Sergeant James Durkin - 619 Squadron  
   

Sgt James Durkin - RAFVR

 

Sergeant James Durkin was serving as Mid Upper Gunner on board Lancaster MK.I ME-723 coded PG-Z for a daylight operation to Munchen on April 25, 1944. The aircraft departed from Dunholme Lodge at 2055hrs but was lost to enemy flak and crashed at 0144, 3km south of the Speichersee at Ascheim. The crew was initially buried there but were later re-interred at Durnbach War Cemetery in 1948.

The rest of the crew were:

Name

Service

Trade

Hometown

Age

P/O Derek Schofield  - DFM

RAFVR

Pilot

Birkby, Huddersfield

22

F/Sgt Alfred Baker

RAFVR

Flight Engineer

Blackburn, Lancashire

21

F/Sgt Roy Withinshaw

RAFVR

Navigator

Hartshill, Stoke on Trent

27

Sgt Derrick Golding

RAFVR

W/Op/AG

Lyndhurst, Hampshire

21

F/Sgt Edward Brunt

RAFVR

Bomb Aimer

-

-

P/O Eric Powell

RAFVR

Rear Gunner

Ripponden,Yorkshire

24

 Sergeant James "Jimmy" Durkin was the son of John and  Jessie Durkin and brother to Catherine, John, Margaret and Alexander of Seacliffe, Whitehaven, Cumbria. He was aged 19 at the time of his death but had seen previous operational hardships which led to his pilot, P/O Schofield, being awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal. His citation reads:

"Flight Sergeant Hexter and Flight Sergeant Schofield were bomb aimer and pilot respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack Stuttgart one night in March 1944.  When about 150 miles from the target the aircraft was attacked by a fighter. Before the enemy aircraft could be evaded the bomber had sustained much damage, while Flight Sergeant Hexter had been wounded in the hand and foot.  Undeterred, Flight Sergeant Schofield continued his mission and eventually reached the target over which he was ablely guided by Flight Sergeant Hexter who, though in considerable pain, had insisted on remaining at his post.  Shortly afterwards the oxygen supply failed but Flight Sergeant Schofield came down to a lower altitude and afterwards flew the damaged aircraft to this country where he effected a safe landing at an airfield near the coast.  This airman displayed skill, courage and determination of a high order.  Flight Sergeant Hexter also set a fine example of courage and fortitude and his conduct in trying circumstances was worthy of great praise."

 As a result of his injuries, F/Sgt Hexter - RCAF was unable to fly with the crew on the operation to Munchen.

.

The Crew with its Original Members

Back row from left: W/Op/A/G D.Golding,F/E Kemp(Kingston on Thames),Rear gunner J.Booth (Port Williams,Scotland)

Front Row from left: Navigator R.Withinshaw, M/U gunner James Durking,Pilot D.Schofield, Air Bomber G.Hexter,(London,Ontario)

 

 
 

Photos courtesy of Neil Storey, research by Linda Ibrom.