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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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Bomber command
20.10.1943 No. 10 O.T.U. Whitley V BD280 Fl/Sgt. Burton

Operation: Training

Date: 20th October 1943 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 10 OTU (Operational Training Unit - B Flight)

Type: Whitely V

Serial: BD280

Base: RAF Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordhsire

Location: Vicarage Farm, one mile, North North West of Ivinghoe, Buckinhamshire

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John Raymond Burton AUS/417333 RAAF Age 26. Killed

Nav U/T: W/O. Ivan Kenealy Nicoll 1002233 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Leslie Reginald Vincent Sibley 152298 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Derrick Percy Burton 1515874 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. A.E. Smart 1318424 RAFVR Survived - slight injuries.


Taking off at 18:40 hrs from RAF Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire on on their first night cross-country exercise.

Normal frequent radio transmission made during the flight, at 22:48 base received a message that they had passed Stowmarket at 22:25 hrs.

Cloud base was at 6/10 at 3.000 ft, visibility 6-8 miles, strong south-westerly wind. The ground in the vicinity was fairly hilly reaching 800-900 ft in places.

During the flight the port engine failed Fl/Sgt Burton was forced to attempt an emergency landing but tragically at 23:30 hrs the Whitley stalled as he tried to avoid high tension wires. The aircraft was no longer controllable and subsequently crashed at Vicarage farm.

The Whitley burnt out, we have no details on how badly injured Sgt. Smart was although it seems that it was not severe, he never lost consciousness and received first aid at the site of the cash. He survived the war.

On examination of the aircraft it was decided that failure of the Port engine caused the lack of control, weather conditions also played a part and this coupled with the inexperience of the pilot led to the crash.

P/O. Leslie Sibley and his grave in Olney Cemetery, Milton Keynes. Graves of W/O. Ivan Nicoll and Sgt. John Burton (courtesy Stephen Farnell)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. John Raymond Burton. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery. Plot 1/2. Grave 92B. Born on the 15th March 1917 in Jamestown, the son of John Leonard and Winifred Burton, of Canowie Belt, South Australia.

W/O. Ivan Kenealy Nicoll. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery. Plot 1/2. Grave 92C. Son of the Revd. Peter Hill Nicoll, B.D., and Margie Vivien Nicoll, of Garvock, Kincardineshire, Scotland. His brother, 25 year old James Vivian Kenealy Nicoll, also died on service. As a pilot in the RAF. Killed just a few months earlier on the 9th April 1943. Buried in Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

P/O. Leslie Reginald Vincent Sibley. Olney Cemetery, Buckinghamshire. Grave 111. Son of William and Edith Sibley, husband of Elsie Gwendoline Sibley, of Olney, Buckinghamshire, England.

Sgt. Derrick Percy Burton. Sheffield (Shiregreen) Cemetery. Sec. F. Grave 5967. Son of Percy and Annie Burton, of Wincobank, Sheffield, England.

Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks for further information to sources as shown. Thanks also to Stephen Farnell for the grave photographs.

KTY 23.07.2017 Map updated

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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), 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', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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