550 Squadron Photos
NG331 / BQ-M
F/O John Charles Adams and Crew
Lancaster Mk1 NG331/BQ-M shot down by flak on the night of 5/6 January 1945 over Hannover, crashing into the Hindenburg Strasse at Langenhagen in Hannover's northern outskirts. Wreckage was scattered over a radius of 800 to 1,000 metres.
The crew on this operation was:
- F/O J C Adams (P) RCAF KIA
- Sgt W P Scott (F/Eng) KIA
- F/Sgt B Sterman (Nav) KIA
- F/O W R Elcoate (B/A) RCAF KIA
- F/Sgt L Papple (W/Op) KIA
- Sgt K D Winstanley (MU/AG) PoW
- F/O F S Renton (R/AG) KIA
Sgt Winstanley, the only survivor, was interned in Camp L1 (no PoW number available). Those killed are buried in Hannover War Cemetery (details in the Roll of Honour link below).
Other information about the flight and the target available here.
The entry on the 550 Squadron Roll of Honour here.
See also the Aircrew Remembrance Society page for the F/O Adams crew.
|Crew photo (minus the F/Eng, Sgt Scott)
L-to-R: F/O Renton, F/O Elcoate, Sgt Winstanley, F/Sgt Sterman, F/O Adams (P), F/Sgt Papple
Sgt Winstanley was the only surviror; it appears that he and Francis Renton swapped turrets for this flight. To read Sgt Winstanley's account of that last flight of NG331, and the aftermath, click here.
Picture courtesy of Brian Goodwin (with identification of Fred Papple by Alex Papple)
Thanks to Patricia Adams for positive identification of her uncle F/O J C Adams RCAF
F/O John Charles Adams RCAF, Mrs Evelyn Renton, F/O Francis Swan Renton RAFVR
Picture courtesy of Brian Goodwin
The following information has been made available by Brian Goodwin during his research into his wifeís uncle, F/O Renton:
- J/36193 Fg Off John Charles Adams RCAF
Pilot age 23. Son of Dr. Fred Adams and Essie Adams of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
Interred in the Hannover War Cemetery grave 2.F.13. From the Province of Ontario
Registration of Deaths overseas: DoB 10 July 1923, unmarried. Permanent residence, 1130 Victoria Avenue, Windsor, Ontario.
- J/24653 Fg Off (Flt Lt on CWGC site and headstone) William Robert Elcoate RCAF
Interred in the Hannover War Cemetery grave 2.F.11. DoB c1913 Manitoba, Canada. Lived in High River, Alberta. Married with a son, Robert.
- 173905 Fg Off Francis Swan Renton RAFVR
Husband of Mrs Evelyn Renton and son of Mrs Mary Elizabeth Renton and the late Alexander Renton of Donaldsons Lodge, Cornhill on Tweed, Northumberland.
Interred in the Hannover War Cemetery grave 2. F.4. DoB 2 December 1915, Gateshead.
- 1002042 Flt Sgt Frederick Papple RAFVR
Age 24, son of Frederick and H Maud A Papple of West Hartlepool, Co. Durham.
Interred in the Hannover War Cemetery, grave 2.F.9. DoB 1920, Hartlepool.
- 1593364 Sgt William Percy Scott RAFVR
Age 19, son of William and Margaret Scott of Sunderland, Co. Durham.
Interred in the Hannover War Cemetery grave 3.C.18. DoB 1925. Sunderland.
- 1390537 Flt Sgt Benjamin Sterman RAFVR
Interred in the Hannover War Cemetery grave 3.C.17. DoB 1919, Islington.
- 634829 Sgt Kenneth Douglas Winstanley RAFVR
Ken was the sole survivor of this trip and was incarcerated in Stalag Luft 1. DoB 21 May 1921, Wigan.
In transcipts after the war it appears that he and Francis Swan swapped turrets for this flight.
Died age 83 June 2004, Solihul.
F/O John Charles Adams and Brothers
F C Adams's older brother Robert Watson Adams was also a flyer who was shot down over Greece in November 1943, but he survived and evaded capture (he died in 2003). His obituary, attached here, records how he was helped in his escape by members of the local Greek population.
There was also another brother, Sgt (Pilot) Frederick Coulson Adams, who was killed 5 July 1941, apparently shot down by German night-fighters during training. Sgt Adams is buried in Plot: 30. G. 7, Brookwood Military Cemetery.
Thanks to Patricia Adams (daughter of R W Adams) for the above information.
Hannover War Cemetery
As noted above all of the crew, with the exception of the single survivor Sgt Winstanley, are buried in Hannover War Cemetery.
Pictures kindly provided of Brian Goodwin, with original source acknowledged as The War Graves Photographic Project the aim of which is to photograph every war grave, individual memorial, MoD grave, and family memorial of serving military personnel from WWI to the present day and make these available within a searchable database. The War Graves Photographic Project works in a joint venture with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to enable families, scholars and researchers to obtain, via the CWGC or TWGPP websites, a copy of the photograph of a grave or memorial which for many is impossible to visit due to the location.
Fg Off John Charles Adams RCAF
Flt Lt William Robert Elcoate RCAF
Flt Sgt Frederick Papple
Fg Off Francis Swan Renton
Sgt William Percy Scott
Flt Sgt Benjamin Sterman