Don Crossley, RAF veteran and local historian

Don Crossley
Don Crossley
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Don Crossley, who has died at 93, was an RAF veteran who took part in bombing missions over Germany during the final months of the Second World War.

A wireless operator on the Lancaster bombers of 100 Squadron and later 582 Squadron, he had been called a hero, but, said his son in Pontefract, he would have none of it.

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

“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.”

Demobbed after the war, Mr Crossley joined the RAF for a second time, flying the American B29 Superfortress and other aircraft. He finally left the military in 1953 to spend more time with his wife Joan, son Don and daughter, Andrea.

He went to Upton pit, and worked as an instrument mechanic at Eggborough Power Station, until ill health forced his retirement at 63.

He kept busy by joining Upton Parish Council and was also the founder and chairman of the Upton and North Elmsall History Group.

He published several books on the local history of Pontefract and wrote a volume, as yet unpublished, called How I Remember It about his time in Bomber Command. He also produced DVDs on Upton pit and The Hull and Barnsley Railway around Wrangbrook.

Joan died in 2008, and Mr Crossley is survived by Don, Andrea, grandchildren Drew, Harriet, Tim, Eleanor and Alexandria, and great-grandchildren Evie, Sebastian, Will and Errietta.