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Lincolnshire Notes

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This is not strictly a weather related item - or is it? Many of the aircraft that operated from the Lincolnshire, endured many weather related problems during their operations; bearing in mind that those operating them were in their late teens and came from all backgrounds, so had almost certainly not come into contact with detailed (at the time) synoptic charts.

During some of my research into another great interest of mine - both relating to Lincolnshire and aviation, I put this short article together:-

THE LONE GRAVE

No one visiting the tiny churchyard in the village of Brattleby, just north of Lincoln, can fail to see the lone Commonwealth War graves Commission headstone marking the grave of a Canadian aviator serving with the wartime Royal Air Force.

Clare Arthur Connor was born and brought up in Toronto, Canada. In May 1938, after a short spell at the University of Toronto, he volunteered for service with the Royal Air Force and, after pilot training was posted briefly to No 106 Squadron before being transferred to no 83 Squadron operating Handley Page Hampden’s at RAF Scampton, in August 1940.

It was on the night of 15[sup]th[/sup] September 1940, during an attack on the invasion barges moored in Antwerp Docks, that Flying Officer Connor’s aircraft was hit and set on fire over the target area. Two of the crewmembers baled out, but the wireless operator/air gunner, Sgt John Hannah stayed with his pilot and managed to extinguish the fire, enabling Connor to bring the badly damaged aircraft back to Scampton.

For their actions, Sgt Hannah received the Victoria Cross and F/O Connor the Distinguished Flying Cross, both men going to Buckingham Palace to receive their awards from the King on the 10[sup]th[/sup] October.

Tragically, Connor was not to wear the ribbon of the DFC for long. Returning from a bombing sortie over Norway on the night of 3/4[sup]th[/sup] November 1940, his Hampden crashed into the sea off the east coast and some several days later Connor’s body was found in a dingy off Spurn Head. His body was brought back to Scampton and buried, not with other Scampton aircrew in the Scampton churchyard, but in the village churchyard at Brattleby, a lonely resting place for a brave Canadian pilot.

The aircraft involved was a Handley Page Hampden L4093 OL-J of 83 Squadron, then based at RAF Scampton.

Sgt G Stubbings MIA

Sgt J W C Gibson MIA

Sgt R Norris MIA

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