Sgt G A N Thompson RAF(VR), memorial in the grounds of Cragside

(a National Trust property formerly the home of Sir William Armstrong, near Rothbury, Northumberland)

Sgt George Thompson was the Rear Gunner of the crew of Lancaster DV371 EM-M (P/O Harold Broad) which took off from RAF Spilsby at 1715hrs on 30th January 1944 as part of a force attacking Berlin.  All we know is that they failed to return.

There was only one survivor, the Wireless Operator, Flight Sgt Eric William Devere Downey, who was taken prisoner. The rest of the crew of DV371 are buried in a collective grave in Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery. This means that it was possible to say their remains had been found but these were not sufficiently individually identifiable to go in separate named graves, so they were buried together.

The crew was:

Pilot - P/O Harold Douglas Broad RAF(VR)
Flight Engineer - Sgt Stanley Kenneth Chalklin RAF(VR)
Navigator - F/O Charles Ellis Pointon RAF(VR)
Wireless Operator -  Flight Sgt Eric William Devere Downey RAF(VR) pow
Bomb Aimer - Sgt Charles Ronald Bailey RAF(VR)
Mid Upper Gunner - P/O James Bruce Stewart RCAF
Rear Gunner - Sgt George Adam Nichols Thompson RAF(VR)

DV371 was one of three aircraft from 207 Squadron which failed to return from that raid on Berlin - of the 22 men in those three crews (one had 8 aboard) only 7 survived as POW. 

The other two crews which failed to return were:

ED758 EM-V F/O Arthur Moore - all kia - NKG
EE173 EM-K P/O Richardson (Dick) Burnet: Rear Gunner Sgt Pulman killed; rest POW

The other 8 aircraft from 207 Squadron returned safely.

Sergeant - 1590591
207 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
who died on Sunday, 30th January 1944.

Cemetery:  BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY, Brandenburg, Germany
Grave Reference/Panel Number:  Coll. grave 5. H. 29-33.

We are grateful to Michael Meldrum for his assistance.

Sgt Thompson has this simple memorial
in the grounds of Cragside
National Trust link to Cragside

George Thompson's name is also on
Rothbury's War Memorial

Pam Woodcock 8 Feb 2008: I have been searching the RAF websites trying to find information on George Thompson. I was amazed to see that information was needed by your website also. Although I had heard that he had been a rear gunner in a Lancaster I had always wondered what had happened to him.

George Adam Nichols Thompson was the second son of George and Ada (nee Nichols) Thompson. He had an elder brother James (Jimmy) and a younger sister Elizabeth (Betty) - they lived at Cragend Farm which is on the Cragside Estate and were tenant farmers.

Jimmy carved the stone in Cragside wood, with a hammer and nail when Georgie died. George's fiancée Peggy married Jimmy and they had a son George, who still lives at Cragend.

My grandmother lived in one of the cottages at Cragend and our family spent happy times on the farm. My sister remembers George when she played with Betty as a small child. I was born after the war but always remember the family talking about the young man who was always walking away from the camera - I have never seen his face.

If you have any information on any of the crew of EM-M DV371 please contact Frank Haslam, website editor.
last updated 15 July 2008: crew CWGC records linked and M/U name corrected: 18 Nov 17 CWGC links updated