Joseph Norman Eslick (1911-1942)

Joseph Norman Eslick b 1911

Pilot Officer Joseph Norman Eslick was born in 1911 in Capetown, South Africa, the son of Arthur Eslick and his wife Olivia Martin. It was a widely travelled family as his grandfather had been a Cornish mine agent. Joseph’s father had been born in Brazil and the family is seen re-entering the UK from both South Africa and Mauritius. Like his father, Joseph worked as a blacksmith in the mines. He married Kathleen Clarice Lisk in Plymouth in 1934 with whom he had two daughters. He served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 97th Squadron, service number 106076.

On 11 July 1942, Joseph was Front Gunner aboard Lancaster I R5696. As part of the 1000 bomber raids on Germany that his squadron flew in June and July of 1942, Joseph’s craft left RAF Woodhall Spa with 43 others in an ‘experimental daytime operation’, flying low and splitting up in the clouds to reach Danzig, Germany, now Gdansk, Poland. The target was U-Boat yards and the operation went well in that they were not confronted by enemy aircraft, however flak was heavy over Danzig and two Lancasters, including Joseph’s, were downed with no survivors. Joseph and the other crewmen are buried at Marlbork Commonwealth War Cemetery in Poland. The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Charles Miller, a New Zealander serving in the Royal Air Force, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Crew of Lancaster I R5696, Joseph Eslick is 2nd from right in top row
Crew of Lancaster I R5696, Joseph Eslick is 2nd from right in top row

Sources:
‘11.07.1942 No. 97 Squadron Lancaster I R5696 Fl/Lt. C.W. Miller DFC loss’, Archive Report: Allied Forces, Aircrew Remembered, http://aircrewremembered.com/miller-charles.html, [accessed 29 Jun 2016].
‘Arthur Eslick’ (father), British Army WW1 Service Records 1914-1920, Ancestry, http://home.ancestry.co.uk/, [accessed 29 Jun 2016].
‘Bomber Command No.97 Squadron’, Royal Air Force Bomber Command, http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/bombercommandno97squadron.cfm, [accessed 29 Jun 2016].

Image Citations:
‘P/O Joseph N Eslick’ and ‘Crew of Lancaster R5696’, ‘11.07.1942 No. 97 Squadron Lancaster I R5696 Fl/Lt. C.W. Miller DFC loss’, Archive Report: Allied Forces, Aircrew Remembered, http://aircrewremembered.com/miller-charles.html, [accessed 29 Jun 2016].