Memorial Lancaster MK III PB667 MG-Q PathfinderBack Baconstraat , Nieuwdorp
On the two pillars there are plaques with Dutch and English text that in part matches the text on the information board in front of the memorial. The bottom part of the text on the plaques differs from the text on the information board: ‘The heart of this memorial is formed by one of the aircraft’s propellers found during building work in the summer of 2010. The monument was unveiled on 3 May 2013 by the Deputy for Culture in the Province of Zeeland, B.J. de Reu, and family members of the crew’.
- Year of construction
The text on the information board:
This memorial was erected in memory of the crew of Lancaster PB667, a Pathfinder Force aircraft that crashed here on 20 March 1945. Pathfinder Force was an elite unit within Bomber Command. The men were volunteers who were recommended on the basis of experience and skill. One of the propellers of the aircraft forms the heart of the memorial. In the squadron shield of No. 7 squadron, the unit for which the men flew, seven stars form the constellation of the “Great Bear”. In this memorial they symbolise the people who perished (photo 4).
On Tuesday 20 March 1945, 49 days before the end of World War II, the men flew their 22nd Bomber Command mission. During the mission, where the target was a railway intersection near Recklinghausen in Germany, the aircraft was damaged. Pilot Lindsay Bacon decided to take a shorter route back to England which involved the aircraft flying over the not yet liberated Schouwen-Duiveland. He had done the same thing two days previously and had been able to bring his aircraft, which was on fire, home safely. This time fate dictated otherwise and the aircraft was hit by German anti-aircraft fire near Westenschouwen. The damage to the aircraft and the fire that broke out in the right nearside engine made a return to England impossible. The aircraft turned south to make an emergency landing in a liberated area. The damaged wing broke off over Nieuwdorp and the aircraft crashed. George Huttlestone, who had tried to parachute out of the aircraft, was seriously injured and taken to Goes where he later died and was buried. The other crewmen died instantly in the crash. Amid great public interest the bodies of Lindsay Bacon, Harry McClements, Jim Cornwall and Johnny Taylor were buried that evening close to the place where the memorial now stands. When, weeks later, when the aircraft was being removed, the mortal remains of Richard Evans and Athol Tennant were found, they too were laid to rest in this temporary burial place. In 1946 the fliers were moved to the Allied Cemetery in Bergen op Zoom.
The crew consisted of:
Flying Officer - Pilot Lindsay Page Bacon - Australia.
Flight Sergeant – Navigator Richard Roy Evans - United Kingdom.
Sergeant – Flight Engineer Harry McClements - United Kingdom.
Flying Officer – Bomb Aimer George Henry Huttlestone - United Kingdom.
Warrant Officer – Radio Operator Philip Athol Tennant - New Zealand.
Sergeant – Mid-Upper Gunner - James Alex Cornwall - United Kingdom.
We remember those who gave their future to give us ours.