CAPTAIN: SNELL

LANCASTER (Black Thursday) - JB846 OF-M
On 16/17 December 1943, the first aircraft to land at Bourn

CREW
Pilot: P/O CR Snell
Flight Engineer: Sgt Leslie Thomas Harman
Navigator: P/O L Lintott
Bomb Aimer: P/O NJ Smith
W/Op: Sgt J Grieve
Mid-Upper Gunner: Sgt CJ Green
Rear Gunner: Sgt OD Wood
 
The photo below is of the crew on their transfer to 635 Squadron
C R Snell, Leslie Thomas Harman, L Lintott, N J Smith, J Grieve, C J Green, O D Wood, RAF, 635, 97, squadron, Pathfinders
 


BLACK THURSDAY
The first landing at Bourn on Black Thursday, 16/17 December 1943, was Snell's a/c. It landed at twenty-five past eleven, some six hours and twenty minutes after the last of the Lancasters had departed for Germany. Pilot Officer Snell and his crew came in twenty-five minutes before anybody else.

Snell the pilot and his bomb aimer Smith were Canadians.

It appears that all of the crew survived the war except Leslie Thomas Harman, who was lost with the Riches crew on 6-7-44 when flying with 635 Squadron. Like Derek Wood, Snell lived to a ripe old age.



Aircrew on Berlin op - December 16/17 1943
Right: Oliver Wood, the rear gunner on Black Thursday

The photograph of Sgt Oliver Derek Wood was sent in by his grandson Chris Wood.

Chris writes that his grandfathr was "most commonly known as Derek ...
I am sad to say that my Grandfather passed away on the 29th Aug 2005 at 83 years old. He was a devout Methodist and senior manager for the British Rail and SeaLink organisations. Survived by his two Sons, Michael, my father, and David Wood.

He was married to Phyllis Wood having met her while stationed at Downham market (with the 635). She was a volunteer worker in the airdrome canteen and a local farmer's daughter.

He was often known to recite anecdotes about the war but solely of a humorous nature. Most memorable for me was his imitation of "Chucky" Snell's complaint's about Leslie Harman's flatulence whilst flying. While imitating "Chucky's" Canadian accent Granddad quoted "Harman, is that you? You dirty b*******d!" It's about the only time in my life I heard him use a profanity and the source of many childish sniggers."

Leslie Harman was the only crew member who did not survive the war. Derek obviously remembered him with teasing affection.