Remember today is ‘Dam Buster’ Henry Eric Maudslay who lived at Foxhill Manor, Broadway. Henry who was born on 21st July 1921 in Lillington, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. He was killed in action, aged 21, during a Dam Buster raid on 17th May 1943.
Henry was the son of the Reginald Maudslay, the founder of Standard Motor Company, Coventry, and Susan Gwendoline, née Herbert. Henry had an older brother, John born in 1912, and an older sister, Margaret Kate, born in 1910. During the late 1930s the family moved to Foxhill Manor, Broadway, where they continued to live until 1954. Henry’s father died suddenly in London after a short illness in 1943. His mother lived in Broadway, moving to Barn House, until her death in 1974.
After leaving Prep School in Gloucestershire, Henry attended Eton College (1935-1940) where he is remembered for his athletic and rowing accomplishments. He volunteered for the RAF in 1940 and trained as a pilot in Canada. In May 1941 he was assigned to 44 Squadron as a Hampden pilot. After 29 operations, he was recommended for the Distinguished Flying Cross and assigned to Lancaster training; he apparently did some test flying for Rolls Royce during this period and was later assigned to 44 Squadron’s training flight.
Whilst a member of the training flight he flew all three of the ‘Thousand Bomber Raids’. In January 1943 he started a new operational tour with 50 Squadron, with which he completed 13 operations before being assigned to 617 Squadron as B Flight commander.
On the night of 16th/17th May 1943, Henry and his crew took off from RAF Scampton (with Guy Gibson Dam Busters) in Lancaster ED937 Z, part of Operation Chastise to bomb the dams in the Ruhr area of Germany. Following successful bombing of the heavily defended Mohne Dam, they headed east and successfully bombed the Eder dam but the Upkeep (the Barnes Wallis bouncing bomb) seems to have either gone off prematurely or was dropped late and the explosion damaged their Lancaster. The aircraft limped towards home but was shot down by a German flak battery near the Dutch border in the town of Emmerich. All, the crew, including Squadron Leader Henry Maudslay, DFC, were killed.
The crew of Lancaster ED937 Z
Pilot S/L H E Maudslay DFC
Flight engineer Sgt J Marriott DFM
Navigator F/O R A Urquhart DFC RCAF
Wireless Op. W/O A P Cottam RCAF
Bomb-aimer P/O M J D Fuller
Front gunner F/O W J Tytherleigh DFC
Rear gunner Sgt N R Burrows
The crew are all buried in the Reichswald Forrest Cemetery, Germany, and there is a bronze memorial plaque to Henry E. Maudslay in the church of All Saints’ Sherbourne Park near Warwick. Henry is also commemorated on the Willersey War Memorial, St Peter’s Churchyard, Willersey, Gloucestershire.
A blue plaque was unveiled in his memory on 27th July 2017 at his old home, 1 Vicarage Road, Lillington, in the presence of two of Henry Maudslay’s nieces, his great-niece and his great-great niece and two great-great-nephews.
Leamington History Group: http://leamingtonhistory.co.uk/henry-eric-maudslay-dfc-dam-buster-pilot