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Our website www.lesfaircloth.co.uk was initially created in 2011 and this is its third iteration now built with WordPress. The website is hosted by TSOHost.
2019 was the 75th anniversary of the final operation for this crew and Avro Lancaster ND424.
The website contains the story of the last crew of Avro Lancaster Mk. III ND424 (PH-G) of 12 Squadron Bomber Command, based at RAF Wickenby in Lincolnshire. They flew around 17 operations together during May and June 1944 mostly in ND424.
Their 17th and final operation was in ND424 on an operation to attack the Vaires-sur-Marne railway marshalling yards on the eastern outskirts of Paris on the night of 27/28 June 1944. This was in support of the allied advance following the D-Day landings just three weeks earlier on 6th June.
They took off from Wickenby at 00:29, flew via their waypoint at Gravesend in Kent, then suffered engine problems approaching the target but dropped their bombs as planned between 03:00 and 03:06. While over the target they were possibly hit by flak and were soon losing height rapidly, so the pilot gave the order to abandon aircraft.
All seven of the crew parachuted safely from the stricken Lancaster to the south west of Paris. Four of the crew evaded capture (EVD) and three became prisoners of war (POW).
The crew were:
- Pilot Officer Michael Alexander Guilfoyle (Pilot). POW.
- Flight Sergeant John Smith Johnston Stephen (Bomb Aimer). EVD.
- Warrant Officer Robert Edgar Yates, RAAF (Radio Operator). EVD.
- Sergeant Hugh David Davies (Flight Engineer). EVD.
- Sergeant Leslie John Faircloth (Mid Upper Gunner). EVD.
- Warrant Officer 2 Joseph Sonshine, RCAF (Navigator). POW.
- Sergeant, Douglas Foster Jordin (Tail Gunner). POW.
The bravery of these seven young men is beyond question and it is important that their stories are recorded and not forgotten.
This website contains just a summary of the story and the full information is in a 312 page and 102,000 word comprehensive research document I have created in LibreOffice Writer. I have recently added items to it from the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) Digital Archive, hosted by the University of Lincoln. I have also compiled documents containing the 12 Squadron papers from the UK National Archive.
Updated by Paul Faircloth on 14 August 2021.