Bill was a founder member of the
Black Country Memories Club and he took on his role as a committee member with
The rest of us learned very quickly that he was a steadying influence, a man that could be trusted and relied upon to give calm and sensible advice.
A Bilston man through and through
and proud to be so, as his work colleagues confirmed by chose him to be their
shop steward at the Quasi Arc.
Bill loved his family and his grief was immense when his beloved wife, Hazel died. An ordinary man, a thorough English gentleman, it might be said. But, more than that, much more, He was a hero.
Night after night he flew in his
Lancaster in the skies over Germany occupied Europe. He was an air gunner, not
for him the glamour of being a pilot or navigator, his task, alone in his flimsy
turret was to shoot down the enemy, protect his crew in their dark and dangerous
And, he did just that – on the 28th May 1944 in the early hours whilst flying over Aachen in Southern Germany his plane was attacked. Alone in that turret, in the black of night he fought and destroyed a Junkers 88, a deadly German fighter.
He, and his crew often flew for eight hours or more to reach their targets, often having to fight off German night fighters over their own airfields when they returned. He knew the risks he faced, the odds that were against him, he would have known that the day he volunteered.
Air gunners only took 6 weeks to be trained, sadly, some of them did not survive even that long in operations.
It men like Bill Pope that saved this country, brave men, all of them , we who are left must never forget.
And so, our Hero, our Bill, has left us on his last flight to join that great Squadron in the sky.
We bid farewell to our dear friend – Chocks Away.
A tribute to Bill read by his friend John Elwell, President of BCMC.