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Frank Fealy RAFVR and Guy Johnston’s crew 1944. 103 Sqdn.

103 Squadron Fealy

  Frank was born in Leeds on the 25 November 1924 and educated at Middleton, Leeds. He later attended the Leeds College of Art and worked as a cinema projectionist at the Rex Cinema, Beeston Leeds now sadly demolished . He then worked for Wireless Instruments, Leeds and enlisted in the RAF in 1942 which would have been about his 18th birthday. Enlisted RAF 1942.

  Frank did his basic recruit training at Bridlington on the east Yorkshire coast and was then posted to Air Gunnery School at RAF Morpeth and then RAF Medmenham  for a photographic interpretation course.

  He was then transferred to Heavy Conversion Unit and crewed up with Northern Irishman Guy Johnston.

  

441 Johnston and crew ws

  

F/O

JG

Johnston

28

Eglinton, Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

Sgt

WJ

Gwynne

21

Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

F/O

JJH

Ducharme

25

Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada.

Sgt

F

Fealy

 

 

F/O

JCP

Doyle

29

Republic of Ireland

Sgt

G

Thomson

22

Kendal, Westmorland.

F/S

BP

Boyle

19

North Curl Curl, New South Wales, Australia.

  The crew was then posted to 550 Sqdn at North Killingholme and shortly afterwards to 103 Squadron at Elsham Wolds in Feb 1944.

  F/O J. Guy Johnston and crew completed two operations and were shot down on their third. This was the infamous Nuremburg raid which cost the RAF nearly 100 aircraft and crews.

  Operations

  15 March 1944 - Stuttgart - Bomb aimers hatch lost.

  18 March 1944 - Frankfurt - Engine fire 30 minutes before target. Jettisoned 4000lb bomb and attacked with incendiaries. Landed at Manston.

  30 March 1944 - Nuremburg - Flak victim. Crashed at Bilkeim, Germany. Frank was the only survivor and spent the rest of the war as a POW.

  Johnson’s aircraft, Lancaster JB736, was amongst the first shot down that night. They were a shot down by predicted flak. Frank barely escaped with his life and was badly burnt but managed to get out through a hole in the floor of the fuselage where the H2S radar scanner had been blown away by the flak burst.

  On return to UK he was promoted to Warrant Officer and was demobbed shortly after to resume a civilian life and career.

  Post war career.

  Frank considered a career in teaching but with war grant bought a Morris 8 and started in business as Electrical and Hardware Factor. Due to lack of petrol had to give up the business and went to work as salesman for Smarts Furniture, Leeds.

  When they cut down on staff due to post war economic climate, joined sales force of Stead & Simpsons shoe store. His owning a car and parking it outside the shop and his sales techniques annoyed his manager who dismissed him. His technique had been to have the client try on a pair of shoes half a size too small. Then he brought out a more expensive pair which the customer was pleased with !

  With help of future brother-in-law Sidney Chambers Frank joined John Kings Engineers as stores clerk and later rose to become Sales Manager. He had a long and successful career at King’s until his retirement.

  Acknowledgements Many thanks to members of the Fealy family for the background info and top photo.

Item written by David Fell

 

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