Veteran relived wartime with Lancaster flight

Syd Marshall with the crew of the Lancaster Bomber
Syd Marshall with the crew of the Lancaster Bomber

A 90-year-old veteran has relived memories of his time during the Second World War after being lucky to fly aboard Canadian Lancaster Vera.

Boston Bomber Command Veteran Flight Engineer Sergeant Syd Marshall of 103 Squadron Elsham Wolds was a VIP passenger aboard the plane as it flew in formation with Thumper.

Syd Marshall

Syd Marshall

He said he was shocked to be part of such a memorable occasion adding: “It was fantastic really, I had no idea it was going to happen. It was brilliant.”

The surprise was organised by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Yvonne Masters and Syd was escorted by Michael Hortin from Radio Lincolnshire.

He was taken to Blackpool Airport where he was welcomed by crews from both Lancaster’s who had just flown over Southport Air Show.

His journey took him up the Valley and over the Derwent Damn before returning to Coningsby.

Syd Marshall

Syd Marshall

Syd voluntered for the RAF at 19 years old and enlisted in October 1943. He completed 36 Bomber Command operations and flew day and night.

His skipper Lou Morgan was from Calgary, in Canada, and so it was quite apt that Syd flew in Vera.

Syd and Lou were reunited six years ago after 63 years thanks to the BBC Inside Out programme, which flew Lou over from Canada for a reunion. Lou gave Syd his unique Canadian Warplane Heritage Mynarski cap which he had kept for many years. Lou passed away shortly after his trip to England.

Syd wore the cap during his recent trip in memory of his dear friend.

He said: “I wish he could have been with us, we were like brothers.”

Syd, from Meridian Road, in Boston, comes into contact with BBMF often as he has been a volunteer guide at the flight’s visitor centre in Coningsby for more than 25 years.

He has not flown in a Lancaster since the end of the war and said of this amazing experience: “I have waited 69 years for this to happen, something I never thought would, and what a fantastic flight it was.”

When asked what memories he had during the flight he said: “The smell of the fuel the deafening noise of those magnificent Merlin engines brought it all back to me. Losing comrades was expected during the operations but never easy. Today I had many thoughts of those friends and comrades that were lost.”

He said the modifications to the Lancaster meant he could see much better, but the noise made hearing conversation difficult.

“I feel so honoured to have been invited to be part of the last display flight where both Lancaster’s flew together in this country before Vera’s return to Canada and cannot thank everyone for thinking of me as being worthy enough to be given such an opportunity.”