Albert Bernard Langford
|Albert Bernard Langford|
28 March 1916|
St John's Wood, London
|Disappeared||30 June 1940(aged 24)|
|Cause of death||Shot|
|Resting place||Wittes, France|
|Education||Park School, Boston; Boston Grammar School (1928-1933); St Andrew's School, St Andrew's, Tennessee|
|Employer||Post Office, Boston; RAF|
Albert Bernard Langford (known as Bernard) was educated at Boston Grammar School (1928-1933).
From the Spring 2002 issue of The Old Bostonian
Bernard was born on 28 March 1916 in St John's Wood, London. His father was a marine engineer. Soon after his birth the family moved to Boston. He attended Park School Junior and Senior Departments until 1928. On 2 May 1928 he entered Boston Grammar School and was there until July 1933. He then went off to the USA to attend St Andrew's School, St Andrew's, Tennessee where the headmaster, Father Parker, was his mother's brother. Visa regulations limited his time in the States to two years and so he returned to the UK in 1935. He worked in Boston for the Post Office until, in July 1939, he joined the RAF and was posted to Henchen College for Flight Training. In the October he entered No 7 Air Observer's School and gained his Sergeant's stripes on 25 November.
In January 1940 he was posted to 101 Squadron and in May was transferred to 107 Squadron where he flew in Blenheim IV bombers. At the time of the British evacuation at Dunkirk when the German Army was advancing into France, Bernard made his tenth operational flight over enemy territory and was shot down behind the German lines at Sedan. He and the two other crew members managed to escape from the wrecked plane. The three obtained a lift in a refugee's car and got to Paris. The next day they got a flight back to England in an air liner. A few days later the Germans entered Paris and France fell.
Back with his Squadron, Bernard was without delay sent on operational flights. On 30 June, on his thirteenth flight against the enemy, his plane was shot down when on a raid on Melville airfield in France. Back in England the crew were posted as "missing but believed to have escaped" and their families were informed accordingly. Two months later a rumour claimed that Bernard was a prisoner of war. It was even confirmed by an official telegram in August 1940. The rumour proved to be false and in January 1944 the Air Ministry withdrew the "believed to have escaped" and replaced it with "missing".
Long afterwards the truth was discovered. Bernard and the other two crew members were shot down by anti-aircraft fire at Wittes near St Omer. All three managed to get out of the stricken plane and as they descended by parachute they were shot and killed by German soldiers.
They were buried nearby beside an oak tree. After the war they were re-interred in Wittes churchyard.