Philip Charles Livesey Wicks

Memorial: Thornbury - St Mary's Church

Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Medals: 1939–45 Star, Air Crew Europe Star, War Medal 1939–1945

Rank and number: Sergeant Observer Navigator

Parents: John Gammon and Louisa Maria Knight Wicks

Home address: The Cedars, Bristol Road, Thornbury, Bristol

Pre-war occupation: Commercial Traveller

Date of birth: 10/08/1916

Date of death: 03/04/1941

Buried/Commemorated at: Buried at Waddington (St. Michael) Churchyard, Lincolnshire and commemorated on Thornbury St Mary’s Memorial and Lancing College War Memorial

Age: 24

Further information:

Philip was the middle child of 3 with an older and a younger sister, Ursula and Cynthia. Philip's father was a solicitor and clerk to many local committees as well as clerk to the county court and he was at one time the mayor.

Philip was educated at Lancing College, West Sussex from 1930 to 1933. On leaving school he worked as a commercial traveller. He had a passion for machinery and was always seeking ways to improve the performance of his car. On the outbreak of war, he volunteered immediately for service with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, rising to the rank of Sergeant. He was stationed with his squadron at RAF Topcliffe, North Yorkshire.

On the evening of the 3rd of April 1941 51 Wellingtons, 27 Whitleys, 11 Blenheims and 1 Stirling bomber were despatched for a night attack on Brest where their target was a number of German warships in the harbour there. Philip and 3 other crew members, took off at 7.04pm from RAF Topcliffe in Whitley Bomber P4947 for the operation. The warships proved difficult to locate and most of the bombs fell to the west of the city.

Having completed their mission, Philip and his crew returned, but experienced severe icing of the airframe and also lost their trailing aerial due to severe static. They diverted to RAF Waddington where, while making a second circuit of the airfield at 300 feet, the aircraft stalled and crashed into the ground two fields away from the airfield perimeter at 10.04pm. The aircraft burst into flames, killing all but one of the crew. Two other aircraft were also lost during the mission.

By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):

This information has been provided by Sarah Hands, Volunteer Researcher for the South Gloucestershire War Memorials Web Site.
By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):
Thornbury Roots -