RAF bomber command log book group, 626 Sqdn., KIA

RAF bomber command log book group, 626 Sqdn., KIA

Code: P23477


Log book and paperwork grouping to pilot Flying Officer George Thomas Bolderston R.C.A.F., killed in action 12th September 1944.  The log starts on November 11th 1942 with training at no.11 Elementary Flying Training School, Canada, in Fleet Finch trainers where he first flew solo on November 26th 1942.  He then moved onto Harvards at no.13 Service Flying Training School and in November 1943 to 14 (P) Advanced Flying Unit at Fraserburgh in Scotland on Oxfords.  Signed off as an 'average' pilot in March 1944 he moved to No.30 Operational Training Unit at Hixton (Staffordshire) on Wellington bombers.  In June of that year he is again assessed as 'average' and in August moved to 1667 Heavy Conversion Unit at Sandtoft, North Lincolnshire on Halifax V bombers.  He then attends No.1 Lancaster Finishing School at Hemswell before a posting to No. 626 Squadron.  He flies on a four hour cross country training flight on September 11th and then as second pilot on his first 'Op' to Frankfurt the next day.  Unfortunately his aircraft, Lancaster  I  LM137 UM-G2 and crew  - pilot F/O D.R.B Thorpe, Bolderston, Sgt, F.C. Foster, P/O A.C.L. Cox, F/Sgt. S. E. Dunnett, Sgt. J Peart, F/Sgt. R.H. Cross and F/Sgt. L. F. Beattie failed to return.  The log comes with a letter dated 13th September from the squadron's commanding officer, sent to his mother in Canada, explaining the circumstances of the aircraft going missing and expressing hope that news of the crew being POWs will be received.  A similar letter from the R.C.A.F.  Casualty Officer was sent on the 20th and another from the RCAF chaplain service on 24th.  The next letter was sent almost a month later on 23rd October and reveals 'German information states that your son lost his life on September 12th, 1944' and that he is now 'missing believed killed'.  A RCAF letter of 31st October suggests that his mother may wish to correspond with the next-of-kin of other crew members.  Mrs Bolderston did this and there are eight handwritten letters.  Two are from Flight Sergeant Stan Dunnet's wife.  In the first she mentions that the first pilot, F/O Thorpe is a P.o.W and that she has not given up hope that the others are safe.  A month later she writes again with the sad news of her husband's and Sgt. Foster, the Flight Engineer's deaths.  She also notes that F/Sgt. Cross (mid upper gunner) & Sgt. Peart (W/Op) are both P.o.W.s. and mentions that the rest of the crew were on their 29th raid, whereas Bolderston was on his first.  The third letter is from P/O Cox's mother in which she reports having no news of her husband either.  Air Marshall Robert Leckie writes during April 1945 'your son, F/O George Thomas Bolderston, is now for official purposes presumed to have died on active services...'  His parents also received a letter from the House of Commons, Canada and in April 1946 received information from the RCAF specific to their son's death - ' captured German documents advise that the aircraft of which your son was a member of the crew was brought down by enemy night fighters and crashed at 10.40pm on September 12th 1944, 1.5 k, North of Plittersdorf, Germany.  They further state that your son was buried on September 13th 1944, in the Plittersdorf Cemetary'.   The log book was returned to the family in 1947 and in 1955 they received notification form the Imperial War Graves Commission regarding the erection of permanent memorials.  Original letters regarding his medals and memorial bar are also present but the actual medals are not.

Bolderston's blue leather R.C.A.F. leather writing case is gold embossed with his initials and contains a number of letters written to his parents, some RAF writing paper, envelopes, officers' mess bills for Sandtoft and Hemswell and small notebooks for the services.  Also Air Force Pamphlet 10,  a booklet giving general guidance to the next of kin or other relatives of airmen reported missing, deceased , prisoners of war or interned.  Also  comes with approximately 75 small photographs of Bolderston, his friends, crew and some of the aircraft used during his time training.  

Finally a photocopy of a chapter in the book 'On A Wing and a Prayer' by Ronan Yule mentions Bolderston and how they were both on battle orders for operations on the night they arrived at Wickenby (626 Sqdn).  Yule also notes that 23 Lancasters failed to return from that raid and that he was told all of Thorpe's crew including Bolderson, their second pilot had been killed.  During research for the book Yule discovered from 626 records that all of the crew baled out successfully after being shot down although Bolderston and two others were reported to have been murdered by German civilians.  Those of the crew who lost their lives are buried in Durnbach War Cemetary in Germany.  Flying Officer Bolderston, just 22 at the time, is in buried in Plot 3, Row H.  
A really fascinating and poignant log book with a wealth of additional letters, documents and photographs. Worthy of further research.  Stock code P23477.