04.01.1945 No. 103 Squadron Lancaster III ND861 PM-H P/O. Weight Location: River Humber, Hull.
Mission: Training

Date: 4th January 1945 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 103 Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND861

Code: PM-H

Base: R.A.F. Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire.

Location: River Humber, Hull.

Pilot: P/O. Christopher Joseph Weight 184374 R.A.F.V.R. Age ? Killed

Fl/Eng: P/O. George Edward Widdicombe 188324 R.A.F.V.R. Age 32. Killed

Nav: F/O. Maurice Desmond Pickersgill 164197 R.A.F.V.R. Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Henry George Backway 1586864 R.A.F.V.R. Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Clifford Frederick Hillier 160652820 R.A.F.V.R. Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Cyril Lloyd 1832526 R.A.F.V.R. Age 19. Killed


(Left) A Terrifying Beauty – the Art of Piotr Forkasiewicz. (Right) The Humber Estuary (Karl Milner)
Aircraft took-off at 14.24 hrs from R.A.F. Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire. The weather deteriorated during the course of the sortie and as the crew tried to regain their base they encountered a blizzard. The Lancaster crashed 14.40 hrs. into the River Humber near the fishing and commercial port of Hull. No trace of the crew was found and they are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial to the Missing.

Acting Fg Off and pilot Chris Weight is front centre. Bottom right is Navigator Fg Off Maurice Pickersgill. Rear right is Bomb Aimer Sgt Henry ‘Harry’ Backway. Rear left is Wireless Op. Sgt Cliff Hillier. The two gunners rear centre and bottom left are Sgt Stanley Rees George and Sgt Cyril Lloyd. It is not known at this stage which is which. (David Howells)

(Left) P/O Christopher Weight is also remembered on the graves stone of his mother Hannah Weight, in Camberwell New Cemetery, London. (Julia & Keld)(Right) The Runnymede Memorial.

Burial details:

P/O. Christopher Joseph Weight. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 268.

P/O. George Edward Widdicombe. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 269.
Son of James Henry Widdicombe M.A. and Violet Maud Widdicomb, husband of Iona Ruth Widdicombe of Manningtree, Essex, England.

F/O. Maurice Desmond Pickersgill. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 267.
Son of John Clarence and Nora Winifred Pickersgill of Wakefield, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Henry George Backway. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 273.
Son of Henry Ernest and Violet Helena Backway of Plymouth, England.

Sgt. Clifford Frederick Hillier. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 275.
Son of Melvin Alfred and Maud Hillier of Ashtead, Surre, England.

Sgt. Cyril Lloyd. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 275.
Son of John Rees and Elizabeth Lloyd of Bedminster, Somerset, England.

Can you help?

The 7th member of this crew was Sgt Stanley Rees George who was the mid upper gunner and did not fly on this training flight. What became of him is unknown but he does not seem to have flown for 103 Sqn again. The Nephew of one of the crew David Howells is searching for details about him and would love to hear from any relatives, or anyone who can help with further information or identify Stanley in the crew photo, please contact us

Compiled by David King 4
th January 2019, Thanks to Linda Ibrom and to David Howells for the crew photo.