The Wainwright crew 1944

Johnny Wainwright and the “Dead-Beat crew”.
Back row, (L to R): Harold Howard Bell (Rear Gunner), John Francis Schofield ‘Johnny’ Wainwright (Pilot) andMelvin Russell Bloomfield (Air Bomber).
Front row (L to R): Sydney Clement Woolley (Wireless Operator), John Francis Richards (Navigator), Stanley Starling (Mid Upper Gunner) and Noel Vernon Roberts (Flight Engineer).
Image provided by Lindsey Wainwright.

The “Dead-Beats” re-mustered at Oakington with No.7 P.F.F. in October 1944.
Image supplied by Lindsey Wainwright

Many thanks to Lindsey for providing these 2 fantastic pictures of her Father and his crew for the Wainwright crew page. Johnny and the boys arrived at Mepal from 1657 Conversion Unit on the 27th of December 1943, flying their first Op on the 2nd of January 1944, Gardening in the Frisian Islands. The crew completed 23 Ops, including 3 SOE sorties, initially flying Stirlings, before converting with the rest of the Squadron to Lancasters in March 1944.

The “Dead-Beats” last Op with the Squadron was on the 24th of May with an Op to Aachen. The crew later re mustered at Oakington to fly with No.7 Squadron (P.F.F.)

Lindsey has admitted that, inspired by our very own Vic Jay’s remarkable research into his Father Bob, she has been incredibly lucky to make contact with the son and daughter of Syd Woolley, the crew’s Wireless Operator and also the son of Navigator, John Richards.

Bitten with the bug, she is really keen to try and make contact with other relatives of the crew – particularly those of the two Canadians in the crew  – who knows? – it’s happened before after a blog post!

See the Wainwright crew history page here.

5 thoughts on “The Wainwright crew 1944

  1. Mel

    Thank you so much Lindsey! That is my Grandad on the first picture, back row far left – Harold Howard Bell (rear gunner). I have been looking so long for some pictures – everything was destroyed when my Grandma re-married so we don’t have many pictures of him at all. Sadly he passed away when I was fairly young (about 9 or 10yo) in the late 70’s. He never spoke much about his time in the RAF other than to say that they got up to mischief and that he was a boxer, but honestly, I am not sure if he was serious about that or just something he said when we were play fighting! Brilliant – my Dad says thanks also!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lindsey Wainwright

      Hello, Mel, I’m stunned! My email address is in the box below, I think, because I’m sure we’ll want to communicate lengthily!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mel

        There is no email showing Lindsey – if admin read this message, please do forward my email address to Lindsey if you can!

        Many thanks



  2. Jeff Richards

    Hi – I’m John Francis Richards son and have recently been in contact with Lindsey Wainwright. My Father was known as “Taff” and, as a civilian, “Jack”. On the first photo, he is on the far right, front row. On the second photo, he is second from the right. My son, Gareth completed a project on his Grandad’s RAF history using the National Archives at Kew. He also wrote an article related to this for”Aeroplane” magazine. We have the original photographs for these two crew shots plus others.
    Dr Jeff Richards



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