Sergeant Henry Backway  -  103 Squadron  

Sergeant Henry Backway - RAFVR


 Sergeant Henry Backway was serving as Bomb Aimer on board Lancaster Mk.III ND861 coded PM-H  during a training exercise to January 4, 1945. After the aircraft departed Elsham Wolds it experienced severe weather and blizzard like conditions. Contact with the aircraft was lost soon after it requested a navigational fix, it crashed into the River Humber near Hull. 

 A RAF plane and also a motor launch were sent to look for survivors, and although wreckage and papers were found, no trace of the crew remained. A Court of enquiry concurred that the cause was likely to have been the bad weather conditions.

The crew consisted of:





P/O Christopher Weight




P/O George Widdicombe


Manningtree, Essex


F/O Maurice Pickersgill


Wakefield, Yorkshire


Sgt Henry Backway




Sgt Clifford Hillier


Ashtead, Surrey


Sgt Cyril Lloyd


Bedminster, Somerset



Henry with Crew 

 Sergeant Henry Backway RAFVR was born on the 7th of January 1923 and the son of Henry Ernest and Violet Helena Backway of the Isles of Scilly. He and his parents moved to Plymouth in the late 1930ís, he was educated at Hoe Grammar school in Plymouth and always had a passion for flying.

  He joined the RAF at Plymouth in 1940, with his service commencing at Weston Super Mare on the 16th of December 1941.  Hew was initially sent to Canada for pilot training but was re-mustered as a bomb aimer. A photograph of him appears in the Montreal Standard for the 22nd May 1943. 

 By December 1944, he was flying on operations over Germany before coming home for Christmas leave, together with his parents stayed in the Isles of Scilly with his only sister Violet and her husband.  He is known to have flown on the following ops:

28.12.1944 Lancaster PD 272 op Munchen Railway yards

29.12.1944 Lancaster PD 272 Scholven Buer

31.12.1944-Lancaster PD 272-Osterfeld

He and his crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Photos courtesy of Colin Mumford, research by Linda Ibrom