I have now completed this commissioned painting. Both customer and I are extremely pleased with the painting. I love painting night scenes as I get to be creative with lighting which in this case has definitely worked well and given the painting an old vintage and atmospheric feel.
FO John Northend was navigator on board Lancaster MkI W4192 ‘QR-E’. In the scene he is standing by the crew wagon. The aircraft took off at 03:35hrs on 13th January 1943 from RAF Syerston, along with other Lancaster bombers of 61 Sqn, (No.5 Group) RAF. They were part of a force of 55 Lancasters from Nos. 1 & 5 Groups with target indication by 4 Mosquito aircraft from the Pathfinder Force, taking part in an attack on the Krupps works at Essen, one of the cities in the industrial heartland of Germany, the Ruhr.
Tragically their Lancaster crashed on the return leg at Mettman, 14 km ENE of Düsseldorf, where the crew were all killed. They were originally buried in Nordfriedhof on 18th January 1943, but they were reinterred in the Reichswald Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery. It is not thought that they were shot down by a night fighter as there were no outstanding claims, but it is believed that they may have been damaged by flak over the target.
FO John Edward Northend was the son of William and Phyllis Northend, and was born on the 21st September 1920 at Sheffield in the West Riding of Yorkshire. His father William Frederick Northend was a veteran of the Great War, having served in the 1/3rd West Riding Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps in the 43rd W Riding Division. FO John Northend was appointed as Sgt aircrew sometime in 1941 under service number 1378643 and was appointed to an emergency commission as a Pilot Officer in the General Duties Branch of the RAFVR on 31st January 1942. He was posted to No 61 Sqn at RAF Syerston and it is believed he was promoted to Flying Officer on 1st October 1942. This painting is a tribute to FO John Northend and the other crew who lost their lives that day. R.I.P.
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