VE Day Lancaster crash



VE Day Lancaster crash


Account of Jeff Brown witnessing Lancaster NN806 crash on take-off on VE Day. Includes a photograph of 13 air and ground crew of 576 Squadron, under their aircraft, including Jeff Brown.




Temporal Coverage



Type-written report and photograph


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May 8th 1945

The war had ended that day; everyone was in a happy mood. We were on the battle order. It was Rotterdam again. We went out to the aircraft. The CO drove around, wishing everyone good luck. The station photographer suddenly came and took pictures of the air and ground crews together in front of the aircraft. We never had that before. Later we all got free prints. Then it was time to go. We taxied out, little realising that within a few minutes we would witness a crash. We took off and as we climbed up, I noticed that the Lancaster behind us was starting his take off run. As he increased speed, a swing showed. The swing became violent. From my mid upper turret I had a grandstand view as he swung off the runway to port. He tore up the FIDO – piping which was mounted on short steel legs above the ground. Lengths of steel piping flew in all directions. The Lancaster ripped up the grass and earth as the undercarriage collapsed. The plane slowed round in a cloud of dust and debris. Its back broke near the mid upper turret. An ambulance and fire tender raced out to it. Luckily there was no fire. That was the end of Lancaster NN806.
Unfortunately that was one load of food which did not get to Holland that day. the next aircraft began its take off, passing the sad pile of wreckage that moments before had been an operational bomber. Later we heard that the pilot, having the V E day mood on him, had allowed his flight engineer to attempt the take off and that he had lost control of the aircraft. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

Jeff Brown

576 Squadron, Fiskerton, Lincs. V.E. Day 8th May, 1945. Jeff Brown is second from the left – standing




Jeff Brown, “VE Day Lancaster crash,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 17, 2024,

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