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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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199 Squadron Crest
25.06.1945 No. 199 Squadron Halifax III NA259 W/O. Ian W. Dent

Operation: Air Test

Date: 25th June 1945 (Monday)

Unit: No. 199 Squadron (100 Group)

Type: Halifax III

Serial: NA259

Code: EX-?

Base: RAF North Creake, Norfolk (Wells-Next-To-The-sea)

Location: Cromer Cliffs, Norfolk

Pilot: W/O. Ian Wilshire Dent AUS/432360 RAAF Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Raymond Ernest George Seymour 1851223 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: Sgt. William Way 1302052 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Andrew Mill Adams 2218925 RAFVR Age 21. Killed


On this date the war in Europe was over, but still many accidents were taking place for various reasons, most causes were blamed on the crews

Halifax NA259 had taken off at 14:58 hrs and had only been airborne for about 10 minutes prior to the accident.

The aircraft was observed flying at around 1000 ft and turning inland towards Cromer. The pilot was having problems with the engines and it seemed that he was going to try and make a forced landing on the beach at Cromer. When, at the last moment he must have noticed many people on the beach and then tried to turn away.

Sadly the wing tip struck the cliffs at around 15:10 hrs and the aircraft burst into flames crashing at the foot of the high cliffs.

USAAF Sgt. Gleddening 3539076 and his English wife who were on the beach at this time and just yards from the impact - they suffered shock and minor burns and taken to Cromer hospital for treatment from which they recovered. Due to the area of the crash (as can be seen by the photographs) the local fire brigade had to be lowered down the cliffs to deal with the fire - it was an hour before the flames were finally extinguished.

Eye witness reports stated that on the approach to the beach the aircraft seemed to have all engines throttled back and that smoke was seen to be coming from both outer engines. Later court of enquiry concluded that their had indeed been a ‘problem’ with the aircraft and that the crew had tried to avoid further loss of life on the ground with their manoeuvres. There had been no survivors, the fire totally destroyed the aircraft so no cause to the accident can be established.

Local newspaper reports also stated that from local eye witness reports it was clear that the crew were trying to avoid further loss of life on the ground.

The pilot, it was revealed had disregarded his briefing by flying at low level but the Flight Commander was also disciplined for his poor level of supervision. It would seem however that a greater loss of life was saved with the actions of the pilot and his crew, to their cost.

It should be noted that thousands of aircrew died during training - both during the war years and months that followed - sadly, many of these are not recorded online, which is why we place pages such as these.

Burial details:

Understood that the funeral of the pilot was held on the 29th June 1945 14:00 hrs at the Cambridge City Cemetery.

W/O. Ian Wilshire Dent. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 15706. Born on the 11th September 1921 at Ashfield, NSW. the son of Leslie Norman and Dora Estelle Dent, of 71 Redmire Street, Strathfield, New South Wales, Australia.

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Raymond Ernest George Seymour. Reading Cemetery (Henley Road). Block 5. Grave 9694. Of Reading, England, no further details - are you able to assist?

Nav: Sgt. William Way. Morden Cemetery. Sec. R. Grave 811. Son of William Henry Way, and of Jeanne Marie Way, of Morden, Surrey, England.

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Andrew Mill Adams. Wells-Next-To-The-Sea Cemetery. Grave 376. Son of Samuel and Jessie R. M. Adams, of Davidson's Mains, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as quoted.

KTY - 16.04.2017

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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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