Stretford WW2 - Surnames starting with the letter A. 

Sydney Abel

Rank:Sergeant (Pilot)Number:1335643
Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:106 Sqn RAFVR
Name of Rgt or Ship:Bomber Command
How Died:Killed in Action
Country of burial:GermanyGrave Photo:No
Cemetery or Memorial:Reichswald Forest Cemetery
Town Memorial:Stretford Book
Extra Information:
Attended Stretford Grammar School.    Employed at the Income Tax Office.

The 31/07/1942 edition of the Stretford & Urmston News has a photo and
article on him.   He had received his wings at the U.S.A. Army Air Corps
Flying School at Maxwell Field, Alabama.

Flying a Mark 1 Lancaster bomber ED451 ZN-0, they took off from RAF
Syerston at 2355 hrs for a bombing raid over Essen.    They crashed at
Wulfen, a town on the east bank of the River Wient, 7 km NE of Dorsten.
They were originally buried at Wulfen, but were subsequently re-interred at
the Reichswald Forest Cem.

One of 13 aircraft that failed to return from that raid.

Info from a relative - John Leaf:-

Sydney was born 14th.Feb.1922, the son of Hugh Stanley and Lily Abel. They
lived at 429 Kings Road, Stretford. Sydney attended Stretford Grammar
School and when he left in 1939 he joined the Customs And Excise service.
He joined the RAFVR inMarch 1941 and volunteered for aircrew. Having been
accepted, he was sent, under the "Arnold Scheme", to Tuscaloosa, Alabama
for his flying training.

He qualified as a pilot in Sept. 1942 and after various postings to OTU,s
and to 1654 Conversion Unit at RAF Wigsley, he was eventually posted onto
106 Sqn. RAF Syerston, Notts. Guy Gibson was the C/O. at the time and
Sydney flew on several operations under his command, before he left to
start 617 "Dambuster" Sqn. In all, in the eleven weeks he was on the
squadron, Sydney flew on 23 operations, many of them to targets in the
Rhur. He went to Berlin twice, Duisurg twice, Essen three times, Keil,
Stettin etc., before his Lancaster ED451 was brought down by flak over
Wulfen on the night of 30th.April 1943. The crew were all buried locally at
Wulfen before being re-interred at the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery in
April 1947.   Sydney Abel is fifth from the left on the crew photo I've
attached.    His parents continued living at Kings road until the late
sixties, when, after Hugh's death, Lily eventually went into a care home at

He did his first two trips as 'second Dickie' with Sgt. McDonald and then
21 with his own crew. My son and I went to the Reichswald in November, over
Remembrance weekend and were pleasantly surprised to find a full Service
there on the Sunday. TheRoyal Artillery sent a full detatchment as Guard Of
Honour and there were reps. from all the Allied Air Forces  to lay wreaths.
  In an ironic twist of fate, the Lancaster ED451 was built at Chadderton
between Dec/Jan 1942. My father and his sister Hilda, Sydney's cousins,
together with Hilda's husband, all worked on production at Avro's during
that period, my father spending all his working career there, until 1969.
They would all have had a hand in building the aircraft that Sydney
regularly flew and was eventually killed in.   On his Service Record, it
has noted that Sydney was awarded, at Maxwell Field on 17/5/42, a 'Pilots
Distinction Badge'.   I'll also attach a copy of  the combat report filled
out after the Pilzen raid. This was the
disasterous raid to the Skoda factory in Czech. when 38 of the bombers
failed to return.  Sydney and his crew managed to fight off two Fw.190's,
claiming hits on both.   Peter Wilson Cunliffe wrote a book about this
raid, in which his uncle was killed, called  'A Shaky Do'.  Sydney and the
crew of Ed451 are mentioned.    They are also mentioned in the book @Air
Battle Of The Rhur' by Alan Cooper, and in the book  The Great Raids-Essen
5th.March 1943' by John Searby, who was 'B' Flight Commander on 106 at the
time.  Sydney is also listed in Guy Gibson's 'Enemy Coast Ahead', under the
Roll Of Honour of pilots killed whilst under Gibson's command at 106.

Memorials found on:
Stretford Grammar School
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