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Lancaster JA971 crash November 1943, Welney Washes

page created 11th September 2010, amended/updated Thursday, 31 March 2011
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6 of the 7 crew are shown here:
lancaster crew photo
Williams, Stanisforth (Staniforth?), Alexander, Ansty, Hawkins, Glaus, and Sefton.
This crew had Hawkins instead of Frewin.
Photo courtesy 'Airwar over Denmark'
© Søren C. Flensted

Aircraft codes are explained on the WW2 aircrashes directory page.
Typical marking for a 7 Sqn bomber:
lancaster code marks
 The above was on Stirling P8623.
7 Sqn lost (amongst many others):
5 Lanc's & 3 Stirlings bearing code MG-L
4 Lanc's & 5 Stirlings bearing code MG-J
but only JA971 was coded MG-J2.
(In Sept 43 it was coded XU-J)
On 24th November 1943 a Britsh Lancaster Mk.111 bomber serial number JA971, identity code MG-J2, of 7 Sqn RAF based at Oakington crashed on the Welney Washes.

It was damaged by flak during operations to Berlin. The elevators were shot away, but the pilot managed to get the aircraft "back to base" but was presumably unable to land. Five of the crew were ordered to bale out. The pilot and navigator remained in the aircraft, but later were also obliged to abandon it some "20 miles north of Oakington".

Some reports say the aircraft came down in the Washes in the area of the WWT reserve, however another source says the Civil Defence report map reference puts it on Lady Fen (i.e. on the eastern side of the Old Bedford/Hundred Foot River, and outside the washes). 

The late Ernie James from Welney described in his book 'Memoirs of a Fen Tiger' finding tiny fragments blown off on impact, but doesn't say where. According to a member of the Fenland Aviation Museum, Ernie had indicated the location to them many years later when standing at the Wisbech Road/Hale Drove junction in Welney and pointing northeast.
The crew of JA971 on 24th Nov 1943
positionrank, name, age
PilotF/O KB Williams
 W/O JM Alexander
 F/Sgt A Frewin
 F/Sgt FW Anstey
 Sgt G Staniforth
 Sgt LG Glaus
 Sgt NB Sefton

Later, F/O Williams was promoted to F/Lt & awarded the DFC; W/O Alexander promoted to P/O & awarded CGM; Sgts Staniforth, Glaus & Sefton were promoted to F/Sgt.

On 15/16th February 1944 five of the above were part of the crew on another 7 Sqn Lancaster, ND365, on a mission to Berlin. It was attacked over the Baltic and exploded. F/Lt Williams & F/Sgt Staniforth survived and became POW. P/O Alexander and F/Sgts Staniforth & Glaus and 2 others died. (See detailed report & photos on Airwar over Denmark website).
F/Sgts Frewin & Anstey were not on that mission and appear to have survived the war.
Text based on information from
WW2 Lost Bombers Website
and Jeff Carless.
With additional information from the webmaster
All the crew landed safely and were able to resume duties but sadly three of them died just two and a half months later on a mission to Berlin. See side panel on right.

If you can provide any further details about the crash or those involved, please contact the Webmaster using link bottom right. Thanks.
Related pages on this website
Related External websites
WW2 Lost Bombers
7 Sqn RAF history
WW2 bombers - information sheet
Airwar over Denmark - Lanc'r ND365
Fenland Aviation Museum
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