Skip to content

Syd (90) steps back into a Lancaster

A Boston man's 69-year-old dream to again fly in a Lancaster came true when he took his seat in the Canadian aircraft to re-enact a bouncing bomb training flight over the Derwent Dam.

Syd Marshall (90), father of Fran Taylor, well known as Boston Borough Council's healthy walks organiser, wore a cap given to him by his former Lancaster skipper, Lou Morgan from Calgary, Canada.

Pride and proud Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Syd Marshall (90) from Boston, wearing his wartime skipper's cap, with the Canadian Lancaster.

Fittingly Syd flew in the visiting Canadian Lancaster, Vera, and wore the cap in honour of his former wartime colleague. Syd and Lou were lucky enough to meet six years ago, after 63 years, thanks to the BBC Inside Out programme who flew Lou over from Canada for a reunion. This was an emotional time for them both. Whilst Lou was here he gave Syd his unique Canadian Warplane Heritage Mynarski cap which Lou had had for many years.

Syd with crew Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Syd with the crews of both Lancasters.

Syd said: "I wish he could have been with us for this trip, we were like brothers." Sadly Lou passed away shortly after his trip to England.

Syd volunteered for the RAF as a 19-year-old and enlisted in October, 1943. As a Bomber Command Flight Engineer, Sergeant Syd Marshall, of 103 Squadron Elsham Wolds, completed 36 Bomber Command operations and flew day and night, month after month, year after year during the Second World War.

His Lancaster trip was organised by Yvonne Masters of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and he was escorted by Michael Hortin from BBC Radio Lincolnshire to Blackpool Airport to be welcomed by both crews from the Lancasters who had just completed a fly over at Southport Air Show.

Once Syd was on board they flew him up the valley and over the Derwent Dam before returning to Coningsby.

Derwent Dam Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
The Lancasters, with Syd on board, on their bouncing bomb tribute flight at the Derwent Dam.

Syd has been a volunteer guide at the RAF BBMF Visitors' Centre for more than 25 years. He has not flown in a Lancaster since the end of the war and said of his amazing experience: "I have waited 69 years for this to happen, something I never thought would, and what a fantastic flight it was. 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. I had many thoughts of those friends and comrades that were lost. I feel so honoured to have been invited to be part of the last display flight where both Lancasters 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."

Fran, the council's play and physical activity officer, said: "I am so pleased that dad, at 90 years old, was given the opportunity for a 69-year-old dream to come true. How proud we are of him, needless to say it was a very emotional day."

Dad and I Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Proud daughter Fran with her dad Syd.