Can YOU help the BBC

Two Lancasters, one in flight and the other with its 8-ton load ready for an operation
Two Lancasters, one in flight and the other with its 8-ton load ready for an operation

The BBC would like to contact family members of the crew of ‘F for Freddie,’ an Avro Lancaster bomber b.Mk I (ED586: EMF) which flew many sorties over Germany during WW2.

In 1943 the crew was accompanied by a BBC Correspondent, Wynford Vaughan Thomas, and a sound recordist, Reginald Pidsley. The radio feature they made that night was aired the following night. BBC Archive, through the Rewind Project, is interested in using the footage in a new way.

If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of the families of the crews, the BBC would be very grateful to hear from them.

Contact Eimear Devlin at the BBC HERE

The crew of the Lancaster ‘F for Freddie’ from 207 Squadron were:

  • Skipper:  132892 Ken Harris Francis Letford D.F.C.
  • Navigator:  AUS404330 Harold Frederick Connelly D.F.C.
  • Engineer: 1101124 Charles Edward Dean Stewart D.F.M.
  • Bombardier: 130209 William Charles Thomas Bray D.F.C.
  • Gunner:  1452873 Henry Charles Devenish D.F.M.
  • Mid gunner: Jock Fieldhouse
  • Wireless Operator: Bill Sparkes
FLT. LIEUT. K. H. F. Letford, of Plumstead, London.
FLT. LIEUT. K. H. F. Letford, of Plumstead, London.

All were lucky enough to make it through the war accept one who was killed in action. As for the aircraft itself it was shoot down over Stettin on the night of 6th/7th January 1944 with the loss its Pilot George Edert and of all of its crew.

The recordings of the raid were made on direct cut acetate disks using BBC midget recorder. These machines looked like old style gramophone recorders and they were used clockwork mechanisms and batteries to power the valve amplifier. The uncut discs at the altitude in a Lancaster bomber flew at had to be placed inside his flying jacket of Reg Pidsley to warm them up, since otherwise the ultra-low temperatures made the disc lacquer too brittle to cut.

The recording, made by BBC correspondent Wynford Vaughan-Thomas, on the night of 3 September 1943, recorded live from a Lancaster bomber on a bombing raid. The BBC outside sound engineer was Reginald Pidsley


Do you have any stories that involve Bomber Command?

Were any of your relatives involved in Bomber Command or RAF pilots during World War II? We're always interested to hear your stories so please feel free to comment below.

Looking for the war hero in your family? Search the Forces War Records site, broaden your military genealogy research and delve into our records and historic documents library.


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