Profile of Lancaster NN775 by Alexander Vandenbohede, 2016.
Lancaster NN775 and her seven crewmembers were part of 514 Squadron, stationed at Waterbeach (Cambridgeshire). detailed to bomb the fuel refinery of Gelsenkirchen. What happened that day, remains a mystery.
At that stage of the war, the German Reich territory was crumbling, and the once so mighty Luftwaffe had lost most of its power. This encouraged RAF Bomber Command to switch sometimes from night bombing to daylight attacks. F/O Holman Kerr’s crew was part of a 170 bomber formation. It was their 7th operational mission (Bomber Command crews had to fly 30 missions in order to complete a tour). The flight towards Gelsenkirchen should have taken 2,5 hours, the return flight to Waterbeach another 2 hours. All we know now is that NN775 suddenly crashed in friendly territory, since Belgium was liberated for six months. An RAF inspection team could only conclude that none of the crew survived. What was left of their remains was buried in a communal grave. Since, due to the marshy conditions of the terrain, not all crewmembers were recovered properly, the families were living in great distress for a long time.
The seven airmen flying NN775 were:
The search for relatives of the crew continues. If you are related to them, or want to know more, used the contact form on the website.
Cynrik De Decker
President Belgian Aviation History Association