Aviation Research
Vickers Wellington
17 OTU Silverstone 1944
Aviation Research - Documenting the roles and losses of Bomber during WWII in
South Northamptonshire, North East Oxfordshire and North West Buckinghamshire.

17 OTU  1943

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Date:  8 Jul 1943
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington III
Serial No.:  X3934
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  RAF Turweston
Crew:
F/O G Chambers  15000  Killed  Solihull Cemetery
Sgt F E Harrison  1262177  Killed  Bicker (St Swithin) Churchyard
P/O J A Jackson  139721  Killed  Biggar (The Crofts) Cemetery
Sgt I G Jones  1314731  Killed  Risca Old Cemetery 
Description:  Took off at 15:47 from RAF Turweston but stalled three minutes later and crashed an burnt.(+)
Court Of Inquiry:  Cause apparently due to stalling in.  No mechanical evidence can be observed with wreckage in present position.  All lie in various burials grounds.  This was the unit’s first major accident since giving up its Blemheims in favour of Wellingtons.  
Port Engine No.170888  Starboard Engine No.223909
 
 
Date:  16 Jul 1943
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington III
Serial No.:  BJ797
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  RAF Silverstone
Crew:
F/O D G McAlpine   
Sgt R E Heap RAAF  Injured
Description:  Took off at 15:05 from RAF Silverstone, but swung violently and crashed into trees, injuring the tail gunner.  Late in December 1943, flying Lancasters with 50 Squadron, F/O McAlpine’s aircraft came down in the North sea.  By a quirk of coincidence, his tail gunner (and sole survivor) was an Australian.  
 
 
Date:  22 Jul 1943
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Lysander
Serial No.:  R9075
Operation: 
Take Off:
Crew:
Description:  Reported to have ditched.  
 
 
Date:  23 Aug 1943
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington III
Serial No.:  BJ990
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  RAF Turweston
Crew:
Sgt Hinton RAAF  A16509
Description:  Took off from RAF Turweston at 21:45, but the starboard engine cut causing the Wellington to veer out of control and crash.(+)
Court Of Inquiry:  No fault of pilot.  What caused pilot to throttle back is unclear.  No evidence of engine failure.  Possibly a cough from an oiled-up plug or unusual fail of 40° flap on.  Co pilot believed engine had failed he took corrective action would have done little to retract.
Port Engine No.345974    Starboard Engine No.307616
 
 
Date:  25 Aug 1943
Unit:  17OTU
Type:  Wellington III
Serial No.:  HE555
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  RAF Turweston
Crew:
P/O Munro 143701
Description:  Took off from RAF Turweston at 11:00, tasked for a training exercise.  After the starboard engine’s crankshaft bearing inner track failed, the Wellington came down at 11:00 in a field.(+)
Court Of Inquiry:  Peices of piston and rings found in filter.  Resulted crash pilot fault.  Endorse Log Book as carelessness.  Disobedience, pilot had to waste time strapping himself in. 
Port Engine No.A376048    Starboard Engine No.A376029
 
 
Date:  17-18 Sept 1943
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington X
Serial No.:  HE324
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  RAF Silverstone
Crew:
F/S N N Dunn RAAF  415315  Killed  Heanton Punchardon Cemetery
Sgt J Donnachie 1554638  Killed  Cambusnethan Cemetery
P/O H Farrer  RCAF  J/24533  Killed  Heanton Puncharndon Cemetery
Sgt R E Dolling  1337861  Killed  Llanelli Cemetery
Sgt J H Hallam  1819415  Killed  Beeston & Stapleford Cemetery
Sgt H A Newnham  RAAF  424305  Killed  Heanton Puncharndon Cemetery
Description:  Took off from RAF Silverstone for a night cross-country exercise.  Control was lost of the aircraft while in cloud, and crashed 00:54 at East Burton Farm near Horwood, 5 miles SW from Barnstaple, Devon.  Funeral arrangements for the three Commonwealth members of the crew were handled by RAF Chivenor and their graves are located in Heaton Punchardon (St Augustine) Churchyard.  Sgt Donnarchie was taken to Scotland and Cambusnethan Cemetary, Motherwell and Wishaw, while Welsh born Sgt Dolling rests in LLanelli Church Cemetary.  Sgt Hallam is buried in Beeston and Stapleford (Beeston) Cemetary.  
 
 
Date:  28-29 Sept 1943
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington X
Serial No.:  HF600
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  RAF Turweston
Crew:
Sgt E Atkinson 1452621  Killed  Barnsley Cemetery
Sgt Cozens 1385661  Killed  Bandon Hill Cemetery
Sgt C G Braund 1320783  Killed  Orpington Churchyard
Sgt K B Roberts 1585875  Killed  Oxford (Botley) Cemetery
Sgt A B Shanks  RCAF  R/194853  Killed  Oxford (Botley) Cemetery
Sgt D Crosland  1305841  Killed  Battyeford Burial Ground
Description:  Took off at 20:20 RAF Turweston for a Bullseye exercise.  Lost control while orbiting a beacon and dived into the ground at 01:15.(+)  Crashed and caught fire.  Cloud 9/10 800ft above surface.  Vis 2 miles. 
Court Of Inquiry:  Weather conditions may have been contributory cause coupled with the position of the crash being near an aerial lighthouse indicating that the pilot may have been circuling it and not looking at his instruments.  Inverstigation not necessary.  Two, Sgt Roberts and Sgt Shanks RCAF lie in Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, while the others were claimed by their next of kin.  Sgt Braund’s mother had an unusual first Christian name, Pretoria.  
 
 
Date:  3 Oct 1943
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington
Serial No.:  HE276
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  RAF Silverstone
Crew:
F/SG Lamb  655748  Killed  Penrith cemetery 
Sgt J S Beach  Killed
Sgt R H Hyde  Injured
Sgt A Longworth  1538877  Killed  Bolton (Astley Bridge) cemetery
Sgt F P Smith RCAF  R166678  Killed  Towcester Cemetery
Sgt J B Speake 1516058  Killed  Manchester (Gorton) Cemetery
F/S H Smith DFM 628540  Killed  Cornforth Churchyard
Sgt R J Wells  Injured
Description:  Took off from RAF Silverstone for a night navigation exersice.  It seems likely that the crew ran into difficulties for the Wellington crashed at 22:01, while approaching the base runway and burst into flames.  Sgt Smith RCAF was buried in Towcester Cemetary (this is rather unusual in that by this stage of the war Commonwealth airmen were, in most cases, being taken to an appropriate regional cemetery;  in the case of Sgt Smith this would have been Oxford (Botley)).  The others were claimed by their relatives.  F/S Smith had served with 75 Squadron and details of his award had been published in the London Gazette on 13 September 1940,  Sgt Beach had distinguished himself by being appointed a King’s Scout and Senior prefect at Lymm Grammar School.  
 
 
Date:  20 Oct 1943
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington X
Serial No.:  HE298
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  RAF Silverstone
Crew:
Sgt A R Taylor
Description:  Took off from RAF Silverstone for an evening flying detail.  Crash-landed 1840 in a field, due to loss of power.(+)
 
 
Date:  14 Nov 1943
Unit:
Type:  Wellington X
Serial No.:  HE686
Operation:
Take Off :
Crew:
Sgt R C Lake   
Description:  Returning from X-country exercise lasting 02:40hrs made good landing. After 100 yrds u/car collapsed. court inquiry held.  
 
 
Date:  27 Dec 1943
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington III
Serial No.:  X3344
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  RAF Turweston
Crew:
F/O B F Gilmore  RNAF  412223  Injured
F/S R G Ward  RAAF  A422326  Injured
Description:  Took off at 10:30 from RAF Turweston for a training duels, but the crew returned to base at 11:10 after experiencing engine trouble.  As the aircraft neared the run-way, it was realized that the undercarriage had failed to lower fully.  Instructor attempted to overshoot, the Wellington lost height and crash landed in dispersal.(+)   Entire crew which is quoted as eight all injured.  
Court Of Inquiry:  1) Engine failure due to No14 cylinder Port Engine fractured.  2) Low altitude with Bomb Doors open.  3) Fuel not jettisoned.  4) Pilot should not have attempted overshoot.  Pilot not aware Bomb Doors were open - did a good job of getting back to back to airfield but was over confident of attempting overshoot. 
 
 
Date:  27 Dec 1943
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington
Serial No.:  LN444
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  RAF Silverstone
Crew:
E R Oliver
Description:  Took off from RAF Silverstone.  At 21:38  the aircraft made a normal approach having overshot once.  Pilot opened up to correct swing, became airborne and touched down further along the runway.  
Court Of Inquiry:  Brakes doubtful and overshot into field.  Pilot did not close throttles fully on landing.