Sergeant James Barton

Sergeant James barton was posted in to 50 squadron at RAF Skellingthorpe from No.5 Lancaster finishing School on 12 February 1945, along with he rest of his crew, captained by Flying Officer D N King.

Their first operation was on 20 February 1945 to attack the Mitteland Canal at Gravenhorst.

His operations were;


20 February 1945     F/O DN King (Pilot)                 Bombing attack on Mitteland

Lancaster I               Sgt KR Still (Flt. Eng.)            Canal. Gravenhorst

ME249                     Sgt AR Stafford (Nav.)

                               F/Sgt GJ Thomas (B.A.)

                               Sgt DWS Bay (Wop/AG)

                               Sgt N Russell (MU AG)

                               Sgt J Barton (Rear AG)


3 March 1945           F/O DN King                       Bombing attack on Dortmund-Ems

Lancaster I               Sgt KR Still                        Canal. Ladbergen

ME249                     Sgt AR Stafford

                               F/Sgt GJ Thomas

                               Sgt DWS Bay

                               Sgt N Russell

                               Sgt J Barton


5 March 1945           F/O DN King                        Bombing attack on Bohlen

Lancaster I               Sgt KR Still                         Aircraft missing. No news

NF918                      Sgt AR Stafford                   after take off.

                               F/Sgt GJ Thomas

                               Sgt DWS Bay

                               Sgt N Russell

                               Sgt J Barton

The aircraft was shot down by flak and crashed at Scharben-Hochdorf. All the crew are buried at the Durnbach War Cemetery. At 37 Sgt Russell was well above the average age for Bomber Command aircrew.

James Barton 2nd from right, front row, during his air gunners training

NF918 was delivered to 50 Squadron in Aug 1944. NF918 took part in the following key operations: Chatellerault 9/10 Aug 1944; Stuttgart 12/13 Sep 1944; Gravenhorst 6/7 Nov 1944; Merseburg 14/15 Jan 1945; Bohlen 5/6 Mar 1945-Lost. This aircraft was one of 400 Lancaster 1s ordered from Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft (Baginton) and delivered from Jul 1944 to Feb 1945 mainly with Merlin 24 engines.

We are grateful to James Barton's grandson Russell Barton for the details.

Mike Connock