20.03.1945 No. 1 Radio School Dominie Rapide I NF889 Flt Sgt Charles Sidney Jones
Date: 20th March 1945 (Tuesday)
Unit: No 1 RS (Radio School) / 1653 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit)
Type: Dominie Rapide I / Spitfire Vb
Serial: NF889 / AR395
Code: Not known
Base: RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire
Location: Witham on the Hill, Lincolnshire
Pilot: Flt Sgt Charles Sidney Jones 1456666 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: WO ‘Duke’ William Edgar Durber 1578491 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Nav U/T: AC2 Harry Price 1675438 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
Nav/WOp U/T: AC2 Colin John Russell 1865706 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Nav/WOp U/T: AC2 Frederick Salkeld 1677557 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Nav/WOp U/T: AC2 Geoffrey Harold Sargent 2215896 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Pilot: Fg Off Laurence William Marshall 423803 RAAF Age 29. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Another tragic training loss resulting in the deaths of 7 aircrew.
The Spitfire AR395 had taken off on a fighter affiliation exercise from RAF North Luffenham when at 11:07 hrs after breaking away from a Lancaster attack the pilot collided with a Dominie Rapide trainer at 5,000 ft. Both aircraft are thought to have come down in the village of Witham on the Hill, Lincolnshire.
The following court of enquiry reported that the Dominie pilot had no information supplied to him of other training operations in the area. The bodies were claimed by relatives and buried in their home towns as described below.
Flt Sgt Charles Sidney Jones. Warrington Cemetery. Sec. M. Grave 946. Son of Charles Evan Jones and Florence Jones, of Warrington, Cheshire, England.
WO William Edgar Durber. Stoke-On-Trent Cemetery (Fenton). Son of Edgar and Emma Durber, of Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.
WO ‘Duke’ Durber had survived being shot down by flak over France in August 1944. He evaded capture and arrived back in England in September of that year. On Lancaster LM269 LE:I flown by Plt Off John Bolton 175108 RAFVR.
AC2 Harry Price. Sheffield Cemetery (Handsworth New). Sec. B. Grave 1677. Son of Charles and Sarah Ann Price, husband of Olive Price of Darnall, Sheffield, England.
Left: AC2 Harry Price grave maker courtesy of Sally Jowitt.
AC2 Colin John Russell. Ashtead Churchyard (St. Giles). Grave 1270. Son of Percy Edward and Olive Russell, of Ashtead.
His brother, 21 year old Peter Geoffrey 1606067 RAFVR was killed serving with the RAF as a navigator just a few months earlier on the 4th December 1944. He is buried at the Rawalpindi War Cemetery, India. Grave 1.D.13.
AC2 Frederick Salkeld. Heworth Churchyard (St. Mary). New Yard.. Plot D. Grave 116. Son of Frederick Salkeld, and of Ethel Salkeld of Felling, Gateshead, County Durham, England.
AC2.Geoffrey Harold Sargent. Manchester Southern Cemetery. Sec. M. Non-comformist. Grave 943. Son of Reuben Dale Sargent and Marion Rose Sargent, of Levenshulme, Manchester, England.
Fg Off Laurence William Marshall. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 15916. Son of George William and Ruby Doris Marshall, husband of Nancy Olive Marshall, of Malabar, New South Wales, Australia. Born on 12th August 1915 in Newcastle New South Wales, Australia. Enlisted in Sydney.
With thanks to the rear air gunner Mr. Walter Hunt who, at the age of 90 contacted the webmaster in August 2015 with some details of this loss. An interview is planned to hear further from him on his evasion after being shot down in Lancaster LM269 with 630 Squadron. Thanks to Sally Jowitt for the grave marker for AC2 Harry Price. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.