22.07.1944 No. 20 OTU Wellington X HZ262 -H Fl/Sgt. Allan Joseph Grigg
Date: 22 July 1944 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 20 OTU (Operational Training Unit)
Type: Wellington Mark X
Code: Call sign "H"
Base: RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, Scotland.
Location: Lossiemouth Harbour, Moray, Scotland
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Allan Joseph Grigg Aus/427901 RAAF Age 32 - Killed (1)
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Edmond William (Ted) O'Dwyer Aus/429200 RAAF Age 29 - Killed (2)
Air/Bmr: F/O. Arnold Sunter 154310 RAFVR Age 20 - Killed (3)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. David Bernard Barry Aus/428291 Age 22 - Killed (4)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Albert George Pring 913891 RAFVR Age 26 - Killed (5)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Kirk 1827419 RAFVR Age 32 - Killed (6)
We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs to please contact us via our HELPDESK
REASON FOR LOSS
At 11.53 hours on Saturday 22 July 1944 Wellington HZ262 took off from RAF Lossiemouth detailed to carry out a fighter affiliation training exercise.
At about 12.30 eyewitnesses reported that whilst flying at about 2500 feet over the local Moray Golf Course, the starboard wing of the aircraft suddenly came off. Out of control, the Wellington then crashed into Lossiemouth Harbour.
Corporal Lucas, WAAF, a nursing orderly who happened to be visiting the Stotfield Hotel, near the golf course, saw the aircraft hit the sea, about 250 yards from the shore. Without hesitation she ran to the water’s edge and fully clothed, began swimming towards the wreck. At the time there was a moderate swell and a considerable amount of seaweed was present, threatening to trap her at any moment. With total disregard for her own safety, Cpl Lucas pressed on and was the first to reach the terrible scene. There she remained until joined by other helpers and was able to identify two of the crew that had come to the surface. Then, satisfied that no one was alive, she struck off to aid a civilian, (probably Harold Woodcock - see below) who was in difficulties, Again, she rendered aid until others arrived to assist. Near exhausted, she swam the remaining few yards to safety. For her unstinting efforts Cpl Lucas was recommended for the British Empire Medal.
Mr Harold Woodcock a 23 year old civilian Aeroplane Fitter of 27 Moray Street Elgin, drowned at Lossiemouth while endeavouring to rescue the crew from the crashed aircraft. Harold Woodcock was born in 1920 at Bootle, Liverpool was the son of Thomas Woodcock and Jane Elizabeth Woodcock nee Bennett. He had three brothers and three sisters and was buried at Edinburgh.
It is believed that the brave nursing orderly known only as Corporal Lucas, received no official recognition for her actions that day. Though recommended for the British Empire Medal it is believed that no such award or any other was made to her.
If you have any information about this extremely courageous lady, who, with total disregard for her own safety, tried to help the crew, please contact Aircrew Remembered via our HELPDESK:
In January 2022 Aircrew Remembered was contacted by Paul Allonby who provided the following transcript of a report of the crash which was published in the Dundee Courier of 24 July 1944.
THIRTY SWIM TO RESCUE PLANE CRASH AT SCOTS COAST RESORT
A remarkable scene was witnessed by many holidaymakers when a crippled aeroplane crashed into the sea 400 yards from the beach at Lossiemouth on Saturday. About 30 men and a W.A.A.F. entered the sea to try and rescue the crew. Several persons, including the W.A.A.F., succeeded in swimming to the aeroplane, but could not do anything to assist the crew, who were all drowned. One of the swimmers, Harold Woodcock (24), an airfitter, of Bootle, Lancashire, lost his life despite a plucky effort by a 39-year-old Lossiemouth man, John Stewart, joiner, Redhythe, Stotfield, to save him. Seeing Woodcock in difficulties, Stewart, who was not in the water, swam out to him, and after diving beneath the surface brought up the drowning man. The effort to reach the shore, however, so exhausted Stewart that he had to release his hold on Woodcock, and he himself reached safety only with difficulty. An eye-witness said that the plane passed over the golf course behind the beach and that parts of it fell off on to the green. The plane was first heading straight for the town, but the pilot seemed to swerve it seawards, when it crashed in about 20 feet of water. Several of those who swam to the plane had to receive medical attention on returning to the beach. The bodies, including that of Woodcock, were later recovered. Woodcock, who was staying at Murray Street, Elgin, lived with a sister at Timon Avenue, Bootle.'' (British Newspaper Archives)
BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS OF THE CREW
(1) Fl/Sgt. Allan Joseph Grigg was born on 28 April 1912 at Boulder, Western Australia the son of Joseph Grigg and Hilda Catherine Grigg nee Jones. He had three siblings: Amy Mary Grigg born 1904, Irene Glenda Grigg (1905-1906) and Donald Balfour Grigg born 1910. In 1939 he married Therese Estelle Clune in Perth, Western Australia and lived at 41 Phillip Road, Claremont, Western Australia. They had two daughters, Rosemary Grigg and Susan Grigg.
Prior to enlisting Allan worked as an Insurance Inspector and was also an Aussie rules rover and forward for Perth.
He is commemorated on the Perth War Memorial and the Australian War Memorial at Canberra Panel No. 123
(2) Nav: Fl/Sgt. Edmond William (Ted) O'Dwyer was born on 11 August 1914 at Cobram, Victoria, Australia the son of Edmond Patrick O'Dwyer and Eileen Marion O'Dwyer nee McKenzie.
He had six siblings: Leo John Berchmans O'Dwyer (1912-1993), Marie Doreen O'Dwyer (1916-2005), Francis John O'Dwyer (1917-2007). Stanislaus O'Dwyer (1919-1977) Joan O'Dwyer and Aileen O'Dwyer.
From the age of eleven months Ted lived with his aunt Miss McKenzie of Templeton Street, Wangaretta. He was educated at the Wangaretta High School and after leaving school passed accountancy examinations. He worked as an accountant in the office with Mr. C.F. Loxley, for some time the secretary of the Shire of Oxley (a former local government area in Victoria immediately south of Wangaretta) and had been on the staff of the "Despatch" newspaper for several years.
A prominent tennis and golf player he was a member of the Apex Club and CYMS (Catholic Young Men's Society) and a member of the bachelors' ball committee of which he was president.
He enlisted at Melbourne in 1942 and embarked for the UK in January 1944.
Ted O'Dwyer is commemorated on the Wangaretta War Memorial, Victoria and the Australian War Memorial, Canberra - Panel No. 128
(3) Air/Bmr: F/O. Arnold Sunter was born in 1923 at Auckland, County Durham the son of John Sunter and Sarah Jane Sunter nee Baker. He had two siblings: Haswell Sunter (1910-1985) and Frank Sunter (1913-1991). In 1939 the family lived at 28 Greville Street, Shildon, County Durham.
1673099 LAC Arnold Sunter was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 26 November 1943
(London Gazette 8 February 1944) confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) on 26 May 1944 (London Gazette 23 June 1944)
He is commemorated on the Memorial Plaque of King James School, Bishop Auckland and the Shildon War memorial.
(4) W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. David Bernard Barry was born on 26 January 1912 at Richmond, Victoria, Australia the son of David Bernard Barry and Catherine Margaret Barry nee Marston.
Before joining the RAAF David was employed by the Tramways Board as a Driver.
In 1939 he married Winifred Mary Hocking in Victoria. They lived at 18, First Street, West Footscray, Victoria and had two children, Margaret Barry and Michael John Barry. He enlisted at Melbourne.
David Barry is commemorated on the Footscray War Memorial and the Australian War Memorial at Canberra - Panel No.118
(5) Air/Gnr: Sgt. Albert George Pring was born in 1918 at Newton Poppleford, St. Thomas, Devon the son of Farm Labourer Charles Eli Pring and Louisa Ann Pring nee Stone. He had six siblings: Courtney John Pring born 1904, Percy Charles Pring born 1906, Evelyn Dora Pring born 1909, Dan Pring born 1913, Eli Pring born 1915 and Lucy Pring born 1922.
Albert initially served as an Equipment Assistant and in early 1940 completed an Engineering Equipment course at RAF Cranwell. Shortly afterwards he volunteered for aircrew and after training as an Air Gunner was posted to No. 65 Squadron. He then requested and was accepted to undertake pilot training and in December 1941 was posted to Takoradi in South Africa for training as such. Unfortunately he failed to qualify as a pilot and after returning to the UK in late 1943 served at Air Gunnery Schools until May 1944 when he was posted to No. 20 OTU at RAF Lossiemouth Scotland.
Albert Pring is commemorated on the Newton Poppleford War Memorial
Service details courtesy John Hagger. For further details see http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Devon/NewtonPoppleford.html
(6) Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Kirk was born c1912 in Edinburgh Scotland.
He is commemorated on the Scottish National War memorial at Edinburgh Castle
BURIAL DETAILS, MEMORIALS AND EPITAPHS
(1) Fl/Sgt. Allan Joseph Grigg was buried at Lossiemouth Burial Ground, Moray, Scotland - Grave 1259.
His epitaph reads
It is brave to die
For ones native land
(2) Nav: Fl/Sgt. Edmond William (Ted) O'Dwyer was buried at Lossiemouth Burial Ground, Moray, Scotland - Grave 1258 on 25 July 1941.
His epitaph reads
Of Edmond and Eileen O'Dwyer
Of Methul, Australia
(3) Air/Bmr: F/O. Arnold Sunter was buried at New Shildon (All Saints) Graveyard, County Durham - Section B Grave 534
His epitaph reads
In Jesus' keeping
We leave our dear one
(4) W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. David Bernard Barry was buried at Lossiemouth Burial Ground, Moray, Scotland - Grave 1260.
His epitaph reads
Loved husband of Winifred
Daddy of Margaret
And Michael John
(5) Air/Gnr: Sgt. Albert George Pring was buried at Newton Poppleford Cemetery, Devon - Row C Grave 18
His epitaph reads
Hath no man than this
(6) Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Kirk was buried at Newbattle Cemetery, Midlothian, Scotland - Grave reference: Special Memorial
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - March 2019
With thanks to the sources quoted below.