Tributes paid to RAF veteran Don Crossley

Don Crossley
Don Crossley

A RAF war veteran who flew dangerous bombing missions over Germany has passed away at the age of 93.

Don Crossley, of Tower Avenue, Upton, was a wireless operator during the Second World War, flying Lancaster Bombers in 100 Squadron and later 582 Squadron, which took part in raids over enemy territory during the final year of the conflict.

15th August 2011
War veteran who opposed German road name for Hemsworth bypass is called a clown by Laurie Harrison, who suggested German name.
Pictured: Don Crossley.

15th August 2011 War veteran who opposed German road name for Hemsworth bypass is called a clown by Laurie Harrison, who suggested German name. Pictured: Don Crossley.

Following a fall at home in August he spent the remainder of his life in hospital, where he died last Friday.

His son, also named Donald, paid tribute by saying: “At times, people have called my dad a hero, but he would have none of that.

“He said he just did what needed doing at that time, like so many others though he was lucky enough to come back.

“He was a complex man in many ways but simple at heart.

“He accomplished much in his life and never allowed his rather rudimentary education to constrain him.”

When he was demobbed after the war, Don joined the RAF for a second time flying various aircraft, including the American B29 Superfortress. 

He finally left the RAF in 1953 to spend more time with his wife Joan, son Don and daughter Andrea.

He worked at Upton pit then as an instrument mechanic at Eggborough Power Station until ill health forced retirement aged 63.

He kept busy by joining Upton Parish Council and was also founder and chairman of the Upton and North Elmsall History Group, for which he attended meetings up until recently. He regularly contributed articles to the Express, had several books published on local history and penned a yet-unpublished book entitled ‘How I Remember It’ about his time in Bomber Command. He also produced DVDs on Upton pit and The H&B Railway Around Wrangbrook.

His wife Joan passed away in 2008 and Don suffered from ill health in his last years.

Don is survived by his son Donald, daughter -in-law Lynn, daughter Andrea, son-in- law Paul, grandchildren Drew, Harriet, Tim, Eleanor and Alexandria, and great-grandchildren Evie, Sebastian, Will and Errietta.

His funeral will take place at Pontefract Crematorium at 11am on November 30.

Everyone is welcome.