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Lancaster Bomber veteran returns to site of Second World War Lashenden crash

A Second World War veteran returned the site where his crew were forced to make an emergency landing in their Lancaster bomber plane, for the first time in 75 years.

Dick Raymond made the long journey from his home near Barnstaple, Devon, to Headcorn Aerodrome, formerly known as Lashenden Airfield, on Sunday, July 28.

The 95-year-old is the last surviving member of the seven-man 'Lashenden Lancaster' crew which landed at the airfield in 1944 after they were shot at during a raid on Munich.

Dick Raymond returned to Lashenden Air Warfare Museum after 75 years
Dick Raymond returned to Lashenden Air Warfare Museum after 75 years

The enemy fire broke two of their engines and the crew were forced to frantically threw equipment out of the plane to gain height and avoid crashing.

The day was filled with surprises for Mr Raymond, who was the flight engineer on the plane.

He received a framed certificate declaring him an honorary member of the Lashenden Air Warfare Museum.

The gift means Mr Raymond is welcome to visit the museum at any time free of charge.

Trevor Matthews, trustee of the museum, said it was a great way for them to say thank you to him for what he did in the past.

Dick Raymond received an honorary member certificate from Trevor Matthews, trustee at the Lashenden Air Warfare Museum.
Dick Raymond received an honorary member certificate from Trevor Matthews, trustee at the Lashenden Air Warfare Museum.

The family of his friend and fellow crew member, Ken Lane, also attended the event which Mr Raymond was unaware of until he arrived.

Mr Lane, the Lancaster pilot, and Mr Raymond were best men at each other's weddings and were close friends after their days in the RAF.

Ken passed away two years ago but Mr Raymond has stayed in touch with his daughter.

He said: "I didn't know they were coming. I like to see them because Ken was such a lovely chap and saved my life so many times, to be in touch with his daughter is great."

Helen Povey, Ken Lanes daughter, made a surprise appearance at the event
Helen Povey, Ken Lanes daughter, made a surprise appearance at the event

Staff at the museum gave him a tour around and let him get up close and personal with a Spitfire plane at the aerodrome.

Speaking about the day, Mr Raymond said: "It was unbelievable but a bit embarrassing really. I'm just lucky enough to be the last surviving member."

After their emergency landing at Lashenden, Mr Raymond and his crew returned to their base at Coningsby, Lincolnshire, the next day.

In May 1944, just a month after Lashenden, the crew were shot down in another Lancaster over the Dutch/German border and became prisoners of war.

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