Pilot Officer Gordon Douglas  -  50 Squadron  

P/O Gordon Douglas and bride on their wedding day.


 P/O Gordon Douglas was piloting  Lancaster Mk.I PB755 coded VN-Y during on June 25, 1945 for Operation “Post Mortem”, to assess the effectiveness of the captured German radar and defence systems which were left behind after the end of the war. German Military personnel were held back to show the Allies how it worked before it was dismantled.

 The Lancaster was airborne for just over two and a half hours from base at Sturgate. The port inner engine oil pressure fell to 35lbs/sq.inch and then to zero, and after running for a while it over sped and would not feather. It then began to vibrate and caught fire. The Pilot ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft which they did safely, except for Pilot Douglas whose parachute failed to open. The cause of the engine fire was not able to be detected as the Lancaster had burnt out. The Flight Engineer was criticised for his failure to shut down the engine when it started to cause problems, but it was also found that a special instruction about minimum oil pressure had not been included into the Squadron Flight Engineer’s order book  

 Pilot Officer Gordon Douglas was the son of Edward and Teresa Douglas and husband of May Violet of Grimsby, Lincolnshire. He worked for the family business in Grimsby before volunteering for the air force. He was the thirty year old at the time of his death and is buried in the Kiel War Cemetery.

Photos courtesy of David Amos, special thanks to  Colin Cummings, research by Linda Ibrom.