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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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20.03.1945 No. 1 Radio School Dominie Rapide I NF889 Fl/Sgt. Charles Sidney Jones

Operation: Training

Date: 20th March 1945 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 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

Dominie - Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Charles Sidney Jones 1456666 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. ‘Duke’ William Edgar Durber 1578491 RAFVR Age 22. Killed (1)

Nav U/T: AC.2. Harry Price 1675438 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Nav/W/Op U/T: AC.2. Colin John Russell 1865706 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (2)

Nav/W/Op U/T: AC.2. Frederick Salkeld 1677557 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav/W/Op U/T: AC.2. Geoffrey Harold Sargent 2215896 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Spitfire - Pilot: F/O. Laurence William Marshall AUS/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.

(1) W/O. ‘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 P/O. John Bolton 175108 RAFVR. (see credits)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Charles Sidney Jones. Warrington Cemetery. Sec. M. Grave 946. Son of Charles Evan Jones and Florence Jones, of Warrington, Cheshire, England.

W/O. William Edgar Durber. Stoke-On-Trent Cemetery (Fenton). Son of Edgar and Emma Durber, of Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.

AC.2. 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.

(2) AC.2. 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 04th December 1944. He is buried at the Rawalpindi War Cemetery, India. Grave 1.D.13.

AC.2. 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.

AC.2. 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.

F/O. 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. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.

KTY 27.08.2015

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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