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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
04.05.1944 No. 19 OTU Whitley V BD385 UO:Q Fg.Off. Arthur H. Eastment

Operation: Training

Date: 4th May 1944 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 19 Operational Training Unit (OTU), ‘B’ Flight

Type: Whitley V

Serial: BD385

Code: UO:Q

Base: RAF Kinloss, Scotland

Location: Cublin Sands NNE Nairn

Pilot Inst: Fg.Off. Arthur Herbert Eastment 161266 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Pilot U/T: Fg.Off. Terence Desmond Reilly. AFM. 55056 RAF Age 25. Killed

Pilot U/T: Fg.Off. Anthony Duncan-Smith 152406 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Plt.Off. Cyril Benjamin Phillips 154247 RAFVR Age 32. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Thomas Cook 1334466 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air Gnr U/T: Sgt. Robert John Clayton 1582770 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

During a night training exercise collided with Whitley V Z9361 UO:F Flown by Fg.Off. J. L. Sneddon from ‘A’ Flight. That crew managed to nurse the aircraft back to RAF Kinloss despite severe damage to the tail section and rear turret. The aircraft was declared beyond economical repair and written off.

Whitley BD385 crashed in the Cublin Sands area at about 02:40 hrs. The extremely boggy ground made recovery very difficult. Bill Chorley in his research states that a number of civilians in rowing boats assisted the medical officer to recover the crews bodies. Although the Air Sea Rescue launch was placed on standby at 05:30 hrs.

In addition a further Whitley V LA838 UO:A from ‘B’ Flight flown by Flt.Sgt. Lee at 02:44 hrs called flight control to say that both engines had been lost whilst on final approach to the runway. They crashed some 300 yards west of Kinloss railway station, blocking the line between Inverness and Elgin. The crew escaped injury.

Burial details:

Fg.Off. Arthur Herbert Eastment. Kinloss Abbey Burial Ground. Collective Grave 62-66. Row C. Son of Willie Charles and Florence Mary Eastment, of Horsington, Somerset, England.

Fg.Off. Terence Desmond Reilly. AFM. Kinloss Abbey Burial Ground. Grave 63. Row C. Born 14th February 1919. Son of George and Majorie Elsie (née Lee) Reilly originally from Grafton Street, Acton. London. His father predeceased him before September 1939. Majorie remarried a Samuel Taylor in 1945 at Barton, Lancashire. Husband to Doreen (née Hirst) Reilly originally from Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales.

He is remembered on the War Memorial at St. Peter's Church, Thundersley, southeast Sussex.

Fg.Off. Reilly was a pupil at Ellesmere College, Shropshire (www.ellesmere.com) from 25th April 1931 through to May 1933. Prior to that he was educated at The Priory Senior School, Acton.

He initially undertook training at the Navigation School No 48 General Reconnaissance at St. Athan, South Wales. The school was relocated to Port Albert, Ontario, Canada in October 1940 and designated as No 31 Air Navigation School (ANS) where he completed his training.

The AFM was awarded to 550357 Cpl. Terence Desmond Reilly (RAF) whilst attached to the RCAF. Notified by the Department of National Defence, Ottawa, Canada on 1st January 1943. Gazetted on the 1st January 1943.

550357 Cpl. Terence Desmond Reilly was commissioned and promoted to 55056 Plt.Off. on probation the 5th March 1943 with seniority dated 12th March 1943, gazetted 14th May 1943.

Fg.Off. Anthony Duncan-Smith. Englefield Green Cemetery. Plot 13. Grave 1431. Son of David and Bessie Louise Duncan-Smith, of Egham, Surrey, England.

Plt.Off. Cyril Benjamin Phillips. Kinloss Abbey Burial Ground. Collective Grave 62-66. Row C. Son of Percy Benjamin and Alice Ruth Phillips; husband of Phyllis Amy Phillips, of Probus, Cornwall, England.

Sgt. Joseph Thomas Cook. Kinloss Abbey Burial Ground. Collective Grave 62-66. Row C. Son of Joseph John and Jessie Cook and husband of Margaret Joan Cook, of Kimberworth Park, Rotherham, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Robert John Clayton. Kinloss Abbey Burial Ground. Collective Grave 62-66. Row C. Son of Robert and Harriett Elizabeth Clayton, of Wolverhampton, England. A former pupil of Wolverhampton Municipal Secondary School.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Andrea Ruddick for grave photographs. Thanks to John Harvey for the NoK and biographical information for Fg.Off Reilly (Nov 2020). Also to sources as quoted.

RS 16.11.2020 - Update to details for Plt.Off. Reilly

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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