The Loss of Lancaster JA691

The return of JA691

During the 60th anniversary commemorations in August 2003 a large crowd met at the memorial stone to lay wreaths and unveil an information board which explains the history behind the memorial.

After the service a local Dane spoke to Alan Parr and presented him with a piece of JA691 which he had found in a nearby field 60 years ago. The piece was identified by Trevor Simpson as an elevator centre hinge bracket. Trevor was an A Flight airframe mechanic and JA 691 was one of his aircraft. It is touching to think that this bracket was situated six feet from Bob's turret.

The image below (taken from the port side of the rear turret of the East Kirkby Lancaster) shows an identical bracket in its actual location. There are three brackets but the inner one is hidden. Close examination of our bracket indicates that it was from the central position which was connected to the trim tab.

These remarkable photographs shown below are Sgt Freeman's navigation ruler. This artifact would have been sitting on his desk when JA691 exploded scattering aircraft debris, the crew and their belongings over a wide area

It was found over a week later by a Danish boy in a wood approximately one kilometer from the main crash site. It is 455mm x 70mm and even has ink stains on the reverse side. It remained in Denmark until recently when the finder died. It was then passed to his daughter and finally reached Alan Parr.

The ruler is in extraordinary condition considering it survived an explosion, falling many thousands of feet and the passage of over sixty years.

At a service in November 2003 at the end of the runway at RAF Fiskerton, JA691 finally returned to base.

It is hard to imagine that this inanimate piece of metal was part of a Lancaster which thundered down this very runway over 60 years ago.......what a story it could tell!

In January 2023 there were a number of severe storms around the Danish coast which churned up the seabed.
We were contacted by René Winkelmann who had been walking on the beach at Loddenhøj north of Aabenraa.
René spotted something new in the sand which turned out to be part of the rear gunner's door.
The beach is only a few hundred metres from the crashsite of JA691.

The front and reverse of the door section found on the beach

The rear turret door viewed in the Canadian Aviation Museum's Lancaster.

Is this the door that Sgt Slaughter closed behind him on the 17/18th August 1943?