Relatives of airman who crashed during Second World Ward to visit Germany

Philip Paddock and his wife Edna.
Philip Paddock and his wife Edna.

Two very special guests will be joining Spilsby and District Twinning Association on its trip to Bassum in Germany.

The sisters of one of the airmen whose Lancaster bomber, flying from RAF Spilsby, crashed near the town will be among the party heading out on Friday.

Anne Davies and her sister Mary Nichols, who live in the Bristol area, made contact with the association after reading about the visit on The Standard’s website.

Their father Philip Paddock was among the seven-strong crew, being one of the four who survived the crash in February 1944 and taken as a Prisoner of War.

“It’s going to be very very special,” said Anne, 72. “I think it will be very moving. Mum was expecting me when she found out Dad had been taken as a Prisoner of War. We had a very happy childhood. We were a very close family.”

Philip, who was the crew’s bomb aimer, died in 2007.

Anne and Mary have been invited to lay a wreath at a special ceremony being held where the remains of the plane were found in the village of Pestinghausen.

“Being at the crash site will make us feel closer to him,” said Anne. “We can never know what he went through but it will make it more real to us.”

Anne said they found out about the twinning association’s trip after reading an article on the Standard’s website. After contacting the paper we were able to put them in touch with trip organiser John Marshall.

John, who is also vice-chairman of the twinning association, said they were delighted when the two sisters got in touch and only too happy for them to join the excursion.

John explained the crash site had only recently been discovered and that it was just by pure coincidence the plane was one which had flown from RAF Spilsby.

The twinning association will also be laying a wreath on the Sunday in tribute to the men who lost their lives in the crash.

“It is going to be very moving and poignant,” he said.

Among the 30-strong party making the trip will also be footballers aged 16-17 who will be competing for an inaugural sporting trophy sponsored by Charles Tong, of Tong Engineering Ltd in Spilsby.