Mark’s History: Dambuster remembered at Bramley War Memorial

Bramley war memorial main
Bramley War Memorial. Photo: West Leeds Dispatch

Robinson Horsfall and Emma Horsfall were married in Bradford in 1918. By 1920 they were living in Bramley where their sons David – and a year later – Alan were born, writes Mark Stevenson.

David Horsfall
Dambuster David Horsfall from Bramley

Little did they know that by 1940 Alan would be dead – killed as a navigator in 50 Squadron – and three years later David’s body would be washed ashore on 29th May 1943 in Holland.

David’s death was to give his parents the distinction of been one of three families in the country to have lost a son in both Bomber Command (Alan) and as part of Operation Chastise (David).

David was a Flight Engineer on board AJ-A “Apple” a Lancaster Bomber which, on the night of May 16th 1943, took off from Scampton in Lincolnshire with 18 other Lancasters.

David Horsfall’s birth register

They had three primary targets: the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams and two secondary ones, the Lister and the Eneppe dams.

Of the 19 Lancasters that took part in the attacks with 133 crew, eight planes were lost with the loss of 56 men; three of these men survived to become prisoners of war.

David Horsfall’s plane was caught by a burst of flak on the return journey. He had survived the successful bombing of the Möhne dam, only to be killed minutes from safety.

Dambuster David Horsfall is buried in Bergen General Cemetery. His name is to be added to the Bramley War Memorial.

My thanks to John Barker from Friends of Bramley War Memorial for giving me the heads up on this. The Friends were delighted to recently accept The Duke of York’s Community Initiative Award from Prince Andrew at Sheffield Cathedral.


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