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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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14/15.05.1940 No. 44 Squadron Hampden I P4286 F/O. Ashfield

Operation: Breda.

Date: 14/15th May 1940 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 44 Squadron.

Type: Handley Page Hampden I.

Serial: P4286.

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.


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)

Burial Details:

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.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 04 April 2016, 20:30