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Newark Air Museum - Press Release

Newark Air Museum - Press Release

Newark Air Museum hosts 76 Squadron Halifax Presentation

On Friday, 7th September the Newark Air Museum hosted a short presentation in Hangar 1 at the museum's Drove Lane Site that was made to Clifton Grove, Nottingham resident Mike Harrison.

The presentation was of a scale model diorama of a H.P. Halifax of 76 Sqn, as it looked in April 1944, was made by Terence Fox of the Airframes Studios, Macclesfield, who is an aviation artist and semi-professional model-maker. On the night of April 24th/25th, 1944, Halifax Mk III, LK789, code MP-L, of 76 Sqn, Royal Air Force (RAF), took off from RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor, for a raid on Karlsruhe, Germany. This was the crew's 18th operation. Although bombing results were scattered, due to heavy cloud and a stronger than forecast wind, which pushed the Pathfinders off track, flak was moderate and ineffective and, over the target area at least, no night fighters were encountered.

However, on returning to friendly territory, the bombers were routed 'up England' and, due to the very real risk of collision, many flew with navigation lights on, having been briefed that no intruder activity was expected. This was not the case, as Halifax LK789 was engaged and shot down, by a Me 410 intruder 20km north of Cambridge, and crashed in flames, after the pilot tried to crash land. All of the crew, with the exception of the rear gunner, were killed.

Amongst the crew was Mike Harrison's uncle, Sgt Norris Mervyn Harrison (1819564), he was the mid-upper gunner on the aircraft and he was aged just 19, when he lost his life.

The rear gunner who survived the crash was Flt Sgt John Anderson (1573409) and was rescued from his turret by local Fire Brigade officers, suffering from a broken femur and abrasions to the scalp.

Mike Harrison is trying to contact the family of Flt Sgt Anderson, who is Scottish; he may have lived in the Glasgow area, whilst other reports note that he may have settled in the Welney, Norfolk area after the war. Any possible leads for Mike can be routed via the Newark Air Museum.

As a brief footnote; shortly after the presentation was made a pair of RAF Tornados made a low-level south to north pass over the air museum site. This was witnessed by those present and each remarked on its appropriateness to end what had been a moving presentation.

Mike Harrison (right) pictured receiving the Halifax scale model diorama from Terence Fox, at the Newark Air Museum.
Detailed view of the scale model diorama of the 76 Sqn H.P. Halifax.

Photo Credits: Howard Heeley - Down To Earth Promotions

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