Search for descendants of Lancaster bomber hero

TRAGIC: The flight crew of Lancaster ED 549 early 1943
TRAGIC: The flight crew of Lancaster ED 549 early 1943

THE son of a Second World War airman is hoping to trace the Burnley descendants of his tragic comrade.

Barrie Davies, who now lives in Cyprus, has researched an ill-fated mission in which his father was the sole survivor of a Lancaster bomber crash which claimed the lives of six men including Sgt John Robinson.

The widow of the Fylde airman, Isabella, moved to Burnley to work in a factory and soon after gave birth to his child Malcolm in 1943.

Mr Davies said: “On March 5th 70 years ago, a Lancaster bomber ED549 of 100 Squadron crashed at Plungar in Leicestershire while trying to land after a mine laying sortie over France.

“They were involved in a ‘gardening’ operation which involved four aircraft and was to drop mines outside the Nazi U-Boat base at St Nazaire, France.

“My father Doug was the only survivor from the crash. One of those killed was air gunner wireless operator Sgt John Robinson of Fylde.

“He was married to Isabella in 1933 and is buried at Thornton Le Fylde cemetery. I understand that after his death, his wife moved to Burnley and that towards the end of 1943 she gave birth to Sgt Robinson’s child.

“In September last year, a memorial to the crew was funded and erected by villagers of Plungar near the crash scene. Despite tremendous efforts, only relatives of the two Canadian and one Barbadian crew members were found.

“I have visited the site and been made very welcome by the villlagers. Since that time one other British crew members’ family have been found in Southampton.

“I find it incredibly sad that John Robinson’s child Malcolm and grandchildren know nothing about this brave man’s memorial and would be extremely grateful if anyone in Burnley who knows the family could come forward. Malcolm would now be 69.”

Any relatives of Sgt Robinson or anyone who knows his family can contact Barrie by emailing him on barrie@flyingdoc.co.uk.