27.06.1944 No. 1655 M.T.U. Mosquito IV DZ550 F/O. Donovan DFM
Date: 27th June 1944 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 1655 MTU. (Mosquito Training/Conversion Unit)
Type: Mosquito B.IV
Base: RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire (Then Huntingdonshire)
Location: Chesterton Farm, Benwick, Cambridgeshire
Pilot: F/O. Walter Spruce Donovan DFM. 126763 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Gordon Royall 1582033 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS
Taking off from RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire at 14:48 hrs. on a cross-country exercise and to land at RAF Wyton after completion.
At around 17:40 hrs dived and crashed into land at Chesterton Farm, Benwick, Cambridgeshire - no details available. The pilot gained his DFM. in 1941 whilst flying Hampdens with 61 Squadron, the London Gazette for 23rd December 1941, carrying the details.
Left: F/O. Donovan outside Buckingham Palace after receiving his DFM. L-R: Ada Donovan (wife), Walter, Eva Donovan (mother) Enid Donovan (sister). (courtesy John Wilkinson)
F/O. Walter Spruce Donovan. DFM. Sheffield Cemetery (Burngreave). Sec G.G. Cons. Grave 2879. Son of Walter Spruce Donovan and of Eva Agnes Donovan (née Freeman) and husband of Ada Mary Donovan, of Sheffield, England. Born in Hull and married Ada Mary Dixon from Sheffield on the 21st March 1942 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England.
Sgt. Gordon Royall. Horninglow Churchyard (St. John). Plot C. Row 1. Grave 20. Son of George Edward and Elsie Royall (née Selby) and brother of Joyce, John, William and Margaret, of Burton-upon-Trent, England. William was to name one of his sons Gordon after his dead brother.
Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks to Stephen Farnell for information on the location of pilot grave. Also to Linda Ibrom, Burton Daily Mail, family of Gordon Royall, with special thanks to Pauline Scott for her research to obtain the photo of the navigator, Sgt. Royall. Finally, many thanks to John Wilkinson for sending in the photo of the pilot - January 2018.