William Walters Story
In The Past.........
1 Index
2 Roy Chadwick
3 William Walters
4 R.A.F
5 Operations Begin
6 Lancaster Bomber
7 "Big City" Berlin
8 Danger all Round
9 No Comforts
10 Bombs Gone
11 Occupied Europe
12 Whirlwind
13 Special Opps
14 Peenemunde
15 Aphrodite
16 30th Mission
17 Final Mission
18 Rescue Attempt
19 Final Chapter
 
 
 
 
Rescue Attempt
The weather was perfect considering it was January, clear skies and little wind, the position report of the downed plane was so accurate that the Lancaster was sighted on cue without a search.

By now the aircraft had settled lower in the water and was almost submerged causing the crew to climb up from their position on the wing to the fuselage, which was still above the water.

The life-boat was dropped quite near to the downed crew, and were seen by the Warwick crew to be making their way towards it, some of them finding it very difficult no doubt due to the extreme coldness, and the heaviness of their flying suits getting soaked in the water.

Dinghy dropped from a Vickers Warwick.
Dinghy dropped from a Vickers Warwick.

By now it was starting to get dark, but the rescue crew saw one of the Lancaster crew get into the life-boat, suddenly a Focke-Wulf fw 190 was seen approaching the crash scene and fearing an attack by it, the Warwick being no match for this fighter had to re-treat hurriedly at wave top height back to base.

That night a Coastal Command aircraft with a Leigh Light (searchlight) on board searched the rescue area right up to the Norwegian coast for the life-boat, but no sign of this sturdy craft was found, and no radio signals were picked up at all, the life-boat carried an array of flares to summon help when in distress but none were seen to be used.

Vickers Warwick GR Mk V
Vickers Warwick GR Mk V flown on anti-submarine and air rescue missions - with Dinghy on board.

Next day the calm sunny weather continued, so a comprehensive search by three Warwick rescue aircraft with fighter escort throughout the hours of daylight again produced nothing, causing them to think that the German rescue service had picked up the crew and taken the lifeboat in tow.
But it did not prove to be the case, sadly nothing more of Ian Ross’s crew was heard of until two months later, when on March 13th, 1945 the body of the wireless operator, Pilot Officer Ray Ellwood, D.F.M was found in the sea by a fisherman off the Island of Slyngen…. 300 miles to the north of the area in the arctic circle.

His body was buried in the town of Nessna, but as maintenance of the grave proved impossible there, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission had it moved to Trondheim, Norway, where it was buried in the British Sector.

The bodies of the remaining six-crew members including my pal Bill, were sadly never found.

Pilot Officer R. Ellwood, who was buried in Norway, received his D.F.M when on operation’s with 44 Squadron on a day light raid to Ausburg, Germany.