Something very interesting, but also very sad happened in April 1945 on the outskirts of Leicester. A RAF Bomber (RAF Lancaster ND647) crashed and exploded in a field that would one day be one of Leicester’s suburbs, Thurnby Lodge.
Lancaster Bomber training.
The bomber aeroplane crashed whilst the crew was training on Sunday 8th April 1945. The Aircraft took off in North Luffenham for fighter affiliation. The purpose of this training was to acquaint new pilots to the maneuverability of fighter aircraft and how to avoid them.
It was no great secret that fighter aeroplanes had the advantage of speed and maneuverability over the much larger bomber aircraft. If a bomber crew were to stand a chance of survival it all hinged on how well the pilot could toss and turn his Larger aircraft around in the sky.
An pilot from one of the fighter squadrons would act as the “enemy” (in this case it was a spitfire). For the fighter pilot it was a multipurpose task; Practice his attack techniques on a bomber and quite simply a way to harass some of the “bomber boys”.
An instructor would be on board for the first or so tries after that it was up to the pilot. The instructor’s direction to the trainee pilot was to “keep it simple” and make every move to the maximum effort. After all this would be a matter of life and death in a real attack.
But the pilot lost control and crashed at 1515 hours near Scraptoft on the eastern outskirts of Leicester. There was no survivors on board.
RAF Lancaster ND 647 Memorial.
The only evidence of this event happening is a small memorial plate on the buttress of the small bridge crossing the brook on Drumcliff Road.
The following lost their lives in service to our country.
All hands were killed upon impact in the crash. The crew of RAF Lancaster ND 647 are as follows:
- F/O. N.E Cook.
- Sgt. J. Winterbottom.
- F/O. T. Neale.
- W/O. R.C Wingrove.
- Sgt. G. Gore.
- Sgt. J.F.J Stanley.
RAF Lancaster Bomber ND 647 Crash Location:
(Thank you Derek Suffolk for crash site images)
The postcode to this location is LE5 2LH (Drumcliff Road)
The whole story is best told by Mr. Terence C. Cartwright, who witnessed the event as a teenager in 1945. This can be viewed on our website by following this link:
To learn more about war time Leicester, we recommend the following books:
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