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He Dipped his Wings and Met his God - the Last Raid of George Challinor

by shropshirelibraries

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Archive List > Royal Air Force

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Evelyn Corfield (nee Challinor)
Location of story: 
Pontesbury, Shropshire
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
14 July 2005

Flight Sgt Alan Falconer's crew - George Challinor 2nd from right

George Challinor my brother worked at the manor house in Pontesbury which was an ecclesiastical college where the young students were training to be priests.Just before the war the warden Father Blood took George to the Tern Hill air show and from that moment on he wanted to fly. He worked in the gardens and then went on to the railways when the war started. He was in a reserved occupation but he so badly wanted to fly that he volunteered for air crew. He met his best friend Bill Taylor in london when they joined up.They were both air gunners. George was mid upper gunner and bill was rear gunner.Eventually, they started on ops over Germany.
Georges bithday was on the 13 February, he'd been in the RAF 13 months and he was on his 13th raid.He was returning from Bochum in Germany to Kirmington, Lincolnshire on the fateful night of November 4th 1944 with a damaged plane.When they tried to land there was a damaged plane on the runway and they were told to go round again. As they flew over the pine trees they were losing height and the pine needles got into the ventilators and the engines caught fire. They were all in their crash positions. the tail was cut right off and in the next field.They hedge hopped and crashed. the pilot and engineer were thrown out. The navigator, wireless operator and bomd aimer were all right. they got out. The plane was on fire when they realised George and Bill were not with them so they went back throught the flames. They got bill out pretty quickly. He was unconscious but his back was broken. Then they came to George. He was unconscious and stuck. They pulled and pulled but couldn't get him out and thought they would have to cut his foot off with the fire axe. Then he just slid out. The ambulances came but they could not save him. Those lads were only 21 and they kept going back through he flames to rescue their friends. They were like a family.George was brought back home to Pontesbury and was laid to rest in the cemetary in the shadow of Pontesford Hill which he had loved to play on when we were young.

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