Lynne Wilde has kindly sent me three more photos of Richard Bolitho, rear gunner in Bill Astell’s AJ-B on the Dams Raid, and now buried alongside his comrades after their aircraft was shot down near Dorsten in Germany early in the morning of 17 May 1943.
Lynne’s father was Flt Lt Geoffrey Bate DFC.
At the time these pictures were taken, in February/March 1943, he was a Sergeant air gunner in 61 Squadron, stationed at RAF Syerston. It is thought that all the other four shown here were also gunners in the same squadron. [Update, November 2013: It now seems more likely that all five were on the same Air Gunnery course in the summer of 1942, and the photographs were wrongly captioned after the war.]
The first shows all five, and is captioned:
Bate Bracegirdle Bolitho
Adams (Chopper) Billington
The second is captioned:
Billington Adams Bolitho
‘2 B’s and an A’
The third is captioned:
Bolitho Adams Bracegirdle
‘Still 2 B’s and an A’
Sgt Julian Bracegirdle was killed in action in 1944, while serving with 101 Squadron. If anyone can shed a light on the full names and subsequent fates of Sgts Billington and Adams, please get in touch.