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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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181 Squadron Crest
25.06.1944 No. 181 Squadron Typhoon Ib MN814 F/O. Ernest E. Hursey

Operation: Test flight/training?

Date: 25th June 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 181 Squadron

Type: Typhoon Ib

Serial: MN814

Code: EL-? (Can you assist identification for this code?)

Base: B6. Colombs, France (Also RAF Hurn)

Location: Ringwood, Hampshire

Pilot: F/O. Ernest Emile Hursey 50676 RAF Age 25. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

During this period 181 Squadron was based at the forward landing zone B6 - at Coulombs, Normandy France, having arrived on the 20th June.

The then Cpl. Ernest Emile Hursey prior to attaining his wings with his wife probably taken around 1941 (courtesy Patricia Meads)

181 Squadron Typhoons (courtesy IWM)

All, but a couple of Typhoons returned to RAF Hurn on the 22nd / 23rd June to have the much needed dust excluders fitted to the aircraft. During the day or so they were away, the base at B.6. was constantly attacked by the Luftwaffe and German artillery.

No details available on the loss but it is known that Typhoon MN814 spun into the ground near Ringwood (see map) We welcome any further information that others may have on this loss.

The above photos send by Brian Sharp show the actual crash site and the pieces left following removal of the main parts. Brian lives in a house backing onto this (between the electricity pylon and the row of trees). Currently it is not known who carried out the recovery and what they had recovered or where the recovered pieces are held. Can you assist in this?

Note: In December 2014 an aviation researcher, Mr. Brian Sharp (building a model of this Typhoon) informed us that the actual co-ordinates of the loss was 50.o51'41.00N 1.o53'19.53W - which places it as Sandy Lane area near Three Legged Cross. He also informs us that a recovery group excavated the area sometime in the 70’s. He is keen to try and identify the full Squadron code for this Typhoon if you are able to assist, please contact us.

Above: 181 aircrew in France, June 1944 (courtesy IWM) Below: 'Bombing-up 181 Typhoons (courtesy IWM)

The tragic events for the pilot prior to his loss being the loss of almost his complete family when on the 27th July in 1942 at about 06:00 hrs a single Luftwaffe Dornier dropped 2 x 250 kg. bombs on the Royal Ordnance factory at Rotherwas in Herefordshire.

The Royal Ordnance Factory at Rotherwas (courtesy Hereford Record Office)

One of the bombs went through the factory fence and hit the house of the local police inspector and the chap in charge of security at the factory 48 year old Mr. Ernest James Hussey. He was killed, along with his wife Bertha 40, the younger brother of F/O. Hursey, Cpl. 1875001 Ronald Eric Hursey 22, on leave from his Royal Engineers unit in Gibraltar. Sadly, the wife of F/O. Ernest Hursey, Florence Hursey 21 (nee Carter) also staying at the house, with her mother with the same Christian name, Florence. The only survivor in the house was the youngest brother of Ernest, 16 year old Ken Hursey who was at the rear of the police building.

In addition some 17 people were also killed at the factory, at the time the night shift was changing over to the day shift.

Some names that we have identified (in addition to the family already listed):

Ernest Henry Chesterman (Home Guard) Age 58, of Bridge House, Wye, Bridge.
Florence Carter Age 47, of 14 Ladycroft Avenue, Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.
Frederick James Dyke Age 47, of 3 Henry Street, Ross-on-Wye.
William Garland MM Age 45, of Vennewood, Bodenham.
Joseph Henry Giles Age 47, of 35 Bath Street, Poplar, London.
Edwin Gwilliam (Home Guard) Age 38, of Yew Tree Cottage, Christchurch Coleford, Gloucestershire.
James John Shine Age 33, of 5 Painters Terrace, Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan.
Kathleen Blanche Wheeler Age 31, of 72 Stonebow Road, Hereford.

Burial details:

F/O. Ernest Emile Hursey. Hucknall Cemetery, Sec D. Grave 524. 14 Ladycroft Avenue, Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, England. Husband of the late Florence Hursey (neé Carter).

Researched following the webmaster meeting a relative of the pilot's family at his work. With thanks to Patricia Meads for photographs and further information. Page dedicated to the relatives of the pilot and the family of Florence Hursey née Carter. With thanks to the following for assistance/information provided. Hereford Record Office, National Archives Kew - AIR 27/1134. Aircrew Remembered archives. Also many thanks to Linda Lagoe for grave photograph - September 2016. With thanks to Tony Glover for advising us his age at time of loss - December 2017.

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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), 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', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 10 December 2017, 14:20

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