Nigel Campbell, Noel Pardon and Jack Wilson

This story and photos are shared by the Trust with kind permission from Aircrew Remembered, and thanks to Jeff Boyling, Burns Campbell, Dave Blais and Andrew Whitehouse.

Nigel Campbell - Pilot, Noel Pardon - Wireless Operator and Air Gunner and Jack Wilson - Bomb Aimer were part of the crew of Halifax LW143, 102 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Here is a photo of the crew, taken by their flight Engineer, Sgt Donald Leslie.

L-R Flt Sgt Noel Pardon, Sgt Ronald Leverington,  Sgt Douglas Eagle, Flt Sgt Jack Wilson, Flt Sgt Nigel Campbell and Sgt Reginald Joyce

On the night of the 28/29th June they were part of a group which took off to attack the railway yards at Blainville. On the way to the target, their aircraft was attacked by a ME110, piloted by Major Paul Semrau of the 2nd Night Fighter Wing. The controls of their aircraft were damaged and the port engine was on fire so the order was given to abandon the aircraft. A local man, living in the hamlet of Les Greniers, described how he saw the aircraft pass overhead and it was obviously in trouble. The aircraft finally crashed in a field just beyond Goupiliere.

The three crew members who were killed. L-R Jack Wilson, Nigel Campbell and Noel Pardon

The four surviving airmen who parachuted out were rescued by the local French Resistance, one of whose members, Hugette Verhague, hid them in her house in the grounds of the Abbaye de
Mortemer, close to the village of Lisors in the Foret de Lyons. However, they were eventually captured after being betrayed to the Gestapo and became Prisoners of War. They were first sent to Buchenwald Concentration camp and then Stalag Luft III.

After the war, the surviving crew members visited the crash site and sent some photos, showing the wreckage still in situ, to Nigel Campbell's mother. They explained that two of the crew had been killed during the air battle with Major Semrau. Flt Sgt Campbell kept control of the aircraft to allow the four surviving crew to escape by parachute. However, by the time he was able to parachute out of the aircraft, it was too low for his parachute to save him. He landed in a tree which had to be cut down to retrieve his body.

One of the photos sent to Nigel Campbell's mother, showing part of the fuselage of LW143 at the crash site.

In 2009 Jeff Boyling, whose father was cousin to Nigel Campbell, visited France to find the site where their aircraft crashed. This he was able to do and, with the help of Aircrew Remembered, placed a plaque at the site in their memory. He also laid a wreath on the grave of Sgt Nigel Campbell on behalf of Nigel's brother, Burns Campbell.

Further details and photos of the crew of LW143 can be found here.

British Normandy Memorial - Additional Information

For this story, the saying that every cloud has a silver lining proved to be true. Reginald Joyce, who survived the crash but became a prisoner of war, returned to Lyons-La-Foret a few years later to marry a local girl, Janine Colzy, who, on June 29th 1944, sat on the rooftop of her father's shop watching his aircraft fall out of the sky without realizing that her future husband was on board.



    Royal Air Force • FLIGHT SERGEANT

    Royal Australian Air Force
    102 (Ceylon) Squadron, Royal Air Force

    DIED 29 June 1944

    AGE 20

    SERVICE NO. 419211


    Royal Air Force • FLIGHT SERGEANT

    Royal Australian Air Force
    102 (Ceylon) Squadron, Royal Air Force

    DIED 29 June 1944

    AGE 21

    SERVICE NO. 426774


    Royal Air Force • PILOT OFFICER

    Royal Canadian Air Force
    102 (Ceylon) Squadron, Royal Air Force

    DIED 29 June 1944

    AGE 22

    SERVICE NO. J/90298



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