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Kullabygden Genealogical Society

Copyright © 2007,
Carin Olofsson

Last updated:
April 6, 2005

Flying Officer Gordon Leslie Piprell

Flying Officer Gordon Leslie Piprell     Gordon Piprell and a Lancaster bomber
All photos are taken and published with kind permission from Gordon Piprell's brother
Gerry Piprell, Saskatoon, Canada

This is Gerry Piprell's story:

My son Aaron and I visited the Pålsjö cemetery 31 Aug 2004, exactly 60 years (plus a few hours) since my brother and his crew were shot down 30 Aug 1944. We were the first of our family to have the opportunity to visit the grave after all those years. The plane from RAF 101 Sqn, Ludford Magna in England, still lies in shallow water at Vejbystrand, Sweden, where flying Officer Gordon Piprell's plane was shot down in flames into Skälderviken Bay some 25 Km north of Helsingborg. The only survivor of the 8 man crew was Sgt E Cunnigham, a Bombaimer, who managed to bale out just before SR-D ME 592 Lancaster went into the sea.

A few minutes after a second plane from 101 Sqn was lost when SR-W LL757 flown by FLT/LT William Stewart met a similar fate crashing in a forested area near Östra Ljungby. All nine of this crew including a second pilot in training were killed.

Later on the night a third Lancaster, SR-F LM479 of 101 Sqn on it's return from the Stettin raid, flown by Flight Officer Tom Foster was shot down on the west coast of Denmark near the small town of Bejbjerg, this crew included Canadian Navigator Flight Sgt Chalmers, whose nephew lives in Edmonton Alberta. On the 29 Aug 1944 Bomber Command mounted a heavy attack on the German Baltic ports of Stettin and Königsberg. 402 Lancasters took part in the raid, and 38 were lost in that attack.

101 Sqn carried an extra crew member, who had the ability to speak German, and whose special duties were to operate extra radio equipment designed to jam and confuse enemy fighters communications code name of this was ”Airborne Cigar”.

After WWII there were over 3000 Lakes and various geophysical features in northern Saskatchewan, Canada that were named in memory of Servicemen killed in the war. A large area of northern Saskatchewan is sparsely populated, and is very rough terrain with rocks, bush, and lakes. Many of these lakes can only be reached by float plane. Piprell Lake is named in memory of my brother Gordon. We are fortunate that it can be reached by road.

Photo of Piprell Lake

Map showing Piprell Lake

On 1 Sept 2002 we placed a bronze plaque on a rock beside the lake, and held a ceremony in honour of Gordon.

Piprell Lake plaque honors World War II hero

Aaron, Patrick and Gerry Piprell

Bronze plaque

My brother Gordon grew up on a small farm in Borden Saskatchewan, Canada some 40 Kms northwest of Saskatoon. Our Father, like many of his neighbours, was still farming with horses when Gordon went to war. Our family still lived in the log house that Dad built when he came to Canada from the Channel Islands in 1905. No electricity, no running water, or any modern conveniences. It was a challenge to take on the life of the Air Force, so sadly and abruptly ended.

My wife Carrol and I still own the farm but since I have retired, rent it to a neighbour. We currently live in Saskatoon, which is about a 45 minute drive away from the farm.

Upon leaving Sweden we went to Lincoln, England where on 5-7 Sept weekend we attended an annual Sqn reunion, and met many interesting people who I had, some correspondence over the years, having joined the Sqn as an Associated member, some 20 years ago.

Gerry Piprell