Lancaster bomber PB304 crash site at Salford

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Lancaster PB304, Salford

All 7 crewmen and 2 people* on the ground were killed when the damaged and bomb laden Lancaster PB304 of 106 Squadron based at RAF Metheringham, Lincolnshire crashed into the opposite bank of the River Irwell here at Pendlebury, Salford on Sunday 30 July 1944. The pilot was attempting to crash land the Lancaster in the playing fields just beyond.
*please see note below about Mr John Reeves who died from his injuries in 1946.

EDIT JULY 2015. More photos added showing the bomb damage to Regatta Street and a newspaper appeal.

Crash site on Google maps

Below; Looking south east towards Manchester.

Below; detail from the Salford City Reporter of Friday 5 August 1944.

Many People Injured and Much Property Damaged
About eighty people were injured, one of whom subsequently died, and considerable damage was caused to property when a British aeroplane crashed and blew up on the bank of the Irwell, near Langley-road, Pendlebury, about a hundred yards from the Salford boundary, and fronting on the Littleton-road Playing Fields on Sunday. The crew of the plane were killed.”

Below; image on display at Yorkshire Air Museum showing the crew positions. The BBC tried to do something similar but chose to use a silhouette of a Halifax bomber taken from an RAF recruitment poster.

Below; Crew of PB304.
Crew photo from here

The brand new Lancaster had been on a bombing raid on German positions at Cahagnes in Normandy in support of British troops on the ground. The attacking force comprised 462 Lancasters, 200 Halifax bombers and 30 Mosquitos but due to cloud covering the target area many were not ordered down through the cloud to bomb at low level and returned to base still carrying their bombs. Moreover, the returning crews could not ditch their bombs in the English Channel due to all the Allied shipping supplying the invading forces.

Below; A Lancaster bomber, this is NX611 “Just Jane” at East Kirby

Possibly hit by flak as it circled above the clouds over Normandy, Lancaster PB304 was in trouble as it came in over Manchester on a route back to base at RAF Metheringham in Lincolnshire.

The many witness accounts told of the Lancaster flying low with port engine trouble and attempting to land at the Littleton Road playing fields. The first attempt was aborted and Flight Lieutenant Lines brought the aircraft back round for another attempt. He very nearly made it but a wing clipped the roof tops of houses in Regatta Street and the Lancaster crashed into the far bank of the River Irwell. There was apparently a pause of 30 seconds before the bombs on board exploded.

Below; Two photos of Regatta Street after the crash and the bombs exploded, kindly provided by Bob and Beryl.


Below; Regatta Street now.

Visiting the scene last week, I spoke with a Regatta Street resident called Beryl. She was just a small child at the time but was able to recall it. She had been playing out but had just returned to her home when the Lancaster crashed followed by the explosion which demolished a couple of houses in the street. She told me one memory of that was a seat being ripped clean off her bike. Beryl also showed me a framed photo of her home after the incident – all the windows smashed, the walls damaged and part of the roof was missing.



The photo above and the poem by J Belshaw of Pendleton, courtesy of Bob and Beryl.

Two people on the ground (not one as initially reported) died of injuries caused by the blast; a 45 year old ARP warden, Mr George Morris and 72 years old Mrs Lucy Bamford, both of Pendleton.

UPDATE 08 March 2023
I am grateful to George Cogswell for pointing out a third civilian died following the crash, a Mr John Alfred Reeves of 7 Regatta Street, Salford who died of his injuries in 1946. Please see more on George’s website Greater Manchester Blitz Victims

The Salford City Reporter of August 18 1944 reported on the coroner’s inquiry. Mrs Caroline Morris said her husband had been working in the allotment. Mr Morris had asked his wife to fetch some scissors from the house to cut some roses. As she returned she saw the Lancaster low overhead and thought it was doing stunts. He shouted, “Run for it Carrie!” I ran behind an air raid shelter. There was a loud explosion. I ran home to see whether the children were safe and then ran back to the allotment where I found him lying on the ground. He said his left leg had gone.

Mr Morris seemed to be recovering well in hospital but died a few hours later, the cause of death was a pulmonary embolism brought on by the fracture to his leg.

The other fatality on the ground was Mrs Lucy Bamford who was at home in Langley Road. She too appeared to recover well and was discharged from hospital but died at her son’s home on August 11. The grandson of Mrs Lucy Bamford has written a book on the subject called the Salford Lancaster. Surprisingly neither Salford nor Eccles library had a copy (and neither had I) and so have had to find other sources for the details presented here.


The pilot was Flight Lieutenant Peter Lines from Purley in Surrey and although early into his tour of operations he was considered an exceptionally good pilot.

The Wireless Operator was Sergeant Arthur Young from Cardiff. Of Afro-Caribbean descent he was one of the few black airmen at that time.

Sergeant Mohand Singh was the Lancaster’s rear gunner and was from the Punjab; he was completing his 22nd operation but in civilian life was a medical student.

Sergeant Raymond Barnes (Flight Engineer) was local to the area in which PB304 crashed, his home was less than a mile and a half up the road. It is possible he guided Flight Lieutenant Lines to the playing fields.

Mid upper gunner Sergeant John Bruce Thornley Davenport was from near Market Drayton in Shropshire. Aged 30 he had been an RAF cook who applied for crew duties and completed a gunnery course.

The Bomb Aimer was Flying Officer John Steele, of Bradford. He had reportedly told his family of a premonition he would not survive the month.

Flying Officer Harry Reid was the navigator and was from Toronto. His parents were from the Orkneys and before the war Harry Reid had been studying maths and physics at the University of Toronto.

Below; Two of the crew. F/O Reid on the left, Sgt Young on the right

Harry Reid photo
Arthur Young photo

Picture below of Sergeant Mohand Singh courtesy of his nephew Anil Sood and used with kind permission.


At the nearby Agecroft cemetery there is this memorial.
The stone for the monument was donated by a quarry owner from Halifax called Tommy Topham who apparently donated the stone for many war memorials in the UK.

Below; Memorial at RAF Metheringham, photo taken during a brief visit to the airfield.

Below; Bombing up a 106 Squadron Lancaster at RAF Metheringham. Photo from wikipedia.

UPDATE 13 June 2022
Below: These ‘then and now’ photos are by Keith Beckett and are provided here with his kind permission. Thanks Keith.

Keith says it was impossible to get the houses in one frame for this photo due to trees having grown since at the place where the photographer was standing in 1944.

119 comments on “Lancaster bomber PB304 crash site at Salford
  1. Al says:

    Nicely done mate, great that you met the lady with the story. Wonder what he was doing over Manchester on his way to Lincs though?

    • Ian D B says:

      Yeah, curious route from Normandy. Came in from Blackpool which just confuses me more. Must’ve been a good reason for it.

    • katherine taylor says:

      This is a brilliant story for my ww2 topic. Really brings it home to the kids
      Would you be interested In talking to them about it

      • Joe Bamford says:

        I’d be very happy to give a talk about PB304 and the incident in Salford. I’ve only recently made contact with the pilot’s younger brother and discovered that he was best friends with the last surviving ‘Dam Buster’ Johnny Johnson.J

    • My mum norha Morrison saw the actual crash she even saw the pilot of the plane as she was out playing in the street at time of impact she was 12 years old at the time.

  2. Paul says:

    Thats an epic tale Ian . Nicely linking quite a few experiences together too .
    Keep meaning to buy the book ….it occasionally comes up for sale on fleabay . Seen pictures before of Regatta street , but facing toward the water ….one shot carried the claim that the plane came down near a ‘nowadays metal fence surrounding a nowadays garage….dont know how accurate a claim that is of course !

    • Ian D B says:

      That’s about right, there is a garage on Regatta St if I recall. But the Lanc crossed the river I believe and crashed on the opposite bank. Mind if I had the book it might tell me something completely different, but that was my understanding. It is better remembered than the Halifax which crashed in nearby Blackley a few months later.

  3. Paul says:

    maybe the Blackley one is one to chase up the details on ?

    • Ian D B says:

      Someone got in touch with me about that one a while back I think… There was not much in the newspaper reports that came as a surprise. Just the Salford one is better remembered. People around Blackley don’t know much of it, at least not the people I spoke with.

  4. Al says:

    Came from the west? I think they often routed over the south on raids but that’s unusual?

    Found this which I hope you don’t mind me adding,Bomber Command were busy that night:

    “692 aircraft – 462 Lancasters, 200 Halifaxes, 30 Mosquitos – were sent to bomb 6
    German positions in front of a mainly American ground attack in the Villers
    Bocage Caumont area. The presence of cloud caused many difficulties and only 377
    aircraft were able to bomb, on to Oboe markers, and only 2 of the 6 targets were
    effectively hit. 4 Lancasters lost.

    2 Mosquitos carried out uneventful Ranger patrols”

    Reckon this one would be a good one for a look at the 1180.

    • Ian D B says:

      Not sure why such a convoluted route. I reckon it will all be in the book. Should’ve got a copy before I went!

      A bad day though, things certainly buggered by the cloud covering the target with the risk of hitting French civilians preventing bombing and ships in the Channel so the bombers had to land with their bombs still on board.

    • Clive Willetts says:

      Story my dad told me about.he was a young kid he got a clip around the ear by a local Bobby for him and his mates where playing on the wreckage

  5. ang wickham says:

    For not having the elusive book, as yet, this post is a solid grounding in the event! You even managed to chat with locals that were there [!]. Great variety in pix, nice to have the orientation added [looking south east] as not being local one starts to try to work it out [impossible but still worth a shot]. I also like how you’ve included more links [like the Cranage post] that help your site serve as a stepping stone for people that are interested in particular branches of the history to these events.

    Even though I’m not from the UK I had some idea that the aircraft was on the wrong side of country, Lancashire vs. Lincolnshire … in comments you mentioned Blackpool and that is truly out of the way! Until you get the book, a couple of guesses: the weather meant routing via the west coast [but other aircraft would have also done similar]; the supposed port engine problem occured at such a time in the journey that whilst dealing with this issue they ‘missed the turnoff’ toward their home base, also if there really was alot of drag off that left engine ‘steering’ right would have required continual effort .. or, perhaps after the engine trouble they considered dropping their load out into the Irish Sea [discount that one, as they didn’t do it]. .. It could even simply be a matter of ‘Gosh there’s Blackpool! We’ve hit the west coast and know definitively where we are, let’s go home via Manchester!’

    Very sad that they didn’t make it 🙁

    • Ian D B says:

      Thank you very much Ang! You are too kind. Grovelling aside I am puzzled by the route. All I know is that bit about the seas being chock full of supplies for the invasion forces. The RAF were concentrating on bombing Wehrmacht positions in France so presumably that meant more aircraft in the skies coming and going, maybe that was the cause of the return via the north west? Am sure the answer is out there!

  6. richard holt says:

    Hi,heres some photos of the area around Regatta Street from 1949.
    There is obvious damage to the houses,but i cant see any damage on the river bank.there are a total of eight pictures,some better than others,from the Britain from above site.If you sign in,you can use their zoom facility to get a close is a shot of Regatta street,the link may show the others available,or search Universal metal.

    • Ian D B says:

      Thanks Richard. I shall have to take a closer look to see Regatta St but it is a very interesting site, thanks for the link!

  7. Ian D B says:

    Yes I certainly think that the full load of bombs and the activity in the air at the time, with all that stuff needing to be transported over to the Normandy front will have had some bearing on the decision. Bombers with engine trouble tended to put down at the first airfield they came across. For example, Halifax HR727 crashed on Kinder Scout in the Peak District after being damaged over Frankfurt. If I recall correctly the pilot was criticised for pressing on to reach the base in Yorkshire when he should have put down as soon as possible. Besides, flying over Manchester doesn’t really improve the crews chances of putting down safely. I certainly don’t think they were lost but it is such a peculiar route, there must have been some logic in the planning. I really think it was to ensure the airspace above England was organised like this to avoid mid-air accidents during and after the invasion. I don’t suppose bomber crews having been to Berlin would have been able (because of fuel capacity) to undertake such a route.You have reminded me though, I still need to get that book, am sure that will tell us! Thanks for your visit and comment.

    • l Reid says:

      It was just a theory. You keep mentioning a book and I’m not too sure which book that would be but I do have a copy of the one titled The Salford Lancaster by Joe Bamford and gave it a quick read over last night(shamefully been sitting in a box of things I’d get around to someday) & your assumption that some answers to the question of why they flew that route home is correct. Apparently as strange as it seems to us now, a number of aircraft took a circuitous route home that day after the orders to abort their missions were given. As a matter of fact it mentions that at least one other aircraft (Wellinton Bomber I believe)landed in Blackpool. Apparently orders were given in the a.m. briefing that they were to return any bombs not used on the target and were, under no circumstances to jettison in the Channel yet it is clearly documented that some did, in fact jettison partial or even full loads. Also apparently orders were sent out that crews were to ” lighten their all-up weights. Who issued the order is most likely unknown and the crews could have interpreted that in one of two ways, to either jettison their load or to burn off fuel, explaining the routes many of them took while they waited for the weather to clear. The weather (low cloud cover/poor visibility)that day played a large part in decisions that were made both by the Master Bomber and the crews flying the aircraft. There were also reports of poor communications which could have further increased the confusion of some of the crews.I shall put aside some time over the next couple of weeks and read through the book in more detail, maybe have better answers then.

      • l Reid says:

        Yes, the flight officer was my uncle. His brother, a career officer in the RCAF, was my father. Although I did not come along until many many years after WWII I’ve always been well aware of the crash. The book is readily available on Amazon. All of your answers are in it.

  8. Colin Chambers says:

    Heard about this crash on Radio Manchester this morning. They spoke to Joe Bamford about the local connection with one of the crew. I used to live in Eccles, most probably read the book, but had not seen anything about it until the radio programme this morning. The booK is available on Amazon.

  9. Colin Chambers says:

    I did hear of a Lancaster making a landing at Barton Aerodrome(now City Airport Manchester),on a training flight. How true it is I am not sure but the comment was it was a close thing on the take off.

  10. Tony Flynn says:

    Very interesting website, I used to work in Swinton 30 years ago and was unaware of the story and I used to drive past the crash site on my way home. I read the book and found it to be an excellent account. I thought aicraft returning with their bomb loads were forbidden to land with them on board.

    Well done on the research and photographs

    • Ian D B says:

      Thanks Tony. By this stage of the war it was normal for bombers to ditch unused bombs in the sea (rather than over Occupied Europe). It seems the amount of invasion traffic in the English Channel meant returning bombers had to bring their unused payloads home with them at this time, a highly dangerous thing to do.

  11. John Bamber says:

    I’me 86 years old. I lived on New Cross St Weaste at the time of the crash(about a kilomere from the crash site). I remember that Sunday morning a loud bang that rattled our windows. I rode my bike in the direction of the bang and found a crew boarding up broken windows around Littleton Rd, but no other sign of damage.
    I never new what caused the bang until I read your account

  12. John Bamber says:

    The major news at the time was the Battle of Normandy. The bomber crash report must have been buried on the inside pages, also, wartime censorship applied (for example when Manchester got Blitzed the papers said it was a North West town) No wander I didn’t know what happened.

  13. Cliff Carr says:

    I saw this plane crash. 12 years old at the time and playing in the field alongside the A666, Bolton Rd, Pendlebury. I lived at No 124.
    I and two pals saw the plane, low and an engine banging and miss-firing. As it disappeared over the railway embankment we raced up the bank and watched the plane lose height before hitting the far bank of the Irewell with an enormous explosion.
    It’s direction was due west as we saw it pass over Waverley Road, Pendlebury and it crashed opposite Regatta Road. I think the guesses were right that the pilot was making for the open playing field area. With a full bomb load it would be a gamble anyway.
    Until now I never heard the details of the crash. During the war news of local bombing, numbers killed and property destroyed, especially factories, was only by word of mouth and limited. As the poster said’Careless Talk Costs Lives’. We could only go to bomb sites after casualties and dead had been removed. They were still not safe but as youngsters we had a trade in German bomb fragments and would dig in any crater.
    Scary times really and perhaps not fully appreciated these days.

    • Cliff Carr says:

      Sorry. Direction was to the East.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Cliff, good to hear from you. Thank you for adding your memories of this crash to this page. It’s always a pleasure to hear from the people who were there. It was a terrible event you witnessed but I’m pleased you have been able to find a little more about it now, albeit 72 years on!

    • Steve Worsley says:

      Great to hear your story, Cliff. Will you be attending the memorial at Agecroft on Sunday 26th July?

      It would be great to speak to anyone who remembers this incident or knows more about it…

    • Steve Worsley says:

      Hi Cliff, hope you are well. Your account of the crash sounds fascinating as there’s not many around people now who could recall this. Would it be possible to speak to you about what you remember? After a couple of years looking into this I have a couple of questions that I’m struggling to find answers to, so any help would be great.

  14. Bob says:

    I am Married to Beryl, Her aunt lived on Langley Road just behind Regatta St in1944 and if she was alive now she would confirm that the plane crashed onto the ground next to Mrs Bamfords House on Regatta St not on the Playing Fields side of the Irwell. I lived about 1/4 of a mile away off whit lane in 1944 It was Sunday morning 0n July 31st about 10 am when the Plane came down and all or windows shattered A Neighbour I called Uncle Jim ran out of his house Shouting “The Bastards are here again” that was very strong language in those days My sister and I used to cross over the bridge to see my aunt who lived off Littleton Road every Sunday about 12am and we saw what looked like a Wing still burning and a Policeman patrolling round to keep sight sightseers away. The Crater was filled in in the mid seventys and now has some mature Trees growing there. In the 1940s /early 50s the Vicar of St Georges used to hold a service at the site on the nearest Sunday to July 31st. No remains were found but the locals who remember the crash still think of the Site as a War Grave

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Bob, it’s very good to hear from you. Thank you for adding your memory of the crash to this page, I always appreciate it when the people who were there add to these pages, it is priceless testimony. Your neighbour clearly thought the Luftwaffe had returned to Salford, 3 years after the air raids.

      Please give my regards to Beryl.
      Kind regards,


    • Steve Worsley says:

      Great to hear your story, Bob. I have done a lot of digging and research into this as I always knew a Lancaster crashed in the vicinity but only found out more about it last year.

      Will you, or anyone here, be attending the memorial at Agecroft on Sunday 26th July?

      It would be great to speak to you, or anyone who remembers this incident or knows more about it.

      • Bob says:

        Hi Steve,Sorry but I will not be at the service on Sunday,When I bought the house it also included some land and the boundary is on part of the Crash Site. Every Day we are reminded of the Crash ss the upstairs windows overlook the the years pass their are less and less people who actualy remember that Sunday morning Joyce Jones nee Boles passed away about 10 years ago, Beryl and I are the only two people in the Langley Road area left I am 75 and Beryl is 74, I hope the Weather keeps dry for you tomorrow Bye for now Bob

  15. Stephen McKay says:

    Just finished reading the book today. Very well researched and a fitting tribute to the aircrew and civilians who sadly lost their lives. No mention of the possibility of making an emergency landing at Burtonwood though.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Stephen, have recently been in touch with someone who was there at the time and he has sent me a few more images which I will add to this page in a day or so.

  16. Carl young says:

    Just found this site just like to thank all you people for keeping the memory of these crewmen alive .. Being a relative of A Young I am very proud of him and his fellow flight crew as their Bravery is really hard to comprehend.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Carl, thanks for visiting and adding a comment, it’s very good to hear from you. Agree it is hard to understand the courage that makes a young man join an RAF bomber crew when his chances of surviving a tour of 30 operations was around 1 in 6.

  17. Martyn Berry says:

    Read the book The Salford Lancaster some years ago as we have a connection to the story not mentioned in the book.
    After the plane crashed the air ministry couldn’t send anyone to the site to remove the guns and ammunition not destroyed in the explosion until the following day. A police man was there after the crash, but during the evening they called in a member of the home guard to keep anyone away from the site until next day when the ministry arrived. The person who was posted to guard the wreckage was my grandfather Thomas Berry, born 1891. The reason he got the job was because he was the only member of the home guard unit with a gun. It was a .22 air rifle!!! Typical DAD’S ARMY he would have probably have been better off shouting bang!

  18. J. TD says:

    Hi. Stumbled across this site and I am impressed. Great work.
    I was looking for info on this crash, as my father witnessed the Lancaster flying over. He described the engine trouble etc and that he heard the explosion. He lived in Levens Street, near Douglas green at the time, and told me about the crater behind regatta street, as he played there after the war with friends.

  19. Sharp says:

    I born dec 1939 so still very young , we lived in enys st .my father had an allotment on the other side of the red path from . the playing fields I heard the aircraft pass very close to our house, close enough for the old plaster to fall of the ceiling. next thing my dad comes running upstairs grabs hold of me and next thing we are out in the street I am on his shoulders and of he ran knowing the short cuts we soon got to the footbridge across the Irwell and he stopped , ammunition was exploding so he turned and we went home,

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi, thank you for visiting and adding your memories of this crash. You were young but it obviously made an impression!

  20. Irene (Brown) LaBranche says:

    I remember the 1944 plane crash like it was yesterday. We lived on Littleton Rd. My sister was upstairs and saw the plane and she thought it going to crash on our house and started screaming. The noise of the plane coming down was terrifying and then the explosion. We spent our childhood in air raid shelter since the Blitz so we thought it was a German plane attacking.

  21. I’ve added some pins showing the crater on Britain from above. The best photo is probably this one as it shows the closeness to the houses.

    full link:

    I read the book some years ago, just note down the ISBN and order it from the library.

  22. Brian Worts says:

    Hello. My name is Brian Worts and my dad Alf did 31 ops in Lancasters. 1100 hours recorded. He told me once about a return flight across “the ditch” at low level when a engine had been damaged. There was a term he used for flying low near the water. Does anyone know what it was please?

    • Bob says:

      I think your Father was referring to the Manchester Ship Canal, I read it in a book some years ago that some merchant sailors called it that ?

    • Lance Spruce-Jarrett says:

      More likely the North Sea if they had been bombing Germany Brian or the English Channel if they had been bombing in France most probably after D Day. Any stretch of water was colloquially known as “the ditch”.

  23. John Edward Hewart says:

    I was born 1939 and lived at 38 Kingsley Avenue very close to what we called the back fields in those days. I can remember as it was yesterday the Lancaster flying over the house,across Stanton Avenue Bradley Avenue then across the front fields as we called it in those days. My grandparents lived in Bradley Avenue and even though the noise was absolutely tremendous I can still hear my mother screaming (It’s going for my mothers) my grandmother and grandfather of course. I’m stood on the back doorstep eating a bacon butty looking down at the air raid shelter when the aircraft went over, it was so low I’m sure if I was on the roof I could have touched it. I’m 77 now but still recall the incident very well, my father was in the fire service stationed at the Moor Lane fire station but also what I remember was him running from the house (38 Kingsley Ave) up Stanton Avenue through the passage that brought you out on to Littleton Road facing the Red path then on to the playing fields (front fields) right up to the Irwell but all in vain
    This is what he told us as children

    • Ian D B says:

      Vivid memories there John, thank you very much for taking the time to share them and record them here.

  24. Barry Lewis says:

    Myb Mother and Grandparents lived at 42 Langley Rd when this happened. My Grandad was injured by flying broken window glass (he’s listed as injured in the book). I was born in 46 and visited my Grandparents at 42 Langley rd every Sunday. I was always told that the Aircraft had crashed into 2 houses in Regatta St at the rear of what was then “Florries’ shop (now a sandwich shop).

    • Gilli says:

      do you know the number of Florries shop? My mum lived in a shop at 10 Langley road that was shut and damaged due to the bomb which was run by elise and alfred atherton. Not sure if it is the same shop? Thanks Gilli

  25. Barry Lewis says:

    PS My Grandads name was Joseph Dudley.

    • Bob says:

      Hi Barry, my comment has nothing to do with the Plane Crash, I used to collect Joe’s pension for him after he retired in the 60’s a grand total of £1-00 a week for a lifetimes work I did 12 years at the Pit I get £1-40 Bye Bob

  26. Cliff Carr says:

    Steve thanks for the contact. I would be pleased to meet/correspond re the air Crash. I live in Timperley, Cheshire if that helps.

    • Steve Worsley says:

      Hi Cliff, that would be fantastic. Could you drop me an email at steve . worsley @ uk (without the spaces)?

      Kind regards,

  27. Joe Bamford says:

    Flight Lieutenant Peter Lines trained in the USA and he was on the same course as the last ‘British Dam Buster’ George ‘Johnny’ Johnson. Johnny was a good friend of Peters.

  28. Anil Sood says:

    Sgt. Mohan Singh,the gunner, was my mums younger brother whose framed picture graces my drawing room along with an imaginary oil painting of the Lancaster with one engine running, over waters, and about to crash which my mother had done over fifty years ago here in India.His belongings along with a citation were all sent back to us and I had his kerchief with the RAF insignia.
    Its only now that Ive learn t about the crash details through you my friends

  29. Anil Sood says:

    Hi Ian,great learning about this very sad incident which mattered so much especially to my mother. We grew up around this painting mum had painted but thought there would be no memory of the incident.All we knew was that they went to bomb the enemy over Normandy the mission was aborted because of clouds and returning after drawing flak went down close to a river.As i said,mum painted this painting over 50 years ago in memory of her brother Mohan My mother passed away in 2011 and I can imagine how she would have felt had what we know today was known earlier.My email address is

  30. Anil Sood says:

    Ian,the picture of Mohan Singh is an artists impression not a true photograph.

  31. Bob says:

    Hi Ian, If you look at the pictures Richard Holt posted AEW023602 you will find the remains of the crater look from the back of the Houses on Regatta St towards the River then from the garage facing Dixon St towards the River you will see the remains of the Crater you will see the path that was left along the top of the Crater going towards the river .The plane crashed there after hitting Mrs Bamford’s Roof

  32. David Fox (now 80) says:

    The Lancaster came down in a direct line with Sth Radford street.
    I lived in the third house up from Littleton road.I was seven at the
    time. I was up and about but my sisters were still in bed.I heard a deafening noise so I rushed outside as the stricken plane on fire
    passed overhead.It crossed over the playing field and hit the opposite bank of the River Irwell. Mother thought there was an air raid and shouted for me to come inside. My sisters appeared and with many others ran across the playing field to see what they see. The field was covered in piles of stones apparently to discourage enemy aircraft landing, so this was, I was told, why the Lancaster could not land. The field was used then to graze horses which were going berserk. Some of the sightseers had lucky escapes from the charging frantic horses.

    • Steve Worsley says:

      Hi David, great recollection and addition to the story. Out of interest when you saw the Lancaster pass overhead, was it traveling in the direction of Langley Road from the Kersal side, or vice versa? Did you see it bank round to adjust course at all? I guess it may be a long shot but could you make out any squadron lettering on the fuselage or what colour this was?
      Reason for asking is I keep a replica of this aircraft as a tribute and would like it to be as accurate as possible.
      Many thanks and best regards,

  33. My name is Gary Bridson-Daley and I am the author of a book to honour service men and women from the past to present day called ‘A Debt of Gratitude To The Last Heroes’, Amazon link to copy and paste below;

    This is my first book and has been published and distributed Nationally and Worldwide by the History Press with forward from Dame Vera Lynn. In my book are 42 stories of World War Two Veterans who I have interviewed from all over the country from all services, and includes British and various other nationalities.

    I am a local author and I am now finishing the last interviews for my next book and really want to include the story of PB 304 so that I have a really local story included in the book.

    If anyone out there knows anyone who witnessed the crash I would really like to speak to them, after reading the comments on this page and if anyone knows David Fox or John Hewart that would be great.

    Also if the Author Joe Bamford or anyone who knows how to reach him could get in touch with me that would be fantastic.

    I have no problem with anyone contacting me directly, in fact I would much prefer that, I can be reached at –

    Please feel free to view my F.B Page created for the book at;

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind Regards


    • Steve Worsley says:

      Hi Gary,
      I believe you’ve spoken to my partner Lucy regarding this (I was the one who found your note on the Lancaster’s memorial at Agecroft).
      I can get in touch with Joe Bamford if he hasn’t already seen your post, I will check whether he’ll be attending the memorial service next month also.
      There are some interesting accounts to be read about this incident and some of them do carry conflicting information. However after 74 years details will be very sketchy. I met and spoke with Cliff Carr (who posted on this page) who was a young lad who lived off Bolton Road at the top of Agecroft Road at the time, so his recollection was from the opposite perspective.
      Joe’s book is a good read and along with some of the comments posted here, it probably gives the best picture of the event we can imagine now.
      Steve (

  34. Helen Wolfenden says:

    My mum, aged about 6 at the time lived in Sutton Flats she recently told me her and her auntie Ivy ran onto the street and saw the plane clipping chimneys, she said the plane was so low it was like you could touch it.

  35. Andy Dowd says:

    My Mum, Barbara Jones aged 13 at the time, daughter of Alfred Atherton owner of the corner shop which was also destroyed knew Berol mentioned in the story above. Mum has just told me the whole story, still alive and well at 86, its amazing.

  36. R Jenkins says:

    Hi Andy, your Grandfather Alfred was Beryl’s Uncle his sister Sarah (known as Sally was Beryl’s mother) I am sorry to have to tell you that she passed away on Jan 4th this year I only knew the name of your mothers house but I did not know the address or phone number I informed your aunty Velma and she came to the Funeral she is also 81/82 Bye for now Bob,( Beryl.s Husband)

  37. JonB says:

    It will be the 75th anniversary of the crash this year, I’ve contacted Salford Council, who advised I contact the RBL, who advised I contact the Council. It doesn’t seem that there is any commemoration planned. I’ve no idea who we need to poke to get something arranged, or even something like what this guy has achieved….

    Anybody got any thoughts?

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Jon,

      Be good to have a something on the anniversary to respect the crew and the people of Salford who died. If they can do it in Sheffield…

    • Steve Worsley says:

      There is always a memorial service on the last Sunday of July at the Agecroft memorial stone. We have submitted a flypast application to the BBMF but I for one haven’t had any form of response.

  38. JonB says:

    BBC Breakfast will be showing the Sheffield flypast live in honour of the “Mi Amigo” B-17 tomorrow morning. This event will also be in honour of all RAF and other nations that lost flight crew.

  39. david simm says:

    thank you for the site and info I go to agecoft to put flowers on my mams grave and past the headstone for these lads often

  40. Beryl Marsden says:

    Three of us , myself Beryl Gregson,7, my friends Terry Howlett 5 and Marian Brougham were walking to Sunday School on that Sunday morning along the side of Littleton road playing fields. The Lancaster bomber came over very low and then circled and then came down almost on top of us and went straight across the playing field and exploded. We lay on the floor and a lady came out of one of the houses and gave us a glass of water. If there is to be a 75th memorial I would be pleased to know.

    • Steve Worsley says:

      Hi Beryl, I hope you are well. I would be fascinated to speak to you about your account as an eyewitness to this event. I have spent a number of years researching this tragedy so I’d be grateful for any further information. I can be contacted at

      Many thanks.

  41. Greg Windwick says:

    My first cousin was Harry Reid, the navigator on Lancaster PB304. I was the first male born (1948) in the family after his death in that crash and was given “Harry” as my third name. I did meet Harry’s brother George when I was a boy. George’s career was in the Royal Canadian Air Force. I live on the west coast of Canada and recently did research to find out more about Harry. It was wonderful to discover Joe Bamford’s book “The Salford Lancaster”. I have given a copy of the book to the B.C. Aviation Museum, which has just obtained remains of a Lancaster and has commenced a restoration, intending to have a flightworthy craft completed within 15 years.

    • Paul C. Sherlock says:

      Tomorrow (the nearest Sunday to the 30th July) we (Friends of Salford Cemeteries Trust) will be commemorating the 75th Anniversary of this event at Agecroft Cemetery. I know some of the contributors to this page will be there and we would be pleased to welcome anyone else who can make it at 11 am.

  42. Paul C. Sherlock says:

    Tomorrow (the nearest Sunday to the 30th July) we (Friends of Salford Cemeteries Trust) will be commemorating the 75th Anniversary of this event at Agecroft Cemetery. I know some of the contributors to this page will be there and we would be pleased to welcome anyone else who can make it at 11 am.

    • Ian D B says:

      Sorry I was too late in approving this comment Paul. Hope it went well.

      • bob says:

        Hello Ian its Bob, I have tried your private E Mail but it does not work. I met Joe Bamford again on Sunday, he called to my house, I have not seen him since he was researching his book, and after he published it he told me he met the lady who had picked up the remains and there was only 3 people the other 4 were never found he told me the names but I have forgotten them my memory is not as good as it was if you E Mail me I will give you his E Mail Etc. PS Beryl passed away 4th Jan 2018 Bye for now Bob

        • Ian D B says:

          Hi Bob,

          Apologies for the late reply, it’s been a week since you commented. Have not been on this site for a while, which is unusual.

          It is sad to hear of Beryl’s death though. I hope you are ok? It was lovely to meet her.

          I think I’ve had contact with Joe at some point in the past? My email address is on the contact page.

          Stay well and thank you for commenting.


          • Linda George says:

            I would very much like to get in touch with Joe Bamford again as I have mislaid his details due to several house moves, since we started this research in the 1980s. I provided information in tracing the pilot’s family background in Purley where he grew up with his two brothers in my road Hartley Down. I traced his old school friends and his secondary school – Saint Olaves Bermondsey – in an attempt to contact his parents and any remaining family so that they could be invited to the initial Mayoral commemoration of his heroism. Unfortunately my trail ran dry upon discovering that the family had emigrated to Canada, and Canada House in London could provide no further details. However I now have the opportunity to search further records if Joe would still be interested.
            I was very upset to miss accompanying him to the event as the message giving the details never reached me in time, and afterwards we had to move suddenly due to my husband’s job.
            I would be very grateful for any help in this please.

            Thank you,

            Linda George.

          • bob says:

            Hi Linda Re Joe Bamford His E Mail is Bob

          • Steve Worsley says:

            Hi Linda,
            If Joe doesn’t see this message first, please feel free to drop me an email and I’ll put you in touch with him.
            I can be reached at: steve.worsley @ (without the spaces)

  43. Jasbir Singh Mahngar says:


  44. JonB says:

    have you seen this photo of the families clearing out on Langley Rd?

  45. Steve Hughes says:

    I am Salford born and bred, but have lived in the South West for thirty years now. Here is a coincidence…..I used to work at a company called Harland Machine Systems on Langley Road South. Almost opposite the crash site I believe. My son, who was born in the South West, went to university in Cardiff, and has now settled there. A friend of his, born and bred in Cardiff, he met on his uni course, is the grandson of the wireless operator Sgt Young.

  46. Andy Dowd says:

    My mum, Barbara, was 12 at the time and lived in the conner shop at 10 Langley Road with Alf and Elsie Atherton.

  47. Rob Stone says:

    I’m Salford born and bred and was staying with my gran and 2 aunts in Murray Street, Higher Broughton overnight on the Saturday. We heard the noise of the crash and walked down to the bottom of Murray Street from where we could look out across the river valley and see what had happened.
    One of the two ladies who ran our local Co-op grocery shop lived in one of the damaged houses. She was injured and never came back to work there.
    How your memory plays tricks as the years go by.
    I had remembered it as happening just after the end of the war and being a USAAF plane.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Rob, thank you for visiting and commenting, it all adds to what we know about these incidents.

    • Gilli says:

      I am not sure if it is the same shop but my mum Barbara Jessie lived there and was about 12 when it happened and her mum Elsie Atherton ran with shop and was sometimes helped by her husband Alfred Atherton. They were displaced as the house and shop were so badly damaged and Elsie wanted to go back but she had very severe arthiritis so Alfred persuaded to buy a local house and rest up – so her injuries were not a cause of the crash but it certainly caused huge upheaval to their lives. I believe the shop was on Langley Road and I am writing a little autobiography for my mum’s 90th birthday – so thank you for the article and photos they will be lovely for my mum to see!

  48. Nicholas Waller says:

    A fascinating read, and I’ll be trying to get the book.

    My late father-in-law, Len Whitehead, was on the same gunnery course as Mo Singh in 1943. They (together with a Sgt. Neal) were top of their graduation list, so were sent straight to squadrons, rather than the usual crewing-up, Operational Conversion Unit and Lancaster Finishing School.

    Len and Mo kept in touch until the end. Len went to 61 Sqn at Skellingthorpe as a MUG, and completed a tour of 35 ops by the end of June 1944; Mo was on his 22nd went his ‘plane crashed.

    I deliever talks on Len’s recollections, and always mention his friendship with Mo, and the sad fate that happened to his flight.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Nicholas, thank you for your comment and for providing more information about this crash.

      Hopefully Anil Sood, nephew of Mo Singh, will see this as well (please see his comment above – 04.02.17)


    • Anil Sood says:

      Hey Nicholas ! Great hearing of the association of my uncle with your dear departed Len, and that they were dear friends. You must know so much about those times.

  49. Keith Beckett says:

    I have visited the crash site a number of times over the years, but yesterday 12/06/2022 I met Bob at his home and he kindly told me all about the crash.
    I took a couple of then and now photos matching the old photos as best as I could. I’m not sure how to post them though.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Keith I have sent you an email, if you reply with the photos attached, I can add them to the page.

      • Steve Worsley says:

        Hi there,
        That’s wonderful to know that Bob is still around to talk about this event. As I live locally and have researched this quite a lot over the years I’d love to be able to hear his story too. Would anyone be able to privately put me in touch with Bob or know how I could make contact please?
        Many thanks,

        • Ian D B says:

          I no longer have contact details Steve, but someone else may have? As owner of this website I can see people’s email addresses which are not visible otherwise, so I will be able to relay the details if anyone has them – and if Bob agrees of course! My email is on the contact page.

  50. Ian D B says:

    New ‘then and now’ photos added to the main narrative above by Keith Beckett. See update under today’s date.

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