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Samuel Long

Sergeant Samuel Long, 1595256, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 15 OTU, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Samuel Long was born on the 7th May 1909 in Ossett, the son of rag grinder, John Charles Long and his wife Edith, nee Audsley, who both hailed from Horbury. The couple had married at St Peter's Church, Horbury on the 2nd August 1902 and in 1911 the Long family were living at Radley Street, Ossett.

Samuel's father, John Charles Long was one of four Long brothers who served in WW1 and survived. On the 20th May 1916, the "Ossett Observer" carried a story about the Ossett Long Brothers describing their WW1 service:

"John Charles, the second son, is 34 years of age, married, and volunteered for service within a month after the outbreak of the present hostilities. He was living in Batley at the time, but up to about two years ago he resided in Ossett, and worked at the mills in Healey. He was formerly a member of the local Volunteers and Territorials, and the Ossett Ambulance Brigade, and is now serving with the ambulance section of the army. In May last year, he proceeded to the Dardanelles, and was there until October, when through contacting fever he was invalided to a hospital in the south of England. On recuperating, he visited home on several days leave, and in November last went to Egypt, where he is now engaged in hospital duty at Port Said."

Samuel Long married Annie Donovan (1911-1954) in the Dewsbury Registration District in late 1930. In 1939 the couple were living in Bunkers Lane, Batley and Samuel Long was working as a foreman in a dye house. There were four children to the marriage: Joan, born 1931; Joyce, born 1932; Shirley, born 1935 and Patricia, born 1941.

After Samuel Long's death in 1944, his wife Anne remarried Charles Bould in 1946 in the Dewsbury area, later moving to live in Manchester. They went on to have two children together.

Samuel Long joined the Royal Air Force circa 1943 at a relatively late age and trained as an air gunner, eventually becoming a member of the crew of 27 year-old pilot Sergeant Harold Chalton's LN658 Wellington BX bomber. Samuel Long was by far the oldest crew member at 34 years of age.

15 Operational Training Unit was formed in August 1940 as part of No. 6 Group RAF Bomber Command at RAF Harwell to train night bomber crews on the Vickers Wellington. In 1942, it carried out seven operational missions. It was disbanded in March 1944

Wellington bomber LN658 left 15 Operational Training Unit at RAF Harwell, Oxfordshire at 18:52 hours on the 13th February 1944 on a cross country training flight with the intention of flying Harwell - Taunton - Bideford - St. Mary's - Skomer Island - Fishguard - Worcester - Harwell.

At 22:10, the crew obtained a signal which showed they were more or less on track. Ten minutes later, the aircraft was plotted as showing broad "Identification Friend of Foe" emissions, after which nothing further was heard. It is assumed that the aircraft crashed into the Irish Sea and all five crew members lost their lives. The wreckage of the Wellington bomber LN658 or the bodies of the crew were never found.

Crew members of Wellington BX LN658

Sergeant Samuel Long died on the 13th February 1944, aged 34 years, the son of John Charles and Edith Long; husband of Anne Long, of Healey, Batley, Yorkshire. He is remembered on Panel 233 of the Runnymede Memorial that overlooks the River Thames on Cooper's Hill at Englefield Green between Windsor and Egham on the A308, 4 miles from Windsor.

Wellington Bomber

Above: Wellington Bomber like the one flown in by Sergeant Samuel Long of Batley.

References:

1. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site