RAF Rear Gunner

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by ozzy16, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Well-Known Member

    Hello all,

    Looking for any information on this chap.

    Richard Lewis Ludlow, (RAF rear gunner) Halifax or Lancaster. family not sure which.

    Born June 21st/22nd 1921,Croydon?
    Died 2001 Worcester hospital.

    I,m awaiting further information including photos.Any help very much appreciated

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  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Richard Lewis Ludlow
    BIRTH 22 JUN 1921 • Dover
    DEATH 7 OCT 2001 • Worcester, Worcestershire, England

    Ancestry family tree link - https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/person/tree/19698402/person/839996481/facts

    England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2005
    Name: Richard L Ludlew
    Mother's Maiden Surname: Pammant
    Date of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep 1921
    Registration district: Dover
    Inferred County: Surrey, Kent
    Volume Number: 2a
    Page Number: 2170

    England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
    Name: Richard Lewis Ludlow
    Death Age: 80
    Birth Date: 22 Jun 1921
    Registration Date: Oct 2001
    Registration district: Worcester
    Inferred County: Worcestershire
    Register Number: B72E
    District and Subdistrict: 5271B
    Entry Number: 18


    Second family tree reference - https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/person/tree/49896686/person/13033286181/facts
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  3. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Well-Known Member

    TD your an absolute genius. Thankyou for that important information.

    I was speaking to this chaps granddaughter yesterday at a 70th birthday party.(not mine).She told me a very interesting story about her grandfather.
    He was returning to England after a mission (not sure where) with their aircraft badly damaged.The crew were told to bale out.which they did (fate unknown).The rear gunner and the pilot stayed aboard.Unfortunately the aircraft lost height,and crashed.Both the pilot and rear gunner were badly injured,but survived the crash.The rear gunner helped and carried the pilot for 2 days.
    Sadly the pilot succumbed to his injuries and died in the arms of the rear gunner.
    At this stage that's all I know.
    As I mentioned in my first post,the family do have some photos and some more information which they said I could use to help find out what happened on that mission.
    I duly advised her to chase up his service records,as they would be of great help.I will upload any photos or information I get to the forum and hopefully, with other members input, I can identify the crew and exactly what happened on that mission.

    regards Graham.
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  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Do you know when this happened and roughly where?

  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Please be aware that here is another R L Ludlow - but he was RAAF

    Pilot Officer (Wireless Operator)
    Service Number 414711
    Died 29/01/1944
    Aged 31
    467 Sqdn.
    Royal Australian Air Force
    Son of Arthur Henry and Isabella Ludlow, of Glen Niven, Queensland, Australia.

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  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Someone on this forum - link - RAF Service numbers. was looking for his service number. The interesting part is that it seems to show he was part of 6 Group Bomber Command, which is in the main Canadian
    No. 6 Group RCAF - Wikipedia

    Other Air Force experts on here will be able to explain better than I

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  7. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Well-Known Member

    Cheers for that, and noted, TD.

    The above granddaughter is putting a file together and is going to ring me next week.Should know a lot more when I get it.
    I will ask her about the date of the crash.
    She said the photos she has, shows her grandfather and crew stood next to their aircraft.I'm hopeing I/we can identify the type of aircraft and possibly the squadron.
    I'm very intrigued about this case,and I will post as much info as possible to get to the bottom of it,as and when I get it.

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  8. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    He was RAF you can find his service number in AIR78


    Looks like entry at circa late 1940 early 1941

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  9. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Well-Known Member

    Cheers Ross,
    Yes he was definitely RAF.

  10. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Afraid it is not RAF but just to add to your research:

    1939 Register
    82 Capri Road, Croydon
    Ludlow, Richard L / dob 22 June 1921 / Single / Furnishing shop assistant
    The family he was living with was by the name of Beer.


    Note that whilst the Ancestry index shows the name as Ludlew they have made an error in transcribing it, the actual image is clearly Ludlow.
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  11. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Interestingly (perhaps) the Red Arrows had an Adjutant in 1970 and 71 seasons, a Warrant Officer L Ludlow....
    possibly a connection?
    For the rest of the crew to bale out, and then to carry/assist a badly injured/wounded pilot for 2 days does sound unusual enough for something to have been recorded, air combat reports, even possibly a medal etc.
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  12. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Well-Known Member

    Hi Kevin,
    I have to say sometimes these stories can over time become vastly exaggerated.At this current time I'm keeping an open mind until I can verify what really happened.This could take some time.

  13. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Air Ministry Casualty Communique No 391 printed in Flight Magazine June 8th 1944 shows a Sgt R L Ludlow wounded or injured in action. Possibly the same man.
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  14. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Well-Known Member

    Hi Snailer,
    Very intresting,you could be right.She never mentioned him having any rank.But it could still be him.
    I must say I'm very impressed with all the information I have received on this thread from the forum.Well done everyone.
    Hopefully when I speak to the family next week I can answer/clear up some of the queries here.

  15. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Well-Known Member

    I have received further information concerning this thread.
    I was told tonight he lived at, 82, Cron Road, Croydon, Surrey, and worked for a furniture company as a rep.(see note in photos)
    Question is, was it Cron rd or as mentioned in post 10, Capri rd ?
    His service no, is correct, as mentioned in ab78 index card.1252763.
    In the photos he is on the left.the chap next to him is his brother.The other photo (damaged) shows him second from the right back row.
    Also my mistake,it's his daughter, not granddaughter I am dealing with. Apologies,(she looks so young.)

    Graham raf1.jpg raf2.jpg raf3.jpg
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  16. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Well-Known Member

    Not much help, but as I happen to have the document open - his service number 1252763 was part of a block issued in May 1940 to Uxbridge, Gloucester or Penarth. This would accord broadly with Ludlow's lodging with a family 'just before his training', and Croydon would suggest Uxbridge as where he enlisted. As to the confusion over aircraft type, I'm pretty sure this was common in families - my Uncle Den was sure his brother Don flew Mosquitos, when in fact he flew the (very different) Stirling, Halifax and Liberator.

    Cheers, Pat.
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  17. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Well-Known Member

    Hi Pat,
    Thanks for that,all these little bits of information help.
    I've seen this chaps photo somewhere else, but I cant remember where.Probably on one of the many forums I have visited in the past.
    With re to the crash,his daughter thinks the pilot may be Polish but not sure.

  18. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Can't find any reference to a Cron Road, Croydon, nor any CWGC casualties for Capri Road (but that does exist).
    There is/was a Beer connection to Croydon, but whether the ones at Capri Road too hard to tell
    Private. BEER, WALTER GEORGE. Service Number DM2/112408. Died 12/11/1916
    740th Mechanical Transport Coy. Army Service Corps
    Son of George and Martha Beer, of Croydon; husband of E. Beer, of 8, Belgrave Rd., South Norwood, London.

    This is 85 Capri Road now, shown as only 2 bedrooms...

    I believe that soon after the War started aircrew were noncommissioned or above.
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  19. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Both the pilot and rear gunner were badly injured,but survived the crash.The rear gunner helped and carried the pilot for 2 days. Sadly the pilot succumbed to his injuries and died in the arms of the rear gunner. (RAF rear gunner) Halifax or Lancaster - daughter thinks the pilot may be Polish

    Unfortunately I don't own a copy, but would a search of RAF Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War: 1944 v. 5 by Chorley yield any results.

    Taking the supplied facts at face value and adding the info provided by Snailer into account ("Air Ministry Casualty Communique No 391 printed in Flight Magazine June 8th 1944 shows a Sgt R L Ludlow wounded or injured in action. Possibly the same man.") then the search of the book can be narrowed down somewhat.

    I just checked the CWGC for a couple of KIA that are in the same Casualty Communique and they seem to date from losses in March onwards in 1944

    Assuming that the rest of the crew survived then we are looking for a Bomber Command aircraft loss in the second quarter of 1944 with only one (or minimal) deaths and the fatality had possibly a Polish surname. Still a needle in a haystack, but the haystack is getting smaller.........
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  20. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Well-Known Member

    Hi Dave,
    Since starting this thread I have been proactive digging around Bomber Command and other sites.I have found out he finished his service as a Warrant Officer 2 doing mainly office/clerical work.
    Also read a lot of story's about life as a rear/air gunner.I'm sure this has probably been covered deep in the realms of ww2talk.
    Over 20,000 air gunners were killed throughout the conflict,and it appears the chances bailing out of aircraft safely was very slim.
    In Lancasters it was only 15 per-cent,Halifax 29 per-cent,the American B17's it was 50 per-cent survival rate.Other sites do vary these
    figures slightly.
    A big help here would be his service records,which will be available in the coming weeks,??

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