Lancaster PB303

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After her graduation Sheena moved to Toronto. Geordie joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in the fall of 1939 and was posted to a base near Toronto. There he met Sheena again and they married in Toronto on February 2nd 1940. He was ground crew first, but he remustered to aircrew. He took his basic training in eastern Canada and later undertook pilot training in Manitoba. From that time Sheena lived with Geordie’s family in Winnipeg. Sheena wasn’t able to attend Geordie’s graduation as a Pilot in July 1943, because she was expecting the birth of their child –Geraldine- born August 17th 1943. Geordie was posted overseas on August 3rd 1943, so he never met his daughter. Sheena and Gerri (short for Geraldine) continued to live with Geordie’s family for several years after Geordie’s death, until Sheena joined a friend in Alberta.

Sheena finally died in July 1999. On 22 June 2001 Gerri visited Bergen op Zoom and interred her mothers ashes into her father's grave

I have reproduced the family story in this supplement from a letter of Mrs Gene Olson, who is a sister of F/O George Symes.

With this story I honour and salute the crew-members and their families because now I know, there was so much sorrow in families who lost their husbands, sons or even their fathers.

Somebody who did know I was searching for details about Sgt Cyril Bayliss sended me a link to these newspaper articles below and after contacted the redaction from this Advertiser Newspaper, I could get in touch with Clifford Bayliss, a brother from Cyril. From this brother, I got some details and a photo from Cyril.

These articles reproduced with kind permission of the Redditch Advertiser

Sgt Cyril Bayliss

After an article about PB303 was published in the Metheringham Newsletter, an old friend of pilot F/O George Symes Mr. Alan Morris did read it and sent me a letter. He told about his flying course and his friendship with George Symes and his family. He also sent me a few photographs of himself and his mates taken at the time they were studying for their wing in Canada.

He did meet George Symes there and became a friend. He often visited the Symes family when he and George could get a leave permit. He sent me a few copies of photograph of the graduates on Wings Parade day (July 1943) in Souris Manitoba

First row, third from right; Mr Alan Morris. Second row seventh from right; George Symes.

Frist row fourth from left; George Symes

Second row second from left; Mr. Alan Morris

In May 2006, I received an e-mail message from a young family member of the Canadian rear-gunner Sgt Clifford Cook.

She had found this website and had read the story above. I was very surprised about her reaction. On my request she did send me a photograph from his identification disks and a scanned certificate which were related to the attempt of Clifford Cook's application to join the army. This confirmed the fact, given by his older brother that he was too young for the army, but after a while he was enlisted for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

At this time both Mr. Gordon Smith and I, still believe we could trace relatives of mid-upper gunner, Sergeant John Crisp.               

But I am convinced, that by chance, we will one day get more details.

B.G. May 2006

Update 2006

ID disks or “Dog Tags” from Clifford

Well in June 2007 it happened- completely by chance as I thought it might!

A great niece of Sgt John Crisp did contact me, because she had also read the story above. She told me in short about her great uncle.

So I quote her:

John and his twin sister Audrey were born on 21st March 1925. John was educated at Greenhill Elementary School and then John Lyon School in Harrow, London. John worked briefly in an administration job in a London Hospital, before being drafted. He and Audrey were the youngest of the family. His brother Basil (my grandfather) was born in 1917 and died in 1999, his sister Mary was born in 1919 and unfortunately died in 1945, Peter was born in 1923 and died in 2006. Both Basil and Peter were also in the Royal Air Force during the war. 

I mentioned further above, this story can never be complete, because what exactly happened in the aircraft after it was hit over Homberg, can’t be told.

Sgt John Crisp

Update 2007