07/08.04.1945 No. 9 Squadron Lancaster I HK788 WS-E F/O. Jeffs
Date: 07/08th April 1945 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 9 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Bardney, Lincolnshire.
Location: Lyford, Berkshire
Pilot: F/O. Alfred Edward Jeffs 179570 RAFVR Age 29. Killed.
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Clarence Victor Higgins 196841 RAFVR Age 23. Killed.
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Charles Mousley 195682 RAFVR Age 36. Killed.
Air/Bmr: W/O 2. Hugh Alexander Fisher R/116477 RCAF Age 24. Killed.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Campbell McIntosh McMillan 1821038 RAFVR. Age 2O. Killed.
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Willy Thomas 1592730 RAFVR Age 20. Killed.
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Gordon John Symonds 1853705 RAFVR Age 20. Killed.
Tragically, Betty McMillan (wife of Fl/Sgt. McMillan), also lost her first fiancee during the war - also on a training accident - details to follow. We are proud that we are able to place both her 'loves' on our website.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 18:37 hrs.to bomb a benzol plant. Homebound, caught fire in flight and dived into the ground at Lyford, 4 miles N.N.W. of Wantage, Berkshire. All are buried in Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, North Hinksey.
Ariel photograph Crash site of HK788 Lancaster (courtesy David Willey)
Campbell McMillan on his motorbike and right with family.
Crew of HK788 L-R: Sgt. Clarence Higgins, W/O 2. Hugh Fisher, Fl/Sgt. Willy Thomas, Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Mousley. Front: Fl/Sgt. Campbel McMillan, F/O. Alfred Edward Jeffs, Fl/Sgt. Gordon Symonds
Memorial dedication service at Lyford Church, Oxfordshire. The wife of Fl/Sgt. Campbell McMillan, Betty, provided a large memorial stone to the crew in 2008.
The late Richard Briers read the poem, Lie in the Dark and Listen - written by Noel Coward - reprinted in our Poetry section.
Crew graves at Oxford (Botley) Cemetery (courtesy Stephen Potts)
Above left: Fl/Sgt. Campbell McMillan wedding to his wife, Betty. Right: Grave marker at Botley Cemetery
Fl/Sgt. Campbell McIntosh McMillan's name is also recorded on the Liggate War Memorial at Carsphairn, Galloway.
Betty McMillan visiting crew graves at Botley
F/O. Alfred Edward Jeffs. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery. Plot H/3, Grave 139. Son of Alfred William and Daisy Emma Jeffs of Birmingham, husband of Bessie Margaret Jeffs of Birmingham, England. Grave inscription reads: "At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them".
Sgt. Clarence Victor Higgins. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery. Plot H/3, Grave 151. Son of Charles Alfred and Edith Elizabeth Higgins of Birmingham, husband of Irene Francis Higgins of Balsall Green, Birmingham. England. Grave inscription reads: "Your Happy Face We'll Ne'er See Again But In Our Hearts Will Always Remain".
Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Charles Mousley. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery. Plot H/3, Grave 127. Son of Ernest and Henrietta Mousley and husband of Miriam Grace Mousley of Streatham, London, England.
Grave inscription reads: "Life Promised Full, Rich And Fair His Country Called He Gave His All".
W/O 2. Hugh Alexander Fisher. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery. Plot H/3, Grave 103. Son of Arthur Leslie and Katherine Isabel Fisher of Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "He Gave His Life For His Loved Ones".
Fl/Sgt. Campbell McIntosh McMillan. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery. Plot H/3, Grave 163.
Further information: Flight Sergeant Campbell McIntosh McMillan, the son of George Campbell (from Carsphairn, Galloway) and Elizabeth Jack McMillan, brother of Margaret McMillan and husband of Betty McMillan (nee Sheldon) of Kettlethorpe, Lincolnshire, England. Born in Carsphairn, Galloway, Kirkudbrightshire, Scotland, Campbell attended the local primary school with his sister Margaret then left Dairy Secondary School at fifteen to serve his apprenticeship in his fathers joinery business. Interested in machines from an early age buying a motorbike as soon as he could ride one. He joined the Air Cadets in Ayr, travelling the twenty miles on his motorbike after a days work. When he was still only seventeen he gave a false age and due to his height of well over six feet was taken on by the RAF who believed that he was eighteen. He met his future wife Betty Sheldon while he was stationed in Lincolnshire and they married in December 1944. Grave inscription reads: "I Thank My God Upon Every Remembrance Of You".
Fl/Sgt. Willy Thomas. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery. Plot H/3, Grave 115. Son of Mr and Mrs H.Thomas of Cleckheaton, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "As He Turned To Go And Waved His Hand In His Young Eyes A Sudden Glory Shone".
Fl/Sgt. Gordon John Symonds. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery. Plot H/3, Grave 175. Son of Thomas Charles and Mabel May Symonds of Wantage, England. Grave inscription reads: "Deep In Our Hearts A Memory Is Kept Of One We Loved Dearly And Will Ne'er Forget".
Information compiled by researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. for family photographs and information to Lachlan McKay and David Alexander Seaton. Special thanks to Stephen Potts, Find-A-Grave, for grave photos of crew. Also to David Willey and to Betty, widow of Fl/Sgt. McMillan