Operation: Night glider towing sortie
Date: 20th/21st November 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: 190 Squadron. 38 Group (motto: Ex Tenebris - 'Through darkness)
Type: Stirling IV
Base: Great Dunmow, Essex
Location: Newton Field, Great Dunmow Dunmow
Pilot: Fg Off. James Ian Kidgell 410499 RAAF Age 23. Killed
Pilot 2 (Instructor): Fg Off William Walter D'arcy Brain 42365 RNZAF Age 26. Killed
Nav: Fg Off Ernest Douglas Woods 176742 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
Flt Eng: Sgt. Hugh Holt 2209061 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air Bmr: Flt Sgt Ronald David Payne 1391069 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt Reginald Matthew Dauncey 1431216 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air Gnr: Flt Sgt Arthur George Reid 1800613 RAFVR Age 33. Killed
UPDATE April 2018: New information being prepared to be added - awaiting permissions from relatives.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Two versions 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 Fg Off 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.
Above: November 21 2010: Dunmow Town Council hold a ceremony for the last of the seven men who died The town council now has seven commemorative seats in the town, one for each crew member. Four had already been dedicated to their memory. The remaining three were dedicated in ceremonies conducted by Canon David Ainge last month. The council had wanted to hold the final ceremony for several years but after a number of staff changes the date was put back.
It was not until town clerk Caroline Fuller realised the 66th anniversary was this year that plans were put into motion.“The service took a lot of organising; to get members of the families there as well as David Ainge and the council members,” she said.
Flying Officer Woods’ daughters were present, as was the niece of Flight Sergeant Dauncey, along with other family members. Also present were representatives from the Royal British Legion, Essex Wing ATC and Great Dunmow Town Council. Judith Bolger (niece of Flt Sgt Dauncey) thanked the town council for “bringing to life this part of our family history” and looked forward to visiting Great Dunmow again.
Fg Off James Ian Kidgell. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 4.O.14. Born on the 4th March 1921 at Wangaratta, Victoria, the son of James Ernest and Constance Mabel Kidgell, of Moyhu, Victoria, Australia. Grave inscription: "HIS DUTY NOBLY DONE".
Fg Off William Walter D'arcy Brain. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 8.AA.16. Born on the 5th September 1918 in Port Chalmers the son of Cornelius D'Arcy Brain and Eunice Brain (née Thompson), of Oamaru, Otago, New Zealand. A very experienced pilot with 553 hours logged - 230 on the Stirling. Completed 18 operations.
Above: Grave marker for Fg Off Ernest Douglas Woods (Courtesy of Sally Jowitt)
Fg Off Ernest Douglas Woods. Chapeltown Cemetery. Sec. Q. Grave 66. Son of Ernest George and Eliza Woods and husband of Marjorie Evelyn Woods, of Chapeltown, Sheffield, England. Grave inscription: "WE ARE THE POORER FOR HIS PASSING BUT ALL THE RICHER FOR HAVING KNOWN HIS LOVE".
Sgt. Hugh Holt. Burnley Cemetery. Grave N.E. 7941. Son of George Herbert and Annie Rebecca Holt, of Lowerhouse, Burnley, England. Grave inscription: "WHEN HIS LiIFE WAS BRIGHTEST WHEN HIS HOPES WERE BEST GOD TOOK HIM FROM US TO HIS ETERNAL REST".
Flt 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. Grave inscription: "ONE OF THE DEAREST ONE OF THE BEST GOD CALLED HIM HOME TO HIS HEAVENLY REST".
Flt.Sgt. Reginald Matthew Dauncey. Northwich Cemetery. C of E. SeE. Grave 1662. Son of Thomas William and Louise Dauncey, of Northwich, Cheshire, England. Grave inscription: "HE GAVE THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL HIS UNFINISHED LIFE".
Flt Sgt Arthur George Reid. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 20.D.15. Son of Edward George and Amy Adeline Reid, of Montego Bay, Jamaica. Grave inscription: "HIS IS NOT TO MAKE REPLY".
Researched for relatives of the crew. Thanks to Sally Jowitt for the image of the grave marker for Fg Off Woods and for the correction to the inscription (Mar 2021).