Many of you who read this blog have relatives who were directly involved in the D-Day Landings or the Second World War. It’s a remarkable feeling knowing that those who have such close connections to this momentous event would spare the time to read about my experiences in Normandy surrounding the D-Day anniversaries.
Therefore, before Friday, I would like to pay my respects to my late grandfather.
F/O Lyndon Charles (Taffy) Evans joined the RAF at the onset of the Second World War. He was born and lived in one of the many mining communities in Wales and originally wanted to join the Navy. However, he damaged his leg during a mining accident when he was a young teenager; an event which almost took his life. Three years later in 1939, aged 18, he applied to become a pilot, however due to this disability he was instead offered the dangerous position of rear gunner. Taffy went on to fly a selection of Halifax heavy bombers with his crew, G-George, in the No.78 Squadron of the RAF.
The crew were based in Elvington, Yorkshire around the time of D-Day, at what is now the Yorkshire Air Museum. His crew consisted of F/O G. Larkworthy (flight engineer), F/O Andy Jamieson (bomb aimer), F/O J. Freemantle (mid-upper gunner) and Flt Lt L. Broadhurst (pilot).
In the days and weeks prior to the allied invasion of Europe, Bomber Command decided No.78 Squadron’s bombing operations would be concentrated over northern France. Railway marshalling yards and French ports were often targets in preparation for the D-Day Landings. I am under the impression he came close to death on several of these operations, as did his crew. He has since been featured in the book Nobody Unprepared: The History of No. 78 Squadron RAF by Vernon Holland. According to Holland, his squadron attacked a total of 167 different targets throughout the war and participated in a total of 502 bombing raids.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the crew of G-George, and every other member of the RAF, for their courage, bravery and service.
We will remember them.
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