World War Two survivor stories
John Alexander Lobban (1917–1993)
On June 12th, 1943 the Handley Page Halifax of 2nd Lt. John Alexander Lobban, part of the 76/78 Bomber Squadron crashed about 4 km south of Bladel, The Netherlands. The plane that left from Linton-on-Ouse airport was set to target Düsseldorf. Five crew members died, among others the pilot Sgt. Andrew James Normandale Wilson. There was only 1 survivor: navigator Sgt. J.A. Lobban, born on 31 Dec 1917. In his Evasion and Capture statement he describes how he managed to escape from the Germans and how he was aided by the Dutch resistance network. One of the places he stayed at was the café and farmhouse of Albert van Ass. Mr. Lobban describes that he received food and shelter for 3 weeks at the house of the family Van Ass. “At this public house I met two other R.A.F. personnel. At this farm there were altogether 20 people hiding, civilians, refugees and partisans.” During his stay, a Dutch woman interrogated him and other pilots to establish they were genuine airmen. He stayed there until 17 July, after which he was sent onward through the escape line. He was captured in Bordeaux, France on 29 July 1943, together with other pilots on the line, and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner.
Albert van Ass later received the King’s Medal for Courage in the Cause of Freedom (UK) and the Medal of Freedom (USA) for his aid to allied soldiers.
This item contributed by Lennie van Dooren, great grandson of Albert van Ass. From our database we have found little about this John Alexander Lobban. Before the war (1939 Registry) he was a banker’s clerk living with his mother Gertrude Lobban (b. 24 Dec. 1886) in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. She died there in 1980. John died in the town he was born in, St. Austell, Cornwall. Gertude appears to be part of the Preston Lobbans (see Emigrants to England), in spite of a discrepancy in birth date between GRO records and the 1939 Register (Rothiemay Area Lobbans).
Posted 29 July 2020 by Christopher S. Lobban