Former City of London PC Saxby died on 4th September 1943 during a large bombing raid on Berlin. It was his sixth operational flight. He was a crew member on a Lancaster bomber and was struck in the chest from a German night-fighter’s cannon shell and lost his life instantly, just a moment after he had released his bombs – apparently the most dangerous time for a bomber’s crew.
The aircraft was badly hit and on the journey back to England came down in the North Sea. The crew took to dinghies and were later rescued, but, knowing Saxby was dead, left him on board the plane and he sank with it.
The City of London Police newsletter, in reporting his death, stated that Saxby was a great favourite amongst the air crews at his station. He was 26 years of age and unmarried, but left behind his widowed father, himself a pensioner from Hove Police.
Nearly all of Saxby’s crew mates on this flight took off in another Lancaster five weeks later to bomb Hanover. All, except one, were killed during the mission.
Further information on the raid and the loss of this aircraft, including photographs of the crew’s rescue in the North Sea, please click this link.