Thanks to Daniel Abbott and Cathi Elphee for the Crowland Town Photos

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Horseshoe Bridge, Crowland (1933)

February 23, 2015 114

A lovely August 1933 image of two ladies, marked on the back of the print as “Mrs Wilson & Lily”, retrieving water from Horseshoe Bridge on Peterborough Road in Crowland.

The bridge still exists today albeit the adjacent Horseshoe Farm has gone. The two ladies would have been 62 year old Elizabeth Ann Wilson who was the wife of a labourer at the farm and her 20 year old daughter Lily Wilson.

The photographer also comments that the waterway below, known as Old Pepper Lake, had previously been used to transport a bell to Crowland Abbey albeit the size and location of the drain would make that claim hard to believe

Halifax NR241 near Camblesforth.

On 18th November 1944 the crew of this 51 Squadron aircraft took off from Snaith airfield at 12.36hrs to undertake a daylight operational flight to bomb Munster. All appears to have gone normally for much of the flight and they made the safe return to the skies over Yorkshire. The visibility over and around their base at Snaith on their return was poor, the aircraft overshot the first landing and began to fly around the airfield circuit to line up for another landing. While flying a circuit of the airfield this aircraft collided with Halifax MZ559 (of 578 Squadron) which was also preparing to land. Both aircraft fell on land between the villages of Barlow and Camblesforth at 17:43hrs and sadly every one board both aircraft were killed. Parts of both aircraft that broke away in the collision are believed to have fallen between the two crash sites. I have yet to confirm exactly where the main bulk of each aircraft precisely landed. One crashed into a field just east of Sandpit Wood, Camblesforth while the other crashed into a field on Barlow Common, just west of Barlow village. Air historians Eric Barton, Ken Reast and Albert Pritchard located small surface remains of Barlow Common site in 1998 and then the Sandpit Wood site in 1998 with permission from the landowners. Eric identified Halifax MZ559 as being the site at Sandpit Wood however the 578 Squadron records for MZ559 state that their aircraft crashed at Barlow Common suggesting that it was the other way round. MZ559 crashed near Barlow while NR241 crashed nearer Camblesforth. Both aircraft were manufactured by the English Electric Company so even if manufacturers inspection stamps were to be found on pieces of the aircraft both would should the same marks. I need to buy a death certificate from one member of each crew to see if that yields the information.

Pilot – W/O John William Bruce RAFVR (658340), aged 26. Cremated City of London Crematorium, Manor Park, Essex.

Flight Engineer – Sgt Jack Bidwell RAFVR (1666864), aged 40. Buried Wokingham Churchyard, Berkshire.

Navigator – F/Sgt Cyril Collas RAAF (434777), aged 23, of Camp Hill, Queensland, Australia. Buried Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire (H/C/1).

Bomb Aimer – F/Sgt John Dennis Suffolk RAFVR (1576034), aged 23, of Nottingham. Buried Nottingham Southern Cemetery.

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner – Sgt Peter Desmond Hockley RAFVR (1623536), aged 20. Buried Stanford le Hope Cemetery, Essex.

Mid Upper Gunner – Sgt Thomas Leslie Sumner RAFVR (1897833), aged 19, of Pontefract, Yorkshire. Buried Pontefract Cemetery, Yorkshire (X/1277).

Rear Gunner – Sgt John Charles Wilfred Smith RAFVR (1881209), aged 19, of Thorney, Cambridgeshire. Buried Crowland Churchyard, Lincolnshire.