Solly crew survivors reunited in 1987

At the late Arthur Barton's home in Guildford in 1987- note the 1944 crew photo bottom left
L-R: Peter Loakes, R/G - Frank Haslam, W/Op holding part of the aircraft retrieved by
Peter Loncke and presented to Arthur Barton - Arthur Barton, F/E - Eddie Chapman, B/A

Eddie Chapman emigrated to New Zealand in about 1947 after training at an agricultural college and over the years contact was lost.

Peter Loakes worked around the world in the oil industry and contact was intermittent.

The Haslam and Barton families maintained contact, which became stronger when the editor came to London University in 1966 and was able to visit the Bartons in Guildford. When the editor got married in 1979, Arthur took the wedding photos. On moving to Leatherhead the editor was only 12 miles from Guildford and was persuaded by Arthur to join the RAFA branch there, later succeeding him as editor of the branch newsletter.

In 1981 Arthur persuaded Frank snr to join him on a visit to lay a wreath at the RAF Provincial Memorial at Boxbergheide, so that they could each visit their helpers. Both had for a long time been members of the RAF Escaping Society and in touch with their helpers.

According to Arthur: "Frank and I, on the occasions that we met, would frequently talk about Eddie and wondered just what had happened to him. Was he in fact still alive? On one such meet he said he would go to London to New Zealand House and see if there was any chance of tracking down our long lost crew member."

"At New Zealand House Frank was offered the electoral roll of the whole country and told to look through it. Initially this seemed to be a daunting task but in point of fact there was only one Chapman listed with the right initials. He was a farmer in North Island at Palmerston North. Both Frank and Eddie knew that Eddie had farming blood in his veins so it was a fair bet that it was our man.

A telegram brough an immediate reply. Now back in contact, Eddie with his wife Jill came to England the following year for a reunion."

Frank Haslam snr's account of his time with his crew and of his evasion in Belgium was written in the late 1940s and again in the 1980s. This was used as the basis of a fuller account - One of our Airmen is no longer missing - written as a birthday present and for his family in the early 1990s by his son Frank (the editor).

This added information from the Squadron records, the Bomber Command War Diaries by Middlebrook & Everitt, other crew members and others serving on 207 Squadron at the time, and from accounts by other survivors of the Wesseling Raid. Raymond Glynn-Owen, Ron Winton and Arthur Barton were particularly helpful in providing sources and information.

In 1993 Arthur Barton published privately his own account In Pursuit of Freedom, which he printed and bound himself in a limited edition for those making a donation in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund and the RAF Escaping Society. Arthur died on 11th May 1998.

Frank Haslam snr died on 6th December 2009.

Eddie Chapman, the late Peter Loakes, the late Frank Haslam snr and the late Arthur Barton were members of 207 Squadron RAF Association of which Frank Haslam jr*, was a Friend Member and the Website & Newsletter Editor (and at various times Membership Secretary, Reunion Secretary). Mrs Ruth Alderson, the sister of John Shaw the navigator was a Friend Member. After trying for many years to find the family of the pilot Charles John Mike Solly we were finally successful in September 2006.

That now leaves just the family of the mid-upper gunner Edwin Jack Jacky Jewell to find.

* Frank Haslam jr is the editor of this 207 Squadron Royal Air Force History website. He would be delighted to hear from anyone who knew any of the crew and in particular anyone who is a member of Jacky's family or can lead us to them.

page last updated 27 Sep 06: 27 Dec 13