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Woman who lost dad in wartime air crash to pay tribute to him and his comrades

By This is Lincolnshire  |  Posted: October 28, 2010

Sgt Harry Brooks with his wife Winnie a

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A WOMAN who lost her dad in a wartime air crash when she was a toddler is to honour the airman and his comrades during a visit to Lincolnshire.

Sergeant Harry Brooks, 27, of 9 Squadron, was a wireless operator and air gunner on Lancaster W4182, which left RAF Waddington at 6.15pm on December 20, 1942, for a raid on Duisburg.

It collided with another Lancaster, W4259, of 44 squadron, shortly after take-off while circling to gain height before setting course.

Both aircraft lost control, fell from the sky and crashed between Bracebridge Heath and Mill Lodge at Canwick, near Lincoln.

Now, Mr Brooks's daughter, Pamela Tickner, 69, who lives in Kent, is to lay a wreath bearing the names of all 14 men who were killed in the crash.

She will present her floral tribute in Bardney at the 9 Squadron memorial on Remembrance Sunday– the unit was based in the village from April 1943.

"I have no memories of dad as I was only 17 months old when he was killed," said Mrs Tickner, whose father is buried in Catford, London.

"It was a dreadful accident that happened that night when 14 young men lost their lives, some only 20.

"Up until a few months ago I knew nothing of it. I knew my dad had been killed in a flying accident, but I didn't know where.

"My mum died in May and I received various papers and letters and found out what had happened.

"We are having a wreath specially made and it will have all 14 names on it as they all deserve to be remembered.

"I have the letter to my mum from one of the other airmen telling me about dad.

"This airman was sick that night so wasn't able to go up – how lucky was he?

"I also have some letters from dad to mum.

"In one, he says he won't be able to have the leave when he was going to meet her as the CO found his boots were muddy and cancelled his leave for three days.

"Bless him, he was an office worker who volunteered for the RAF, fighting in the war, and got told off for muddy boots."

Mr Brooks's plane was piloted by Sergeant Leslie Hazell, 32.

The flight engineer was Edward Gardiner, 23, Sergeant William Miller, 33, was the navigator/bomb aimer and Sergeant Hubert Tatley, 30, was the second wireless operator and air gunner.

Two air gunners, Sergeant Emrys Sharples, 27, and Sergeant Eric Walker, 32, also perished.

The crew of W4259 were Flight Sergeant Anthony Elger, Sergeant George McCready RCAF, 21, Pilot Officer Vincent Giri, Sergeant Alan Easton, 20, Sergeant Richard Gunter, Sergeant Colin Harmston, 20, and Sergeant Edward Jackson.

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  • GEHazell  |  September 28 2012, 12:35AM

    Hi Pamela, not sure if you'll get to read this post but my father is the son of Seargent Leslie C Hazell, Pilot of W4182 the plane that you father was tragically killed with the rest of the crew. Can I take this opportunity to thank you from the Hazell family for your tribute to both crews. We will lay a floral tribute at the new Bomber Command Memorial in London in November and again a dedicated cross for the crew in December. These will be laid by my son Thomas who is in awe of both the Lancaster and all that flew them. He has seen the BBMF several times and want to lay a tribute. We Will Remember Them...

  • dmtatley  |  June 02 2011, 9:04AM

    Pamela Tickner, My Granddad was Sergeant Hubert Tatley, my father like you never new his dad, and even now the pain is still raw, we have never spoken about that fateful night in 1942 and probably never will. I really appreciate your gesture. David

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    Phil, Lincoln  |  October 28 2010, 12:48PM

    Pamela Tickner, welcome to Lincoln. Your dad was a very brave man and a dad to be very proud of, even if his boots needed cleaning. I hope you enjoy your visit.