16/17.03.1944 17 O.T.U. Wellington III BK352 P/O. Dennis training loss
Date: 16/17th March 1944 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 17 OTU (Operational Training Unit)
Type: Wellington III
Base: RAF Turweston, Buckinghamshire
Location: Near Brackley Airfield (Hinton-in-the-Hedges)
Pilot: P/O. Roy Dennis DFM 162836 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Peter John Calder AUS/417799 RAAF Age 19. Killed (Shown on top of page)
Air/Bmr: Sgt. John James Owen Walters 1652405 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Bmr 2: Fl/Sgt. Ernest William Baldwin AUS/419948 R.A.A.F. Age 23. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Donald Stephen Robinson RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas John Greenhill AUS/430099 RAAF Age 19. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas George Small AUS/423551 RAAF Age ? Survived
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 00.55 hrs to carry out night circuits and landings exercises. The survivor, rear gunner trainee Sgt. Small, described the events at the Court of Enquiry:
"We had completed 4 or 5 landings when the captain decided that we had to carry out an overshoot. This we completed with no problem and then I heard P/O. Dennis shout over the intercom Throttle". Almost immediately the aircraft stalled to port and I think that we were about 1,000 ft above the aerodrome. There was no steep dive and the aircraft seemed to be under control again with increased power having been applied to the engines. Very shortly afterwards the aircraft stalled to starboard and I noticed increased juddering in my turret. The aircraft then seemed to flick up onto its tail and then the nose went straight down. Then the aircraft started turning very steeply to port and these turns were very tight. I could see the ground at 180 degrees and when flying level I would normally see about 90 degrees - at about this time P/O, Dennis called out over the intercom "bale out". I was unable to do this as I couldn't unlock the doors to get to my parachute. There was no fire in the air."
(It is not known if Sgt. Small did bale out, or he escaped from the aircraft after it had crashed. On impact the aircraft is known to have caught fire.
Grave photos (courtesy Steven Potts - find-a-grave) Inserts: (courtesy AWM)
P/O. Roy Dennis DFM. Featherstone Cemetery, Yorkshire. Row 90. Grave 7. Son of George and Selina Dennis, of Featherstone, Yorkshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. Peter John Calder. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery Plot 1/2. Grave 179. Son of Maj. John Bricknell Calder, M.C., and Ruby Ellen Calder, of Unley Park, South Australia.
Sgt. John James Owen Walters. Marshfield Churchyard, Monmouthshire, Scotland. S.E. of Church. Son of James and Eleanor Walters, of Marshfield, Scotland.
Fl/Sgt. Ernest William Baldwin. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery Plot 1/2. Grave 178B. Son of Alfred James Baldwin and Marion Ethel Baldwin, of Gre Gre South, Victoria, Australia.
Fl/Sgt. Donald Stephen Robinson. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery Plot 1/2. Grave 181. Son of Stephen and Anna Robinson, of Osterley, Middlesex, England.
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas John Greenhill. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery Plot 1/2. Grave 180. Son of John Dickson Greenhill and Olive Christina Greenhill, of Corryong, Victoria, Australia.
Researched for relatives of the crew. With thanks to Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 7", Fay and Gerald Mcpherson, Commonwealth War Graves Commission.