KB865 was the fourth Lancaster's carrying VR-E on their fuselage.
The previous three VR-E had all been lost on operations over Germany. Beginning on
May 23rd 1944 with the loss of the P/O Charles Patterson crew on KB717 over Dortmund.
A few months later KB708
with the F/O William Milnar crew was lost on August 16th 1944 over Russelsheim.
Again over Dortmund KB804 and the crew of F/O Lawrence Blaney on February 21 1945.
KB865, VR-E appears first on March 1st 1945. It would be flown by the F/L Cave crew on seven ops.
Five ops. with the F/O J.W, Smith crew.
Twice by the F/O Robertson crew and once each by F/O Retallack, F/L
Peters and F/O S.H. Millar.
The Peters crew were selected to return KB865 to Canada. This required extra training. The Pilot, Navigator and Wireless
Operator now needed to fly following Commercial Airlines guidelines as well as cross Atlantic navigation.
It should be noted that this choice of crews was not without problems, none of which had anything to do with
the crews themselves. The RCAF had decided and told crews that when the time to return to Canada began, it would be
the first to arrive in the UK would be the first to return, The RCAF broke that promise and many airmen were not pleased with that.
The Peters crew were:
F/L E.G Peters Pilot
F/L L.A. Gray Navigator
F/O F.G Giacomelli Bomb Aimer
WO B.R. Cameron WAG
Sgt. H.N. HearderF/E
WO W.R. Livingstone MUG
F/O Archibald R/G
In The photo the two leftmost men in back seem to be LACs so they are not part of the crew. The officer without the tunic
most likely is F/L Peters, as no one else is wearing pilot's wings.
Also in the background is KB823 "Lily Marlene", named after a German song. KB823 served up until January 27th 1948.
Our Thanks to CWO Francois Dutil for sending the original copies of these edited photos.
The photos add greatly to the effort to preserve the history of 419 Squadron.