28.10.1944 No 1661 HCU Striling Mk III EE907 - K Fl/Lt. Martin
Operation: Training Exercise
Date: 28th October 1944 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 1661 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit)
Type: Stirling Mk III
Code: - K
Base: RAF Winthorpe, Nottinghamshire
Location: Horsham Wood, Lincolnshire
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Stanley Henry Martin 49148 RAF Injured (1)
Fl/Eng: F/O. Ralph J. Fairhead RAF Injured (2)
Nav: F/O. James Robertson. DFC. 155090 RAFVR Age 30. Killed
Nav: Sgt. John James Glasgow. 1581293 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Alfred William Gayford. 154954 RAFVR Age 29. Injured (3)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Reed. 1590929 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.E. Buckminster RAF Injured
Air/Gnr: Sgt. A.W. Coombes RAF Injured
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Winthorpe for a night training exercise, but during the flight one engine had to be shut down. The crew were then ordered to divert to RAF Swinderby, Lincolnshire due to bad weather at their home base. While making their approach at RAF Swinderby the engines failed. The aircraft was out of control and crashed at 23.20hrs into Horsham Woods near Norton Disney, Lincolnshire.
(1) Fl/Lt. Stanley Henry Martin had served with 83 Squadron and 14 OTU. He remained in the RAF retiring as Wing Commander and was awarded the OBE in 1968
F/O. A. W. Gayford and his headstone. F/O. J. Robertson DFC is remembered on the family headstone
F/O. J. Robertson DFC is remembered on Elgin Post Office War Memorial and Lossiemouth War Memorial
F/O. James Robertson DFC. Elgin New Cemetery, Morayshire. Sec. E. South Div. Grave 37. Son of William and Helen Robertson. Husband of Agnes Robertson of Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland. F/O. Robertson had worked as a post office engineer in Elgin and is remembered on the Elgin Post Office War Memorial. He was awarded the DFC in 1944 while serving with 467 squadron as per London Gazette 21 April 1944. He is also remembered on the Lossiemouth War Memorial
Sgt. John James Glasgow. Coventry (Canley) Cemetery. Son of Charles and Ann Rennison Glasgow of Coventry. Grad. I.A.E. At the time of his death his address was 92 Leamington Road, Coventry, England.
(2) Ralph Fairhead publish his story in a book 'An Airmans Diary. 9780861165995 Published by New Horizon 1982. 104 pages plus 11 pages of photographs. An evocative account of one man's service in the RAF before, during and after WW2 - as an Engine Fitter in Fighter Command and as a Flight Engineer/Second Pilot in Bomber Command. Following his first tour, a spell as an Instructor ended in the inevitable crash and a long period in hospital.
(3) F/O. Alfred William Gayford died of his wounds three days later on the 31st October 1944 and is buried in Grays New Cemetery, Essex. At the time of his death his address was 26 Grange Road, Grays, Essex, England.
Sgt. Robert Reed. Hartlepool (Stranton) Cemetery. Grave 98. Son of Robert and Annie Reed of West Hartlepool, England.
Researched by Kate Tame - Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. With special thanks to Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Donald Stewart - Lossiemouth Book of Remembrance, W R Chorley - Bomber Command Losses Heavy Conversion Units 1939-1947, Find a Grave, Imperial War Museum. Colin Saville from the Newark Air Museum for alerting us on the publication 'An Airmans Diary' in June 2015.