In 1998, I wrote an article documenting the fate of Lancaster ND 641 and its crew on the evening of March 24/25, 1944, during the last major raid of the Battle of Berlin. The pilot, my uncle, Warrant Officer John Owen failed to return along with five of his crew mates - Sgt. Tony Lavender, Navigator; Sgt. Al Nixon, Mid-Upper Gunner; Sgt. Percival Simpkin, Signal Officer/Gunner; Sgt. Bill Broadmore, Flight Engineer; and Sgt. Bill Clark, Rear Gunner. Flt/Sgt. Frank Magee, Bomb Aimer, parachuted to safety and was liberated in 1944 as an evader. He returned to Canada after hostilities ceased and married the widow of his crew mate, Vera Simpkin.
In 1972, I initiated a search for Frank Magee. After 15 years, with the aid of an ad in the Legion Magazine’s “Lost Trails” department, the trail ended in Abbotsford. Just before publication of my article, “Uncovering the Lost Trail” (January/February 2001 issue), Dan Black, Managing Editor, commented that it is hard to predict the feedback 50 years post-event. My expectations were not high - I was wrong!