31st October 1944 2. Radio School Proctor II LZ629 Fl/Sgt. Hampshire
Date: 31st October 1944 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 2. Radio School. 27 Group
Type: Proctor II
Base: RAF Yatesbury, Wiltshire
Location: Manor Farm, Wedhampton
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Allan Frederick Hampshire NZ/427446 RNZAF Age 20. Killed
W/Op: Fl/Sgt. Septimus Mark Best 1595801 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Yatesbury on a training exercise. Whilst at 1200 ft. a mile west of Patney collided with Tiger Moth 1I N9408 from 29 Elementary Flying Training School at 14:40 hrs.
The Tiger Moth crashed into a pond at Manor Farm in Wedhampton, Fl/Sgt. Dunford and pupil Naval Airman 2nd Class Davies (see details below) both lost their lives. The Proctor continued to fly for a short while before a wing broke off. They crashed near the railway line close to Sunnyside Farm. Both crew also lost their lives.
Investigators considered that both pilots may have missed each other becoming distracted by a string of Dakotas towing gliders half a mile east of them. Although another factor considered was the low cloud and fog in the area.
Fl/Sgt. Allan Frederick Hampshire. Bath Cemetery (Haycombe). Plot 51. Sec. H. Row T. Grave 237. Born on the 08th January 1924 at Morrinsville, Waikato. Worked as a farm hand on his fathers farm at Kerone prior to service. In the 2 Battalion, Hauraki Regiment from 01st May 1942 tor ten weeks. Enlisted in the RNZAF on 11th July 1942 at Rukurhia. Embarked for Canada on the 17th May 1943. Awarded his pilots badge on the 01st October 1943 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 22nd October 1943. Joined 2. Radio School on the 16th August 1944 as staff pilot. Son of Frederick Ivo Hampshire and Rose Edith Hampshire (nee Gadd) of Hospital Street, Tauranga, New Zealand. A total of 490 flying hours logged.
Fl/Sgt. Septimus Mark Best. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Cemetery (Byker And Heaton). Sec. I.N. Cons. Grave 235. Son of Mark Best, and of Beatrice Ann Best, of Wallsend-on-Tyne. Grave inscription: 'Death Divides But Memories Cling Ever Remembered By All. Thy Will Be Done'.
Tiger Moth crew:
Fl/Sgt. John Reginald Dunford 1388781 RAFVR Age 20. Surbiton Cemetery. Sec. 18. Grave 6251. Son of Frederick William and Agnes Kate Dunford, of Surbiton. Grave inscription: 'In Proud And Loving Memory Of Our Youngest Son'.
Naval Airman 2nd Class Kevin Davies FX/705234 RNVR H.M.S. Daedalus Age 18. Darwen Cemetery. Sec. 3. Grave 3954. Son of William Stanley and Nellie Davies, of Darwen. Grave inscription: 'The Freedom Of The Sky Is Yours, Kevin, For All Time'.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of these crews with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, other sources as quoted below: