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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 162320
Last updated: 12 November 2020
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Date:31-MAR-1942
Time:
Type:Handley Page Halifax Mk II
Owner/operator:35 (Madras Presidency) Squadron Royal Air Force (35 (Madras Presidency) Sqn RAF)
Registration: R9438
C/n / msn: TL-H
Fatalities:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Fitful Head, Shetland -   United Kingdom
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Kinloss, Morayshire
Destination airport:RAF Sumburgh, Shetland (LSI/EGPB)
Narrative:
Upon returning from a raid on the German battleship `Tirpitz` which lay anchored at Asenfjord off the Norwegian coast, the plane crashed into a cliff. The entire crew of seven perished.

It is said by a witnesses, who found the bodies of two men with parachutes on, that the crew were perhaps preparing to bale out should Sumburgh not be found. Sadly, they were too low in any case, possibly due to icing, or trouble with altimeter or barometric pressure gauge. While coming back towards Sumburgh from the West they flew into the 1,000 feet cliffs of Fitful Head, the aircraft exploded and all the crew were killed instantly.

Due to the steepness of the cliff not all the bodies were recovered and it is a fact that one was buried on the side of the cliff and a priest was lowered by ropes to conduct a service. one more was washed up from the sea but was not positively identified and is buried in Lerwick New Cemetery as an "Unknown airman". and two identified as Usher & Buckley were also buried in Lerwick, others are on Runnymede Memorial.

Locals concerned that these men should not be forgotten funded a memorial stone tablet which was placed a the top of the cliff, it bears the names of all the crew.

Wireless Op & Air Gunner Plt Off Moses Usher RCAF and the Unknown Sergeant in Lerwick cemetery buried next to Usher & Buckley who is certain to be either Sgt Peach, Powell or Wood from the Halifax. It is understood that Plt Off Usher listed as Sgt in the ORB was posthumously promoted to Plt Off as his commission was going through at the time of the accident.

Crew
Pilot: 1057442 Flt Sgt Joseph B Bushby. RAFVR - Runnymede Memorial Panel 73.
2nd Pilot: 1268062 Sgt Anthony John Peach. RAFVR - Runnymede Memorial Panel 91.
Navigator: 922976 Sgt Geoffrey Noel Edward Powell. RAFVR - Runnymede Memorial Panel 91
Flt Engineer: 937585 Sgt Ronald Meredith. RAFVR - Runnymede Memorial Panel 89.
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: J/15861 Plt Off Moses Lewis Usher. RCAF - Lerwick New Cemetery Terrace 7B. Grave 5
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: R/56144 Flt Sgt John Peter Burton Buckley. RCAF - Lerwick New Cemetery Terrace 7B. Grave 7.
Air Gunner: 901160 Sgt John Allan Wood. RAFVR - Runnymede Memorial Panel 97.

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft R1000-R9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain Page 58)
2. http://www.crashsiteorkney.com/halifax-r9438---fitful-head
3. https://www.aircrashsites-scotland.co.uk/halifax_fitful-head.htm
4. http://www.archieraf.co.uk/archie/9438tlh3031.html
5. https://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/8898
6. http://warmemscot.s4.bizhat.com/warmemscot-ftopic3986.html
CWGC


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
16-Nov-2013 15:15 gerard57 Added
17-Dec-2013 17:38 Nepa Updated [Operator]
03-Mar-2017 21:55 Dr.John Smith Updated [Cn, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
26-Nov-2017 16:30 Red Dragon Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
26-Oct-2018 18:33 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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