Avro Lancaster Mk.I NF908 No.467 Squadron, RAAF, crashed January 3rd 1945 on The Roaches near Leek
|Walter Vernon Wilfred Allamby||Flying Officer RAAF||Pilot||Killed|
|Norman Lees||Sergeant RAFVR||Flight Engineer||Killed|
|Jack Ivan Pritchard||Flight Lieutenant RAAF||Navigator||Killed|
|Geoffrey James Dunbar||Flight Sergeant RAAF||Bomb Aimer||Killed|
|Richard Emonson||Flight Sergeant RAAF||Wireless Operator||Killed|
|Thomas Edward Harold Wright||Flight Sergeant RAAF||Air Gunner||Killed|
|Cleveland Charles Watson||Flight Sergeant RAAF||Air Gunner||Killed|
The crew of NF908 had not been at No.467 Sqn for long, being posted in from No.5 Lancaster Finishing School in at the beginning of December 1944. Though from available records it would appear that most of the crew met at No.27 OTU at Lichfield in July 1944, though Sgt Lees, the sole RAF airman on the crew, would have joined them at No.1654 HCU or No.5 LFS.
At around 14:30 on the 3rd January 1945 the crew of Lancaster NF908 took off from RAF Waddington near Lincoln for a fighter affiliation exercise with an alternative of a 1 hour cross-country navigation exercise, should the weather have been deemed suitable. About 90 minutes into the flight with the sun almost set (sunset was 16:03) the aircraft descended through low cloud and snow showers and flew into the eastern side of the Roaches a few miles from the Staffordshire town of Leek and was completely destroyed by fire. Half an hour later, and just over 3 miles away, A-20G 43-9958 flew into the ground at Flash, also in snowy weather but in much poorer light. The previous evening B-17G 43-38944 had flown into Birchenough Hill which is within sight of where NF908 crashed (on a good day).
After the crash the site was buried by snow, which for several days hid the bodies of some members of the crew. By the 6th Jan all but F/Sgt Dunbar had been recovered by personnel from No.28 MU at Harpur Hill near Buxton.
The entire crew of NF908 were laid to rest at Chester’s Blacon cemetery, below are photographs of their graves, I have arranged them in alphabetical order.