550 Squadron Photos


NG331 / BQ-M

F/O John Charles Adams and Crew

Lancaster Mk1 NG331/BQ-M shot down by flak on the night of 5/6 January 1945 over Hannover, crashing into the Hindenburg Strasse at Langenhagen in Hannover's northern outskirts. Wreckage was scattered over a radius of 800 to 1,000 metres.

The crew on this operation was:

Sgt Winstanley, the only survivor, was interned in Camp L1 (no PoW number available). Those killed are buried in Hannover War Cemetery (details in the Roll of Honour link below).

Other information about the flight and the target available here.

The entry on the 550 Squadron Roll of Honour here.

See also the Aircrew Remembrance Society page for the F/O Adams crew.

Click image Crew photo (minus the F/Eng, Sgt Scott)
L-to-R: F/O Renton, F/O Elcoate, Sgt Winstanley, F/Sgt Sterman, F/O Adams (P), F/Sgt Papple

Sgt Winstanley was the only surviror; it appears that he and Francis Renton swapped turrets for this flight. To read Sgt Winstanley's account of that last flight of NG331, and the aftermath, click here.

Picture courtesy of Brian Goodwin (with identification of Fred Papple by Alex Papple)
Thanks to Patricia Adams for positive identification of her uncle F/O J C Adams RCAF
Click image Left-to-right:
F/O John Charles Adams RCAF, Mrs Evelyn Renton, F/O Francis Swan Renton RAFVR

Picture courtesy of Brian Goodwin

The following information has been made available by Brian Goodwin during his research into his wifeís uncle, F/O Renton:

F/O John Charles Adams and Brothers

F C Adams's older brother Robert Watson Adams was also a flyer who was shot down over Greece in November 1943, but he survived and evaded capture (he died in 2003). His obituary, attached here, records how he was helped in his escape by members of the local Greek population.

There was also another brother, Sgt (Pilot) Frederick Coulson Adams, who was killed 5 July 1941, apparently shot down by German night-fighters during training. Sgt Adams is buried in Plot: 30. G. 7, Brookwood Military Cemetery.

Thanks to Patricia Adams (daughter of R W Adams) for the above information.

Hannover War Cemetery

As noted above all of the crew, with the exception of the single survivor Sgt Winstanley, are buried in Hannover War Cemetery.

Pictures kindly provided of Brian Goodwin, with original source acknowledged as The War Graves Photographic Project the aim of which is to photograph every war grave, individual memorial, MoD grave, and family memorial of serving military personnel from WWI to the present day and make these available within a searchable database. The War Graves Photographic Project works in a joint venture with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to enable families, scholars and researchers to obtain, via the CWGC or TWGPP websites, a copy of the photograph of a grave or memorial which for many is impossible to visit due to the location.

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Fg Off John Charles Adams RCAF

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Flt Lt William Robert Elcoate RCAF

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Flt Sgt Frederick Papple

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Fg Off Francis Swan Renton

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Sgt William Percy Scott

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Flt Sgt Benjamin Sterman