with files from Bob Taylor and Neil Trotter | Jul 11, 2013
Back in late January this year, Bob Taylor of Northbrook was surprised to receive a telephone call from a gentleman in England, Neil Trotter, stating that they were planning a memorial in honour of the crew of the Lancaster Bomber, who were killed in a crash on June 18, 1943, 70 years ago in Scredington, England.
Bob Taylor's father, Flight Sgt. Robert Allen Taylor, was part of that crew, and he perished one week before Bob's birth. He was the sole Canadian on the mission.
Lincolnshire in Eastern England was the headquarters of Bomber Command. Of 6,000 Lancaster Bombers built, 5,000 were shot down or crashed. The life expectancy of a bomber crew was four combat missions Flight Sgt. Taylor was a rear air gunner. He was enclosed in a pivoting rear turret with four fixed weapons shooting 303 bullets. He had completed 50 combat missions and had just returned from a furlough. He volunteered for the training mission in which he was killed.
Neil Trotter was seven at the time of the tragedy, and he saw the Lancaster on fire before it crashed in a field next to his home. He later went on to a career in the Royal Air Force.
Trotter and John Porter, who was one of the few residents to visit the crash scene, both felt the need for a lasting memorial and eventually contacted Scredington Parish Council, with the result that the National Service Association funded the memorial stone.
Bob Taylor arrived in England on June 14 for the ceremony and was hosted by a fabulous couple at a town that coincidentally was named Northbrek (Northbrook), adjacent to Scredington.
On Jun 15, he was driven to his father's grave site at Grantham. He expected only to find his father's grave and place a small Canadian flag on it but was surprised to find out that a formal service of dedication and remembrance had been planned, with dignitaries and an honour guard. Scredington parish church was filled to capacity for the service, after which Taylor had the honour of unveiling the marble memorial stone and also laid a wreath on his father's grave.
Wreaths were also laid in the church for each of the airmen lost. This was followed by a flypast by the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, dipping their wings in respect.
After the services, Bob Taylor visited the crash site and his chauffeur/chaperone discovered a twisted piece of metal from the crash, which was presented to him.
He also visited the Battle of Britain Museum where many of the vintage aircraft were kept in working order and had the opportunity to board a Lancaster Bomber like the one his father flew in.
It was a truly emotional and memorable experience for Bob Taylor.