Pilot: F/L J.W.Comans
F/E: F/Sgt K.Randle
Navigator: F/L D.Bowes
Bomb Aimer: F/L K.H.H.Cook
W/Op: F/Sgt R.Woollford
Mid-Upper Gunner: F/Sgt G.Widdis
Rear Gunner: F/Sgt D.Bolland  
The Pathfinder Year - 97 Squadron at Bourn
SOME SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
As the main crew page is already very large, here are a few additional pieces. (With thanks to Ed Tonks for the information.)


Decorations
All this crew won decorations on finishing their tour, which were posted in The London Gazette on the following dates:

30-6-44 DFC - Comans, Cook, Bowes

15-9-44 DFM - Bolland

19-9-44 DFC - Woollford
19-9-44 DFM - Randle

13-10-44 Bar to DFC - Comans

17-10-44 DFM - Widdis



Coman's Flying Career

Coman was comparitively old when he enlisted. Born in 1912, he was almost 30 years of age when he enlisted in May 1941. This was way over the average age for RAF bomber crew (19-23 years of age).

His first tour began on 26 September 1943 with 9 Squadron at Bardney.  Like all air crew he had his share of close calls, none more so than the forced landing in the North Sea in which he was involved only 3 days after joining the squadron. On the Bochum operation of 29/30 September, his Lancaster, ED648, went down in the sea some five miles off Mablethorpe on the Lincolnshire coast due to a defective altimeter.

Comans had been flying as second pilot with F/L L G A Hadland. The flight engineer, Kenneth Norman Taylor, was killed, as was the bomb aimer, Kenneth Herbert Beames, aged 32, whose body was never found (he is commemorated at Runymede). The survivors were picked up after nine hours in the water, together with the body of Kenneth Taylor who would later be buried at St Mary's churchyard at Manby. Comans himself was slightly injured, seriously enough to be listed on a casualty report.

Comans went on to complete 52 successful operations, and to get all his crew safely through their tours, a tremendous record at a time when so many surviving crews lost one or two members whilst they were flying with other crews. The total operational hours which he flew were 310, and these were all with 97 Squadron apart from the first three months with 9 Squadron.



CAPTAIN: COMANS
CREW
Pilot: F/L James Vincent Comans
F/E: F/Sgt K.Randle
Navigator: F/L D.Bowes
Bomb Aimer: F/L K.H.H.Cook
W/Op: F/Sgt R.Woollford
Mid-Upper Gunner: F/Sgt G.Widdis
Rear Gunner: F/Sgt Daniel Bolland  

Return to Main Crew Page