01.01.1944 No. 63 Operational Training Unit Beaufighter II R2304 F/O. Greville
Date: 01st January 1944 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 63 Operational Training Unit
Type: Beaufighter II
Code: Not known
Base: RAF Chedworth
Location: Shepherds Patch, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire
Pilot: F/O. Donald Glyndwr Greville 143449 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Obs: Sgt. G.G. Oakley RAFVR Survived - uninjured (note)
Submitted to Aircrew Remembered by the Slimbridge Local History Society via Den Bannister - January 2018.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Chedworth at 10:25 hrs to carry out a cine gun and air firing practice. Shortly after take off the pilot remarked to Sgt. Chakley that the aircraft appeared sluggish.
At around 10:40 hrs the exercise was completed and they commenced return to RAF Chedworth. Whilst at about 2,000 ft the starboard engine then failed and caught fire. The pilot throttled back and operated the extinguisher. The fire continued and and the aircraft lost height an an alarming rate. The pilot ordered the observer to abandon the aircraft which he did via the front hatch. Height at this time was around 800 ft. The pilot followed almost immediately.
The pilot hit the ground before his parachute had a chance to fully develop but the observer landed safely.
Later investigation revealed that the Beaufighter struck the ground vertically at high speed. Both engines were buried some 15 ft. The aircraft body was totally disintegrated and burnt out. However it was concluded that the starboard engine induction manifolds and central trunk were burnt away and that this occurred whilst the aircraft was still in the air. They decided that the cause of the crash was due to over tightening of the A.1 and B.E Inlet tappet lock nuts within the engine and the subsequent fire in the starboard engine - no fault was found with the parachute of the pilot.
Note: We are not totally sure that this is the correct spelling of the Observers name - if you are able to assist that would be appreciated.
F/O. Donald Glyndwr Greville. Drefach Congregational Chapelyard (Capel Seion). Row 2. Grave 29. Son of William and Lily Greville, of Drefach, Carmarthenshire, Wales. Also commemorated at the Gorslas War Memorial in Carmarthen County, Wales. Grave inscription reads: "Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends".
Researched by Slimbridge Local History Society and Den Bannisterand. Page dedicated to the relatives of this crew.