The crew of Lancaster AJ-K (ED934) 617 Squadron 'Dambusters'
At 21:30 on 16 May 1943, Avro Lancaster AJ-K 617 Squadron 'Dambusters', flown by P/O Vernon Byers, took off from RAF Scampton for an operation on the German dams (Operation Chastise) with the Sorpe dam as the main target. The Avro Lancaster departs as the third aircraft of the second wave and flies to Germany via the northern route. At Texel, the Lancaster was hit by German anti-aircraft fire and crashed into the Waddenzee, about 18 miles west of Harlingen. All seven crew members lost their lives. Only the body of F/S James McDowell was recovered on 22 June 1943, south of Terschelling, and buried the next day in Harlingen General Cemetery. The other six crew members are listed as missing and commemorated on the Runnymede Air Forces Memorial.
The Lancaster of P/O Vernon Byers and his crew is the first of eight Lancasters that will not return from this operation.
P/O V.W. Byers (Can)
Sgt A.J. Taylor
F/O J.H. Warner
Sgt J. Wilkinson
P/O A.N. Whitaker
Sgt C. McA. Jarvie
F/S J. McDowell (Can)
As a tribute to the seven crew members of Avro Lancaster AJ-K a commemorative plaque was unveiled on 23 June 2022, in Harlingen General Cemetery.
* Click on the crew members photo for more information.