Remembering Derek

This portrait of Derek and the other digital images are courtesy of Julian Earl

These very touching digital images of family remembrances arrived in the Pathfinder Office earlier this September (2021). They concern Derek Charles Carrott of the Townsend crew of 405 Squadron. He was the flight engineer and the only British member of the crew, all of the rest of whom were Canadians.

The top item was published in a newspaper on the 10th anniversary of Derek’s death, long after his death had been confirmed. The other two must have been placed in newspapers when the family were still desperately hoping that he would return home safely.

The Townsend crew all died on 29 July 1944. They are thought to still be in their aircraft under the dark blue waters of the Ringkøbing Fjord off the west coast of Jutland. They are remembered at the Runnymede Memorial.

Above: The last page of Derek’s Logbook

The only body which was recovered was that of Colin John Blyth, one of the gunners, who is buried in the tiny, windswept but picturesque cemetery at Nørre Havrvig, within sight of the sea, on mainland Denmark. There are only eight Commonwealth burials at the cemetery, and oddly enough one of them is another Pathfinder, Sergeant A Robson of 582 Squadron, killed 16 September 1944.

FO E A Townsend RCAF
Sgt D C Carrott
FO W C Morrow RCAF
FO E C Pomeroy RCAF
FSgt C J Blyth RCAF
WCdr C Gray RCAF
The Townsend Crew, 405 Squadron

Derek’s family also preserved newspaper accounts of the RAF’s operations on the night that he and the crew died.