Dambuster of the Day No. 90: William Maynard

Maynard 240913

Sgt T W Maynard
Front gunner

Lancaster serial number: ED936/G

Call sign: AJ-H

Second wave. Aircraft badly damaged and mine lost, flying low over sea on outward flight. Returned to base.

Thomas William Maynard was born in Wandsworth, London in 1923, the son of Sydney and Janet Maynard. He was known to his family as Bill.
He joined the RAF in December 1941, and was selected for training as a wireless operator/air gunner. After qualifying, he met up with navigator Richard Macfarlane, wireless operator Bruce Gowrie, bomb aimer John Thrasher and flight engineer Edward Smith at a final conversion unit in October 1942. All five were posted to 57 Squadron at Scampton on 9 December 1942. Rear gunner Stephen Burns had joined the squadron a short while earlier, but the crew were without a pilot until Geoff Rice arrived in February.
The crew then flew on nine operations before being posted together from 57 Squadron to the new squadron being formed at the same base to undertake training for a special mission.
Like all the squadron’s mid upper gunners, Bill Maynard was switched to the front turret of the specially modified Lancasters for the Dams Raid.
Maynard flew with Rice and the rest of his crew on the handful of successful operations between the Dams Raid and December 1943, and was promoted to Flight Sergeant. However, the crew’s luck ran out on 20 December when they were hit by flak 14,000 feet above Merbes-Le Chateau in Belgium. Although Rice gave the order to bale out, there wasn’t time and the aircraft exploded. Rice seems to have been thrown clear by the explosion, and somehow landed in a wood but the bodies of the remaining six crew members were found in the wreckage.
Bill Maynard and his five colleagues were buried in Gosselies Communal Cemetery, near Hainaut, Belgium.

More about Maynard online:
Entry on Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Page about Rice crew burial site, Gosselies cemetery

KIA 20.12.1943.

Rank and decorations as of 16 May 1943.
Richard Morris, Guy Gibson, Penguin 1995
John Sweetman, The Dambusters Raid, Cassell 2002
John Sweetman, David Coward and Gary Johnstone, The Dambusters, Time Warner 2003

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.

13 thoughts on “Dambuster of the Day No. 90: William Maynard

  1. D.J.v.D. February 12, 2015 / 1:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

  2. John Hitchins February 12, 2015 / 4:02 pm

    Fantastic site, a great tribute to those men.

  3. Jessica Crawford May 1, 2015 / 5:05 pm

    Visited April of 2015. It is nice to see that the crew were buried at the same site, very peaceful.
    John Thrasher, bomb aimer was my mother’s eldest brother.

  4. Paul Daviews March 13, 2017 / 10:25 am

    Good to read more information about a relative, my nans uncle. would like to visit his grave in Belguim

    • Mark May 4, 2017 / 10:36 pm

      Hi Paul, Bill Maynard is my Great Uncle he was my Grandfather’s brother. I have some photos and other bits I am happy to share – if you can let me have an email address. Regards Mark

      • Alexander Maynard August 26, 2017 / 11:36 am

        Regarding Dambuster of the day No 90 -William Maynard.
        My husband Alexander Maynard (who is now 98) is Williams elder brother.

      • Ruth September 20, 2017 / 1:17 pm

        Hi Mark,

        We must be related. Bill was my fathers younger brother. My dad is Alexander Maynard…
        Ruth Maynard

  5. Joanne Rogers January 26, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    Bill Maynard was my great uncle, my grandads brother

    • Mark Maynard January 26, 2018 / 9:08 pm

      Hi Joanne, if you are who I think you are we are cousins. My mum was Joyce and Dad Maurice. Bill Maynard was my Great Uncle. Let me know if this rings any bells with you relation wise. Regards Mark

      • Joanne Rogers January 27, 2018 / 9:56 pm

        Hi Mark, yes it is me your cousin, you have the right person. My Mum is Chris your Dad’s sister. I’ve not seen you for years. Hope you are well. My son (7, Ryan) asked if we had anybody famous in our family so I told him about his great great uncle & searched Dambusters & Bill’s name & came across this blog. Ryan was so intrigued by the history.
        Regards Jo x

      • Mark Maynard January 27, 2018 / 11:24 pm

        Hi Jo, thanks for the reply so good to hear from you. I saw your Mum last year, it as good to see her. How freaky that your son is called Ryan – so is mine but he is a bit older 16. I have some photos of Great Uncle Bills grave I will sort them out and send them to you so Ryan can see them. Take care Mark x

  6. Joanne Rogers January 28, 2018 / 11:59 am

    Hi Mark, that’s a coincidence that we both called our son’s Ryan. Thank you he would love to see some photos thank you. Are you still living in Ware? We are in Hoddesdon. Jo x

  7. charlesfoster January 28, 2018 / 12:09 pm

    Hi Mark and Joanne
    I am emailing both of you with each other’s contact details. That way you can conduct your conversation more privately. Best wishes to you both — Charles

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