20/21.11.1944 No. 190 Squadron Stirling IV LK276 F/O. James I. Kidgell
Operation: Night glider towing sortie
Date: 20/21st November 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 190 Squadron
Type: Stirling IV
Base: Great Dunmow, Essex
Location: Newton Field, Gt. Dunmow
Pilot: F/O. James Ian Kidgell AUS/410499 RAAF Age 23. Killed
Pilot 2 (Instructor): F/O. William Walter D'arcy Brain NZ/42365 RNZAF Age 26. Killed
Nav: F/O. Ernest Douglas Woods 176742 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Hugh Holt 2209061 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Ronald David Payne 1391069 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Reginald Matthew Dauncey 1431216 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Arthur George Reid 1800613 RAFVR Age 33. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Two version have been recorded as to the loss of this Stirling which at the time immediately prior to the accident was towing a Horsa Glider into the airfield under the check pilot F/O. Brain. so it can be assumed that at the time of the crash the aircraft was under expert tuition or observation.
The glider, a Horsa P-F573, had been released at 21:08 hrs and had landed safely - the Stirling was being flown to the rope dropping area prior to the pilot requesting permission to land at 21:13 hrs. The pilot was requested to hold off and circle the outer permitter of lights and shortly afterwards LK276 crashed at 21:20 hrs, having hit some willow trees before colliding with some HT cables - it then skid along a bank and exploded at Puildings Farm.
The board of enquiry blamed the pilot for failing to monitor his altimeter. Six of the crew were killed in the crash, the rear gunner died of his injuries before he was admitted to hospital.
However, subsequent investigations report that the aircraft was being followed at the time by a Luftwaffe night fighter which shot the Stirling down. Indeed reports from several people at the base also seemed to confirmed this. It may have been lack of qualified personnel available at the time or perhaps subject to secrecy/reporting restrictions.
F/O. James Ian Kidgell. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 4.O.14. Son of James Ernest and Constance Mabel Kidgell, of Moyhu, Victoria, Australia. Born 04th March 1921 in Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia.
F/O. William Walter D'arcy Brain. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 8.AA.16. Son of Cornelius D'Arcy Brain and Eunice Brain (nee Thompson), of Oamaru, Otago, New Zealand. Born 05th September 1918 in Port Chalmers, New Zealand. A very experienced pilot with 553 hours logged - 230 on the Stirling. Completed 18 operations.
F/O. Ernest Douglas Woods. Chapeltown Cemetery. Sec. Q. Grave 66. Son of Ernest George and Eliza Woods; husband of Marjorie Evelyn Woods, of Chapeltown, Sheffield, England.
Sgt. Hugh Holt. Burnley Cemetery. Grave N.E. 7941. Son of George Herbert and Annie Rebecca Holt, of Lowerhouse, Burnley, England.
Fl/Sgt. Ronald David Payne. Lewisham Cemetery. Sec. GG. Grave 388. Son of Daniel William and Florence Victoria Payne, husband of Kathleen Phyllis Payne, of Tyrell Avenue, Bexleyheath, England.
Fl/Sgt. Reginald Matthew Dauncey. Northwich Cemetery. C Of E. SeE. Grave 1662. Son of Thomas William and Louise Dauncey, of Northwich, Cheshire, England.
Fl/Sgt. Arthur George Reid. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 20.D.15. Son of Edward George and Amy Adeline Reid, of Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Researched for relatives of the crew - in the hope that further information will follow.