26 O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit) Virtual Cenotoph

26 O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit) Virtual Cenotaph
(In association with The Wing Airfield Memorial)

This page is currently under construction and will create a virtual online memorial to all those who lost their lives serving with 26 O.T.U. it will also include other major events and tragedies in relation to the airfields history.

A month to month record of events, focusing mainly on Aircraft and Aircrew losses, also including in addition a summery of other events related to the airfields history.

17th November 1941.

An advanced party of 75 R.A.F. personal arrived at R.A.F. Wing to occupy the Airfield on the 17
th November 1942. Like all airfields Wing at this time also had a satellite airfield that was situated at R.A.F. Cheddington.

2nd December 1941.

Group Captain J.N.D. Anderson arrives to take command of R.A.F. Wing Airfield.

30th May 1942 first R.A.F. 1,000 Bomber Raid.

30th/31st May 1942. Op= Koln
Wellington Ic W5704 -S

Left: Allen Norman Young R.N.Z.A.F. Right: James Milton Hall R.N.Z.A.F. two of the five crew lost on Wellington Ic W5704 - S.

F/O W R H Whitting R.A.F (Killed)

Sgt J H G Garrick R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt J M Hall R.N.Z.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt R C Williams R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt A N Young R.N.Z.A.F. (Killed)

Took-off 2345 from RAF Graveley. Shot down circa 0130 by, it is thought, Hptm Werner Streib, I./NJG1 and crashing at Middelberg (Noord Brabant), 16 Km West of Eindhoven, Holland, where all are buried in the Woensel General Cemetery. Both R.N.Z.A.F. crew members had been attached from 27 O.T.U.

30th/31st May 1942. Op= Koln
Wellington Ic DV707 -D

F/S E J Ford DFM R.A.F. (Killed)

P/O D C August R.A.F. (Killed)

W/O D W Caswell R.A.F. (POW)

F/S F F Barker DFM R.A.F. (Killed)

F/S J Thompson R.A.F. (Killed)

Took-off 2315hrs from Graveley. Thought to have fallen victim to Lt Niklas, 6/NJG1, crashing in the vicinity of Venlo (Limburg) Holland, where those that died have been interned at Jonkerbos War Cemetery. F/S Ford and F/S Barker gained their DFM's on the 24th of October and 2nd of September 1941 respectively, while serving with 9 Squadron in the case of the former and 103 Squadron for the latter. W/O Caswell was taken into captivity with quite severe burns and wounds caused by cannon shell splinters.

The graves of the four airmen killed on Wellington Ic DV707 -D Buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery Holland.
(Grave photos curtesy of Des Pilippet and Michel Beckers).

30th/31st May 1942. Op= Koln
Wellington Ic DV709 -F

Sgt J J Dixson R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt Scroggie R.C.A.F. (Inj)

Sgt Green R.A.F. (Inj)

Sgt Broadhurst R.A.F. (Inj)

Sgt B B Camlin R.A.F. (Killed)

Took-off 0019hrs from Graveley. Crashed 0435hrs while making an emergency landing in a field near Soham Flower Mill, some thirteen miles North East of Cambridge, Sgt Dickson and Sgt Camlin where buried in Beck Row St John Churchyard at Mildenhall, while those who were extracted alive, from the overturned bomber were taken to R.A.F. Hospital Ely.

The graves of the Two airmen killed Wellington Ic DV709 -F.
Sgt B B Camlin and Sgt J J Dixon at St John Churchyard, Beck Row, Mildenhall.

30th/31st May 1942. Op= Koln
Wellington Ic DV740 EU-O

W/O F G Hillyer R.A.F. (POW)

Sgt D H Fletcher R.A.F. (Killed)

P/O A C White R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt D S B Vincent R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt H L Smith R.A.F. (Killed)

Took-off at 2305hrs from Graveley. May have fallen victim to the guns of Oblt Patuschka, 4/NJG2, crashing at Alem in the Province of Gelderland, 14 km West-North-West of Oss (Noord Brabant), Holland. Those who died are buried in Uden War Cemetery.

The graves of P/O A C White, Sgt H L Smith, Sgt D H Fletcher and Sgt D S B Vincent at Uden War Cemetery.

Formed on 15th January 1942 at Wing Buckinghamshire, 26 O.T.U. had enjoyed a remarkable good run of fortune until this particular night. Akin to all the training establishments, 26 O.T.U. had fielded a mixture of screened and all pupil crews, mustering twenty in total. On this night the unit suffer its first losses when four of its Wellington aircraft failed to return, with 15 airmen killed, 3 injured and 2 interned as Prisoners Of War.

1st/2nd June 1942. Op= Essen
Wellington Ic HX375 –X

Sgt K Edmonds R.A.F. (Killed)

F/S K B Utman R.C.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt B H Edye R.A.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt G Horner R.A.F. (Killed)

F/S R I Derry R.C.A.F. (Killed)

Took-off 2259hrs from Graveley carrying 600 gallons of fuel and armed with a 500lb GP bomb, 6 SBC, each holding 90 x 4lb incendiaries. Crashed circa 0130hrs near Antwerp, where all are now buried in Schoonselhof Cemetery.

Newspaper cuttings relating to F/S K B Utman R.C.A.F. and F/S R I Derry R.C.A.F. and (Right) Signal from the Commanding Officer of R.A.F. Wing (Wing Commander D R Biggs) Bomber Command Headquarters 92 Group.

92 Group Headquarters, Winslow Halll, Winslow Buckinghamshire.

6th June 1942. (Destroyed in ground fire)
Wellington Ic DV835.

Aircraft destroyed by fire at 1300hrs while parked facing towards the south at Wing Airfield. The day was abnormally hot with a shade temperature of 86 degrees. Thus, it is believed, ammunition in the bomber’s front turret self-ignited.

14th June 1942. Training.
Wellington Ic DV710.

Sgt S Glover
Took-off from Cheddington for circuits and landings. Two hours into the exercise, Sgt Glover took-off for yet another circuit, only to find the Wellington was reluctant to climb. Landing alongside the flare path, the undercarriage gave way and not long after a fire broke out.

25th/26th June 1942. Op= Bremen
Wellington Ic DV721. -N

W/O C J Stirling DFM R.N.Z.A.F. (Killed)

F/S H H Jordan R.A.F. (Killed)

F/S A R Watkins R.A.F. (Killed)

F/O A Sharples R.A.F. (Killed)

F/S D H Baddeley R.A.F. (Killed)

Took-off at 2240hrs from Wing armed with 1 x 500lb GP (General Purpose) bomb and 6 SBC (Small Bomb Containers) containing 90 x 4lb incendiaries. Aircraft failed to return. All crew lie in Kiel War Cemetery. Details of the DFM held by W/O Stirling R.N.Z.A.F, who had served previously with 150 Squadron, were published in the London Gazette the day he died, 26th June. His tail gunner, F/S Baddeley had participated in the Battle of Britain, having been a member of 25 Squadron, equipped with Blenheim I’s.

Colin John Stirling and his crew lie together in Kiel War Cemetery (Cemetery photo Bob Boston)

5th August 1942. Training.
Wellington Ic X9657

P/O G F Pentony R.A.F. (Inj)

Sgt G R Phipps R.C.A.F. (Killed)

Took-off at 2045hrs from Wing for a night navigation sortie. During the flight, a conrod broke up inside the starboard engine, damaging the pistons of Nos. 5, 6 and 7 cylinders. Almost immediately the motor burst into flames and at around 2330hrs and the order to abandon was given, leaving the bomber to crash at Burton Coggles, 7 miles South-South-East of Grantham, Lincolnshire. Sgt Phips an air gunner, is buried in Grantham Cemetery.

The grave of Sgt George Robert Phipps, photographed shortly after his burial in August 1942.

Sgt George Robert Phipps (RCAF Archives) and his headstone at Grantham (Military Historian)

12th August 1942. Training.
Wellington Ic DV868.

Sgt R J Carson

Sgt C A Smith

Sgt F Sayles

P/O J C Gogill

Sgt R J Booth

Took-off 0135hrs from Cheddington for night flying. Crashed circa 0320hrs while attempting to go round again. In his report, Sgt Carson said he realised he was to one side of the flare path and though he retracted the undercarriage in readiness to go round again, he lost all flying speed. No injuries were reported.

30th August 1942. Training.
Wellington Ic DV825. –U

Sgt R V McDougall R.C.A.F. (Inj)

Sgt A P Hendriksen R.A.F. (Inj)

Took-off at 1500hrs from Cheddington for circuit training. Landed at 1545hrs but bounced back into the air and stalled. A fire broke out on impact. Sgt Hendriksen was critically injured and he was taken to the Princess Mary’s Hospital at Halton, where sadly he died of his injuries on the 5
th September. His grave is in Malden (St. John The Baptist) Churchyard, Malden and Coombe. Later commissioned, his skipper was killed during operations to Dusseldorf on 22/23rd April 1944

The grave of Sgt Hendriksen at Malden (St. John The Baptist) Churchyard, Malden and Coombe. (Dale Williamson)

Although surviving this crash Sgt McDougall was killed on operations in April 1944 while serving with 166 Squadron, when His Lancaster III ND806 crashed near le Culot, Belgium. He is buried at Heverlee War Cemetery along with the other six members of his crew.

3rd September 1942.

A detachment from No. 26 O.T.U. arrives at Little Horwood to establish the airfield as their new Satellite having moved from Chedington airfield that was handed over to the U.S.A.A.F.

6th September 1942. Training.
Wellington Ic Z1073.

Sgt J H Bond R.A.F. (Inj)

Sgt E W Cox (Inj)

(Not recorded in ORB) (Inj)

(Not recorded in ORB) (Inj)

Took-off from RAF Little Horwood for night dual training. Crashed circa 0440hrs after overshooting the airfield. This was the unit’s first accident since a detachment arrived at Little Horwood three days previous. Sgt Cox later converted to Halifaxes and was killed on 17
th April while serving with No. 51 Squadron when his Halifax II DT561 MH-K crashed at Hadamar, 7 km North-North-West of Limburg. All 7 crew lie in Durnbach War Cemetery.

The grave of Sergeant ( Pilot ) Ernest Walter Cox (Kim Mayser) Durnbach War Cemetery ( A K G Warner)

10th/11th September 1942. Op= Dusseldorf.
Wellington Ic DV703 –C

Sgt C C Ogilvie R.A.A.F. (Killed)

W/O L Hedley R.A.F. (POW)

P/O J M’Ilveen R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt J W Gardner R.A.F. (Killed)

F/S J B Higginson R.C.A.F. (Killed)

Took-off 2056hrs from RAF Wing armed with 4 x 500lb GP bombs. Attacked from below by a night-fighter whose cannon shells severed petrol and oil pipes and set light to the fuselage. Communication between the crew was impossible as the blaze immediately destroyed the intercom system. W/O Hedley managed to speak to his skipper, who told him to bale out. He did so, though lost consciousness in the process. Out of control, the Wellington hit the ground at around 0015hrs, some 500 metres North-West of Overhetfeld, on the North-West side of Niederkruchten.

Eventually taken to Stalag VIIIB, W/O Hedley gave a statement on 30th April 1943, to RSM S Sherriff, the Camp Leader, outlining his recollections of the last moments of this sortie.

Left to right: Sergeant (Pilot) Creighton Carlyle Ogilvie. Flight Sergeant ( Air Gnr. ) John Blake Higginson.

The four crew who were killed were first buried close to where their aircraft had crashed, at Munchen-Gladbach in the town cemetery, later reinturned along with other crews who were buried there, at Rheinberg British Cemetery Germany, 27
th July 1946.

10th/11th September 1942. Op= Dusseldorf.
Wellington Ic DV867 –E

Sgt A I L Downs R.A.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt J J Kearns R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt R H Kirkpatrick R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt J W Rowling R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt T P Allenby R.C.A.F. (Killed)

Took-off 2100hrs from RAF Wing armed with 4 x 500lb GP bombs. Attacked and shot down by a night-fighter at 0032hrs, aircraft flown by Uffz Fritz Schellwatt, NJG1, crashing between Stramproy and Hunsel (Limburg), two small villages 8km south-south-east and 10km south-east respectively of Weert, Holland. All were laid to rest at Venlo, Jonkerbos War Cemetery. Sgt Allenby R.C.A.F. was an American from Saratoga Springs in New York State. Sgt Kearns had previously served in the army.

Photo of pilot Sgt Kearns and his grave at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, along with his service record which shows him joining 26 O.T.U. on the 26
th June 1942, and just 77 days later reported missing on the 10th September 1942.

Entrance to Jonkerbos War Cemetery.

13th/14th September 1942. Op= Bremen.
Wellington Ic X9786 –F.

P/O R L Hage R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt K D Jones R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt A K Smith R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt D Fisher R.A.F. (Killed)

W/O2 J A Gartlan R.C.A.F. (POW)

Took-off 2353hrs from R.A.F. Wing carrying 4 x 500lb GP bombs. Shot down by a night-fighter at 0548hrs flown by Hptm Wilheln Dorman, III/NJG1, plunging into the Ijsselmeer, some 2km West of Elburg. Those who died are buried in the New Eastern Cemetery at Amsterdam. P/O Hage was an American, serving with the Volunteer Reserve, from Missoula in western Montana.

Pilot Officer Robert Leo Hage, pilot of Vickers Wellington Ic X9786. This colour tinted photo of Robert was kindly supplied by Roberts’s cousin Jan Halvorson. Jan has also sponsored a memorial plaque to Robert and his crew for installation at the societies 26 O.T.U. Wing Airfield Memorial Buckinghamshire.

(Top to bottom left to right) Newspaper cuttings and photo of P/O Hage and his grave. The graves of other crew members the two Observers, A K Smith and K D Jones. Portrait photo of Wop/AG D Fisher (Peret Hakze) and his grave at New Eastern Cemetery Amsterdam. (all grave photos(Fullamrocks)

16th/17th September 1942 Op= Essen.
Wellington Ic DV723 –H.

Sgt P L Looney R.A.A.F. (Missing)

Sgt M J Clayton R.A.F. (Missing)

Sgt J T Pate R.A.F. (Missing)

Sgt A E W Butler R.A.F. (Missing)

Sgt C G Calcutt R.A.F. (Missing)

Took-off from R.A.F. Wing 2019hrs. Lost without trace. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

The crew are remembered on the following panels at the Runnymede Memorial. Sgt’s Butler and Calcutt Panel 79, Sgt Clayton Panel 80, Sgt Pate Panel 91, and Sgt Looney Panel 112.

Panel 112 is situated at the end of one of the galleries in the west tower where the names of R.A.A.F. airmen missing during 1942 are recorded. In this photo Sgt P L Looney’s name can be seen second from bottom of the centre panel 112. (Photo: David King, 6th June 2009.)

16th/17th September 1942 Op= Essen.
Wellington Ic DV941 –G.

Sgt L W Streeter R.N.Z.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt W G Archer R.A.F. (Missing)

Sgt A M Bartlett R.A.F. (Missing)

F/S D A White R.C.A.F. (Missing)

F/S H E Johnson R.C.A.F. (Killed)

Took-off from R.A.F. Wing 2029hrs. Crashed off the coast of Holland. Sgt Streeter R.N.Z.A.F. is buried in Noordijk General Cemetery, while F/S Johnson R.C.A.F. lies in the New Eastern Cemetery at Amsterdam. The rest of the crew are commemorated on The Runnymede Memorial.

26th September 1942. Training.
Wellington Ic DV821.

Sgt. L F Bertrand R.C.A.F. (Inj)

Sgt S Langley R.A.F. (Inj)

Sgt H Beazley R.C.A.F. (Inj)

Sgt J C Keightley R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt S Hitchen R.A.F. (Inj)

Took-off from R.A.F. Wing 0938hrs for a cross-country exercise. Crash-landed 1153hrs at Greenhow Hill, roughly three miles West-South-West of Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire, after the starboard propeller and reduction gear came off. As the propeller detached, so it struck the side of the Wellington, killing Sgt Keightley (he is buried in Harrow (Wealdstone) Cemetery. Police Constable Fred Graham and some locally based soldiers soon reached the scene of the crash and they were instrumental in pulling the badly injured members of the crew clear of the wreckage, which had caught fire. Subseqently, three soldiers and PC Graham received commendations in recognition of their brave actions.

Sgt John Cliff Keightley (Martin Carrack) and his grave at Harrow (Wealdstone) Cemetery. (DeeBe)

6th November 1942. Training.
Wellington Ic DV885.

P/O H D Murray R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt J W Wilde R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt J M Lennox R.A.F. (Killed)

F/S W C Ferguson D.F.M. R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt H Bailey R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt Clarke R.A.F. (Inj)

Took-off from Little Horwood and reported as crashed near the airfield. P/O Murray, a Canadian from Vancouver serving with the Volunteer Reserve, was taken to Yorkshire and buried in Kirk Sandall (St. Oswald) Churchyard, Barnby Dunwith-Kirk Sandall. The others rest in their home towns. Late in 1941, F/S Ferguson was serving with 101 Squadron and while raiding Essen, his aircraft came under attack from a Ju88. Operating his guns to good effect, he drove the enemy aircraft off and later, shortly after crossing the coast on the return leg, he despatched a second attacker, which was last seen diving towards the sea wreathed in flames. His immediate award of the DFM was published in the London Gazette on 6th January 1942.

P/O Hugh Douglas Murray (Pilot) (Laurinlaurin Espie) and his grave at Saint Oswald's Churchyard, Kirk Sandall, Doncaster, Plot 236. Hugh was the Husband of Dorothy Murray of Kirk Sandall, Yorkshire.

7th November 1942. Training.
Wellington Ic Z1158.

F/S G B Leddy R.A.F.

Took-off from R.A.F. Wing at 1900hrs for night circuit practice, at 1917hrs the aircraft was totally wrecked following a heavy landing. No injuries reported.

9th December 1942. Training.
Wellington Ic DV880.

P/O R Waugh

Took-off from R.A.F. Wing at 1025hrs but came to grief when a tyre burst, causing the bomber to leave the runway and crash at fairly high speed. A fire developed in the region of the starboard engine, but the crew were able to scramble to safety without injury.

11th December 1942. Training.
Wellington Ic X9622.

Sgt E C Jones R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt S R Appi R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt W B Barclay R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt Thomas David McIntosh Breen (Killed)

Sgt D Bell R.A.F. (Killed)

F/S D J Clark R.C.A.F. (Inj) (Died of wounds)

Took-off 1815hrs from R.A.F. Little Horwood for a night cross-country. At approximately 2215hrs, the bomber was seen in the circuit but as it turned towards the Runway, it stalled and dived into the ground. On impact a column of smoke and flame shot into the night sky. The Court of Inquiry suggested that a film of rain across the windscreen may have distorted the pilot’s vision. F/S Clark R.C.A.F., an American from Seattle in the State of Washington, was taken to Princess Mary’s Hospital, Halton, where he lingered for nearly a day. He is buried in Halton (St. Michael) Churchyard. His skipper rest in Aylesbury Cemetery, while the rest of the crew were taken to their home towns.

Sgt Donald Bell (BC Researcher) Sgt Stephen Appi (Martin Carrack)

(Crew graves top to bottom left to right) Sgt E C Jones R.A.F. Sgt S R Appi R.A.F. (Julia&Keld) Sgt W B Barclay R.A.F. (Garioch Graver) F/S D J Clark R.C.A.F. (Julia&Keld) Sgt D Bell R.A.F. and Sgt Thomas David McIntosh Breen (PJRG66))

22nd December 1942 Training. (Mid-Air-Collision)
Wellington Ic Z8950.

Sgt C G Randolph R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt J Patterson R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt W K Charlton (Killed)

Took-off from R.A.F. Wing at 1924hrs in the company of another aircraft for a night bombing exercise, the crews being made up of pupils from No. 11 Course and their instructors. At approximately 2030hrs, this aircraft was involved in a mid-air collision with another of the Wellingtons, both machines smashing into the ground near the village of Hoggeston, 7 miles North-North-West of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

The graves of Sgt (Pilot) Charles Gordon Randolph (DarealJolo) and Sergeant ( Air Bomber ) William Kenneth Charlton (Brian 54)

22nd December 1942 Training. (Mid-Air-Collision)
Wellington Ic DV915.

P/O E G Wagstaff R.N.Z.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt E C King R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt W Precey R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt G Gardner R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt J D Osborne R.A.F. (Killed)

Aircraft took-off from R.A.F. Wing 1924hrs similary tasked and lost in the manner described previously. P/O Wagstaff R.N.Z.A.F. and two others from his crew rest in Aylesbury Cemetery, while the others (and those from Sgt Randolph’s crew) lie in cemeteries acroos the United Kingdom.

(Top to bottom left to right) Pilot Officer (Instructor) Eric Gordon Wagstaff and his grave at Aylesbury Cemetery (Julia&Keld) and the graves of Sergeant ( Nav. ) William Precey (Julia&Keld) (Also buried at Aylesbury) and Sergeant ( Pilot ) Eric Charles King (JS) who was laid to rest at Newham Cemetery, Greater London, England Square 279. Grave No. 110620.

13th January 1943. Training.
Wellington Ic T2619.

Sgt C D Belcher R.A.F.

Sgt J C Paynter R.A.F.

Took-off from R.A.F. Wing for a navigation exercise. While over the West Country, the port propeller came off followed by partial failure of the starboard engine. Aircraft crash-landed at 1441hrs with wheels up, while trying to reach Davidstow Moor airfield Cornwall, 12 miles West North West of Launceston and on the North side of Bodmin Moor. (No injuries reported) Three weeks later, Sgt Belcher and his crew were obliged to bale out during the course of a night cross-country flight.

1st February 1943. Training.
Wellington Ic X9755.

Sgt D A J McDonald R.A.F.V.R. (Killed)

F/S C D Donald R.C.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt G E McGeown R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt G E Henwood R.A.F. (Died of injuries)

Sgt C D Hore R.A.F. (Inj)

Aircraft took-off from R.A.F. Little Horwood for an evening exercise. During the flight, the starboard engine caught fire and all efforts to extinguish the flames were unsuccessful. While attempting to force-land at 1850hrs, the aircraft hit some trees and crashed near Beachampton Rectory, Beachampton, four miles East North East of Buckingham. Sgt McDonald who had married Frances Nillie Gamble McDonald of Bessemer, Alabama, is buried in Aylesbury Cemetery. F/S Donald was taken to Brookwood Military Cemetery, while the others who died, including Sgt Henwood who succumbed to his injuries while being treated at Halton, rest in Halton Cemetery, and Sgt George Ernest McGeown Age 26, the son of John and Sophia McGeown, of Belfast, rest in Aghalee Cemetery, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

(Top to bottom left to right) The crews graves, Sergeant ( Pilot ) David Alex John McDonald, Thomas Henry Edward Henwood (Julia&Keld) George Ernest McGeown (Martin White) Flight Sergeant ( Nav. ) Charles Douglas Donald (Q A) and looking towards the Canadian Section at Brookwood.

5th February 1943. Training.
Wellington Ic DV725.

Sgt C D B Belcher R.A.F.

Aircraft took-off from R.A.F. Wing for a night exercise. Abandoned due to engine failure and no success in finding an airfield to force-land, from 7,000 feet, leaving the bomber to crash at approximately 0010hrs in the vicinity of Bottisham, some 6 miles East North East from the centre of Cambridge. This was Sgt Belcher’s second close shave in just over 3 weeks.

7th February 1943. Training.
Wellington Ic HF908.

P/O M M Johnstone R.C.A.F.

P/O W E Handy R.A.F.

Sgt Barnes R.A.F. (Inj)

Aircraft took-off at 2248hrs from R.A.F. Little Horwood for night dual but at three hundred feet, the starboard engine caught fire. The instructor immediately took over the controls and managed to coax the Wellington up to 600 feet before the crippled motor cut completely. By this time, he had commenced a circuit with the intention of landing back on the airfield, but reduced to a single-engine he was obliged to crash-land, at 2250hrs, in a field at Weston Lane Winslow, 6 miles South-East of Buckingham. For displaying coolness and commendable skill, P/O Johnstone’s flying log book received a “green” endorsement. He later became a prisoner of war.

16th March 1943. Training.
Wellington Ic AD590.

F/O J Taplin R.A.F.

Took-off from R.A.F. Wing for night circuits and landings but as the Wellington was about to lift from the runway, the starboard tyre burst. F/O Taplin managed to get into the air and fly round the circuit, touching down at 2350hrs. However, as the speed dropped the bomber swung and the undercarriage collapsed.

3rd April 1943. Training.
Wellington III BK553.

Sgt G P Slade R.A.F. (Inj)

Took-off 1345hrs from R.A.F. Little Horwood for a solo circuits and landings, but when a tyre burst at high speed, the undercarriage promptly collapsed. This was the unit’s first serious accident since receiving the mark III Wellingtons.

9th April 1943. Training.
Wellington Ic R1628.

F/O N R S Humphreys R.N.Z.A.F. (Inj)

Took-off at 2128hrs from R.A.F. Little Horwood but an engine caught fire and the Wellington came down two minutes later at White House farm, midway between the village of Thornborough and Buckingham. After recovering from his injuries and converting to Stirlings, F/O Humphreys joined 623 Squadron and was well into his tour of operations when he was killed on the 5th/6th September 1943.

F/O Humphreys was killed along with 5 of his crew when his Stirling III aircraft, EH878 IC-I, was shot down by a night-fighter flown by LT. Hans-Heinz Augenstein. III./NJG1, and crashed at 0045hrs at Schonborn, 4km South-West of Simmern. Those who died are buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery.
F/O Humphreys had been aboard the Merchant Ship Waiwera, torpedoed in mid-Atlantic while en route to England in 1942. The master Cyril Maurice Andrews and the chief officer Eric Arnold Hickling were both awarded the OBE and the Lloyds War Medal for bravery at sea.

Waiwera, British Motor merchant. (Photo courtesy of Allan C. Green Collection)

At 06.10 hours on 29 June 1942 the unescorted Waiwera (Master Cyril Maurice Andrews) was torpedoed and sunk by U-754 about 400 miles north-north-west of the Azores. Seven crew members and one gunner were lost. The master, 71 crew members, six gunners and 20 passengers (military personnel) were picked up by the Merchant Ship Oregon Express and landed at New York. Rescued F/O Humphreys was taken to Canada where he spent a month in hospital recovering from his ordeal.

Oregon Express (Photo from City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 447-2529)

11th April 1943. Training.
Wellington III BJ879.

P/O D E J Bint D.F.M. R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt F B McHugh R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt C J Fox R.A.F. (Killed)

Sgt J L L Belanger R.C.A.F. (Killed)

Toot-off from R.A.F. Little Horwood for night dual circuits and landings. At 0015hrs, flew into water storage tower at Mursley, crashing about 500 yards short of the threshold. P/O Bint who gaind his award with 150 Squadron (Gazetted 11
th August 1942) was cremated at Oxford Crematorium, Stanton St. John; Sgt Belanger R.C.A.F. is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery; Sgt McHugh was taken to Oscott College Cemetery Warwickshire, while Sgt Fox lies at Boultham (St. Helen Churchyard.

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