Pompey Lad and Beloved Brother

November 1st, 2019 Posted in Blog, Patient Stories
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Our Remembrance Display at the Living Well Centre pays tribute to Denis Langford who died in the Second World War. Denis’ brother Terry was recently cared for by our Hospice and shared the courageous story of his brothers squadron.

2019 3 4.JPGdennisThis photo shows Denis Langford aged 21; the beloved brother of Terry Langford. Terry died in May 2019 whilst under the care of Rowans Veterans Service. During the time he was being supported by us, Terry conveyed a wish for his brother’s Second World War medals and log book to be given a fitting home. This was achieved prior to Terry’s death with them being donated to the D-Day Museum and were on display during the D-Day commemorative events.

Pilot Officer Denis Langford, 156 Squadron RAF, was killed on 24.6.1944 when the Lancaster bomber JB230 that he was piloting was shot down during a raid on a V-1 flying bomb site at Ecques, Coubronne, Pas de Calais, France.

He lived in Portsmouth and had been educated at the Portsmouth Northern Secondary School. After school he went into Portsmouth Dockyard and was training to be a shipwright, until he joined the RAF. He did 10 months of RAF training in Canada. His family lived in Newcomen Road, Portsmouth, where a V-1 landed on 15.7.1944 killing 15 people.

156 Squadron was a pathfinder squadron, Bomber Command. The aircraft’s bomb aimer could not see the target clearly on the first pass, so the aircraft went round again, and was shot down by German flak or a German fighter on the second pass over the target. According to Terry, an eyewitness said he may have survived the crash and been taken prisoner. Denis has no known grave and his name is on the Runnymede Memorial to the Missing. At the time of death, Denis was aged 21.

His crew had passed the 30-mission point, when they could have had six months off missions and instructed new aircrew instead, but the whole Lancaster crew agreed to keep going until they reached 45 missions, at which point they would not have to fly any more missions.

Younger brother Terry and their father went to Buckingham Palace and Denis received posthumously the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) medal from King George VI.

Denis’s uniform, along with pictures of his medal and log book, can currently be viewed in the foyer area of the Living Well Centre. Please do come down and have a look for yourself during the centre’s opening hours.

On the 11th November at 11am, the Living Well Centre will observe a 2 minute silence led by Spiritual Care Chaplain, Carol Gully.

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Thanks go to Andrew Whitmarsh of the D-Day Museum and family member Lorraine Ellis for the use of the photographs and donation of the uniform.

Terry is survived by his wife Shirley.

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