The seven man crew of a Lancaster bomber, were honoured at a remembrance service at Agecroft Cemetery last Sunday. The bomber had been taking part in a support operation during the WW2 Normandy invasion on 30th July 1944 when it got into difficulties and had to return to its base at Metheringham in Lincolnshire.
It was instructed to take a wide sweep via Blackpool and not to drop its bombs in the North Sea because of the build up of Allied shipping. When it was approaching Salford it began to lose height and tried to land on Littleton Road playing fields. It clipped houses on Regatta Street, off Langley Road, crashed onto the riverbank and exploded. The seven airmen were killed instantly. Two civilians were seriously injured, and died later, and seventy people were also injured by the explosion.
The service was opened by Peter Flannery, Chairman of the Friends of Salford Cemeteries Trust, who introduced Joe Bamford, grandson of Lucy Bamford, one of the civilian casualties. Joe has written a book about the incident, The Salford Lancaster, and mentioned at the service that the Flight Engineer, Sgt Raymond Barnes, was a local lad and probably directed the pilot to Littleton Road playing fields. He added that the crew was quite an international group as navigator, flying officer Harry Reid was from Canada, air gunner Sgt. Mohand Singh was from India and air gunner Arthur Young was of Afro-Caribbean descent and born in Cardiff.
The service was conducted by Rev. Daniel Ashworth of St Thomas's Church, Pendleton, who gave a blessing to the crew members and civilians, Lucy Bamford and George Morris, and led prayers for the Royal Air Force and the City of Salford. Deputy Mayor of Salford, Christine Hudson, thanked the Friends group for organising the event and paid tribute to all the members of the armed services past and present. She also thanked Flight Lt. Liam McGuire and members of 319 Squadron, City of Salford Air Cadets, for providing a guard of honour. Finally, wreaths were placed on the memorial stone by the Deputy Mayor and Joe Bamford.
Photo courtesy of Friends of Salford Cemeteries Trust