Stretford WW2 

Herbert Geoffrey Boswell

Rank:Sergeant (Flt. Engineer)Number:1673550
Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:049 Sqn RAFVR
Name of Rgt or Ship:Royal Air Force V.R.
How Died:Accidental
Country of burial:U.K.Grave Photo:Yes
Cemetery or Memorial:Manchester (Southern) Cemetery
Town Memorial:Not Listed
Extra Information:
Killed on crash landing after a bombing raid over Berlin.

His father William died 08/02/1959 aged 79 years and his mother Clara died
10/10/1912 aged 27 years.

His twin brother - Sgt George William Boswell also died on active service
and is commemorated on the family gravestone in Manchester (Southern) Cem.

Crashed on landing back at RAF Fiskerton in position one mile east of
Barling's House, Barlings, Lincoln.

The following has been taken from 49 Sqn Association website -

26/27 November, 1943; BERLIN:

On the previous trips Berlin had always been cloud covered, but on this
occasion, as 440 Lancasters flew over the target the visibility was clear.
Flak defences over Berlin, and fighters on the return leg accounted for 28
bombers and their crews.
As the bombers returned home, fog covered much of eastern England with many
squadrons being diverted. As midnight approached, conditions at Fiskerton
were quite severe. Radiation fog was 1;200ft deep and visibility down to
450yds. At 00.15hrs it was decided to light FIDO for 49 Squadron's
returning crews. This was the first instance during the war, that FIDO was
used operationally to bring down one complete squadron of bombers (Graveley
had used its system the previous week to land four Halifaxes).
At 01.02hrs, Sgt Roy Richardson RAAF (JB235) flying 'Bandlaw C-Charlie'
entered the 'funnel'. Next in the stack behind C-Charlie was 'Bandlaw
A-Able' flown by fellow Australian, F/Sgt Clive Roantree (JB466).

Courtesy of Clive's own book,"To Fly Lancasters" - Clive writes:

"We positioned ourselves to land immediately after C-Charlie. He would turn
into the funnel, whilst we were on the down-wind leg and should be clear of
the runway as we touched down. The two parallel bars of fire, one on either
side of the runway could be clearly seen with bars of flame at each end to
stop the fog rolling into the cleared area. On our practice (November 3rd),
we had found that after we turned into the funnel at 600 feet and lined up
with the runway, as we approached, the fire on the cross bar reflected on
the perspex windshield so that it was impossible for the pilot to see out.
To offset the problem my flight engineer called height and airspeed as soon
as we lined up on the runway at 600ft. For the inexperienced pilot it could
be a frightening experience as it is not until the aircraft crossed the bar
of flame at less than 100 feet that it was possible to see clearly and then
make a visual landing. Subsequently a shield was placed in front of the bar
of flame to prevent windscreen reflection. On this night, with wheels down,
pitch in fully fine with 20 degrees of flap, we were at the end of the
down-wind leg ready to make our turn across wind before entering the
funnel, when there was a dull flash on the ground right at the beginning of
the funnel. I knew that an aircraft had crashed and to my horror realised
that it must be Richardson in C-Charlie. I continued the landing procedure
turning across wind and there, right below us was an aircraft on fire!
Giving the crew the order that we were going to overshoot, I called flying
control, 'Hello Passout, Bandlaw Able over shooting - an aircraft has
crashed and is on fire in the funnel - I say again an aircraft has crashed
and is on fire in the funnel'.
There was a short pause before we were called again from flying control to
repeat the message. Because of the flames from FIDO and the position of the
control tower, they could not see the burning aircraft. After completing
our overshoot procedure we continued around the circuit and this time as we
were completing the downwind leg, there was a flash of flame on the ground
as C-Charlie’s fuel tanks exploded. Nerves and senses were now tuned to
the dangers as we carefully made our approach in copy book style. There was
a slight lift as we crossed the heat rising from the bar at the beginning
of the runway and A-Able set down smoothly in a three-point-landing. It was
bad enough when crews were missing over enemy territory, but there was an
awful accentuation of loss when a crew had completed its mission and
disaster struck so close to home and safety."

Tragically, the Lancaster burning in the funnel was that of the Richardson
crew, returning from their first operation.

Lancaster JB235 (EA-C)
Sgt R.J. Richardson RAAF Pilot (Killed)
Sgt H.G. Boswell F/E (Killed)
Sgt H. Carr NAV/B (Killed)
Sgt L.H. Cartwright W/AG (Killed)
Sgt M.O. Mahony RAAF A/G (Injured)
P/O H. Lowe (USA) RCAF B/A (Killed)
Sgt C Winterborn A/G (Injured)

Crew on their 1st operation.

Memorials found on:
Stretford Grammar School
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