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Lancaster ND917 of No 75 Squadron on one of the Advanced Landing Grounds on the Normandy beach-head on 31 June 1944

(Rus)  During a daylight bombing of enemy forces at Villers-Bocage on 30 June 1944, No 75 Squadron Lancaster ND917 was hit by flak splinters, one striking flight engineer Sgt P. McDevitt in the knee and causing excessive bleeding. The pilot, Sqn Ldr N. Williamson, seeing that McDevitt was losing blood rapidly, elected to land on one of the Advanced Landing Grounds on the Normandy beach-head, where medical attention could be sought. This was the first RAF 'heavy' to make use of one of these small strips. The photograph, taken next day, shows Williamson presenting bomb-aimer Fg Off G. Couth with Camembert cheese produced in the district to mark his 23rd birthday. Other members of the crew are Fg Off J. Watts, navigator; Sgt J. Russell, rear gunner; Sgt R. Jones, mid-upper gunner; and Sgt S.Cooke, wireless operator.

ND917 was one of four Lancasters lost during a daylight raid on Solingen on 4 November 1944. (IWM CL291)


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