Eric Horsham Flight Engineer



Eric Horsham Flight Engineer


Recollection of Eric Horsham from his early years in Plumstead, training at Lords, Torquay, St Athans, Marston Moor then 102 Squadron at Pocklngton. On one operation they were badly damaged but made a successful forced landing at Woodbridge, assisted by FIDO.
Included is a photograph of the damage sustained to the Halifax's wing.
He details his operations mostly over Germany but also France. He refers to Flying Officer Leonard Cheshire being posted to his squadron.
On the last page is a photograph of his crew in front of a Halifax. Each member is identified -

Jimmy Finney Mid Upper Gunner From- Hull.

Eric Horsham Flt Engineer From- Woolwich.

Owen Shirley Navigator From- Carsholton.

Edgar Francis Pilot From- Stoke St Michael.

John Morris Bomb Aimer From- Highgate,London.

Alan Shepherd Wireless Operator From- Ringwood.

Ron Alderton Rear Gunner From- London


Temporal Coverage



Three typewritten sheets


IBCC Digital Archive


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[102 Squadron Crest]
ERIC HORSHAM Flight Engineer
102 (Ceylon) Squadron RAF Pocklington
[photograph of front cover of Pilot’s and Flight Engineer’s Notes for Halifax III]
Handley Page Halifax
[photograph of Halifax]

I was born in Woolwich on the 12th of June 1923.

By 1930 and at the age of seven, I was now beginning to take note of events, for example watching the R101 Airship on its way to London, guided by the Thames.

By 1937, I had joined the Air Defence Corp, later to be called the Air Training Corp.
In 1942, I was called up and vetted as A1 and selected as Flight Engineer, (A new trade in those days), just as the new four engine Bombers were appearing.
Joining many others at Lord’s Cricket Ground, we soon found ourselves at Initial Training Wing (ITW) In [sic] Torquay with other aircrew trades. St Athan, in Wales was our home for the next 6 months and then on to Number 56 Conversion Unit, Marston Moor, near York, where I made up the seventh member of the crew.

Shortly after, being posted To [sic] Pocklington, the home of 102 (Ceylon) Squadron. We now began operations along with some 30 other crews.

We were always aware of empty seats at breakfast, and losses sustained by 102 Squadron were the 3rd highest in Bomber Command.

On The [sic] 16th of November 1944 there were so nearly another seven casualties. Our target was Julich, Germany, to assist the Army’s push into the Ruhr.

Leaving the Target at 18,000 ft, we were caught by German radar, the word on the intercom was “Dive, Dive, Dive” at the same time there was an almighty Bang which destroyed our hearing. You could taste the Cordite. The skipper put the aircraft into a steep dive and then eventually levelling out, beyond their guns range. Damage to the aircraft was substantial, I could see gaping holes in the starboard side of the fuselage, flaps had disappeared and vapour trails of fuel could be seen in our slipstream as the fuel tanks drained away. I quickly transferred fuel from the port side to the starboard engines. Our mid upper gunner (Jim Finney) also sustained leg injuries requiring immediate attention.

Now over our own lines, skipper, (Edgar Francis) took a direct course to the nearest landing strip, Woodbridge Aerodrome. Coastal fog obscured our approach but fortunately the runway was lit by FIDO (Fog Incandescent Dispersal Organisation). Fran made a fast circuit to line up our descent. We were without communications so I loaded the flare gun and fired repeatedly from the cockpit roof to let flying control know we were there. We had no Brakes, Starboard Flaps, leaking fuel and fog, but fortunately a long runway… WE WERE DOWN, the mid upper gunner whisked off to hospital, and a relief that was palpable.

“JUST ANOTHER OP” on a foggy November afternoon.

[page break]



[underlined] OPERATIONAL SUMMARY [/underlined]

My Log Book identifies many operations throughout France and Germany and 102 Squadron were often tasked with night time and daytime bombing raids of strategic Industrial targets, such as:-
[symbol] Railway Lines,
[symbol] Railway Depots,
[symbol] Synthetic Oil Plants,
[symbol] Storage Depots
[symbol] V1 (Doodlebug) & V2 Rocket Launch sites
[symbol] Oil Refineries
[symbol] Key Industrial Targets

My Operations included:-
[symbol] The Thousand Bomber raid on Essen
[symbol] Osnabruck
[symbol] Sterkrade
[symbol] Cologne,
[symbol] Essen (340 Aircraft) Mosquito’s dropped Red Ground Markers, Yellow and Green Sky Markers.
[symbol] Duisberg
[symbol] Fuel delivery Ops, low level (250 x 5 gallon petrol filled Jerry Cans) for allied troops fighting in Eindhoven and advancing along the Ruhr.
[symbol] Raids on V1 (Doodlebug) & V2 Rocket Launch sites In France. (Mosquito Cross beam targeting)
[symbol] Julich (Raid 16th Nov 1944 ([sic] aircraft sustained Flack [sic] damage and mid upper gunner injured).

Flying Officer LEONARD CHESHIRE was posted to 102 Squadron in June 1940 and subsequently awarded the (DSO). Then further awarded the (DFC) with promotion to Fight Lieutenant whilst serving with 102 Squadron

[page break]

[underlined] Crew- (From left to right) [/underlined]


Jimmy Finney Mid Upper Gunner From- Hull.
Eric Horsham Flt Engineer From- Woolwich.
Owen Shirley Navigator From- Carsholton.
Edgar Francis Pilot From- Stoke St Michael.
John Morris Bomb Aimer From- Highgate, London.
Alan Shepherd Wireless Operator From- Ringwood.
Ron Alderton Rear Gunner From- London

[deleted] 4 [/deleted] [inserted] 5 [/inserted]



Eric Horsham, “Eric Horsham Flight Engineer,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 7, 2022,

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