Sergeant Gilbert Anthony Poole RAF Volunteer Reserve

 

My father’s younger sister, my Auntie Dorothy, is the last survivor of that generation of the Shores family.  The two siblings were very close and dad used to visit her and buy fish and chips as often as he could until he had to stop driving.  After that he phoned her every week.

She’s an absolutely fascinating person and full of family stories despite being 87 years old now and rather frail.  Fortunately she still has a memory as sharp as a razor and is a real pleasure to be with. She calls my wife Debbie her “Lily of the Valley” and Emma my daughter her “Flower of Spring”.  She loves children but alas she and my late Uncle Trevor were unable to have their own, but they did have a very happy & loving marriage together.  He inspired my love of Land Rovers, having an old Series II when I was a boy.

The last time we visited her at home in Hessle, Yorkshire she told us of meeting a young RAF Air Gunner in early 1944. She still remembers “Tony” who was only 19 years old when he was killed in action on the 31st March 1944, Dorothy was only 16. Tony was shot down in Lancaster ZN-C by a German night fighter.  The four engined bomber exploded over Berghausen, 32 km North East of Siegen.

He was the son of Frederick and Charlotte Poole of Sleaford, Lincolnshire and my Aunt met his mother with Tony before that fateful mission. Debbie and I think she was rather sweet on him.  She always remembers him by writing his name on a wooden cross she gets given every year around remembrance Sunday. Dorothy was thrilled when I passed on all this information and the photo of his grave below to her in a recent letter. Doing some research on the internet it looks like her memory of him as a “tail end charlie” or rear gunner on the Lancaster wasn’t quite right, rather it seems he was located in the top gun turret.

The following details of his last mission have been discovered through the help of the bomber crew.com forum:
Avro Lancaster Mk.III Serial Number: JB566 Identifier: ZN-C RAF Bomber Command Squadron: No.106 Start time  22:27 on 30 Mar 1944 RAF Metheringham Mission: Bombardement Destination: Nürnberg Losstime: 00:30 on 31 Mar 1944 Berghausen Asslar Cause: enemy aircraft
Tony is buried alongside his five fallen comrades in Hannover war cemetery near Niedersachsen in Germany, amazingly two crew members survived and became prisoners of war.

IMG_0030

Update 11th August 2015

In the forum I appealed for any additional information or photographs on Tony and much to my amazement his nephew Iain Poole got in touch yesterday who had visited his grave at the Hannover British Military Cemetery.  He confirmed he was known as Tony by his 3 brothers, Ken (his father), Ron and Alan.

Today he sent me the following two photos of Uncle Tony, he’s on the left in the first picture next to Ian’s father Ken.  I’m not sure which  of the other two are Ron or Alan but I’m pretty sure his mum Charlotte is in the centre.  The pictures were taken before him joining the RAF VR.

EPSON MFP image
Tony to the left next to Ken
EPSON MFP image
Tony centre
Iain still has Tony’s aircrew silk maps which were supposed to aid his escape in the event of him being shot down over enemy territory and surviving.  For some reason they were left behind on this fateful mission and found amongst his possessions.

Iain wrote in his email that he is pleased that someone else has a memory of Tony and remembers him on armistice day.  His name is on the war memorial in the market place in Sleaford, so he will always be back there.

  
RIP Tony – you will not be forgotten.

Sergeant Gilbert Anthony Poole RAF Volunteer Reserve

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