Edward Peter Paul Olson came to Chelmsford from Suffolk and after leaving school worked in the town for the electrical engineers Crompton Parkinson. He subsequently joined the R.A.F. and was killed when his aircraft was shot down over Leipzig in the final weeks of the European war.
Edward was born in Suffolk in 1923, the son of Sara Marie B. J. Olson (nee Neilson) (1891-1971). He had an elder brother, John Alexander Olson (1922-1964).
After leaving school Peter worked by as an armature winder at the Chelmsford electrical engineer's Crompton-Parkinson.
During the Second World War Edward served as Sergeant 1615942 in 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron, Royal Air Force.
At 6.31 p.m. on 10th April 1945 21 year-old Edward was on board Lancaster III (serial number ND631 and markings of KM-B) which took off from R.A.F. Spilsby in Lincolnshire for a raid on railway yards at Leipzig in Germany.
The aircraft, piloted by 21 year-old Southern Rhodesian Flying Officer 160043 Patrick William 'Pat' Kennedy, on his 30th operation, was carrying eight airmen, one more than usual. The extra man was 29 year-old Pilot Officer 160244 Geoffrey Clayton Rance Woodhouse who was flying on a 'second dickey' trip - R.A.F slang for instances where a pilot not experienced on operations or a senior officer returning to operations would go on an operation with an experienced crew as a "second dickey".
Edward Peter Paul OLSON, Sergeant, 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Killed when his aircraft was shot down over Germany. Aged 21
Also on board the aircraft were: Canadian Warrant Officer Class II (Navigator) R/189991 Allan Frederick Turner (aged 22), Flying Officer W. J. Jones, Flight Sergeant (Wireless Operator) 1604391 James Edward Short (aged 23), Flight Sergeant (Air Gunner) 1090496 Colin McBurney (aged 23), and Flight Sergeant (Air Gunner) 1816650 Albert Edward Bull (aged 20).
Their aircraft was shot down over Leipzig with Flying Officer W. J. Jones the only crew member to survive. According to some sources the aircraft was a rarity, a veteran of 100 previous operations. It was the last Lancaster lost on operations with 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron during the war.
At the time of his death Edward's mother was living at 110 Moulsham Street in Chelmsford.
Today Edward lies in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery in Germany (grave 13. J. 2). His crew mates lie nearby in grave 13.J.1 and collective grave 13. J. 3-7.