Personnel Index - Detail

First Names
Kenneth W
Service Number
Crew Position
Flight Engineer
Posting In
Posted in 3/45


Flew 7 operations in the last few weeks of the war.

Awarded the Air Force Medal by the Queen in 1955.

A post war image of Squadron Leader KW Symonds and in May 2020 aged 95 in his home village of Martinstown (near Weymouth).
Images courtesy of Deborah Follett.

A member of the last crew back from 49Sqn's final operation (to Berchtesgaden).


F/O T C Hawkins is centre rear row.

Other crew members (in no order) are likely to be:
Sgt KW Symonds, F/Sgt G Cable, F/S RL Arnold, W/O G Abernethy, Sgt K A Reakes and either Sgts T J Holloway, TJ Millea or WC Wilcox.

Ken ended his RAF career with 53 Squadron in the 1980s after 40 years of service. He was brought back for extra years because of his skill sets. He worked on Nimrod testing and the air to air refuelling that was required for the Vulcan to bomb the runway at Port Stanley during the Falklands War.
Ken flew in an impressive 33 different types of aircraft.

Memories of the Berchtesgaden raid and the Pow repatriation flights - compiled by Debroah Follett.
I remember the 25th April of 1945 and Operation Berchtesgaden clearly, it was the only day we ran to our Lancaster.
Myself, & Australian Captain Tommy Hawkins & 3 other Aussies; bomb aimer, navgator, & wireless operator. The mid upper gunner was an Irishman, the tail gunner Taff Hughes, Welsh.
We set off on what was the last bombing raid of the war, knowing it was all coming to an end.
Misson accomplished, we high tailed it back having lost one engine over the target.
Arriving back in Nottingham we then rushed to the mess for bacon & eggs.
On 4 May we began bringing back ourPOW's from Europe/Brussels to Leighton Buzzard.
We crammed in 20 soldiers at a time to the Lancasters fuselage, of course it had no seating but they were very grateful to be sitting on the floor of a cold Lancaster.
We came in over the White Cliffs of Dover a welcomed sight for those who could just see out of the aircraft.

A newspaper article concerning Ken's Bomber Command the image or this link to view a larger version (opens in a new window).

Thanks to the efforts of Deborah Follett, Ken was able to visit RAF Duxford in June 2021.
Ken was able to climb into the Lancaster and take part in a book well as attracting a lot of attention from staff & visitors.

Ken inside the Lancaster and signing a Bomber Command book.