CAPTAIN: PENNY

LANCASTER Y-YORK - JB218
Shot down 23/24/11/1943
 
CREW
Pilot: F/Sgt J.A.Penny
        Became PoW
Flight Engineer: Sgt Richard Thomas Fathers, 1803112
        Killed, commemorated on Runnymede Memorial
Navigator: James.Graham, 655372
        Killed, commemorated on Runnymede Memorial
Bomb Aimer: Robert Allison Campbell, 978248
        Killed, commemorated on Runnymede Memorial
W/Op: John Robert Cowen, 1036940
        Killed, commemorated on Runnymede Memorial
M/U Gunner: F/Sgt Richard Sidney Mortham, 1332299
        Killed, buried in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery
Rear Gunner: F/Sgt Paul William Dries, RCAF, R/152345
        Killed, commemorated on Runnymede Memorial


DETAILS
The most extraordinary flukes of chance can occur in combat. We are very grateful to Jim Penny for giving us the following details of how the loss of his crew occurred.


Over Berlin, Flt Sgt Penny's Lancaster took a hit in the bomb bay, setting off a Target Indicator and causing a loss of communications. Unable to communicate with his crew,  Penny  released his Sutton harness and lent forward to point his Engineer to his parachute behind the pilot's seat. Moments later the cookie which the Lancaster was carrying exploded. Penny found himself in mid-air still in a sitting position.  His pilot-type shute saved his life but his crew perished.
 
Penny became a POW for the rest of the war. Ken Smith, the son of Sid Smith who was a flight engineer on the Nicholls crew shot down the following year, wrote:  "When Dad turned up at Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug, Flt Sgt Penny, whom he knew well, was standing at the wire and called out to greet Dad on his arrival!"
 
Above: Penny in August 1943.
A larger version of this image is at the end of the page. With many thanks to Jim Penny.

Right: Paul Dries, the rear gunner, who was killed.
J A Penny, Richard Thomas Fathers, Graham James, Robert Allison Campbell, John Robert Cowen, Richard Sidney Mortham, Paul William Dries
Battle of Berlin - November 1943-March 1944