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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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Arnold Maxwell
06.05.1942 No. 16 OTU Hampden I AD826 Fl/Sgt. Maxwell

Operation: Training

Date: 6th May 1942 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 16 OTU (Operational Training Unit)

Type: Handley Page Hampden I

Serial: AD826

Base: RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire

Location: Bourne End Farm, Wootton, 4 miles SW of Bedford, Bedfordshire

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Arnold Grant Maxwell R/95390 RCAF Age 20. Killed (1)

Obs: Fl/Sgt. John Patrick Hancock R/76975 RCAF Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Donald Kempton O'Brien R/76409 RCAF Age 32. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Lloyd Brown R/70880 RCAF Age 24. Killed (2)


This aircraft took off from its base at Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, on a night-cross country and bombing exercise. After completing the first part of their task over the bombing range it would appear that a fire started somewhere on the aircraft. At a height of only 500 feet the Hampden suddenly dived to the ground at 02.57 hrs. killing the Canadian crew instantly. 

Mr. William Cook of Bourne End Farm was 18 years old at the time and was the second person to arrive at the crash site. Although he did not see the aircraft crash it was reported locally that the aircraft was on fire before the fatal crash. The aircrafts cockpit canopy was found by William lying in a field about a mile away from the crash site a few weeks after the incident.


              Hampden I (courtesy "The Aeroplane")


                                            Fl/Sgt. Arnold Grant Maxwell 


              Kempston Cemetery, Bedfordshire (courtesy CWGC)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Arnold Grant Maxwell Kempston Cemetery, Kempston, Bedfordshire. Block J, Grave 100

Son of Thomas Edward and Mary Irene Maxwell, of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. John Patrick Hancock Kempston Cemetery, Kempston, Bedfordshire. Block J, Grave 101

Son of Charles F. Hancock and Esther A. Hancock, of Strome, Alberta, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Donald Kempton O'Brien Kempston Cemetery, Kempston, Bedfordshire. Block J, Grave 89.

Son of Edward Kempton O'Brien and Elizabeth Marie O'Brien, of Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Sgt. Thomas Lloyd Brown Kempston Cemetery, Kempston, Bedfordshire. Block J, Grave 77.

Son of John S. Brown and Eliza J. Brown, of Wolseley, Saskatchewan, Canada

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew. With thanks to Les Allison and Harry Hayward - "They Shall Grow Not Old", Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 3", Commonwealth Graves Commission.


(1) Maxwell Island in Sasaginnigak Lake, Manitoba is named after Fl/Sgt. Maxwell

(2) Brown Falls in Saskatchewan is named after Sgt. Brown

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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), 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 CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 11 June 2017, 14:22

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