Frederick Henry Debarr was an Eastender who came to Chelmsford with his fmaily after living for a time in Leigh-on-Sea. He worked for Chelmsford electrical engineers Crompton Parkinson before joining the R.A.F.'s Bomber Command. He was killed along with six other crewmates when their Lancaster bomber ditched in the North Sea after a raid on Hamburg. His home was in Burns Crescent, Chelmsford.

Frederick Henry DEBARR, Pilot Officer, 227 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed when his aircraft ditched into the North Sea. Aged 29

The raid involved 151 Lancaster aircraft and 8 Mosquito aircraft of No 5 Group. The attack was accurate; 20 storage tanks were destroyed and the plant was still out of action at the end of the war.

Four Lancasters were lost including Frederick's. The last message from his aircraft was received 05:03 hours after which the aircraft ditched in the North Sea, it is believed about 40 miles west of the Danish coast. Frederick,  Frank Martin Ashworth, and their five comrades were all killed. The others who lost their lives were: Sergeant 1583280 Thomas John Jones (aged 22), Sergeant 982124 Thomas Leslie O' Marah (aged 22), Sergeant 1852873 Graham Howard White (aged 21), New Zealander Flying Officer 426232 Edward Kimpton Whitechurch (aged 28), and Flight Sergeant 1684373 Edward Wareham Wilkinson (aged 22)

Frederick was 29 years old and unmarried. He was one mission short of completing 30 operations with Bomber Command that would have led to ground duties. His promotion to the commissioned rank of Pilot Officer, effective from 4th March 1945 was announced posthumously in the Supplement to the London Gazette dated 1st May 1945.

At the time of his death Frederick's parents were living at 24 Burns Crescent in Chelmsford. Official confirmation of his death did not occur until November 1945.

Frederick has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey, as are all his crew mates except Edward Kimpton Whitechurch whose body was washed ashore at Vejers Strand beach, Denmark on 19th June 1945. He rests at Mosevraa cemetery.

Frederick left an estate valued at £369 15s. 8d.


Frederick was born in Poplar, London on 21st May 1915, the third son of John Albert Debarr (1889-1950) and May Millicent Debarr (nee Stokes) (1888-1976). His parents had married at St. Paul's, Old Ford, east London on 11th September 1910. At the time Frederick's father was a postman. Bride and groom were both aged 21 and resident in Old Ford.

Frederick had at least four siblings; Albert J. Debarr (1911-1949), George Ernest Debarr (1913-1983), Olive Victoria Debarr (1918-1980), and Phyllis Lilian Debarr (1921-1977).

After the First World War the family lived at Leigh-on-Sea before coming to Chelmsford.

Frederick worked at the Chelmsford electrical engineer's Crompton Parkinson prior to joining the Royal Air Force where he eventually progressed to become a Pilot Officer in 227 Squadron. His service number was 195696. He trained as a navigator in South Africa.

On 22nd March 1945 Frederick was on board Lancaster I (serial number ME372) piloted by 24 year-old New Zealander Pilot Officer 429740 Frank Martin Ashworth that took off from R.A.F. Balderton in Lincolnshire at 01.22 for a bombing mission on Deutsche Erdölwerke refinery in Hamburg, Germany.