Every Name A Story Content

Henderson, R., Pt/Off., D.F.M., 1943

Photo: B. Chandler

In Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery is the Commonwealth War Grave of 156121 Pilot Officer (Pilot) Ralph Henderson, D.F.M., serving with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, who died 22/11/1943.

In Blyth Cemetery is a family headstone which reads:

In loving memory of
Robert William,
Dearly loved husband of
Mary Jane Henderson
Died 18th Nov. 1926 aged 54 years.
His dear wife Mary Jane Henderson
Died 29th Aug. 1962
"At rest".
Their son Pilot Officer Ralph Henderson
Killed in action 22nd Nov. 1943.

Simon Glancey has submitted the following:

Pilot Officer Henderson was killed when Avro Lancaster III JB424 OL-B of 83 Sqn was lost on a mission to Berlin. The Lancaster crashed at Schiller Park, in Berlin, with the loss of all seven crew members.
Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War: 1943;W.R. Chorley; 1996; Midland Counties Publications; ISBN 0 904597 90 3, page 390

His D.F.M. was gazetted on July 23rd 1943. He had been amongst the crew of Lancaster I ED313 OL-B of 83 Squadron on the night of March 11/12 1943 on a mission to Stuttgart. The Lancaster was shot down by a night fighter, coming down some 20 miles south west of Chalons-sur-Marne, Two of the crew were killed, two taken prisoner, but the other three, including Henderson, evaded capture and returned to the UK.

His D.F.M. was reported in the Morpeth Herald of Friday,06/08/1943:

Blyth Pilot Wins D.F.M.
"The Distinguished Flying Medal has been awarded to Sergt. Pilot Ralph Henderson, son of Mrs. Henderson, of 53, North Avenue, Blyth, and the late Mr. R.W. Henderson. In announcing the award the Air Ministry state that he has displayed conduct in keeping with the highest traditions of the Royal Air Force."

He is remembered in Blyth on B42.19 and B42.23

The CWGC entry for Pilot Officer Henderson

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk