 operational sorties. Their target was Ottignies railway station, an important junction on the Brussels-Luxembourg line, just SSW of Wavre.

 

 

 THE MANSBRIDGE CREW as of April I944. (L-R):

S/L Donald William Mansbridge RAF age 30,

F/O Gerald Herbert Cruwys RAF (Nav) age 22,

W/O William Courtney 'Whitey' White DFM RAFVR (AB) age 34,

W/O John Richard 'Happy' Hanson RAFVR (WOp) age 21,

F/S Ernest 'Butch' Hambling DFM RAFVR (A/G) age unknown,

F/S Ernest Rowe Newton Barrell RAFVR (A/G) age 29,

W/O Albert Stanley 'Tich' Palmer DFM RAF (F/E) age 24

(picture taken after they had joined 635 Squadron)




The crew's luck ran out on the night of 20-21 April 1944, by which time they had transferred from 97 Squadron. All were killed except the rear gunner, Percival Ashford Walder, who had flown with them on many sorties but who was not on the doomed flight, probably because by then he had finished his tour (he was to survive the war). The tail-end Charlie on this occasion was Ernest Barrell who only operated three times with Mansbridge. It seems that after Walder left the crew, there were several
changes of rear gunner. William 'Whitey' White had completed his first tour (30 operational sorties) with 49 Squadron. S/L Mansbridge was the husband of Letitia Joyce Mansbridge, of 54 Longfield Avenue, West End, Fareham, Hampshire.

 

Gerald Herbert Cruwys RAF



(L-R) Percival Walder, S/L Alfred Eaton-Clarke, the bride, F/L Carlton, W/C Alabaster, F/S Hambling,

W/O Smith (Picture taken at Eaton-Clarke's wedding, possibly in November 1943)



 

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