Appeal launched for AJ-E Dambuster memorial

AJ-E crew lores
The crew of AJ-E. Left to right: Norman Barlow, Leslie Whillis, Philip Burgess, Charles Williams, Alan Gillespie, Harvey Glinz, Jack Liddell.

Eight crews from 617 Squadron were lost on the night of the Dams Raid, 16/17 May 1943. Of these two, AJ-A piloted by Sqn Ldr Melvin Young and AJ-K piloted by Plt Off Vernon Byers were lost over the sea, but the other six crashed on dry land in Germany or the Netherlands.
Three of the crash sites are commemorated with a plaque or other memorial:

AJ-B: Flt Lt William Astell
AJ-M: Flt Lt John Hopgood
AJ-C: Plt Off Warner Ottley

An appeal has now been launched to add another memorial to this list. Lancaster ED927, call sign AJ-E, piloted by Flt Lt Norman Barlow DFC, crashed into a electricity pylon on some farmland near Haldern, at about 2350 on 16 May 1943, killing all on board. Haldern is a community in the district of Cleves, in the lower Rhine area.
The plan, to erect a memorial stone and bronze plaque on this site, is being organised by Volker Schürmann, a local historian, who is looking to raise €750 (about £620) to cover the cost. We are therefore looking for 150 donations of €5.
By way of thank you, donors will receive a colour souvenir postcard featuring pictures of the finished stone in place and portraits of all the AJ-E crew. It is hoped that we can arrange for a descendant of one of the crew to be present when the stone is unveiled, and, of course, all donors will also be warmly welcomed.

You can donate to the appeal via Paypal here:
Make a Donation Button

If you would prefer to make a donation by cheque or bank transfer, contact me and I will give you details of how you can do this.
Below is a picture of the site where the memorial will be erected.
two oaks 2 lores

25 thoughts on “Appeal launched for AJ-E Dambuster memorial

  1. Nigel Favill April 18, 2014 / 5:08 pm

    Charles , hope your ok, i have done my donation and very happy that this is being done ..thanks again and keep up the good work , please let me know how it goes .

  2. Tony Knight April 18, 2014 / 5:24 pm

    Charles, well done for helping to arrange this, I have left my donation. I help to run a few battlefield tours on a voluntary basis; and we have been to the approximate position of the crash site a few years ago. Would you be able to send the GPS co-ordinates of the memorial when it is all sorted please. When I went I thought that I had read that the local farmer was a bit sensitive to people looking over his land, so it would be nice to know exactly where to go.

    Tony Knight

  3. Susan Paxton April 18, 2014 / 8:29 pm

    Charles, thank you for listing this. Donation made! Good to know someone is taking care to see that this crew is remembered.

  4. Volker Schürmann April 19, 2014 / 2:50 pm

    24 hours and 15 donations. Many thanks to all donators.
    Best regards from the crashsite of AJ Easy ED927.
    Yours Volker

    • Volker Schürmann April 20, 2014 / 7:15 pm

      21 donations after 48 hours.

      Come on tell it to other interested people.

      • Volker Schürmann April 23, 2014 / 7:04 am


        Fifth day of running:

        29 donations a 5 Euro. First german donator put 20 Euro in the pot.

        Many thanks to all donators.

        Go on go on ….. to reach the target soon.

        Best wishes


      • Simon August 5, 2014 / 7:56 pm

        Hi Volker,I am traveling to E Easy crash site after many years of planning.Do you have GPS co ordinates for the site?I plan to be there on saturday the 6th of september and would love to make a contribution to the memorial.
        my contact is


  5. Dom Howard April 20, 2014 / 9:14 am

    Hi Charles, Donation made, good to see another crew will never be forgotten.

  6. Graeme Stevenson April 22, 2014 / 8:49 am

    Donation made

  7. Brad Day April 24, 2014 / 4:34 pm

    Well done to Volker Schürmann,(a very caring gesture) i am sure it wont be long before you reach your target of £620,at least we can now guarantee that this crew along with the others lost on the 16/17th May 1943.will be forever in our thoughts.


  8. Mark Andrews April 25, 2014 / 2:24 pm

    Hi Volker, Happy to make a donation to this very worthy cause. We live within 5 kilometres of RAF Scampton from where the plane took off and through our European Driving Tours business regularly visit all of the crash sites. Our Dambusters itinerary is on this link;

    Best of luck with the appeal and we look forward to seeing the plaque on a future tour.

    Mark 07885 274113

  9. Volker Schürmann April 28, 2014 / 10:18 am

    — NEWSLETTER — DAMBUSTER AJ Easy ED927 memorial —-

    Dear donators,

    many thanks for trusting Charles and me with this appeal for the dambuster AJ Easy ED927 memorial.

    Meanwhile we have reached the number of 51 donations a 5 Euro of 41 donators – less the paypal fee we have collected 259,44 Euro (one-third of our donation target) within ten days of running.

    Beside the publishing of the appeal via dambustersblog, facebook and other aviation forums I have also asked the near RAF museum Weeze-Laarbruch ( to support us by posting the appeal in their exhibition. Also I have send an email to german LUFTWAFFE with headquarter of the Joint Force Air Component Headquarters in Kalkar/Uedem (Germany) to support our appeal.

    I am really impressed of your support and hope to reach our donation target with you soon.

    In the attachment you will find a PDF with the appeal. Please send this PDF to every interested person or institution which occure to you.

    Best regards

    Yours Volker

    • Tony Knight April 30, 2014 / 3:20 pm

      I can not verify the authenticity of that fragment, but I don’t know of any pieces from that aircraft being salvaged, there are on some from other aircraft such as Bill Astells in a nearby museum. The information on the photograph of the print has to be wrong as it states that it is showing ‘that fine machine soaring low in the night sky’. It is in fact depicting a Lancaster Bomber just clearing the Mohne Dam. Barlow’s aircraft crashed on the way to the Mohne Dam, in-fact it was the first of the dambuster aircraft to crash, so the information is incorrect. Given that fact it does not fill me with confidence that the fragment shown is authentic.

      • Susan Paxton April 30, 2014 / 3:38 pm

        I have to say that I have a piece that is reputedly from this aircraft, and it looks very like the one shown in the image linked above. The book on Dambuster crash sites does indicate that pieces of this aircraft were recovered, and in fact if you search online you can find others, including what looks like a piece from around the astrodome and a hydraulic resevoir. But of course any of this should be taken with something of a grain a salt.

  10. Tony Knight April 30, 2014 / 5:09 pm

    Perhaps I should have said that, I didn’t know of any pieces of this aircraft being recovered in later years, there were obviously large pieces at the time of the crash and the only Upkeep that was recovered intact.was from this site. According to Chris Ward & Andreas Wachtel in their Dambuster Crash Sits book (p34) – the surface of the field has risen by some 10 feet and there are no fragments left to find.

  11. Volker Schürmann May 12, 2014 / 3:26 pm

    — NEWSLETTER — DAMBUSTER AJ Easy ED927 memorial —-
    — 2nd edition —

    Dear donators,

    as well many thanks for all new donators.

    Now we have reached the number of 68 donations of 53 donators – less the paypal fee we have collected 352,04 Euro (nearly half of our donation target) within 24 days of running.

    Hope that this anniversary week there will come much more donators.

    At the crashsite I have also placed the appeal with the QR-code. Also I have contacted the Eder-Sperrmauer Museum to publish the appeal in their museum.

    Hope to reach the target with your help soon.

    Best regards — Lest we forget

    Yours Volker

  12. Ady Longmate May 12, 2014 / 5:45 pm

    Hi Volker
    Keep up the good work this is an amazing thing you are doing it’s a shame our own government don’t give any help but they only take they don’t give, even for these brave men. Once again thankyou .
    Ady .

  13. Harald Prins May 20, 2014 / 8:07 pm

    Donation made

    Harald Prins

  14. Volker Schürmann June 20, 2014 / 10:37 am

    — NEWSLETTER — DAMBUSTER AJ Easy ED927 memorial —-
    — 3rd edition —

    Dear donators,

    as well many thanks for all new donators.

    Now we have reached the number of 87 donations of 70 donators – less the paypal fee we have collected 443,74 Euro within two months of running.

    To reach the target we also need 63 donations a 5 Euro.

    At the moment it seems to be a decreasing number of donators. During the 71. anniversary week we collect 20 donations.

    —- News from the crashsite —

    The local newspaper reports:

    Last week I visited the busied farmer and owner of the small piece of land, where we want to install the memorial. He was interested and I think that he will agree and accept that we install the memorial on his piece of land.

    Hope to reach the target with your help soon.

    Best regards — Lest we forget

    Yours Volker

  15. Tony Knight August 6, 2014 / 8:02 am

    Here are the coordinates for the road outside of the field.
    51.792280 6.440349

  16. Volker Schürmann September 9, 2014 / 2:36 pm

    — NEWSLETTER — DAMBUSTER AJ Easy ED927 memorial —
    — 4th edition —

    Dear donators,

    as well many thanks for all new donators.

    Now we have reached the number of 106 donations of 85 donators – less the paypal fee we have collected 597,85 Euro within five months of running.

    To reach the target we also need 44 donations a 5 Euro.

    Charles Foster is planning to create a special logo for our appeal to integrate it in the bronze plaque – so let us surprise.

    Besides Susan Paxton has prepared a press release for newspapers in Queensland/Australia – the home of Charles Rowland Williams. I have also contact to the grammar school of Townsville where Charles went to school. The school archivist Bill Muller has send the informations of our appeal to the mayor of Hughenden.

    In the attachment you will also find a report of Charles Williams published by the school archivist (

    Hope to reach the target with your help soon.
    Best regards  — Lest we forget

    Yours Volker

  17. john dennis December 19, 2014 / 12:16 pm

    Just sent my 5 Euros. All the best with this Volker.

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