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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 Crest
27.06.1944 No. 18 OTU Wellington III Z1592 Sgt. Gilbert K. Cameron

Operation: Training - cross country

Date: 27th June 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: 18 Operational Training Unit (OTU)

Type: Wellington III

Serial: Z1592

Code: WP:?

Base: RAF Finningley, Yorkshire

Location: Braemer Farm, 3½ miles NE of Faldingworth

Pilot: Sgt. Gilbert Keith Cameron R180812 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Eric Arthur Crowe R185340 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. George Frederick Marchington R193537 RCAF Age 21. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. George Henry Durham R198488 RCAF Age 20. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Eugene Bunt R261281 RCAF Age 19. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Richard Stephen Cracknell R215305 RCAF Age 19. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Finningley in Yorkshire at 13:35 hrs for a routine cross country training sortie.

The aircraft crashed at 17:15 hrs at Braemer Farm 3½ miles NE of Faldingworth

From the court of Inquiry:

The aircraft crashed at high speed into a soft earth cultivated field. From the impact marks the aircraft was on a northerly course and on crashing it burst and disintegrated. The main wreckage was contained in a hole about 30 ft wide and 10 ft deep. There was no evidence of detached parts in flight.

The conclusions from the court of Inquiry were:

The aircraft was carrying out a cross country exercise in daylight and was on the final leg. It was, however, about 25 miles off course. The aircraft was seen flying on a northerly course at about 1000 feet through broken cloud and apparently quite normal. A few moments later there was a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder and the aircraft was seen to dive straight into the ground and explode on impact.

A test for magnetism, in ferrous parts of the wreckage not heated in the fire was carried out by CTO, RAF, Faldingworth and revealed a certain amount of magnetism. The aircraft was flying in a Cu Ni. Thundercloud just before it crashed and two witness saw lightning. A fourth witness heard the engines cut momentarily. All these factors are features of a lightning strike on an aircraft.

Therefore, the primary cause of the accident was a lightening strike on the aircraft. This caused the pilot to lose control and crash.

Burial details:

Sgt. Gilbert Keith Cameron. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall). Sec. B. Row G. Grave 19. Grave inscription: “A SILENT THOUGHT A SECRET TEAR KEEPS HIS MEMORY EVER DEAR.” Born on the 20th December 1921 in Metcalfe, Ontario. Son of James Daniel and Eileen Mabel (née Acres) Cameron, of Metcalfe, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Eric Arthur Crowe. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall). Sec. B. Row H. Grave 1. Grave inscription: “IN MEMORY OF A DEAL LOVED SON THY WILL BE DONE.” Born on the 24th January 1923 in Montreal, Quebec. Son of Arthur and Violet May (née Crozier) Crowe, of London, Ontario, Canada.

Above: Medals inscribed: “Sgt. E.A. Crowe RCAF Died in his country’s service 27 June 1944.”

Sgt. George Frederick Marchington. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall). Sec. B. Row H. Grave 3. Grave inscription: “ETERNAL REST GRANT UNTO HIM O LORD AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON HIM.” Born on the 27th August 1922 in Toronto, Ontario. Son of Fred and Veronica (née White) Marchington, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. George Henry Durham. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall). Sec. B. Row H. Grave 2. Grave inscription: “AND WHILE HE LIES IN PEACEFUL SLEEP HIS MEMORY WE SHALL ALWAYS KEEP.” Born on the 13th August 1923 in Toronto, Ontario. Son of James and Edith (née Holder) Durham, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Eugene Bunt. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall). Sec. B. Row G. Grave 18. Born on the 23rd August 1924 in Windsor, Ontario. Son of Andrew and Michalina (née Walkow) Bunt of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Richard Stephen Cracknell. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall). Sec. B. Row G. Grave 20. Born on the 16th January 1925 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Son of Stephen Albert and Vera Marian Wilhelmina (née Rolston) Cracknell, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Researched by Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered - July 2016. Photographs of crew, medals and funeral courtesy of the Michel Beckers collection, Grave photographs courtesy Margaret Rose. Thanks to Caroline Foster for the correction to the name of the crash site. Thanks to Caroline Cook for the NoK detail for Sgt. Bunt (Mar 2022). NoK details for the rest of the crew together with the Court of Inquiry findings added by Aircrew Remembered (Mar 2022).

Other sources as quoted below:

RS 05.03.2022 - NoK details updated and Court of Inquiry details added

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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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), 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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