Worthing Pier

The memorial remembers the crew of Lancaster PB355 who crashed close to the beach en route to Munich on the 17th December 1944.

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17/18 December, 1944; MUNICH

Four consecutive operations were scrubbed before 17 of the squadron's aircraft eventually got away from Fulbeck bound for Munich on 17 December. It was another exclusive 5 Group attack using 280 Lancasters led by 8 Mosquitoes. Although there was some undershooting, most crews reported the bombing to be fanning out from the sector as planned. Four Lancasters from the Group failed to return. Back at Fulbeck, the squadron's aircraft started landing at around 02.00hrs. F/O Edward Essenhigh (PB355) and crew were overdue and reported as missing. It was established later in the day, that their aircraft had in fact crashed on Worthing beach at 17.55hrs the previous evening en route to Munich. The aircraft had blown up, luckily without loss of civilian life. Only one crew member was found in the wreck; that of F/Sgt Gordon Callon. His body was recovered from the rear turret and at the time caused some consternation to those at the scene, as he wore pilots wings. Sgt Callon was one of the volunteer pilot/rear gunners operating the 'Village Inn' turret. The bodies of the remainder of the crew have never been found; their whereabouts and indeed the reason for the aircraft's demise still remains a mystery. Gordon Callon is buried in Littlehampton, Sussex, whilst his fellow crew members are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.

Lancaster PB355 (EA-B)
F/O E.G. Essenhigh Pilot (Killed)
Sgt H. Varey F/E (Killed)
Sgt L.B. Bourne NAV (Killed)
F/S F.B. Rees W/OP (Killed)
Sgt J.W. Moore A/G (Killed)
F/O J.A. Thomson B/A (Killed)
F/S G.F. Callon P/AG (Killed)

Crew on their 11th operation

Two newspaper articles provide a detailed account of the crash and how street names have been used to honour the crew.

The crash (200k)

The street names (600k)

The images will open as PDF files in a new window

Additionally, F/O Thomson is remembered on the village war memorial at Dunton Bassett, Leicestershire

Courtesy of Paul Holden we have an image of a new memorial-information panel on the seafront in Worthing.

On the 15th December 2019 a memorial service (close to the anniversary of the crash) was held outside the Lido near to the 'Information Board'