Aviation Research
Vickers Wellington
17 OTU Silverstone 1944

17 OTU  1944

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Date:  11 Jan 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington III
Serial No.:  BK333
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Turweston
Crew:
F/O E W Ward  RCAF  J26481  Killed  Oxford (Botley) Cemetery
F/O K G Berry  RCAF  J27495  Killed  Oxford (Botley) Cemetery
F/O G E Clode  RCAF  J28346  Killed  Oxford (Botley) Cemetery
Sgt R Dawson  157863  Killed  Normacot Churchyard
Sgt W E Shillito  RCAF  R221908  Injured
Sgt J J Golding  RCAF  R196833  Killed  Oxford (Botley) Cemetery
Description:  T/o 0100 Turweston tasked for night training.  (Eight crews of No 70 Course proceeded to No 51. Base RAF Scampton.)  Crashed 0232 after the starboard engine cut as the Wellington approached the airfield.(+)
Court Of Inquiry:  Pilots had judgement on final circuit and approach main cause of accident.  Crash Tender failed to operate at scene of crash.  Reserve tender being serviced.  Not contributed to loss of life.  Of those who died, the four RCAF members of crew were buried in Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, while Sgt Dawson rests in Normacot (Holy Evangelists) Churchyard at Stoke-on-Trent.  With P/O Cairney at the controls, this Wellington had been involved in a minor flying incident on 27 August 1943.  (Four killed at scene and one died later in hospital.)
 
 
Date:  24 Feb 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington III
Serial No.:  BJ655
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Turweston
Crew:
F/S D L Haynes  RAAF  422517
Description:  T/o 0300 Turweston for high level bombing but the engine laboured and the Wellington failed to gain height.  Retracting the wheels, F/S Haynes RAAF successfully force-landed four minutes later without injury to himself or his crew.  
Court Of Inquiry:  F/S Haynes to have trimmed the aircraft nose heavy. 
 
 
Date:  17 Mar 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington III
Serial No.:  BK352
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Turweston
Crew:
P/O R Dennis DFM  162836  Killed  Featherstone Cemetery
F/S Calder  RAAF  417799  Killed  Oxford (Botley) Cemetery
F/S E W Baldwin  RAAF  419948  Killed  Oxford (Botley) Cemetery
Sgt J J O Walters  1652405  Killed  Marshfield (St Mary) Churchyard
F/S D S Robinson  1061047  Killed  Oxford (Botley) Cemetery
Sgt T J Greenhill  RAAF  430099  Killed  Oxford (Botley) Cemetery
Sgt Douglas George Small RAAF 423551  Injured
Description:  T/o 0055 Turweston for night curcuit training.  In flight the aircraft was seen to turn sharply to the right at 600ft after a practice overshoot but carshed and burnt.(+)  Four rest in Oxford (Botley) Cemetery.  P/O Dennis, whose award had been published in the London Gazette on 14 September 1943, following his tour of duty with 199 Squadron, is buried in Featherstone Cemetery, while Sgt Walters was taken to Marshfield (St Mary) Churchyard.  
Court Of Inquiry:  Flaps either crept or were accidentally lowered.
 
 
Date:  17 Mar 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington X
Serial No.:  HE915
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Turweston
Crew:
F/O A C Ball
W/O W J Peters RAAF 425962  Injured
Sgt C F Smallwood  1575172  Missing  Runnymede Memorial
Sgt B Claire RAAF  Injured
F/O J Archeson RAAF 428640  Injured
Description:  T/o Turweston for an air firing exercise.  Ditched 1615, due to engine failure, some twenty miles S of Flamborough Head (20M 160° Flamborough Head).  Subsequently, the crew were picked up by the Navy.  
Court Of Inquiry:  Pilot should not have contravened orders and carried out exercise over sea.  Only one crew member had Mae West Life Jacket.  Starboard engine feathered after revs drop.  Petrol jettisoned.  Port engine began to vibrate and aircraft was ditched in sea.  Cowling loose causing drag.  
412:  Cause was (i) Starboard engine failure.  (ii) Loose cowling causing drag.  (iii) Failure of Port engine.  (iv) Not enough height.  Engine cowlings came loose due to engine failure, not because they were insecurely fastened.
Port Engine No.346777   Starboard Engine No.311999
 
 
Date:  23 Mar 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington X
Serial No.:  HE688
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Silverstone
Crew:
F/O E N Thompson  RNZAF Killed 
F/S B J Jones  RAAF  424299  Killed  Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery
Sgt D L Watson  RAAF  430076  Killed  Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery
Sgt E P Moore  1586101  Killed  Portslade Cemetery
Sgt D G Stephens  3011102  Killed  Stand (All Saints) Churchyard
Sgt B Woodhead  1685947  Killed  Salford Cemetery
Description:  T/o Silverstone for an evening cross-country.  Lost control, due to the port engine failing, and while trying to arrest the steep dive the Wellington broke up and crashed 2105 to the E of Little Beech Hill near Ellerbeck, about 4 miles ENE of Northallerton, Yorkshire.  Funerals for the three Commonwealth members of the crew were conducted, at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetary, by The Church of England padre from RAF Leeming.  The others were taken to their home towns.  Sgt Stephens had, until recently, been a member of the Air Training Corps.
Note:  A detailed account of the accident was submitted by Headquaters RNZAF London to the Air Department in Wellington on 31 August 1944, paragraph B of the report giving details of the sequence of the structural failure as the Wellington plunged, almost vertically, from the sky.  The report times the accident as approximately 2105, but in the letter, dated 5 April 1944, written to the pilot’s mother, by the Officer Commanding RAF Silverstone, the crash is said to have occurred “at 11 o’clock”.  Source; Errol Martyn.
 
 
Date:  12 Apr 1944
Unit:
Type:
Serial No.:
Operation:
Take Off:  Turweston
Crew:
Description:  Aircraft crashed at Chipping Warden.
 
 
Date:  21 Apr 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington X
Serial No.:  HZ412
Operation:Training
Take Off:  Turweston
Crew:
Sgt W L Scott  1435311  Killed  Batley Cemetery
Sgt A W Sherry  1586167  Killed  Ford Park Cemetery
Sgt T H Stacey  1459796  Killed  Bilton (St Peter) Churchyard
Sgt N G Cailes  1605460  Killed  Christchurch Cemetery
Sgt Cunnell  Injured
Description:  T/o 1130 Turweston for high level bombing.  The detail was completed satisfactorily and at 1325 Sgt Scott was seen, nearing the runway.  Just as he was about to land, a red Verey flare soared into the sky.  Eyewitnesses report hearing the engine note increase as the bomber climbed away but at around 240 feet a puff of smoke was seen, emitting from the starboard engine.  Almost immediately, the motor began to faulter but with the flaps still down, the Wellington continued to climb quite steeply, turning slowly to starboard before stalling and diving back to earth.  Those who perished were taken to their home towns for burial.  
Note.  This Wellington had been involved in a serious crash, while on the strength of 29 OTU, on 22 July 1943.  It’s pilot on that occasion had been the late F/O John Howarth Heath RNAF who died a month later, still in the service of 29 OTU.  Since undergoing repairs, the Wellington had arrived on 17 OTU as recently as 25 March.  The number of flying hours has not been entered on it’s movement card.  
 
 
Date:  28 May 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington III
Serial No.:  X3445
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Turweston
Crew:
F/S D G Haynes RAAF  A417579
Description:  T/o Turweston for high level bombing.  Returned to base at approximately 2315 but overshot after failing to line up with the runway.  A second missed approach followed and it was while the crew were going around for the third time that the starboard engine cut.  With little height in hand (300 to 350 feet is quoted), F/S Haynes RAAF and little option but to force-land.  After coming to a halt, a fire broke out and the Wellington was destroyed.  Cat ‘E’.  
 
 
Date:  6 June 1944
Unit Type:  Wellington
Serial No.:
Operation:
Take Off:
Crew:
Description:  Wellington made a belly-landing on wrong runway, one ambulance, one fire tender and one medical officer narrowly missed ablation by 15 yards.  
 
 
Date:  8 Jun 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Hurricane II C
Serial No.:  LF749
Operation:  Training/Affiliation
Take Off:  Turwestion
Crew:
W/O A L Terry  RAAF  A409770  Killed  Oxford (Botley) cemetery
Description:  T/o Turweston for a fighter affiliation duty.  Eyewitnesses report seeing the Hurricane performing aerobatics, estimated around 2,000 feet, when it dived steeply and crashed 1229.(+)  W/O Terry RAAF rests in Oxford (Botley) Cemetery.  His aircraft was the first of its type to be written off in the service of Bomber Command Operational Training Unit. 
Note:  Tenth production block by Hawker AIrcraft Limited, at Brooklands, and Langley. To contract 62305/39/Vc. Powered by Rolls-Royce Merlin XX, 24, and 27 engines. The aircraft were delivered between the 29th September, 1943 and the 24th May, 1944. The average rate of production was 5-6 aircraft per day.  
Court Of Inquiry:  Pilot appears to have been doing unauthorised aerobatics.  412:  Carrying out aerobatics below a safe altitude and lost control.
 
 
Date:  7-8 Jul 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington
Serial No.:  HE325
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Turweston
Crew:
F/L J Shaw 70617  Killed  Bendochy Parish Churchyard
Sgt W N Mitchell 1290938  Killed  Bridge of GairnGraveyard
Sgt W E C Willett 1603136  Killed  Towcester Cemetery
Sgt L W Barker 916712  Killed  Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Cemetery
Sgt C A Wyatt 1596540  Killed  Sheffield (City Rd) Cemetery
Sgt H Kinchin 1596079  Killed  Richmond Cemetery
Description:  T/o 2348 Turweston for a night exercise.  Flown into at 0128 while at 1,000 feet by a Wellington from the same unit that had taken off six minutes earlier.  Both machines went down and on impact burst into flames.(+) 
Court Of Inquiry:  Pilot and crew failed to keep good look out.  Navigation lights would not show up well in full moon.  Weather fine Vis excellent.  Both crews not keeping proper look out.  412:  Impossible to ascertain any technical fault before impact. Sgt Willett of Georgeham in Devon was buried at Towcester Cemetery, the rest being taken to their home towns.  It is noted that F/L Shaw, who is the sole service burial in Benochy Parish Churchyard, was a history graduate from Caius College, Cambridge.  Additional Information.
 
 
Date:  8 Jul 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington III
Serial No.:  BK272
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Turweston
Crew:
P/O C F Searles 172964  Killed  Croydon (Mitcham Rd) Cemetery
F/O W Haraczay  RCAF J/29418  Killed  Brookwood Military Cemetery
F/O A G Corck  RCAF J/39369  Killed  Brookwood Military Cemetery
Sgt P J Woods 1581815  Killed  Northampton Crematorium
Sgt R F Bradford 1814075  Killed  Edmonton cemetery
Sgt J B Lemon 1895244  Killed  Slough (Stoke Rd) Cemetery
Sgt B Hadlow 974950  Killed  Littlebourne Churchyard
Description:  T/o 0122 Turweston for local night flying and lost in the manner described above.(+)
Court Of Inquiry:  Pilot and crew failed to keep good look out.  Navigation lights would not show up well in full moon.  Weather fine Vis excellent.  Both crews not keeping proper look out.  412:  Impossible to ascertain any technical fault before impact.  Similar to those who died in the other Wellington, funeral services were held at various churches across the country, Sgt Woods of Hall Green, Birmingham being cremated at Northampton and Counties Crematorium, Milton.  Additional Information.
 
 
Date:  18 Aug 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington X
Serial No.:  HE502
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Turweston
Crew:
F/O W J Lambert
Description:  T/o Turweston for a cross-country.  While flying over eastern England at 15,000 feet, the port engine failed.  Coarse was set for Grimsby airfield, but the crew were unable to get the undercarriage to lock down.  Thus, on touch down at around 1400, the unit collapsed and the bomber slid to a halt, a fire broke out.  All six members of crew vacated the aircraft without injury.
 
 
Date:  26 Aug 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type Wellington X
Serial No.:  LP340
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Turweston
Crew:
F/S C D Pauline  RAAF
Description:  T/o Turweston for night cross-country, during which the port engine stopped at 12,000 feet, obliging the crew to put their aircraft down at 0100 in Cardigan Bay (5243N 0047W being quoted as the position) and take to their dingy.  Having survived this alarming experience, it is sad to report that F/O Pauline RAAF was killed during operations to Lutzkendorf on 14-15 March 1945 (see BCL, Vol 6, p126).  At the time he was serving with 57 Squadron.
 
 
Date:  7 Sept 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington
Serial No.:  HE982
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Turweston      
Crew:
F/S A A South Killed 
Sgt P A Anderson 1566518  Killed  Banchor Burial Ground
Sgt D S Norman 1614469  Killed  Hornchurch Cemetery
Sgt D Sheen 1812007  Killed  Towcester Cemetery
Sgt R R Hesketh 1897455  Killed  Towcester Cemetery
Sgt D J Fortune 1898863  Killed  Towcester Cemetery
Description:  T/o Silverstone to practice night circuits and landings.  Overshot at 2353, climbed steeply and then dived to earth, bursting into flames.  Three were buried at Towcester Cemetary, while the others were claimed by their next of kin, including Sgt Anderson who died within 48 hours.  
 
 
Date:  6 Oct 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington X
Serial No.:  ME996
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Silverstone
Crew:
F/S McKindlay
Description:  T/o Silverstone but before becoming fully airborne the undercarriage was raised.  Sinking back onto the runway, the Wellington slid at high speed and when finally coming to a stop, it caught fire.  None of the seven-man crew were hurt.
 
 
Date:  22 Nov 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington
Serial No.:  MF705
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Silverstone
Crew:
F/S P D Jones
Description:  T/o Silverstone for a cross-country, during which the port engine failed.  Then, having lost height to around 8,000 feet, the starboard engine began to faulter.  Thus, at 1145 the bomber came down amongst trees.(+)  One airman from the six-man crew is reported to have been slightly injured.  F/S Jones joined the air force in 1941, either in Rhodesia or South Africa.  
 
 
Date:  12 Dec 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington
Serial No.:  LN934
Operation:
Take Off:
Crew:
Description:  Crashed at Castle Donnington. Cat ‘AC’
 
 
Date:  17 Dec 1944
Unit:  17 OTU
Type:  Wellington 
Serial No.:  LP306
Operation:  Training
Take Off:  Turweston
Crew:
Sgt G A Caton 1808380  Killed  Orpington Churchyard
Sgt J Hartley 1620932  Killed  Ince-in-Makerfield Cemetery
Sgt R G Miller 1604765  Killed  Liverpool (Anfield) Cemetery
Sgt W Kennedy 2212847  Killed  Newcastle-Upon-tyne cemetery
Sgt R P H Fernie 1568204  Killed  Edinburgh Cemetery
Sgt M E Griffiths 1813603  Killed  Harrow (Pinner) New cemetery
Description:  T/O Turweston for local flying practice, crashed 1404, off starboard turn, after overshooting the runway and attempting to go round again.  All buried at various United Kingdon Churchyards.  
Court Of Inquiry:  Probable cause was uneven flap retraction.  Cannot be proven due to wreckage.  Cat ‘E’.  Burnt out.