The final entry, and a new complete website

DotD 1 133

In early April 2013, I started writing my profiles of all 133 aircrew who took part in the Dams Raid, with the aim of posting them at the rate of one a day for nineteen weeks. The scheduled closing date was therefore sometime in August of that year.
Some two years later, I have at last reached the end of the course, with the rather cursory biography of Arthur Buck published below. Even though this is one of the shorter biographies, I hope that it at least does justice to my intention, which was to give each of the men who took part in the raid the dignity of their own entry. Too often, their names are lumped together in the appendices at the end of a book, sometimes with their names misspelt and their family details incorrectly recorded.
I am sure that there are still mistakes in my biographies, but because they are online rather than in a book I can correct and update the entries as and when more information emerges. So if you spot anything that is wrong or can provide further details, then please contact me.

Complete DB screengrab

As a further service to one and all, the complete list appears on my brand new website, completedambusters.com. This is a list of all the 133 aircrew who took part in the raid, and each has a link back to the individual profile. I hope that this too proves a useful resource for the future.

Dambuster of the Day No. 133: Arthur Buck

BuckArthur Buck photographed in 1943. Pic: Dominic Howard

Sgt A W Buck
Rear gunner

Lancaster serial number: ED924/G

Call sign: AJ-Y

Third wave. Did not reach Sorpe Dam because of navigation problems, flak damage and weather conditions. Returned with mine intact.

Arthur William Buck was born in Poplar, London, in 1915, the younger of the two children of George and Ann Buck.
He joined the RAF in 1940 but did not begin air gunnery training until 1942. In January 1943 he was posted to 1654 Conversion Unit, where the whole crew which would eventually fly on the Dams Raid with Cyril Anderson came together.
The crew were posted to 49 Squadron in February 1943, and did their first operation together as a crew on 12 March. After their second trip, they were posted to 617 Squadron but in fact stayed on 49 Squadron to do three more operations, including two to Berlin.
After their trip on the Dams Raid, the Anderson crew returned to 49 Squadron and resumed their operational career with an attack on Krefeld on 21 June.
Altogether, they flew on 14 more operations in 49 Squadron, but on 23 September they failed to return from a successful attack on Mannheim. As they headed home, their aircraft was shot down by a night fighter near Offenbach.
The bodies of five of the crew were recovered from the wreckage and were buried by the local Catholic priest Fr Jacob Storck on 26 September.
The bodies of Gilbert Green and one other unidentified member of the crew were not found until after the others, and the pair were buried in Offenbach Cemetery on 28 September, two days after the other five.
After the war all seven were exhumed and identified, and then reburied in Rheinberg War Cemetery.
Arthur Buck had married his wife Rosetta in 1941.

Thanks to Dom Howard for help with this article.

More about Buck online:
All the Anderson crew are commemorated on Dominic Howard’s excellent website. Each of the crew has their own page with biographical details, there is a complete list of the operations undertaken by the whole crew and a full account of their final flight on 23 September 1943.
Entry at Commonwealth War Graves Commission

KIA 23.09.1943

Rank and decorations as of 16 May 1943.
Sources:
Richard Morris, Guy Gibson, Penguin 1995
John Sweetman, The Dambusters Raid, Cassell 2002

The information above has been taken from the books and online sources listed above, and other online material. Apologies for any errors or omissions. Please add any corrections or links to further information in the comments section below.

Dambuster of the Day No. 132: Eric Ewan

EwanPic: Dominic Howard

Sgt E Ewan
Front gunner

Lancaster serial number: ED924/G

Call sign: AJ-Y

Third wave. Did not reach Sorpe Dam because of navigation problems, flak damage and weather conditions. Returned with mine intact.

Eric Ewan was born in Wolverhampton in 1922, the youngest of the four children of Thomas and Jane Ewan.
He joined the RAF shortly after his eighteenth birthday and was eventually selected for air gunnery training. In January 1943 he was posted to 1654 Conversion Unit, where the whole crew which would eventually fly on the Dams Raid with Cyril Anderson came together.
The crew were posted to 49 Squadron in February 1943, and did their first operation together as a crew on 12 March. After their second trip, they were posted to 617 Squadron but in fact stayed on 49 Squadron to do three more operations, including two to Berlin.
After their trip on the Dams Raid, the Anderson crew returned to 49 Squadron and resumed their operational career with an attack on Krefeld on 21 June.
Altogether, they flew on 14 more operations in 49 Squadron, but on 23 September they failed to return from a successful attack on Mannheim. As they headed home, their aircraft was shot down by a night fighter near Offenbach.
The bodies of five of the crew were recovered from the wreckage and were buried by the local Catholic priest Fr Jacob Storck on 26 September.
The bodies of Gilbert Green and one other unidentified member of the crew were not found until after the others, and the pair were buried in Offenbach Cemetery on 28 September, two days after the other five.
After the war all seven were exhumed and identified, and then reburied in Rheinberg War Cemetery.

Thanks to Dom Howard for help with this article.

More about Ewan online:
All the Anderson crew are commemorated on Dominic Howard’s excellent website. Each of the crew has their own page with biographical details, there is a complete list of the operations undertaken by the whole crew and a full account of their final flight on 23 September 1943.
Entry at Commonwealth War Graves Commission

KIA 23.09.1943

Rank and decorations as of 16 May 1943.
Sources:
Richard Morris, Guy Gibson, Penguin 1995
John Sweetman, The Dambusters Raid, Cassell 2002

The information above has been taken from the books and online sources listed above, and other online material. Apologies for any errors or omissions. Please add any corrections or links to further information in the comments section below.

Dambuster of the Day No. 131: Gilbert Green

Jimmy_Green_wartimePic: Dominic Howard

Sgt G J Green
Bomb aimer

Lancaster serial number: ED924/G

Call sign: AJ-Y

Third wave. Did not reach Sorpe Dam because of navigation problems, flak damage and weather conditions. Returned with mine intact.

Gilbert John Green was born in Malling in Kent in 1922, the son of George and Gladys Green. His family were from Southall in Middlesex, and he went to school there and was also a member of a local Air Cadet squadron. He was known to family and friends by the nickname Jimmy.
Green joined the RAF in 1941 and qualified as a bomb aimer in 1942. He was then posted to 25 Operational Training Unit, where he crewed up with Cyril Anderson and the core of the crew who would later fly on the Dams Raid. They moved on to 1654 Conversion Unit, where the whole crew was formed up.
The crew were posted to 49 Squadron in February 1943, and did their first operation together as a crew on 12 March. After their second trip, they were posted to 617 Squadron but in fact stayed on 49 Squadron to do three more operations, including two to Berlin.
After their trip on the Dams Raid, the Anderson crew returned to 49 Squadron and resumed their operational career with an attack on Krefeld on 21 June.
Altogether, they flew on 14 more operations in 49 Squadron, but on 23 September they failed to return from a successful attack on Mannheim. As they headed home, their aircraft was shot down by a night fighter near Offenbach.
The bodies of five of the crew were recovered from the wreckage and were buried by the local Catholic priest Fr Jacob Storck on 26 September.
Green and one other unidentified member of the crew were thrown from the wreckage by the explosion. Fr Storck said afterwards that they may have tried to bail out, although this has not been verified. Their bodies were not found until after the others, and the pair were buried in Offenbach Cemetery on 28 September, two days after the other five.
After the war the bodies of all seven were exhumed and identified, and then reburied in Rheinberg War Cemetery.

Thanks to Dom Howard for help with this article.

More about Green online:
All the Anderson crew are commemorated on Dominic Howard’s excellent website. Each of the crew has their own page with biographical details, there is a complete list of the operations undertaken by the whole crew and a full account of their final flight on 23 September 1943.
Entry at Commonwealth War Graves Commission

KIA 23.09.1943

Rank and decorations as of 16 May 1943.
Sources:
Richard Morris, Guy Gibson, Penguin 1995
John Sweetman, The Dambusters Raid, Cassell 2002

The information above has been taken from the books and online sources listed above, and other online material. Apologies for any errors or omissions. Please add any corrections or links to further information in the comments section below.

Dambuster of the Day No. 130: Douglas Bickle

Anderson & Crew - 1943Slightly out of focus, Douglas Bickle is third from the left in this picture of Cyril Anderson’s Dams Raid crew, taken in the summer of 1943.  L-R: John Nugent (navigator), Gilbert “Jimmy” Green (bomb aimer), Douglas Bickle (wireless operator), Arthur Buck (rear gunner), Cyril Anderson (pilot), Robert Paterson (flight engineer). [Pic: Dominic Howard]

Sgt W D Bickle
Wireless operator

Lancaster serial number: ED924/G

Call sign: AJ-Y

Third wave. Did not reach Sorpe Dam because of navigation problems, flak damage and weather conditions. Returned with mine intact.

William Douglas Bickle. known to his family and friends as Douglas, was born in Devon in 1922, the only son of Percy and Alma Bickle.
Bickle joined the RAF in October 1940, soon after his 18th birthday, He was selected for training as a wireless operator/air gunner and for part of this was posted to No 2 Signals School, in Yatesbury, Wiltshire, not too far from his home area.
After qualifying he was posted to 25 Operational Training Unit, where he crewed up with Cyril Anderson and the core of the crew who would later fly on the Dams Raid. They moved on to 1654 Conversion Unit, where the whole crew was formed up.
The crew were posted to 49 Squadron in February 1943, and did their first operation together as a crew on 12 March. After their second trip, they were posted to 617 Squadron but in fact stayed on 49 Squadron to do three more operations, including two to Berlin.
After their trip on the Dams Raid, the Anderson crew returned to 49 Squadron and resumed their operational career with an attack on Krefeld on 21 June.
Altogether, they flew on 14 more operations in 49 Squadron, but on 23 September they failed to return from a successful attack on Mannheim. As they headed home, their aircraft was shot down by a night fighter near Offenbach.
William Bickle was first buried with his crewmates in Offenbach Cemetery. After the war the bodies of all seven were exhumed and identified, and then reburied in Rheinberg War Cemetery.
Bickle had got married a few weeks before his final fatal flight to Violet Bickford, a local woman from his home village. She remarried after the war, and moved to Liverpool. He is commemorated on the war memorial in Albaston, a small village on the western side of the Tamar river, just over the border from Devon.

Thanks to Dom Howard for help with this article.

More about Bickle online:
All the Anderson crew are commemorated on Dominic Howard’s excellent website. Each of the crew has their own page with biographical details, there is a complete list of the operations undertaken by the whole crew and a full account of their final flight on 23 September 1943.
Entry at Commonweath War Graves Commission
Entry on Albaston War Memorial page

KIA 23.09.1943

Rank and decorations as of 16 May 1943.
Sources:
Richard Morris, Guy Gibson, Penguin 1995
John Sweetman, The Dambusters Raid, Cassell 2002

The information above has been taken from the books and online sources listed above, and other online material. Apologies for any errors or omissions. Please add any corrections or links to further information in the comments section below.

Dambuster of the Day No. 129: John Nugent

Anderson & Crew - 1943Six members of Cyril Anderson’s Dams Raid crew photographed in summer 1943 after their return to 49 Squadron. L-R: John Nugent (navigator), Gilbert “Jimmy” Green (bomb aimer), William Bickle (wireless operator), Arthur Buck (rear gunner), Cyril Anderson (pilot), Robert Paterson (flight engineer). Photograph was taken by Eric Ewan (mid upper gunner). [Pic: Dominic Howard]

Sgt J P Nugent
Navigator

Lancaster serial number: ED924/G

Call sign: AJ-Y

Third wave. Did not reach Sorpe Dam because of navigation problems, flak damage and weather conditions. Returned with mine intact.

John Percival Nugent was born on 9 August 1914 in Stoney Middleton in the Derbyshire Peak District. He was one of the nine children of Francis and Ellen Nugent. After leaving school, Nugent qualified as a teacher at St Mary’s Training College, Strawberry Hill, Middlesex (now St Mary’s University College), specialising in maths and music. He taught in London, but moved to Brighton at the start of the war when his school was evacuated there. He joined the RAF in 1940 and was sent to Canada for training as a navigator.
On returning to England, he was posted to 25 Operational Training Unit, where he crewed up with Cyril Anderson. They moved on to 1654 Conversion Unit, where the whole crew was formed up.
The crew were posted to 49 Squadron in February 1943, and did their first operation together as a crew on 12 March. After their second trip, they were posted to 617 Squadron but in fact stayed on 49 Squadron to do three more operations, including two to Berlin.
Nugent was back in the countryside where he spent his boyhood when the crews trained for the Dams Raid at the Ladybower reservoir in the Derwent valley. Whether he was able to buzz his family home is not recorded.
After their trip on the Dams Raid, the Anderson crew returned to 49 Squadron and resumed their operational career with an attack on Krefeld on 21 June. They flew on 14 more operations after this, but on 23 September they failed to return from a successful attack on Mannheim. As they headed home, their aircraft was shot down by a night fighter near Offenbach.
John Nugent was first buried with his crewmates in Offenbach Cemetery. After the war the bodies of all seven were exhumed and identified, and then reburied in Rheinberg War Cemetery.

Thanks to Dom Howard for help with this article.

More about Nugent online:
All the Anderson crew are commemorated on Dominic Howard’s excellent website. Each of the crew has their own page with biographical details, there is a complete list of the operations undertaken by the whole crew and a full account of their final flight on 23 September 1943.
Nugent commemorated on Stoney Middleton website.
Entry at Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

KIA 23.09.1943

Rank and decorations as of 16 May 1943.
Sources:
Richard Morris, Guy Gibson, Penguin 1995
John Sweetman, The Dambusters Raid, Cassell 2002

The information above has been taken from the books and online sources listed above, and other online material. Apologies for any errors or omissions. Please add any corrections or links to further information in the comments section below.

Dambuster of the Day No. 128: Robert Paterson

Paterson loresRobert Paterson photographed while serving as RAF ground crew. [Pic: Paterson family]

Sgt R C Paterson
Flight engineer

Lancaster serial number: ED924/G

Call sign: AJ-Y

Third wave. Did not reach Sorpe Dam because of navigation problems, flak damage and weather conditions. Returned with mine intact.

Robert Campbell Paterson was born on 20 September 1907 in Edinburgh, the son of Robert and Wilhemina Paterson. He was educated at George Heriot’s School in the city. On leaving school, he worked as a clerk and then as a driving instructor, being the first person in Scotland to have a franchise from the British School of Motoring. He was also the part-time chauffeur for the author Sir Compton MacKenzie.
Paterson was keen on motoring and mechanics and as the war approached joined the RAF to serve as ground crew. In June 1942, he took the opportunity to fly on heavy bombers and qualified as a flight engineer. He was then posted to 1654 Conversion Unit where he crewed up with Cyril Anderson and the rest of his crew, who had been posted in from an Operational Training Unit.
The crew were posted together to 49 Squadron in February 1943, and did their first operation together as a crew on 12 March. After their second trip, they were posted to 617 Squadron but in fact stayed on 49 Squadron to do three more operations, including two to Berlin.
Paterson was the oldest in a crew which had a 29 year old skipper and was older than the average. This would have singled them out in both the mess and the crew room. After their trip on the Dams Raid, they returned to 49 Squadron and resumed their operational career with an attack on Krefeld on 21 June. They flew on 14 more operations after this, but on 23 September they failed to return from a successful attack on Mannheim. As they headed home, their aircraft was shot down by a night fighter near Offenbach.
Robert Paterson died three days after his 36th birthday, leaving a wife and a four year old son. His school Roll of Honour indicates his modesty, saying that he “consistently refused to accept promotion and honours.” He was first buried with his crewmates in Offenbach Cemetery. After the war the bodies of all seven were exhumed and identified, and then reburied in Rheinberg War Cemetery.

Thanks to Stuart Paterson and Dom Howard for help with this article.

More about Paterson online:
All the Anderson crew are commemorated on Dominic Howard’s excellent website. Each of the crew has their own page with biographical details, there is a complete list of the operations undertaken by the whole crew and a full account of their final flight on 23 September 1943.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry
49 Squadron Association entry
George Heriot’s School Roll of Honour (see pp88-89)

KIA 23.09.1943

Rank and decorations as of 16 May 1943.
Sources:
Richard Morris, Guy Gibson, Penguin 1995
John Sweetman, The Dambusters Raid, Cassell 2002

The information above has been taken from the books and online sources listed above, and other online material. Apologies for any errors or omissions. Please add any corrections or links to further information in the comments section below.