08.07.1943 ECFS Miles Master W8453 Fl/Lt. John Lewis DFC
Operation: Training exercise
Date: 8th July 1943 (Thursday)
Unit: ECFS (Empire Central Training School)
Type: Miles Master
Base: RAF Hullavington
Location: Cowage Farm, Calne, Wiltshire, England
Pilot: Fl/Lt. John Lewis DFC. 40721 RAF Age 23. Killed
Pilot 2: Major Gerald John le Mesurier DFC. 102636 SAAF Age 28. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
The Empire Training School was made up of very experienced crews to examine new training techniques, try them out and place recommendations to the Air Ministry.
Airspeed Oxford and Miles Master of the Empire Central Training School, later renamed Central Flying School (courtesy IWM)
The two pilots were involved in dive bombing practice on the Hilmartin bombing range when they were involved with a mid air collision with Airspeed Oxford II V3830 from the USAAF.
The pilot of the Oxford Captain Fred Niffenegger Jnr. 0-427618 and his passenger, Army medical Captain James J. Quinn 0-473301 were killed as well as the Master crew. Both aircraft crashed at Cowage Farm, Calne.
Maps showing area of loss - all images can be enlarged by clicking on them with mouse.
Major ‘Lemmie’ le Mesurier DFC - at the time of the accident serving with No. 1 Squadron.
Above left: Major Gerald John le Mesurier DFC and grave at Brookwood Military Cemetery.
Above left: Captain Fred Niffenegger Jnr . Right: Captain James J. Quinn (courtesy Gregory Overmeyer)
Fl/Lt. John Lewis DFC. Lincoln (Newport) Cemetery. Sec. G. Grave 289 South. Son of George Frederick and Ethel Lewis, husband of Barbara Harpur Lewis, of Tattershall, England.
Right: Grave of Fl/Lt. Lewis at Lincoln Cemetery (courtesy Gregory Overmeyer) - click to enlarge, as with all images on this page of remembrance.
Major Gerald John le Mesurier DFC. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 1.J.3. Son of the Revd. Canon Thomas G. Ie Mesurier and Annalie le Mesurier, husband of Phyllis D.M. le Mesurier, of Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa. Further information supplied by Anne Mignon Hichens. Received his DFC for inventing a way of confusing axis airmen by rotating flying patterns and had a conspicuous victory with this just at a time when the war was going badly and moral was low. It was a significant moment of cheering up. This was I think in the desert over Africa.
Captain James J. Quinn. St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery, 801 Old Chickies Hill Road, Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA.
Captain Fred Niffenegger. Maple Grove Cemetery, Elk Rapids, Antrim County, Michigan, USA.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Gregory Overmeyer for bringing this loss to our attention. The USAAF Captain Quinn was his Uncle. With thanks to Anne Mignon Hichens for corrected information on Major Gerald John le Mesurier DFC - November 2016.