Warrant Officer 'Bill' Walker's crew



Warrant Officer 'Bill' Walker's crew


A photograph of the crew and an account of the night (27/28 September 1943) they were nearly shot down over Hanover. Crew names and positions are detailed as are the events of the night. One engine was on fire and this was extinguished by diving and restarted. The engineer put out a second fire and was overcome by fumes. The rear gunner was overcome by fumes but was removed to safety. Despite the damage to the aircraft it landed at RAF Lindholme in appalling conditions.

All the crew received their awards in October and November 1943. The photograph of the seven airmen is annotated with the signature of the airman and his award.



Temporal Coverage



One b/w photograph, annotated
One typewritten sheet


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Warrant Officer ‘Bill’ Walker’s crew
No.101 Squadron, RAF Ludford Magna. October 1943
(from left)

Sgt Geoffrey Whittle, Navigator.
Sgt Reg Hebditch, W/Op
Sgt Bob Scott, Mid Upper Gunner
W.O. ‘Bill’ Walker, Pilot
Sgt. Stan Mayer, Flight Engineer
Sgt ‘Jock’ Robertson, Special Duties Operator (joined crew October 1943)
P.O. Bert Gadd, Bomb Aimer
Sgt Ken Hicklin, Rear Gunner

On 27th September 1943 for their 15th operation the crew was tasked to attack Hannover. On the approach to the target their aircraft was coned by searchlights and at the same time engaged by heavy flak and attacked by a night fighter.
The port inner engine caught fire and the fire started amidships. The pilot went in to a steep dive to port to avoid the fighter. The crew was ordered to stand by to bale out and the bomb load was jettisoned. Fortunately the engine fire was extinguished during the dive and was later restarted by the engineer. He went back to tackle the fire and despite being overcome by fumes managed to put the fire out. On recovery he returned to ensure that the fire was fully out. The rear gunner was overcome by fumes and the engineer assisted by the mid upper gunner got himself out of his turret and revived him despite not being on oxygen themselves.
The intercom had been knocked out, the DR compass was smashed and the trimming cables burnt through. The aircraft was still flyable and a course for Ledford was set. The flight back to Ludford was in thick cloud and on arrival the aircraft was diverted to Lindholm where they landed in appalling conditions. The crew all received immediate awards as a result of the incident.

Pilot & Flight Engineer. Conspicuous Gallantry Medal 20th October 1943
Navigator & W/OP Distinguished Flying Medal 22 October 1943
Bomb Aimer Distinguished Flying Cross 5th November 1943
Mid & rear Gunners Distinguished Flying Medal 5th November 1943

Regretfully the crew without the navigator (in hospital) were shot down on 26th November 1943 over Belgium and with the exception of the pilot and w/op (PsOW) were killed.



“Warrant Officer 'Bill' Walker's crew,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 23, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/10587.

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