RECOVERY OF 576 SQN LANCASTER PD309.
Many thanks to Nicolas Clinaz who led the recovery team.
We also wish to thank Geoffrey and Patricia-the Son and Daughter of F/O Clarence Pegg DFC RAAF the
pilot of this Lancaster for allowing us the use of their Father's log.
At 17.45 on the evening of 16 January 1945 , Avro Lancaster PD 309 W-William squared of "B" Flight
576 Sqn, swung onto Fiskerton's Main Runway and lined-up ready for take-off with the last rays of the winter sun
silhouetted behind Lincoln Cathedral some 5 miles to the West of the airfield.
With final pre-take off checks completed, the pilot seeing the green light from the runway Control trailer
parked at the Eastern main runway Head, applied takeoff power. The Lancaster loaded with 1x 4000
High capacity demolition Bomb (known by crews as a Cookie) and 12x 500LB general purpose bombs
started to move down the main runway on its 47th and final operation.
Once airborne, they headed west over Lincoln, gaining height to join the rest of the Squadron and group's aircraft.
their Merlin engines set to continuous power, they changed course to the south and climbed to their operational height
of 21,000 Ft.
Overflying Reading, just north of London the No 1 Group Lancaster’s joined up with the Lancaster’s of
Nos 5 and 6 Groups and led by 14 pathfinder Mosquito’s of No 8 Group, they finally set course for the Continent.
The 328 Main force Lancaster's target that night was the BRABAG ( Braunkohlen Benzin AG)
located in the Troglitz suburb of Zeitz, located between Berlin and Leipzig. Zeitz was one of the
most heavilydefended targets in Germany
By the time the sun rose over the eastern horizon the following morning, Lancaster PD309 W for William,
having sustained severe damage to its flying surfaces and flying on one engine, had crashed into a Belgium field.
And there it would remain,with its merlins embedded some 10 ft into the soft Belgium earth for 65 years.
The crew that night had Lady luck with them as they all safely parachuted out over allied lines with just the
Mid upper gunner receiving a broken ankle.
The Pilot, F/O Clarence Pegg for his act of bravery in keeping this stricken Lancaster in the air long enough for his crew
to bale-out, himself then parachuting to safety from a height of less than 1500 ft was awarded the
Distinguished Flying Cross. Also the Wireless Operator and Flight Enginner both recieved the Distinguished Flying Medal
for their actions that night.