On several visits to East Kirkby during 2015/2016, my friend and I had various strange co-incidences happen. These led me on the trail of a young wireless operator named Dennis Gordon Holyoak from 630 squadron. Sadly during my research, I discovered that he had lost his life at the age of 21, when the entire crew crashed while on a night training flight on 18/10/1944. It was just days/hours after they arrived on the squadron. We visited Dennis’s grave to pay our respects as it was near to where my friend lived at the time.
As Dennis’s story was a short one, I researched their aircraft instead and managed to list all the crews that flew in lancaster NF961 and which raids they took part in, until my now adopted crew took what was possibly their first and last flight and the aircraft was struck off charge.
I put my research together as a small project and presented this to the Panton family at East Kirkby in 2016. It is now part of one of the displays at the LAHC.
Since then, neither of us has had any strange occurences, until a couple of months ago and the same ‘thing’ happened while I was in the chapel in early June, and again while my friend was in the chapel just last week. Maybe it was Dennis’s way of telling us something?
A new website has recently gone online about the history of 630 squadron and I got in touch to tell them my story, and have since sent them copies of the documents I found during my research. They hadn’t seen them before, so I have helped them out in my small way.
I have followed Wireless Operator since I first heard about it, and wish the team every success in telling the story of John. It has struck a chord with me due to the links with my ‘adopted’ wireless operator who was also with 630 squadron.
Submitted by Karen Shortland