Preparation
  Flight Sergeant Maurice Churchman  
 

Flight Sergeant Maurice Churchman - RAFVR

 
Flight Sergeant Maurice Churchman was serving as an Air Gunner on board Lancaster Mk. I DV-386 coded UL-E2 during an operation to Leipzig on February 19/20, 1944. The aircraft was airborne from Elsham Woods at 2345 hrs and lost without a trace. The entire crew is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

The other crewmembers were:

Name Service Trade Hometown Age
F/Sgt Andrew Kirk RAFVR Pilot Moortown, Leeds, Yorkshire 21
F/Sgt Walter Moores RAFVR Flight Engineer Miles Platting, Manchester 25
Sgt Royston Smith RAFVR Navigator Merton Park, Surrey 21
Sgt William Kitson RAFVR W/op/AG Bimingham 30
Sgt Thomas Finnerty RAFVR Air Gunner Grapenhall, Cheshire 25
Sgt Eric Macpherson RAFVR Bomb Aimer Hunts Cross, Liverpool 23

Flight Sergeant Maurice Churchman RAFVR was born in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire on March 22nd 1921 and was the son of Thomas  and Annie and step-brother to 3 siblings.

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Maurice and his 40 Sqn crew.

 

Following his enlistment in the RAF in October 1940 Maurice  was billeted in Sherbourne Road, Blackpool for initial training. In March 1941, AC2 Churchman was sent to No 2 Signals School at Yatesbury, Wiltshire for wireless training.

In April 1942 he was posted to  RAF Hampstead, Norris, Berkshire, from where he was to make his first raid on Cologne. In this raid, the front gun turret in which he was seated, was so badly damaged by shrapnel that it had to be replaced on return to base. June to November 1942 saw Maurice in 40 squadron with the RAF in the Middle East. While serving there, his aircraft was shot down in the Mediterranean and he and his whole crew survived with only cuts and bruises after successfully ditching their Wellington bomber. They spent 8 hours in a rubber dinghy before being picked up by a Maltese fishing vessel. Those airmen who survived a ditching by dinghy like Maurice, were eligible for membership of the Goldfish Club.

  In November of 1943 he was posted to RAF Blyton, Lincolnshire before ultimately to RAF Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire and 576 squadron in which he was to lose his life serving as air gunner/wireless operator, along with the rest of his crew. 

Maurice's citation scroll on parchment with the Royal crest GVI RI reads -"This scroll commemorates Sergeant M.Churchman, Royal Air Force, held in honour as one who served King and Country in the world war of 1939-1945 and gave his life to save mankind from tyranny. May his sacrifice help to bring the peace and freedom for which he died"

 

  Photos courtesy of Gary McDanielson, research by Linda Ibrom.