RAF Lancaster Bomber Crashes In Thurnby Lodge

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Something very interesting, but also very sad happened in April 1945 on the outskirts of Leicester. A RAF Bomber (RAF Lancaster ND647) crashed and exploded in a field that would one day be one of Leicester’s suburbs, Thurnby Lodge.


Lancaster Bomber training.

The bomber aeroplane crashed whilst the crew was training on Sunday 8th April 1945. The Aircraft took off in North Luffenham for fighter affiliation. The purpose of this training was to acquaint new pilots to the manoeuvrability of fighter aircraft and how to avoid them.

It was no great secret that fighter aeroplanes had the advantage of speed and manoeuvrability over the much larger bomber aircraft. If a bomber crew were to stand a chance of survival it all hinged on how well the pilot could toss and turn his Larger aircraft around in the sky.

A pilot from one of the fighter squadrons would act as the “enemy” (in this case it was a spitfire). For the fighter pilot it was a multipurpose task; Practice his attack techniques on a bomber and quite simply a way to harass some of the “bomber boys”.

An instructor would be on board for the first or so tries after that it was up to the pilot. The instructor’s direction to the trainee pilot was to “keep it simple” and make every move to the maximum effort. After all this would be a matter of life and death in a real attack.

But the pilot lost control and crashed at 1515 hours near Scraptoft on the eastern outskirts of Leicester.

There was no survivors on board.


RAF Lancaster ND 647 Memorial.

The only evidence of this event happening is a small memorial plate on the buttress of the small bridge crossing the brook on Drumcliff Road.

Lancaster Bomber Plaque
Lancaster Bomber Plaque On Drumcliff Road.

The following lost their lives in service to our country.

All hands were killed upon impact in the crash. The crew of RAF Lancaster ND 647 are as follows:

  • F/O. N.E Cook.
  • Sgt. J. Winterbottom.
  • F/O. T. Neale.
  • W/O. R.C Wingrove.
  • Sgt. G. Gore.
  • Sgt. J.F.J Stanley.

Crash Location.

RAF Lancaster Bomber ND 647 Crash Location:

Lancaster Bomber Crash Site 1945
Lancaster Bomber Crash Site 1945
Lancaster Bomber Crash Site Today
Lancaster Bomber Crash Site Today

(Thank you Derek Suffolk for crash site images)

The postcode to this location is LE5 2LH (Drumcliff Road)


Eyewitness Accounts.

The whole story is best told by Mr. Terence C. Cartwright, who witnessed the event as a teenager in 1945. This can be viewed on our website by following this link: Mr. Terence C. Cartwright’s Story


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Book Recommendations.

If you are interested in Leicester’s World War Two aviation history then we recommend the following books (Click on the images or links below)

Leicestershire & Rutland airfields in the Second World War

“This book gives a detailed account of the part played by each airfield in the two counties during the second world war. During this time, some twelve additional military airfields were built in the counties to support the war effort. Bottesford, Woolfox Lodge and North Luffenham, in particular, played key roles in Bomber Command operations.”


Birds Eye Wartime Leicestershire 1939-1945: Maps and Aerial Photographs: A Synoptic View of Wartime Leicestershire

“Birds Eye Wartime Leicestershire 1939-1945 is designed to give a visual representation of all known military activity which occurred in Leicestershire during the second world war. ”


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Thomas Kirkup is an engineer in the Royal Navy. Born and raised in Leicester he is fascinated by the city's long and varied history. He also hates to discus himself in the third person, but can be persuaded to do so from time to time.
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8 COMMENTS

  1. Your 2016 photograph is incorrectly showing the crash site. You have marked the plaque as the crash site, when, if you read the plaque, it states that the crash site is 30yds to the left, the garden of the house on the corner of thurncourt Rd and drumcliff rd LE5 2NL

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