17 O.T.U. LOSSES
Operational training unit Losses in 1940, flown from
O.T.U. formed at Upwood on the 4th April 1940, from the resident 35 and 90 squadrons,
which were both equipped with Blenheims and Ansons. To allow for expansion,
17OTU was divided into four Flights on 14 May 1940:
'A' (Conversion) Flight;
'B' (Anson) Flight;
'C' (Armament) Flight
and 'D' (Operational Training) Flight.
17 O.T.U. left from Upwood on 24th April 1943 for Silverstone.
Codes used by 17 OTU
AY Apr 1940 - Nov 1946
JG Apr 1940 - Nov 1946
WJ Apr 1940 - Nov 1946
Copyright © 2007 Marcus Goodman
Mk IV Blenheim
Copyright © 2007 Marcus Goodman
Mk IV Blenheim
Copyright © 2007 Marcus Goodman
Mk IV Blenheim
Copyright © 2007 Marcus Goodman
Mk IV Blenheim
Jack Bottle with lads from C Flight of 17 OTU 1942, Jack was
a Flight Mechanic (airframes) on Blenheim Mk IV
Jack is in the picture smoking a pipe
17 OTU B Flight 1941
A TOTAL OF 26 AIRCRAFT DESTROYED
BELOW IS THE ROLL OF HONOUR FOR 17 O.T.U. IN 1940
IN 17 O.T.U. IN 1940
Sgt D F Alves
INJURED IN 17 O.T.U IN 1940
P/O I A
PLUS 3 PEOPLE WHO I HAVE NO NAMES FOR
TOTAL OF 10 PEOPLE INJURED
14 APRIL 1940 BLENHEIM I L1264
S/L/ H F CHESTER.
T/o Upwood. Damaged beyond repair after landing safely at 14.20, when the undercarriage was raised in mistake for the flaps. No one was hurt and, subsequently, the airframe was salvaged for instructional purposes. S/L Chester had accumulated 3,070 flying hours, 235 of these being on Blenheims. Tragically, within three months of this accident he was killed while flying with 82 squadron.
10 May 1940 BLENHEIM IV L4889
P/O G M McFarland died
T/o Upwood. On return to base, stalled and came down 2240 at a spot know locally as Green Dyke. Until recently P/O McFarland, a New Zealander, had been head prefect at Nelson College; He rests in Bury Cemetery, Huntingdonshire.
24 MAY BLENHEIM IV P4907
P/O I A Mead injured
Sgt A R Jackson died
AC2 R South died
T/o Upwood for a navigation exercise;base-Pershore-Fishguard-Criccieth-Aberystwyth-base. Crashed 1155 in Tremadog Bay at the eastern end of the Lieyn Peninsular.
5 JUNE 1940 ANSON I N5112
Sgt M H Farmer
T/o Upwood for a W/T exercise, involving the taking of loop bearings. Forced-landing 1130 in a rough field, due to engine failure, near towcester, 9 miles SSW from Northampton and was wrecked after swinging into a hedge.
12 JUNE 1940 BLENHEIM IV L9172
Sgt V A Bain
Sgt W H Wheeler died
AC2 S Boulton died
T/o Upwood for a navigation exercise; base-Lundy Island-Exmouth-base. At 1223, while flying at 20,000 feet, the pilot radioed "breaking up" and soon afterwards eyewitnesses saw the Blenheim falling in a series of uneven rolls and slowly disintegrating.
Residents campaign for recognition for plane crash airmen
They died when their Bristol Blenheim light bomber hit fog on a navigational
training mission in World War II.
Now, people in the Welsh village where their plane came down are fighting the council to ensure two RAF crewmen are remembered for generations to come.
Sid Boulton, 19, and William Wheeler, 33, were on a training flight from their aerodrome in Huntingdonshire on June 12, 1940, when they hit fog.
Along with their pilot Victor Bain, their mission had been to find Lundy Island and return, but on the return flight over Port Talbot they hit "zero visibility". Their bomber went into a terminal dive above Cwmavon.
As the only crewman with a parachute, pilot Victor Bain floated safely to ground in the centre of the village, where he was initially arrested as a "possible German" then released.
But his two comrades were thrown clear of the wreckage, their torn bodies discovered on the tip of the village's Copper Workers Tinplate Works.
Seventy years later, villagers want two main roads in a new 130-house Barratt Homes development on the site of the works named Heol Wheeler and Ffordd Boulton after the two dead airmen.
But Neath and Port Talbot Council has come up with the name Ynys y Wern (Welsh for place"of the alder or marsh") for one of the roads and had planned to name the other road without any connection to the air crew.
David Williams, councillor for Bryn and Cwmavon, said he was overruled by colleagues who said they wanted "Welsh names" for the new roads.
Mr Williams, a Welsh-speaker, who has handed a 600-name petition backing the air crew road names, said: "There is Welsh in the names, as we have suggested the prefixes Ffordd and Heol.
"I was absolutely fuming when I was overruled. I go to Strasbourg and Holland a lot and you often see wartime tanks in villages or Spitfires in fields as a tribute to the men who fought for all of us during World War II.
"These two men gave their lives in preparing to go to war for all our sakes and as their bodies actually fell where the new roads are being built, the least we can do is remember them."
Neath Port Talbot Council has said consideration over the naming of the roads will now continue following receipt of the petition.
Mr Williams said: "I am confident that means we have won our case and I know for a fact the families of the two dead airmen will be honoured if we pay them this tribute.
"What I would love to see is, years in the future, young people looking at these roads and wondering "Who were these men?".
"Hopefully they would then look to the history books and remember the sacrifices people had to make for the freedoms we all enjoy today."
A spokesman for the Aircrew Remembrance Society said: "While flying at 20,000ft, the pilot radioed "breaking up" and soon afterwards eyewitnesses saw the Blenheim falling in a series of uneven rolls and slowly disintegrating.
"The main debris fell into the tinplate works area at Cwmavon, north of Port Talbot and eight miles east south east of Swansea.
"All three crew were pitched from the aircraft, Sgt Bain parachuting virtually unscathed. His crew were not so fortunate."
Fireman and Cwmavon resident Steve Jones, 47, said: "Not many people know about the crash. It has been forgotten. I would be delighted if we got the streets named after them.
"They would be a lasting tribute."
A police report at the time noted Sgt Bain landed at Woodland Row, Cwmavon.It went on "Upon examination of the aircraft's logbook, it was found that the plane had left Upwood airdrome, Huntingdonshire, at 8.16am on a flight to Lundy Island and apparently was returning when the accident occurred.
"On examination of a clock in the wreckage, it was found to have stopped at 12.23pm."
Superintendent W Doolan, who wrote the report, added: "One loaded magazine drum and one oxygen cylinder found following crash of Bristol Blenheim bomber no. L9172 at Cwmafan on June 12, 1940 was identified as property found and handed to police."For more info please visit https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/residents-campaign-recognition-plane-crash-1914191#ixzz1Zcmigfqm
15 JULY 1940 BLENHEIM IV L9171
F/O W H Powdrell
T/o Upwood. Crashed-landed 0625, prompted by engine failure, at Great Raveley
20 JULY 1940 BLENHIEM IV L8844
Sgt E Kibble injured
T/o Upwood on a navigation exercise; base-Hungerford-Worcester-base. During the flight, an engine failed and Sgt Kibble, while trying to stretch his glide, stalled and crashed 1230 in a wheat field near Newnham Courtney, 1 mile SSE of Daventry Northamptonshire. All Three airmen were injured but no information on the other two names
28 JULY1940 BLENHEIM IV L4869
P/O A B Smith
T/o Upwood. Forced-landing, wheels retracted, due to engine failure, 0745, near Whitchurch, 5 miles NNW of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
3 AUG 1940 BLENHEIM IV L8846
Sgt N C Green
T/o 0609 Upwood and crashed a minute later following loss of power from an engine
7 AUG 1940 BLENHEIM
F/L E P Mortimer died
Sgt D A Gibbs died
Sgt D F Alves died
T/o Upwood. Spun and crashed near North Crawley, 3 miles ENE of Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire F/l Mortimer and Sgt Alves, both regulars, rest in Bury Cemetery, while Devonian, Sgt Gibbs was taken home to lie in paignton Cemetery
Flight Ltnt Edward Patrick Mortimer - Service Ref 37521. Born 17th March 1911. Royal Air Force. Died 7th August 1940. Grave Ref Row B Grave 21 Bury, Huntingdonshire. Next of kin from Kingswood, Bristol.
Flight Ltnt Edward Patrick Mortimer was the pilot of a Blenheim MkIV P4902 that stalled and spun into the ground near Cranfield on the evening of 7th August 1940. At the Public Record Office is the following abridged Accident Report: Mertlands Farm, North Crawley, Bucks, at 2235hrs on 7th August, 1940. The pilot's instructions were to fly from Upwood to Bicester 53 miles, Bicester to Northampton, 25 miles and back to base 33½ miles. At a time when the aeroplane should have been near Northampton it was seen flying in an easterly direction 20 miles SE of the scheduled course and close to Cranfield aerodrome where night flying was taking place. When opposite the wireless telegraphy station the machine was seen to stagger. Five seconds later at about 1500 ft and while still in flying position it lost speed and spun to the ground. The aeroplane struck the ground at a moderate speed and came to a stop pointing east, the engines were not at the time. From its position and the proximity of trees immediately behind it could be judged to have been flattening out, probably in a left hand spin. Fire occurred immediately and destroyed all the centre of the machine. All safety belts were burnt. One body was found in the navigator's compartment and one in the gunner's cockpit. The third, that of the pilot, was lying face down 72 yards east of the wreckage and he had evidently fallen from a considerable height. His parachute was unopened and was on the ground 4 ft away; the harness was free. The rip- cord had not been pulled. No parts broken or otherwise were found to show the circumstances under which he left the machine. The engines were extensively damaged by fire were stripped but appeared to have been in good order at the time of the accident. Examination of the pilot's parachute harness showed that the release ring had not been turned and while in the locked position had been driven back by direct impact on the front. This had forced the spin- loaded plunger out through the aluminium casing and had released the catches and then the harness. From this it may be seen that the harness was in position on the pilot's striking the ground. The investigation concluded that the pilot may have lost his way, was trying to identify Cranfield aerodrome and on suddenly becoming aware of the risk of collision with the night flying machines stalled the aeroplane while climbing. Alternatively it was thought possible that on loosing sight of the aerodrome flares he lost control in the "black-out". There is no reference to the heroic actions of Aircraftsman Hollowday.
34 RAF headstones at Bury Cemetery, Cambridgeshire which includes Flight Ltnt Edward Patrick Mortimer. Also killed in the accident were Sgt (Air Gnr.) Dennis Frank ALVES RAF, aged 21, son of James and Ethel Alves, of Walsall, Staffordshire Sgt (Obs.) David Allen GIBBS RAFVR, son of Frederick Henry and Kathleen Ethel Gibbs, of Paignton. Gibbs is buried in his home town while Alves, with Mortimer, is buried in Bury Cemetery near RAF Upwood.
Many thanks to Patrick Casey for the use of this information.
Information and picture came from Clifton Rugby Football Club History http://www.cliftonrfchistory.co.uk/
14 AUG 1940 BLENHEIM IV L8839
F/S T J Watkins
T/o Upwood. Wrecked after crash-landing at base with a jammed undercarriage
28 AUG 1940 BLENHEIM IV L8843
P/O H M Hoadley RNZAF died
T/o Upwood 2145 for solo night flying practice and crashed almost immediately, bursting into flames. P/O Hoadley is buried locally in Bury Cemetery
3 SEP 1940 BLENHEIM IV R3621
Sgt J W Turner died
Sgt M Tanner died
Sgt W Parker injured
T/o Upwood but was in trouble immediately and crashed at Bury, 7 miles NNE of Huntingdon.
4 SEP 1940 BLENHEIM I L8682
P/O D Rockel
T/o Upwood for night flying practice but within minutes P/O Rockel was obliged to parachute, leaving his Blenheim to crash and burn near Warboys airfield.
22 SEP 1940 BLENHEIM I L8610
Sgt H H Wilson died
P/O A D Coplestone died
Sgt J November died
T/o Upwood for a navigation exercise. Smashed into the summit of Garn Wen at around 1510, this being in the SE corner of the Brecon Beacons, near Abersychan, 4 miles NNW of Pontypool. Sgt Wilson was brought back to Upwood for burial in Bury cemetery.
Also see Dedication to Blenheim L8610 in the menu bar
Many thanks go to Ken Clark who sent this to me
On Sunday 22nd September 1940, Blenheim L8610 took off from RAF Upwood on an Operational Training Excersise with No 17 O.T.U. At around 2pm the aircraft crashed on the summit of Garn Wen, a mountain near Pontypool in the Eastern valley of Monmouthshire. The first person to arrive on the scene was PC Tom Jarvis. RAF St Athan were informed of the crash and arruved at 8.30am the next morning. During the night PC Jarvis slept in a tent near the bomber to deter looters. The bodies were removed by cart with the aid of a local farmer. There was a brief inquiry into the accident (Flying Accident Card 389 H) which was held by Wing Commander H.A. Haines and his conclusion was that the crash was caused by 'bad airmanship - did not turn back when weather deterioated.
Sgt 745159 Pilot Hubert Henry Wilson RAFVR
Born 31st January 1918 at Dalston, London. Signed on for five years with the RAFVR commencing 27th February 1939. He worked as a clerk at the Stock Exchange and learnt to fly with their flying club. He was recalled to active duty on 1 September 1939 and was posted to Upwood on 28th August 1940. Buried at Bury Cemetary Huntingdonshire Row C Grave 22.
Bury Grave yard about 1.5miles from Upwood
Sgt 938877 John November RAFVR
Born in Hall Green, Birmingham in 1920 and started work as a draughtsman with a large industrial company. He was a keen cricketer and rugby player as well as a scoutmaster. He joined up at the start of the war as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner. He is buried at Yardley Wood Cemetary, Warwickshire Section F Grave 110.
Pilot Officer 84720 Anthony Drake Coplestone RAFVR
Born in 1911 in Gorey in the Channel Islands son of a barristar and Member of the inner Temple. Buried in Boldre Churchyard, Hampshire, Row 1 Grave 1.
Ken Clark, a member of the Abersychan and Garndiffaith Local History Group began researching the crash in 1997 for his booklet Talywain at War. The Group decided that their should be memorial placed at the crash site and contacted Torfaen County Borough Council. There was an existing plaque in place but it was very small and not many people knew of its existance so it was decided to erect a new one. It was decided to use a stainless steel plaque and financial help was given from the The Milleniumn Fund which had been set up to help local projects during the year 2000. On 25th August I (Tim Dowle, Voluntary Warden) along with Brian Arthur (Head Warden) and Jonatha Howells (Assistant Warden) attached the plaque to a base stone
ready for the unveiling cermony. It was decided to hold the ceremony on Friday 22" August 2000, the sixtieth anniversary of the crash. The ceremony was attended by the mayor, local school children, the British Legion and other service organistions as well as relatives of the dead aircew. A Hawk from RAF Valley provided a flypast at 10.45 and the ceremony commenced at 11.15 and ended half and hour later with the unveiling of the plaque and the last post was performed by a local TA bugler.
The inscription on the memorial is as follows:
This memorial is dedicated to:
Sergenat H. Wilson, Pilot, RAF
Pilot Officer A.D. Coplestone, Observer, RAF
Sergeant John November, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, RAF
who died for our country when their Bristol Blenheim Bomber crashed near this spot on 22nd September 1940 during an Operational Training Exercise from Upwood, Hunts
For a copy of the booklet Please ring Ken Clark 01495 773073
23 SEP 1940 BLENHEIM IV L8797
F/L Robert George Coventry died
Sgt J Lane injured
Sgt G Wilson injured
T/o Upwood for live bombing practice over Cardigan Bay. Crash-landing, due to engine problems, at approximately 1430 near Tuffley on the southern outskirts of Gloucester. The son of The Hon. Thomas George Coventry and Alice Coventry of nearby Bath.
Robert George Coventry Grave
Thanks to Mat Stainton for taking the photo and sending it to me
12 OCT 1940
BLENHEIM IV L4866
F/L C E Harris injured
T/o Upwood but while only about 30 feet off the runway, an engine cut and the Blenheim hit the ground, wing first, and cartwheeled.
29 OCT 1940 BLENHEIM IV N3572
P/O F Windram
T/o Upwood for a cross-country flight. Lost engine power and forced-landing, 1100, in a field at Oakley, 4 miles NW of Bedford. No injuries reported
13 NOV BLENHEIM IV L4898
Sgt F H Miller injured
T/o Upwood for a formation exercise but at 1500, while flying near Keyston, 12 miles WNW of Huntingdon, a bird came through the windscreen and hit Sgt Miller in the face. Badly stunned, and aided by his crew he very skilfully forced-landed.
26 NOV 1940 BLENHEIM IV R2792
F/O E B Morse died
Sgt R L Thorn died
Sgt B Wilson-North died
T/o Upwood for a navigation exercise; base-Bicester-South Cerney-Northampton-base. Ran into bad weather and at around 1855, crashed into wood at High Lodge near Eriswell, 11 miles NW of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.
26 NOV 1940 BLENHEIM IV T1854
Sgt V K Hobbs died
Sgt G Davies died
Sgt A Robinson died
T/o Upwood similarly tasked. Became lost and at around 1900 eyewitnesses reported seeing a flare. Soon afterwards, the Blenheim flew into high ground near Kettering, Northamptonshire. Two were claimed by their next-of-kin but Sgt Robinson of Marple in Cheshire was brought back to Upwood and laid to rest in Bury Cemetery
10 DEC 1940 BLENHEIM IV L4844
Sgt G W Penman died
Sgt A Ferguson died
Sgt J Roberts died
T/o Upwood to practice flying in cloud. Crashed 1255 between Sinton Green and Grimley, 4 miles NNW and N respectively of Worcester. All were taken back to their native Scotland for burial
14 DEC 1940 BLENHEIM IV L4835
Sgt I M Curror died
Sgt A J V Secker RNZAF died
Sgt J Pinchard died
T/o Upwood for a cross-country exercise during which the weather deteriorated. Flying at 1,200 feet, the crew smashed into the side of Clee Hill (1,750 feet above sea level) some 6 miles E of Ludlow, Shropshire. Sgt Secker RNZAF is buried in Bury Cemetery.
22 DEC 1940 BLENHEIM IV L4896
P/O C S Rombach died
P/O J H Dales died
P/O L F Squire died
Sgt A Cruise died
T/o Upwood. Flew into high-tension cables and crashed 1150 some 2 miles NE of Market Harborough in Leicestershire.
23 DEC 1940 BLENHEIM I L8683
Sgt C S H Bayford
T/o Upwood. Stalled, having lost engine power, and crash-landed 1130 near airfield. Almost a year later, on 20 December Sgt Bayford died while flying Blenheims with 84 squadron, then based at Gambut in Libya. He is buried in Tobruk War Cemetery
29 DEC BLENHEIM IV L4868
P/O V S Reynolds RNZAF died
P/O K W Edwards died
No name given injured
T/o Upwood 1934 and crashed about a minute later. Apparently, the observer called out to say he could see a light and the pilot, thinking a collusion was imminent, banked steeply and lost control. Both are buried in a joint grave at Birmingham (Lodge Hill) Cemetery.
Operational training unit Losses in 1941, flown from
A TOTAL OF 41 AIRCRAFT DESTROYED
BELOW IS THE ROLL OF HONOUR FOR 17 O.T.U. IN 1941
KILLED IN 17 O.T.U. IN 1941
Sgt C W Andrews RNZAF
TOTAL OF 41 PEOPLE KILLED
INJURED IN 17 O.T.U IN 1941
P/O F C Ashley
Plus one person who I have no record of name
TOTAL OF 31 PEOPLE INJURED
25 FEB 1941 MAGISTER I L5951
F/L T R Manson
Another person was injured
T/o Upwood. Flew into high-tension cables and crashed near Sawtry at 1500
5 MARCH 1941 BLENHEIM IV V5562
Sgt G H Wood
Sgt LC Crossley
Sgt T Collier
T/o 1144 Polebrook. One engine failed and before the crew could return to the airfield the Blenheim lost too much height. Forced-landing, wheels up, became necessary. None of their injuries were serious.
8 MARCH 1941 BLENHEIM I L6692
Sgt J H Tolman
T/o Polebrook for solo flying and crashed.
10 APRIL 1941 BLENHEIM IV N3591
Sgt BC Rowland died
Sgt JD Graham died
T/o Upwood for night flying practice. At 2110, probably due to engine failure, the Blenhiem crashed about 200 yards N of Warboys railway station, Huntingdonshire.
10 APRIL 1941 BLENHIEM IV V5519
Sgt D G Knight
Sgt S McL Wells injured later died in the ambulance
Cpl Brennan injured
LAC D G Francks injured died within 24 hours
LAC Plaister injured
AC1 L F R Trickett injured died within 24 hours
AC1 G A Firth injured died within 24 hours
AC2 J B Tait injured died within 24 hours
T/o Upwood, with his wireless operator, to engage in night circuit practice. At 2120, while banking, flew into a lighting pole and crashed onto the flare path, bursting into flames. Both crew members managed to scramble clear but the seven airmen on flare path duty were not so fortunate. All were rushed to RAF Hospital Ely (Sgt McL Wells died in the ambulance) where four succumbed to their injuries within twenty-four hour.
10 APRIL 1941 BLENHEIM IV V5732
Sgt A J Reid injured
Sgt Perkins injured
Sgt Gibbons injured
T/o Upwood for a night training exercise. Became lost and, eventually, ran out of fuel and crash-landed 2359, hitting some trees in Boxworth Grounds near Childerlay Hall6 miles WNW from the centre of Cambridge.
15 APRIL 1941 BLENHEIM IV L4892
P/O A J Taylor injured
P/O T E Wooton injured
T/o Upwood for a low-level bombing exercise. Lost power and at 0930 crash-landed, hitting some telephone wires and a hedge, roughly 2 miles E of Polebrook airfield and about the same distance ESE of Oundle in Northamptonshire.
28 APRIL 1941 BLENHIEM IV L9341
T/o Upwood. Crashed on return to base. No injuries reported
12 MAY 1941 BLENHEIM IV V5391
Sgt K C Belton died
Sgt N R Macmillan died
Sgt W Hunter died
T/o Upwood for low-level flying exercise at less than 250 feet. Lost without a trace, but believed to have crashed in the sea.
17 MAY 1941 BLENHEIM IV V5565
S/L W R Selkirk injured
P/O T R Hodgson died
Sgt P Savage died
T/o Upwood for a cross-country exercise. The Blenheim crossed the Lancashire coast. When 5 miles WSW of the Morecambe Bay Lightship, the port engine in a left hand turn causing the bomber to yaw and fly into the sea.
21 MAY 1941 BLENHEIM IV L9388
Sgt L W Robertson Pryor died
P/O G V Wilson died
Sgt JF Harrison died
T/o Upwood for a navigation exercise. Crashed 1630, while flying at high speed, on high ground near the Poaka and Beck reservoir, slighted close to Dalton-in-Furness, 3 miles NNE of Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire.
Thanks to Greg Jackson who let me know its Poaka and Beck reservoir. Not Peak and Beck which it states in Bomber Command war losses book.
P/O G V Wilson
George Victor Wilson was born in 1919, the son of Joseph
and Elizabeth Wilson. Joseph had served in the Army in the first world war and
was wounded at the Somme. Joseph passed away in 1938.
George Victor joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1940. He married Iris May Neville Roper at Buckhurst Hill on the 20th October 1940. He was commissioned 64290, Pilot Officer/ Observer on March 9 1941. His commission was published in the March 16th 1941 edition of the London Gazette.
On the 21st of May 1941 George Victor took off from 17 OperationTraining Unit, RAF Upwood in a Blenheim IV twin engine light bomber serial number L9388 on a navigation exercise.
At 16:40 hrs. the aircraft, whilst flying at high speed, crashed into high ground in poor visibility near the Poaka and Beck Reservoir, close to Dalton-in-Furness, 3 miles north-north-east of Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. All 3 crew members were killed on impact. (Source RAF Bomber Command Aircrew Losses Vol 2 and Vol 9 - Chorley)
George Victor's body was returned home and he was buried in St. John the Baptist churchyard in Buckhurst Hill on the 27th May 1941.
Thanks go to Peter C Wilkinson for sending me the above information.
About 1.5 miles from Upwood
Sergeant (Pilot)ROBERTSON PRYOR, LESLIE WALTER
Service Number 928400
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of Edith Alfreda Pryor, and stepson of Rupert Victor Robertson, of Luton, Bedfordshire.
Pilot Officer (Observer)WILSON, GEORGE VICTOR
Service Number 64290
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of Joseph and Elizabeth Wilson; husband of Iris May Nellie Wilson, of Chigwell.
Sergeant (Wireless Op./Air Gunner)HARRISON, JEFFREY FREDERICK
Service Number 952921
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of Frederick and Edith Annie Harrison, of West Heath, Birmingham.
24 MAY 1941 BLENHEIM IV V5750
Sgt A P Ward
T/o Upwood. On approach at 1600, lost power and crashed near the runway.
24 MAY 1941 BLENHEIM IV Z5948
P/O P B Ashby
T/o Upwood. Overshoot and crashed 1310 beyond the runway at Wyton, having landed down wind by mistake.
29 MAY 1941 BLENHEIM I L8546
Reported as crashed on this date, though, as yet, no supported evidence has been traced. The Blenheim had been issued to Upwood on the 12 September 1940.
12 JUNE 1941 BLENHEIM IV Z5950
Sgt P Stocks
T/o 1520 Upwood but an engine cut and Blenheim finished up, wrecked, on a mound near the bomb dump. No one was injured
16 JUNE 1941 BLENHEIM IV T1932
Sgt L T Weston RNZAF
T/o Upwood but an engine cut resulting in the aircraft swinging out of control and ending up with a broken undercarriage. No injuries
18 JUNE 1941 ANSON I R9643
Sgt G D Jessup injured
Sgt W S Blackadder injured
P/O F C Ashley injured
Sgt A Gordon injured
Sgt JS Calderwood RCAF
T/o Upwood for a navigation exercise, in the course of which and engine failed. Force-landed at approximately 1030 at Weston Subedge, 2 miles NW of Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire.
18 JUNE 1941 BLENHEIM IV V5820
Sgt P J Rolt injured
Sgt G P Rake injured
T/o 0215 Upwood for night navigation exercise but lost power and flew into a tree in biggin lane while trying to regain the airfield
Below is two letters sent to Mr. Kilsby who helped the crew of V5820 escape from the wreckage
Royal Air force station
20th June 1941
As the result of an investigation which I ordered into the circumstances attending the crash of one of my aircraft in Biggin Lane on the night of the 17th/18th June 1941, I have become aware of the very valuable assistance which was rendered by your men on that occasion. I am most grateful for everything you did and would ask you to give my particular thanks to your employee, Mr. Kilsby, who, although overcome by petrol fumes, did, after recovery, continue with the rescue of Sgt. Rake until it was satisfactorily completed.
Should you wish to render an account for your services, please address it to me at Upwood and I will do my best to obtain its prompt payment by Higher Authority.
Again my grateful thanks,
Yours faithfully, J.T.KIRBY.
Group Captain, Commanding
Royal Air Force Station,
A. 28 467 0/41.
I am commanded by the Air Council to inform you that their attention has been drawn to your meritorious conduct when- on 18th June last you were instrumental in releasing an Observer from the wreckage of a Royal Air Force aircraft which had crashed near Ramsey.
The Air Council wish me to convey to you an
expression of their high appreciation of the services you
rendered on that occasion
Your obedient Servant,
Permanent Under-Secretary of State
P.T.W.Kilsby,Esq., Field Road, Ramsey,
Many thanks to R L Kilsby, son of P T W Kilsby who sent me these letter
7 JULY 1941 BLENHEIM IV V5532
Sgt G V Smith injured
Sgt J Tippett DFM injured
T/o Upwood for his second night solo on type but at around 0010 overshoot the runway and hit a building near the airfield.
12 JULY 1941 BLENHEIM IV Z6360
Sgt Ronald James Smith died
P/O Ronald Owen Boon died
Sgt James Tinker died
T/o Wyton to practice landings with wireless assistance. Lost control and failed to recover from a spin before crashing 1545 at Old Halves, near Chatteris, Cambridgeshire.
James (Jimmie) Tinker
Group picture with "Jimmie"
Son of James William Tinker, and of Ethel Tinker, of Sheffield. James died at the age of 21
My thanks goes to Andrew Bertie for sending and letting me use these pictures.
Sergeant (Pilot)SMITH, RONALD JAMES
Service Number 1057332
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Pilot Officer (Observer)BOON, RONALD OWEN
Service Number 67591
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of Thomas Owen Boon and Irene Boon, of Little Dunstone, Plymstock.
Sergeant (Wireless Op./Air Gunner)TINKER, JAMES
Service Number 999616
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of James William Tinker, and of Ethel Tinker, of Sheffield.
22 JULY 1941 BLENHEIM IV L9412
Sgt C W Andrews RNZAF died
P/O R T Franklin died
Sgt L R Palmer died
T/o Upwood for a night navigation sortie. Called Upwood on w/t, soon after departure and three minutes later sent another signal advising that it was switching to the Andover Direction Finding frequency. Nothing further was heard and it is assumed that some catastrophe overtook the crew, while they were over the North sea.
25 JULY 1941 BLENHEIM I L6800
Sgt A H A Johnson died
T/o Upwood. Crashed on the airfield boundary,
12 AUG 1941 BLENHEIM I L1245
P/O W E A Wand died
P/O R P Bell RNZAF died
Sgt E A Davis died
T/o Upwood for night flying practice. Shot down by an intruder and crashed 2350 at Crow Farm, Wilburton, 5 miles SW of Ely Cambridgeshire.
This Blenheim was shot down by Oberfeldwebel Rolf Bussmann. Bussmann, in his Ju88, found his way to Weston-on-the-Green where he shot down two Anson of No.15 Service Flying Training school Killing both of the pilots, then roard across the airfield and released six bomb which damaged seven Oxfords parked there. Heading for the east coast, near Ely he spotted a Blenheim and shot it down at Wilburton. It's three crew from 17 OTU were all killed in the crash. Bussmann and his crew returned triumphant to Gilze-Rijen, but landed heavily. The under carriage of the Ju 88 collapsed and the machine slid off the runway. As it came to rest the three men scrambled out before fire engulfed the wreck
The information was found in the book (INTRUDERS OVER BRITIAN) The Luftwaffe night fighter offensive 1940-45 by Simon W. Parry
ISBN 1 871187 16 8
13 AUG 1941 ANSON I N4997
Sgt A W Dorney injured
Sgt R T Bartlett injured
Sgt P Jacobs injured
F/S L Milletts
P/O S Philips RCAF injured
Sgt W Fletcher
T/o Upwood for a night navigation exercise. On return to base, and while searching for the flare path, the Anson ran out of petrol and crash-landed 0110 at Shillow Hill, Wistow wood Between Wistow and Bury Huntingdonshire.
13 AUG 1941 BLENHEIM IV V5758
Sgt G P Kerr injured
T/o Upwood to practice formation flying. In the vicinity of New Fen, an area some 4 miles to the NNE of the airfield, and engine cut and in the ensuing forced-landing at 1205, the Blenheim turned over and was wrecked.
29 AUG 1941 BLENHEIM IV R3734
P/O J G C Grieve
P/O G J Rowley
T/o Upwood but the starboard engine cut and being unable to maintain height, a forced-landing was made at 1415 some 3 miles W of Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire.
7 SEPT 1941 BLENHEIM IV R3875
Sgt M F Fox died
Sgt B A Coukell RCAF died
Sgt E C Brearley died
T/o Upwood for a cross-country exercise. Spun from 2,500 feet and crashed circa 1200 into a tree at Cressage, 8 miles SE of Shrewsbury
17 SEPT 1941 BLENHEIM IV R3814
Sgt D H Farley died
F/S W F Jeffery died
Sgt T F Heron RCAF injured
T/o Upwood for a navigation exercise. Crashed in the North Sea
10 OCT 1941 BLENHEIM I K7048
Sgt P A Paquet RCAF injured
T/o Upwood. Eyewitnesses say the Blenheim dived suddenly, striking the ground at around 1600. Due to failure of Port engine
23 OCT 1941 BLENHEIM I L1305
Sgt R S Trigg
T/o Upwood for a formation exercise but when the leader ordered the formation to break, Sgt Trigg became disorientated and at 1830 he forced-landed on the partially built airfield at Chelveston in Northamptonshire, wrecking his Blenheim in the process.
24 OCT 1941 BLENHEIM IV V6004
Sgt P D Thompson died
Sgt A I W Fairbairn died
T/o Upwood for formation practice. During the flight, it became necessary to change over tanks but, tragically, the correct procedure was not followed and an engine failed. Unable to maintain height, the crew headed for land at 1005.
27 OCT 1941 BLENHEIM IV V6013
Sgt H W Talyor died
Sgt F R Bayliss died
Sgt J A Hedley died
T/o Upwood for a navigation exercise. Crashed around 1000 at Wetmoor Farm, Gayton, 6 milesNE of Stafford.
2 NOV 1941 BLENHEIM IV Z5947
P/O C W Bush RCAF died
P/O A T Sims died
Sgt E J Bush died
T/o Upwood. While flying in cloud, lost control and crashed at around 1715 at East Leake, some 8 miles S from the centre of Nottingham.
8 NOV 1941 BLENHEIM IV N3626
P/O J Lang
T/o Upwood for a high-level bombing exercise. Coming down through cloud, P/O Land lost power from the starboard engine. Throttling back on the port motor, he lowered the undercarriage and forced-landed 1451 on Holme Fen, Huntingdonshire
9 NOV 1941 BLENHEIM IV Z6359
Sgt J A C Scott
T/o Upwood but sank back, momentarily, onto the runway when the undercarriage was prematurely retracted. On return to base at 1240, the Blenheim crash-landed and caught fire
12 NOV 1941 BLENHEIM IV T1793
P/O T B Skinner
T/o Upwood. Reported to have stalled at 20 feet while nearing the runway and in the ensuing crash the undercarriage unit was broken, damaging the bomber beyond repair.
16 NOV 1941 BLENHEIM IV V5421
Sgt S E Strate RCAF
T/o Upwood for a cross-country exercise. When the Blenheim encountered adverse weather and at around 1330 the crew baled out, leaving their aircraft to crash in open countryside near Sedgebrook, 4 miles WNW of Grantham, Lincolnshire
6 DEC 1941 BLENHEIM IV L4894
P/O C H Woodworth RCAF died
F/S M Thompson died
Sgt R Barr died
T/o Upwood. Stalled and crashed 1455, in a field near the gasworks at Ramsey, while nearing the airfield. At the time of the accident, the wind was gusting quite strongly.
9 DEC 1941 BLENHEIM IV R3675
Sgt S O Hill RCAF injured
T/o Upwood 1304 but while banking to the left at 300 feet, the port engine cut. Sgt Hill RCAF promptly throttled back the starboard motor but lost control and crashed near the airfield.
9 DEC 1941 BLENHEIMIV V5373
Sgt C B Wilcock
T/o Upwood. Landed 1615, downwind, swung from the runway and finished up in the overshoot area with its undercarriage collapsed.
28 DEC 1941 BLENHEIM IV Z5984
Sgt H S Thoms injured
Sgt G Owen injured
Sgt J E Wilson injured
T/o Upwood to practice landings using wireless procedures, following by bombing training over The wash. Flew into the ground at 1505, while over the North Wooton ranges, some 4 miles N of King’s Lynn Norfolk. It is reported that the Blenheim’s starboard engine seemed to be surging as it dived towards its intended target.
Operational training unit Losses in 1942, flown from
A TOTAL OF 30 AIRCRAFT DESTROYED
BELOW IS THE ROLL OF HONOUR FOR 17 O.T.U. IN 1942
IN 17 O.T.U. IN 1942
F L Austin
INJURED IN 17 O.T.U IN 1942
J L H Heagerty
TOTAL OF 11 PEOPLE INJURED
3 JAN 1942 BLENHEIM IV P6959
F/O M J Kingshott RAAF died
Sgt W Jowett died
Sgt R M Masson died
T/o Upwood for a cross-country exercise. Dived from the cloud base, estimated at 2,00 feet, and failed to recover before hitting the ground at 1145 at Stanton Upon Edgebolton, 8 miles NE from the centre of Shrewbury.
11 JAN 1942 BLENHEIM IV Z6040
P/O C V Pereira injured
T/o Upwood for a cross-country exercise but encountered very severe icing and while flying near Scolt Head the engines failed, thus necessitating an immediate emergency landing. This was effected at 1130
14 JAN 1942 BLENHEIM I L1303
F/S S S Lang RCAF died
Sgt A J Sistron died
T/o Upwood for night flying practice. While circling the airfield at 1940, and having failed to respond to calls advising landing instructions, the Blenheim crashed at Dunhills Farm.
21 JAN 1942 BLENHEIM IV Z7453
F/O E R Parke RAAF died
Sgt F Coakley died
Sgt M York died
T/o Upwood for a navigation exercise. Presumed to have crashed in the sea off Filey on the Yorkshire coast.
29 JAN 1942 BLENHEIM IV L8785
P/O A Petty died
Sgt J F Charnock died
Another injured but I have no record of name
T/o Warboys for a navigation exercise. At around 1215, having been recalled to base due to adverse weather, the crew were seen nearing the airfield when their aircraft stalled and crashed to the ground.
11 FEB 1942 BLENHEIM IV V6383
Reported to have been abandoned in the general vicinity of Bottisham, 6 miles ENE of Cambridge, but, as yet, no supporting documentation has been discovered.
19 FEB 1942 BLENHEIM I L1359
P/O J V Hadland
P/O S Coshall
At 2150, while taxying at night in readiness to take off from Warboys, the Blenheim ran into Blenheim I L6808 (P/O J H Ellis RCAF) which was stationary, downwind, and with its lights switched off. Both aircraft were badly damaged, but while the latter was repaired, P/O Hadland’s machine was deemed to be a write-off.
20 FEB 1942 BLENHEIM IV Z5899
Sgt W T Kyle RCAF died
Sgt L S de Lisser died
Sgt E Scott died
T/o Upwood for a low-level (between 500 and six hundred feet) navigation exercise. While flying on the second leg , the crew strayed 15 miles off track and at 1028 the starboard wingtip was sliced off by a barrage balloon cable in the Birmingham defensive area. Out of control the Blenheim crashed to the ground.
4 MARCH 1942 BLENHEIM I L6804
Sgt G D Jessup
T/o Upwood but encountered very bad weather and while flying at 1,00 feet an engine cut. Sgt Jessup did remarkably well to coax his crippled aircraft up to 3,200 feet before taking to his parachute. Left to its own devices, the Blenheim crashed 1125 near Colston Bassett, 10 miles SE of Nottingham, where it was consumed by fire.
13 MARCH 1942 BLENHEIM IV N3538
Sgt W Curlet died
P/O J D L McColl died
Sgt E Johnson died
T/o Upwood for a cross-country flight. Flew into high-tension cables and crashed 0927 about one hundred yards E of Thorp Arch church on the North bank of the Wharfe which separates the hamlet of Thorp Arch from Boston Spa, 2 miles SSE of Wetherby, Yorkshire. The Blenheim burst into flames on impact.
29 MARCH 1942 BLENHEIM IV Z5949
Sgt J L H Heagerty injured
P/O J N Jenkinson injured
Sgt E P Moakler injured
T/o Upwood for a navigation exercise during which the crew attempted to land at Sutton Bridge. As the Blenheim approached the runway, its undercarriage came into contact with a raised bank and was torn off.
30 MARCH 1942 BLENHEIM IV R3772
T/o Warboys. On return to base at 1600, the Blenheim stalled at 30 feet, smashing the starboard wing and undercarriage.
1-2 MAY 1942 BLENHEIM I L1313
Sgt T E Voges injured
Sgt Parker injured
T/o Warboys for a night training sortie. Crashed 0005, after flying into a tree near the airfield, and caught fire.
4 MAY 1942 BLENHEIM I L8373
F/S J G Bruce
Sgt H Hardman
T/o Warboys for dual instruction and came immediately to grief when a tyre burst. Later converted as a training aid (3354m).
13 MAY 1942 BLENHEIM IV V5384
P/O H G Zavadowsky RCAF died
P/O R E Corr died
Sgt J White died
T/o Upwood 1545 for a practice bombing detail. Successfully released part, if not all bombs carried but three minutes later, at 1630, dived from 1,00 feet and crashed at Butchers Farm, Thorney, 6 miles NE from the centre of Peterborough Cambridgeshire.
HARRY G. ZAVADOWSKY
For the biography of Harry G. Zavadowsky, written by Professor
Charles M. Johnston from McMaster University in Hamilton Canada. Please click
Fenland and West Norfolk Aviation Museum Recovered this aircraft in august 1987. Below are some picture of the display they have in their museum.
The museum is located at Bambers Garden Centre, Old Lynn Road, West Walton Highway, 3 miles north-east of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. Off the A47/B198 junction and signposted from the A47
A sketch of Bristol Blenheim V5384
Prints of this sketch are available from me, for more information contact me at:
3 JUNE 1942 BLENHEIM IV V6238
Sgt A H Rew
T/o Warboys. Landed heavily on one wheel at nearby Wyton but on opening up to go round again, the port engine cut and the Blenheim crash-landed 2000 and was damaged beyond economical repair.
4 JUNE 1942 BLENHEIM IV V5566
P/O G Nadaraja died
P/O F J Barker died
Sgt R E Doman died
T/o Upwood for a navigation exercise. Presumed lost over the North Sea.
17 JUNE 1942 BLENHEIM IV L4838
Sgt D A S Tomkins
At 2015, Sgt Tomkins was running up his engines prior to taking off from Upwood for a night exercise when the Blenheim burst into flames.
17 JUNE 1942 BLENHEIM IV R3611
Sgt P C Thompson injured
P/O R T O’Neill died
Sgt Williams injured
T/o 0940 Alconbury but having climbed to a mere 50 feet, the starboard engine cut causing the Blenheim to dive into the ground 500 yards S of the airfield
8 JULY 1942 BLENHEIM I L1197
Sgt R M Overns RCAF
T/o Upwood. Landed here at 1050 and while doing so collided with Blenheim IV L9328,
8 JULY 1942 BLENHEIM IV R3669
F/S D I Grant RNZAF
T/o Upwood but lost engine power and crashed at 1740 near Wellingore airfield, Lincolnshire.
14 AUG 1942 BLENHEIM IV V5699
Sgt S J Roche
T/o Upwood but failed to become airborne and though the throttles were closed, Sgt Roche was unable to prevent his aircraft form smashing into the hedge bordering the airfield.
16 AUG 1942 BLENHEIM IV V6399
AC1 R A Munro injured
While servicing electrical equipment on the Blenheim at Upwood, a fire broke out, 1110, in the starboard engine nacelle, destroying the bomber.
31 AUG 1942 BLENHEIM Z6352
Sgt T Mair
Plus two other people was injured but I have no recorders of their names
T/o Upwood for a cross-country exercise. Wrecked at 1900 in a crash-landing, with the undercarriage down, at Ramsey St. Mary’s, 3 miles to the NW of Ramsey, Huntingdonshire.
11 SEPT 1942 BLENHEIM IV L4891
Sgt B M Harvey RCAF
T/o Upwood but swung out of control, veered off the runway and collided with a tractor.
11 SEPT 1942 BLENHEIM IV R3591
W/C C C Hodder AFC injures
Plus two other people were injured but I have no record of their names
T/o Upwood but the starboard engine cut and the Blenheim was forced-landed, virtually in line with the runway and a mile W of the airfield, in the approved manner.
1 OCT 1942 BLENHEIM IV L9328
Sgt F Armit
T/o Upwood at 1555 but crash-landed, wheels up, in a field 300 yards beyond the runway and on the NE side of the aerodrome.
1 OCT 1942 BLENHEIM V6315
Sgt G Darbyshire died
P/O F L Austin died
Sgt F A Reeve died
T/o upwood at 1420, but after climbing to around 350 feet, the port engine cut. An initial swing to port was corrected and the aircraft momentarily straightened out before diving to the ground, a mile W of the airfield.
11 OCT 1942 BLENHEIM IV T1931
Sgt L Partridge died
Sgt W R Hopcroft died
Sgt F Mac-C Poole died
T/o Upwood at 1245, but engine cut and within moments the Blenheim was engulfed in flames after hitting trees boarding the airfield.
28 NOV 1942 BLENHEIM IV V5882
F/O F W Wilson
T/o Upwood. Touched down 1245 near the sodium flare path (in order to avoid another aircraft that had encroached onto the runway) and ran into some flare holders.
Operational training unit Losses in 1943, flown from
A TOTAL OF 4 AIRCRAFT DESTROYED
BELOW IS THE ROLL OF HONOUR FOR 17 O.T.U. IN 1943
IN 17 O.T.U. IN 1943
INJURED IN 17 O.T.U IN 1943
8 JAN 1943 BLENHEIM IV L4895
F/L R H Moore
T/o Upwood 1625 only to crash in the circuit, five minutes later. F/S Moore reported that the starboard engine lost power as he climbed away. His aircraft had been on the strength of 17 OUT since 22 April 1940, and had amassed a very respectable 1,262 flying hours.
24 JAN 1943 BLENHEIM IV L9333
Sgt R M Leeming
T/o Upwood for a navigation exercise. On return fog had encroached upon the local area and while trying to land at nearby Warboys, the Blenheim crashed 1659, flipping on to its back.
29 JAN 1943 BLENHEIM I L8718
F/S A A Mitchell RCAF died
Sgt W R Deacon died
T/o 2226 Upwood for a night exercise only to crash 2231 and burst into flames at Abingdon Piggotts, 14 miles SW of Cambridge and within sight of Bassingbourn airfield.
11 FEB 1943 BLENHEIM IV Z7349
Sgt F L Stark
T/o Upwood for a training sortie. Came down at 1020 in a field NE of St. Ives in Huntingdonshire, having lost the use of both of his engines.
Information came from:
ROYAL AIR FORCE, BOMBER COMMAND LOSSES VOLUME 7
Operational Training Units 1940-1947
By W R CHORLEY
The Supplement to
THE ROYAL AIR FORCE IN CAMBRIDGESHIRE: PART 4
Prepared by John Hamlin