Failed to Return
W/O Peasgood Crew
W/O Peasgood and crew were posted to 550 Squadron on squadron start-up from 100 Sqdn "C" Flight w.e.f. 25/11/43:
- W/O G K Peasgood (P) KIA
- Sgt S Sykes (F/Eng) PoW
- F/Sgt W P Morris RCAF (Nav) KIA
- F/Sgt G Walker (A/B) KIA
- F/Sgt S J Richards (W/Op) KIA
- Sgt S J L Jones (MU/AG) KIA
- Sgt P P Clarkin (R/AG) KIA
The Peasgood crew were on their 8th op with 550 Squadron when Lancaster EE107 (BQ-O) was shot down on the night of 21/22 January 1944 on operation to Magdeburg. All of the crew, except Sgt Sykes the flight engineer, were killed. Sgt. Sykes, the only survivor, because a PoW for the remainder of the war. Stanley Sykes died in 2000.
Other information about the flight and the target available here.
The entry on the 550 Squadron Roll of Honour is available here.
|W/O George Peasgood was only 21 years old when he died.
Picture courtesy of Les Finn
|F/Sgt W P Morris RCAF (Nav)
Picture courtesy of Joerg Helbig
|Sgt Sidney James Louis Jones (A/G)
Newspaper article (June 2013) about commemorations for this crew-member in his home parish, Chadwick End
Picture courtesy of Paul Lee
Sgt. Stanley Sykes - Survivor
The following photos kindly made available by Christopher George Sykes, son of Stanley Sykes (note also that W/O Peasgood was his uncle as Stanley Sykes married George's sister after the war).
The story recounted by Sgt Sykes to his son, is that the crew saw a night fighter and next minute they were heading down. Sgt Sykes blacked out, and when he came to he managed to bail out of the plane. No sooner had his parachute opened that he hit the roof of some houses and then rolled onto the ground. He was picked up a short time later by the police and was interned in a POW camp for the rest of the war.
The following quote is from the Lost Bombers site http://www.lostbombers.co.uk/bomber.php?id=4215:
Those killed are buried in Holland at Venray War Cemetery. [...] The CWGC state that Venray was liberated in mid-October 1944 and that burials in the cemetery date from this time. This suggests that the above crew were brought here from another cemetery, possibly from one on Germany. Sgt S.Sykes was interned in Camp 4B, PoW No.270085 (possibly 270885)"
A German researcher in contact with this site thinks the re-interment date suspect. This is based on research he believes points to the aircraft being lost over Bernburg. Summarising his research:
The aircraft must have reached target and bombed, leaving target to the south (as planned). It should have turned back to NW for home - but flew over the town of BERNBURG (Saale) was coned by Flak and shot down at 23.30 hrs local time. The Crew was first laid to rest (one survivor as above) probably in BERNBURG and here were also buried some B-17 crew. The Americans must have found the dead crewmen and brought them (all) out of Germany as ultimately they were buried at Venray in The Netherlands. The Flak that opened fire was a "Flakzug" railway Flaktrain Number 228 IV (Lancaster Bernburg) stopped at the Bernburg railway station or was based at the station. The exact crashpoint is thought to be BERNBURG-ROSCHWITZ a SE suburb of the town: specifically BREYMANNSTRASSE as it seems to have destroyed some buildings (although but this is unconfirmed by our contact). However BREYMANNSTRASSE disappeared during the time of the DDR and was possibly renamed (although what to is unclear). Suggestions from WR Chorley about the second burial at Venray (dated after mid-October 44) are doubtful. Bernburg area was liberated April 45 so the earliest date of an exhumation on location is April 45. It is thought that late 1945, the Americans came into the town and asked about allied war-graves and when they exist they marked them first and returned at a later date to exhume the bodies. Exhumation is exactly what they have done in this particular case. We do not know the exact date that the Americans exhumed the crew at Bernburg - but it was almost certainly months after the war was over and not 1944.
The investigations were conducted using records in the UK, Germany and indeed Canada (one crew member was RCAF).