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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 21475
Last updated: 11 March 2021
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Date:23-MAR-1944
Time:21:05
Type:Vickers Wellington Mk X
Owner/operator:17 Operational Training Unit Royal Air Force (17 OTU RAF)
Registration: HE688
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Little Beech Hill, west of Osmotherley, North Yorkshire, England. -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Training
Departure airport:RAF Silverstone, Northamptonshire
Destination airport:
Narrative:
On 23rd March 1944 this Wellington (HE688 of 17 OTU) took off at 1915 hours from Silverstone airfield, near Towcester, in Northamptonshire, for an evening cross country training exercise. Whilst over the Northallerton area of North Yorkshire control of the aircraft was lost after the port engine failed, and the aircraft went into a dive.

While trying the pull the aircraft out of the dive it began to break up and crashed into the ground at a near vertical angle at 2105 hours near Little Beech Hill, west of Osmotherley and all six airmen on board were killed. The three Commonwealth airmen were buried at Harrogate with RAF Leeming's Padre officiating.
Crew:
Pilot - F/O Edward Nigel Jeffreys Thomson RNZAF (416552), aged 21, Titirangi, Auckland, New Zealand. Buried Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire.
Navigator - F/Sgt Bertram James Jones RAAF (424299), aged 21, of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Buried Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire.
Air Gunner - Sgt David Lancaster Watson RAAF (430076), aged 20, of East St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia. Buried Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire.
Wireles Operator / Air Gunner - Sgt Ernest Percy Moore RAFVR (1586101), aged 20, of Portslade, Sussex. Buried Portslade Cemetery, Sussex.
Air Gunner - Sgt Dennis Gwylin Stephens RAFVR (3011102), aged 19, of Stand, Lancashire. Buried Stand Churchyard, Lancashire. He had until recently been an ATC member.
Air Gunner - Sgt Benjamin Woodhead RAFVR (1685947), aged 21, of Lower Broughton, Salford, Lancashire. Buried Agecroft Cemetery, Salford, Lancashire.

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” (presumably 11 pm - two hours later).

Sources:

1. http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?15971-440323-Unaccounted-Airmen-23-3-1944
2. http://web.archive.org/web/20150105023251/http://garfybarnard.wix.com:80/aviationresearch
3. http://adf-serials.com.au/nz-serials/nzwellington.htm
4. [LINK NOT WORKING ANYMORE:http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/yorkshire/he688.html]


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
26-Jun-2008 01:23 JINX Added
26-Feb-2012 05:44 Nepa Updated [Operator, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Source]
21-Aug-2013 09:19 JINX Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Departure airport, Source]
08-Jan-2015 02:40 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
27-Apr-2015 20:43 Victor I Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
10-May-2015 05:52 angels one five Updated [Time, Operator, Nature, Narrative]
10-May-2015 10:47 Angel dot comma Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Narrative]

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