5 May 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 19 - There's a Way

Week 19 (May 7-13) – There’s a Way: What ancestor found a way out of a sticky situation? You might also think of this in terms of transportation or migration.

This week's post features my grandfather - Charles Frederick Farley and two different ways he was involved in transportation.

Freddie was the oldest child of John Henry Farley and Maria Annie Lee. He was born in Southwick Durham England on March 27th, 1909. He had 9 brothers and sisters.



For over 2 years from the age fo 18 he was a chauffeur. I haven't been able to find out anything about his employer or Boundary Cottage, Philadelphia, Durham, England, but the family he drove for must have been quite well off.

After he left this family, Freddie must have continued driving as he is listed as a Motor Driver for a Mineral Waters Maker on my mother's birth certificate in 1935.

Repairing his car and keeping it in good order put him in good stead for his next career; as flight engineer on Lancaster Bombers during World War 2.




According to Wikipedia, a flight engineer (FE), also sometimes called an air engineer, is a member of an aircraft's flight crew and is the person who monitors and operates its complex aircraft systems. In the early era of aviation, the position was sometimes referred to as the "air mechanic".


Flying Officer J B Burnside, the flight engineer on board an Avro Lancaster B Mark III of No. 619 Squadron RAF based at Coningsby, Lincolnshire, checks settings on the control panel from his seat in the cockpit.
Public Domain Image: Devon S A (Flt Lt), Royal Air Force official photographer
 - This is photograph CH 12289 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.
While the above photograph isn't of my grandfather, it does picture what he would have done on the flights he was involved in.

According to information provided to me by RAF Wickenby, my grandfather was part of the 626 squadron. He was part of a Commonwealth crew that included Australian and New Zealanders as well as British personnel.


P/O G. A. Green RNZAF, Pilot
Sgt. C. F. Farley, Flight Engineer
F/Sgt. W A. Stephens RAAF, Navigator
F/O K. E. F. Taylor, Bomb Aimer
F/Sgt. W. A. Dickson RAAF, Wireless Op.
Sgt. W. C. Norman, MUG
F/Sgt. G. C. Newton RAAF, Rear Gunner
F/Sgt Newton was replaced by F/Sgt. L. Cohen on the last operation

They flew the following operations;
  • July 18, 1944 to Caen in Lancaster LL918 UM-C2
  • July 18, 1944 to Schloven in Lancaster ME750 UM-X2
  • July 20 to Courtrai in Lancaster LL918 UM-C2
  • July 23, 1944 to Kiel in Lancaster PA989 UM-U2
  • July 24, 1944 to Stuttgart in Lancaster PA989 UM-U2
  • July 28, 1944 to Stuttgart in Lancaster LM596 UM-Y2
  • July 31, 1944 to Foret Du Nieppe in Lancaster PA990 UM-R2
  • Aug. 4, 1944 to Panillac in Lancaster LL961 UM-S2
  • Aug. 7, 1944 to Fortenay in Lancaster NE163 UM-T2
  • Aug. 12, 1944 to Brunswick in Lancaster LM290 UM-W2
  • Aug. 26, 1944 to Kiel in Lancaster LM290 UM-W2
  • Aug. 29, 1944 to Stettin in Lancaster LM290 UM-W2
  • Aug. 31, 1944 to St. Requier in Lancaster LM290 UM-W2
  • Sept. 3, 1944 to Eindhoven in Lancaster LM290 UM-W2
  • Sept. 6, 1944 to Le Havre in Lancaster LM290 UM-W2
  • Sept. 11, 1944 Mining in Kiel Bay in Lancaster PA990 UM-R2
  • Sept. 12, 1944 to Frankfurt in Lancaster PA990 UM-R2
  • Sept. 16, 1944 to Hopstein in Lancaster PA990 UM-R2
  • Oct. 4, 1944 Mining in the Kattegat in Lancaster PB412 UM-Z2 (according to the Aircrew Remembered website, this flight was part of Operation "Gardening")
Sadly, during the last operation, their plane went missing.


It was more than 12 months later before they finally wrote to my grandmother that the crew had lost their lives:



My grandfather's life is commemorated on Panel 229 at the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey England.


2 comments:

  1. I enjoyed the story of your grandfather's life. It reminds me of my father's life. My father was of your grandfather's era - born in 1913. He worked as a driver for a wealthy man during the depression. Then during WW2 he worked with planes, but he was a glider mechanic and not part of the aircrew. It's special that you have a letter of reference about your grandfather. The description of him makes him more real.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoyed the story of your grandfather's life. It reminds me of my father's life. My father was of your grandfather's era - born in 1913. He worked as a driver for a wealthy man during the depression. Then during WW2 he worked with planes, but he was a glider mechanic and not part of the aircrew. It's special that you have a letter of reference about your grandfather. The description of him makes him more real.

    ReplyDelete