14/15.05.1940 No. 44 Squadron Hampden I P4286 F/O. Ashfield
Date: 14/15th May 1940 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: No. 44 Squadron.
Type: Handley Page Hampden I.
Code: KM - ?
Base: RAF Waddington
Location: Oosterhout (Noord-Brabant) Holland.
Pilot: F/O. Leslie James Ashfield 40198 RAF Age 22. Killed.
Pilot: P/O. Charles Douglas Crawley 41380 RAF Age 24. Killed.
Obs: Sgt. Wallace Francis McKinlay 581187 RAF Age 23. Killed.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Cpl. Frank Preston. 551160 RAF Age 20. Killed.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took-off from RAF Waddington. Crashed at Oosterhout, 8km north east of Breda, Holland. Reason unknown.
Below, the shattered remains of P4286 at Oosterhout.
The crew were first buried in a field grave, at the edge of the field where the Hampden crashed. Photo below shows the dignity and respect shown by some Luftwaffe to allied aircrews.
Memorial on the graves at the crash site erected by the Luftwaffe. At the time of the crash the Luftwaffe were only able to identify one of the crew, Sgt. McKinley, his name is inscribed on the cross along with 3 unknown. The memorial also includes one of the fins and rudders from P4286, along with other items of wreckage, note also the flying helmet on top of the cross.
(Grave photographs kindly supplied by Ian Morgan - April 2016)
F/O. Leslie James Ashfield. Grave 5. Son of Frederick Henry and Stina Ashfield, of Horseheath, Cambridgeshire, England.
P/O. Charles Douglas Crawley. Grave 3. Son of Charles Eustace Finlay Crawley and Margaret Crawley, of Caulfield, Victoria, Australia B.A. Hons.
Sgt. Wallace Francis McKinlay. Grave 6. Son of Robert C. and Winnifred McKinlay, of Bearsden, Dunbartonshire, Scotland.
Cpl. Frank Preston. Grave 4. Son of Frank and Annie Preston, of Denton's Green, St. Helens, Lancashire, England.
Very happy to share any information we have to promote the memory of these chaps, we also welcome contributions.