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ASTELL, WILLIAM, DFC

Service:Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number:60283
Rank:Flight Lieutenant
Date of Death:17 May 1943
Decorations:Distinguished Flying Cross
Units:No. 617 Squadron, RAF †

via Anon. 2013

Timeline

17 May 1943 †Lancaster ED864: Aircraft collided with high tension wires near Marbeck, 5 km SSE of Borken, while en route to the Möhne Dam.

Citations

Distinguished Flying Cross:
One night in May, Flight Lieutenant Astell was captain of an aircraft which carried out an attack on an enemy landing ground. Following the attack, his aircraft was intercepted and damaged by an enemy fighter. The rear turret and rudder control were rendered unserviceable whilst fire broke out in the fuselage; the starboard wing, the engine nacelle, and an ammunition container also caught fire and 2 members of the crew were wounded. The aircraft lost height and Flight Lieutenant Astell ordered his crew to escape by parachute. Two of them were able to do so but time did not permit of similar action being taken by the navigator and Flight Lieutenant Astell. The latter was able to make a successful crash landing, however, and both he and his colleague managed to extricate themselves from the wreckage. After a period of 5 days, fraught with danger, they eventually observed one of our patrols. Flight Lieutenant Astell went forward to make contact but, unfortunately, was unable to do so. He returned to the place where he thought he had left his colleague but he could not find him. Flight Lieutenant Astell eventually discovered another friendly detachment and reached safety. Throughout the engagement, and subsequently, this officer displayed great courage and fortitude.

Burial Details

Cemetery:REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY
Grave:21. D. 13.

External Links

The London Gazette - Distinguished Flying Cross Citation (11 August 1942)

References

Anon. 2013 Dambusters: All the men who took part. BBC News. 27 August 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2018 from <http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-22544568>.

Record updated on 21 April 2018.


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