Avro Lancaster Mk. III

LM308  RC-F

5 L.F.S.

Crashed 29:01:45


The aircraft belonging to 5 Lancaster Finishing School took off from Syerston at 00:01 for a cross-country exercise, and practice bombing.  Having completed the cross-country,  Flt Sgt Rathbone called base at 02:14 for permission to carry out the practice bombing part of the exercise.  This was refused as the bombing range was covered by cloud and he was instructed to rejoin the circuit.

Approximately two minutes later, eyewitnesses saw the aircraft, with both Port engines ablaze and diving at great speed.  At 02:16 it crashed and exploded near the village of Hoveringham, close to where Lancaster JB125 had crashed, seventeen days earlier.

Sadly, there were no survivors.



The crew were:


R/168095       Flight Sergeant               R B RATHBONE   RCAF                   Pupil Pilot                   Aged 28


2218573             Sergeant                         A MERCER                               Flight Engineer              Aged 23


R/203166      Flight Sergeant                H M MACKENZIE  RCAF                     Navigator                  Aged 21


R/189328      Flight Sergeant                J A EMMERSON   RCAF                   Air Bomber                 Aged 30


R/190328      Flight Sergeant                       J READ         RCAF             Wireless Operator            Aged 20


R/264756            Sergeant                   J F FITZGIBBON   RCAF            Mid-Upper Gunner             Aged 20


1395581             Sergeant                          J MARTIN                                  Rear Gunner                Aged 20



The five RCAF crew members were taken for burial at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery.

Sergeants Albert Mercer and Jasper Martin rest in Southport (Duke Street) Cemetery and Castleford (Whitwood) Cemetery respectively.

As with JB125, the actual crash site is now under the waters of the local sailing club.

The approximate position of the crash site is behind and to the right of the yellow safety-boat.


On 31:05:2010, a memorial was dedicated to both aircraft.

The stone commemorating the crew of LM308 is on the right.

LM308 - A LM308 - B LM308 - D

Lest We Forget.