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15 October 2014
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What's in a Name?

by marglingheath

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Contributed by 
marglingheath
People in story: 
George Edgar Pascoe (Nicky)
Location of story: 
Cornwall / Northern France
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
A2959059
Contributed on: 
31 August 2004

I am a native of Cornwall, and when on relocating to the North East in 2000 I heard the name Pascoe, it was like a sound of 'home' to me.

I began to work as a volunteer with a lady with this as a surname. When I asked if it did indeed have Cornish roots, she told me that her Father-in-law, now long settled in this area, was born and lived in the Mount Hawke/St. Agnes area of the county. This was not far from my family base of Camborne/Redruth.

Of the Father-in-law's family, one lone surviving sister lived at St. Agnes still, tending with pride the family gravestones in the local graveyard. She had one sadness however, there had been one young brother, George Edgar, (known as Nicky), an air-gunner in a Lancaster Bomber, who had died on active service over Northern France during WW2, and this was one grave that had not been visited.

My newest hobby at the time was pursuit of my Family History. I had learned of the great usefulness of the Internet, and I offered to see if I could find anything which might be of help for the family.

I had the young airman's name;
George Edgar Pascoe
I had his date of death;
15/04/1943

My first attempt to contact the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was disappointing. The site was incredibly busy. However after some persistence I was able to locate the Debt of Honour site, and found a Commemoration Page which I was able to print out for the family. This located the place of commemoration/burial as Bohain Communal Cemetery, France.

This information generated information from Cornwall. I soon had a photocopy of a letter, written by a French Doctor's wife to the wife of one of the crew who was not named. This I transcribed onto computer, and printed out also. It mentioned a memorial on the actual site of the crash. There were also two old photos, one of the communal grave, marked with a simple wooden cross, and one of the hillside memorial.

I recontacted the War Graves Commission and on emailing the French Division, was able to get precise information as to where the grave was within Bohain Cemetery. The hillside memorial was still there in 1975, but difficult to reach. I'm still hoping to get more information from the local Mairie about it.

Goerge Edgar Pascoe's nephew and wife travelled to France, and visited the grave in 2003, and the family now have up to date photographs of it, with all the details.

The Crew were:-

Reginald James Shufflebotham
Flight Lieutenant (Pilot)
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
100 Squadron
Age 30

Albert Frank Towers
Flying officer (Navigator)
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
100 Squadron
Age 28

Geoffrey Prescott Tyrer
Sergeant ( Flight Engineer)
Royal Air Force
100 Squadron
Age 24

John Henry Nunn
Sergeant ( Wireless operator/Air Gunner)
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
100 Squadron
No known age

Peter Henry Russell Hunt
Sergeant (Air Gunner)
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
100 Squadron
Age 21

George Edgar Pascoe
Sergeant (Air Gunner)
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
100 Squadron
Age 20

Sidney Herbert West
Flying Officer (Bomb Aimer)
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
100 Squadron
Age 28

It would appear that 'Nicky' was possibly the youngest crew member, hardly more than a teenager when he flew out on his last mission.

I further researched 100 squadron, and found that it was re-formed in Dec 1942, after a disastrous battle against the Japanese. It reformed in Waltham near Grimsby, as a night bomber unit, and by March 1943 was flying Avro Lancaster Heavy Bombers against Germany. On 27/28 March 1943 it paid its first visit to Berlin, and all that year bombed a variety of targets including the V Weapon base at Peenemunde. During WW2 100 Squadron dropped 17,500 tons of bombs as well as mines.

Operations from Waltham cost 164 Bombers, missing in action or crashing in the United Kingdom, 48 Wellingtons and 116 Lancasters, one of which was 'Nicky's.

The Lancaster Website gave even more insights into the conditions that may have prevailed on this flight. Lancasters were purpose-built for bombing, and the crew's comfort and security were secondary. The bracing required to carry heavy bomb loads obstructed movement within the aircraft, particularly if you were wearing heavy clothing and flight boots. Conditions were cramped, especially for Air Gunners who often stayed in place for the whole of the mission. Some times they had to put their flight boots into the turret ahead of them and climb into them , putting them on. Night flying at 20,000 feet was cold. The temperature in the turrets would often fall to minus 40degrees, and frostbite was common.

I have not yet been able to trace the actual flight number, or mission for this crew, but I haven't given up yet!

All this from one Cornish name!

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Forum Archive

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These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - What's in a name

Posted on: 31 August 2004 by Ron Goldstein

Hi there
In my copy of 'Avro Lancaster, The definitive record', I can see that 100 Squadron lost a plane ED653 on the 15th April 1943.
Could this be the one you were researching?
Ron

 

Message 2 - What's in a name

Posted on: 02 September 2004 by marglingheath

Dear Ron,
Many thanks for the information about ED 653. Can you suggest any way that I might find where it was flying to? As it crashed so far north in France, Germany was an obvious target. It exploded on impact, so was carrying heavy bombs.
This research is proving fascinating, thanks once again!

 

Message 3 - What's in a name

Posted on: 02 September 2004 by Ron Goldstein

Hi
At the risk of stating the obvious, use GOOGLE to search for 100 Squadron and you will find more than enough to keep you going.
When I was researching my own brother's death, my first port of call was the Squadron Association.
Once you have made this contact all details can be made available to you.
Good luck with your further research.
Ron

 

Message 4 - What's in a name

Posted on: 05 September 2004 by marglingheath

Hi there!
I had accessed 100 Squadron, and thought I had gone as far as I could, but with the info you have given me I will try again!,
Many thanks

 

Message 5 - What's in a name

Posted on: 09 September 2004 by marglingheath

Hi again, Tried Google and 100 squadron, but it is closed till further notice by the committee!

Stuck again I'm afraid!

Message 1 - What's in a Name

Posted on: 31 August 2004 by Audrey Lewis - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Marglingheath,
I was delighted to read your account of the search to trace one of your Cornish ancestors. It's amazing what you can find out with a bit of perseverance! I hope you'll find the answers to more of your questions. Try this site too. Some of the researchers have helped me trace many
movements and of battles and dates during WW2.

 

Message 2 - What's in a Name

Posted on: 02 September 2004 by marglingheath

Dear Audrey,
How kind of you to comment on my article. 'Nicky' was no relation to me, but as a fellow 'Cousin Jack' I felt it my duty to do what i could to help the family to find out more. The search is still ongoing. When I have worked out how I will post copies of photos of the grave then/now, and of the memorial on the hillside.

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