04.05.1944 No. 19 OTU Whitley V BD385 UO:Q Fg.Off. Arthur H. Eastment
Date: 4th May 1944 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 19 Operational Training Unit (OTU), ‘B’ Flight
Type: Whitley V
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.
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.