Squadron Leader Stanley Alan Somerscales DFC
Stanley Alan Somerscales grew up in Keelby with his parents and two brothers, Tom and Herbert. When the Second World War started, the Government asked for volunteers to help defend our country. The brothers were in Reserved Occupation, as they worked in the timber trade. This meant that they were needed to carry on with their jobs. However, Stanley said that one of them should go to war and as his brothers both had young families, he would volunteer.
Stanley enlisted into the RAF and trained as a pilot. He was stationed at Holme- on-Spalding-Moor in Yorkshire, and often flew his aircraft over his family home in Keelby, where his mother would go into her garden and shake a tablecloth for him to see. He was awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) for his success on many missions and this was presented to him by King George V1 at Buckingham Palace. He was described as "a courageous and skilful Captain of aircraft"
On the night of 22nd/23rd April 1944, Stanley piloted a brand new Halifax Bomber from Holme-on-Spalding-Moor and headed for Germany. Shortly after leaving the French coast, they heard a crack. Someone shouted "the wing is on fire". They had been hit by a German aircraft. The fire became so fierce Stanley gave the order to bale out. Five members of the crew baled out and survived, but the plane, with Stanley and Harry Poole the rear gunner still on board, crashed and sadly they both died. The survivors later said that they owed their lives to Stanley adding "Stanley had paid the price for his devotion by staying at the controls to ensure that his crew could bale out".
On the 50th Anniversary of VE Day, the Dutch Citizens erected a memorial at Wachelder Wood (the site of the crash) in memory of Stanley and Harry. Family members attended this ceremony and felt very privileged to have taken part. They also felt very humbled by the gratitude the Dutch showed for these airmen and for all those who had set them free.
Stanley A Somerscales and Harry R Poole’s names are on the memorial at the Bomber Command Centre, Lincoln.