Four newspaper cuttings



Four newspaper cuttings


Left - Dovercourt Man gets GCM - part of cutting also on the right side.

Top center - crippled bomber lights full on won dog-fight. Account of enemy fighter attack on a bomber, wounding four crew and damaged aircraft. One enemy hit and the other driven off by rear gunner. Pilot P/O James Henry Catlin awarded Distinguished Flying Cross, flight engineer, Sergeant Harry [sic] Wright the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. The rear gunner and wireless operator were awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal.

Middle Centre - reports actions of Sergeant Hall and Wright.

Bottom Centre- Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying). Further account of action during operation to Leipzig leading to award of CGM.

Right - Dovecourt man gets CGM, saved lives of bomber crew, Tribute to Barry Wright who had now recovered from wounds and gives biographic details and account of action. Includes head and shoulders portrait of Barry Wright.



Temporal Coverage



Four newspaper cuttings one with b/w photograph



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SWrightBC1627924v10014, SWrightBC1627924v20014, SWrightBC1627924v20015


[three newspaper cuttings]
[page break]
[inserted] Daily Mirror, 17th March 1944 [/inserted]
CRIPPLED too badly for evasive action, a bomber with all its lights blazing droned over Leipzig at night. Four of the crew were wounded.
But as a German fighter closed in for the kill, the rear gunner, operating his turret by hand, hit it with a devastating burst of fire that sent it crashing in flames. Later he drove off an attack by a second fighter.
The bomber had been raked along its whole length with bullets and its lights turned on by a short circuit.
Story of the crew’s gallantry was told last night in the latest list of RAF awards.
The pilot, Pilot-Officer James Henry Catlin, of Ware, Herts, gets the D.F.C.; the flight engineer, Sergeant Harry Colin Wright, of Dovercourt, Essex, the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying).
The rear gunner, Sergeant William Birch, of Upholland, Lancs, a peace-time bricklayer, and the wireless operator, Sergeant Thomas Paul Hall, of Letchworth, Herts, receive the D.F.M.
[underlined] Thrice Fainted [/underlined]
Sergeant Hall, one of the wounded, worked on repairs as the bomber flew on, and Sergeant Wright, who was seriously injured kept the engines running though the instrument panel was shot away and one petrol tank was empty.
He had to be supported by a comrade and three times fainted through loss of blood.
The pilot brought the crippled bomber safely home.
[page break]
[duplicate newspaper cutting]
Dovercourt R.A.F. Man Gets C.G.M.
“I want to be quite honest and frank when I say that we all owe our lives to Barry. Although wounded and on the point of collapse he would not leave his post and throughout the attack and all the way home to England he showed the utmost courage and devotion to duty.”
That is the tribute which the pilot of his aircraft pays to Flight-Sergeant Engineer Barry Wright, only son of Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Wright, of 64, Lee-road, Dovercourt, who has just been awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.
The letter from the pilot of the bomber has been received by his parents while Flight-Sergeant Wright himself has received congratulations on his award from Air Marshal Harris, chief of Bomber Command, from his Squadron and from the fellow members of his crew.
Flight-Sergeant Wright, who has now made a satisfactory recovery from his injuries, has only recently passed his twentieth birthday. He is an old scholar of Central School, Dovercourt, and before joining the Royal Air Force, some 18 months ago was employed at Fords Motor Works. He has made 27 operational flights to Germany, more than a third of which have been to Berlin.
In his letter to Flight-Sergeant Wright’s parents the pilot of the bomber says “I feel it my duty on behalf of the members of my crew to write to you and give you some details of Barrie’s injuries and how he received them………… We were detailed to attack a target at Leipzig on this night. The trip across was unevenful [sic] un-
[black and white head and shoulders photograph of Flight Sergeant Wright]
til we reached the outskirts of Berlin where we should have turned south to the target. It was here that we were attacked by two M.E. 110’s and here that your son was wounded in the stomach by shapnel. [sic] We were very badly damaged and three other members of the crew were also wounded one of the gunners seriously, although we did not know it at the time. Our rear gunner destroyed one of the fighters and the other sheered off without firing a shot.”
After referring to the courage and devotion to duty shown by Flight-Sergeant Wright the letter goes on “We as a crew are proud and honoured to have had such a fine, brave lad with us. We are indebted to him for the rest of our lives and we will not forget it………. Thank you again for a wonderful son of whom you have every reason to be proud. We can never forget him.
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying)
Sgt. B. C. WRIGHT, R.A.F.V.R., No. 166 Sqn. – This officer and these airmen were pilot, flight engineer, rear gunner and wireless operator respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack Leipzig one night in February, 1944. When nearing the target area the aircraft was intercepted by two fighters. One of them attacked from close range and the bomber was raked along the whole length of the fuselage by the enemy’s bullets. Four of the crew were wounded, including Sgts. Hall and Wright, the latter being very severely injured. The aircraft sustained extensive damage, making it impossible for the pilot to take evasive action. Then, to add to the trials of the harassed crew, the bomber became fully illuminated in consequence of a short circuit occurring in the electrical system. The second fighter flew in to the attack, but although forced to operate his turret manually, Sgt. Birch met the attacker with a devastating burst of fire and the enemy aircraft burst into flames and dived to the ground out of control. Only two of his guns were now operating, but Sgt. Birch used them most effectively and drove off the other attacker. P/O. Catlin then set course for home. Meanwhile, Sgt. Hall set to work to repair some of the damaged equipment and later succeeded in making the intercommunication system serviceable. Badly wounded as he was, Sgt. Wright retained consciousness and could not be dissuaded from attempting to fulfil his duties. He was deprived of the use of the instrument panel, which had been shot away, while one of the petrol tanks was empty. Nevertheless, he continued to keep the engines running at their maximum power. In his efforts, Sgt. Wright had to be supported by a comrade and three times fainted through loss of blood, but he never wavered. In the face of heavy odds, P/O. Catlin reached an airfield, where he effected a masterly landing. His skill, courage and determination were beyond praise. Sgts. Wright, Hall and Birch proved themselves to be valiant members of aircraft crew and did everything within their power to assist their pilot in his endeavours to bring the crippled bomber home.



“Four newspaper cuttings,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 20, 2024,

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