31.08.1944 No. 21 OTU Wellington III BK135 Fl/Sgt. McIntyre
Date: 31st August 1944 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 21 OTU (Operational Training Unit)
Type: Wellington III
Code: Not issued - unless you can advise further?
Base: RAF Moreton-In-Marsh, Gloucestershire
Location: Ashbury, Berkshire - see map
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Allan David McIntyre AUS/417714 RAAF Age 20. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Peter Henshall 1583433 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Thomas Ernest Rhodes 1623802 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Sidney David Gingold 1582933 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Donald Gordon Grant AUS/432457 RAAF Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Bernard Sandall 2223112 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Davidson 1573660 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 10:25 hrs from RAF Moreton-In-Marsh on a cross country training exercise. The aircraft was piloted by a pupil pilot. The crew were briefed to fly high and to avoid shower clouds as there were instability fronts moving around a centre of low pressure.
At approximately 10:42 hrs eye-witnesses saw the aircraft dive steeply out of the clouds at very high speed and continued to dive until the aircraft struck ground with a terrific explosion and caught fire at Odstone Farm near Ashbury in Berkshire.
Immediately prior to to the aircraft coming into view there was thunder and a flash of lightning. Another pilot who took off at 10:15 on the same day and flew a similar route stated that while climbing to 4,000 ft noticed a large mass of black cumulous cloud but whilst remaining at this height he was clear of the cloud within 3 - 4 minutes.
Above as described, it would seem that they must have been close friends ( courtesy Diane Taylor)
The only transmission from Wellington BK135 was a QDM (a signal of a magnet heading) at 10:41 hrs, just one minute prior to the crash.
The subsequent court of enquiry concluded that the pupil pilot was on his first solo day cross-country flight who was of average ability and although slow to learn was very keen and thorough. The actual cause of the accident is obscure but the pilot lost control after suffering severe air turbulence when flying through a heavy thunder cloud. Whether the aircraft was struck by lightning could not be determined due to the complete destruction of the aircraft.
Fl/Sgt. Allan David McIntyre. Oxford Cemetery (Botley). Plot H/3. Grave 147. Born on the 31st December 1923 at Unley, the son of David James McIntyre and Martha Heidle McIntyre, of Ascot Park, South Australia. Grave inscription reads: "In Loving Memory Of A Son We Loved And Will Never Forget".
Sgt. Peter Henshall. Stone Cemetery. Sec. E.C. of E. Grave 2663. Son of Ernest and Mary Elizabeth Henshall, of Stone, Staffordshire, England.
Sgt. Thomas Ernest Rhodes. Leeds Cemetery (Lawnswood). Screen Wall. Son of Thomas and Dorothy Rhodes, of 65 Melville Road, Leeds, Yorkshire, England. It is understood that his ashes were buried in Plot number 10140 on the 0th September 1944 at Leeds General Cemetery, now St. George's Fields.
Sgt. Sidney David Gingold. Birmingham Jewish Cemetery (Witton). Sec. E. Row 5. Grave 634. Son of Bernard and Dorothy Deborah Gingold, of Birmingham, England. He also has a stained glass window dedicated to him at the Singers Hill Synagogue in Birmingham. Furthermore, in Israel a tree was planted in his memory in the Forest Of Freedom. A certificate of this event is held by the family. His 'private' grave inscription reads: "Deeply Mourned By His Sorrowing Father, Mother, Sister, Relatives And Friends. Memories Deep In Our Hearts Are All We Have Left Of Him Whom We Loved And Will Never Forget. May His Dear Soul Rest In Peace".
Sgt. Donald Gordon Grant. Oxford Cemetery (Botley). Plot H/3. Grave 148. Born on the 30th July 1923 in Stratford, New Zealand, the son of Wesley Livesey Grant and Eliza Margaret Grant, of Kirrawee, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "Until The Day Breaks".
Sgt. Bernard Sandall. Ashby Puerorum Churchyard (St. Andrew) Son of Herbert and Maria Sandall, of Ashby Puerorum, Lincolnshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "On Wings He Went Into The Dawn. His Duty Nobly Done".
Sgt. Ronald Davidson. Aberdeen Cemetery (Springbank). Sec. T. Grave 183. Son of William Alexander and Mary Davidson. of Aberdeen, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: "Dear Ronnie".
Notes: RAFVR: Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve. RAAF: Royal Australian Air Force.
Researched for Diane Taylor and family of Sgt. Sidney David Gingold - page dedicated to relatives of the crew with thanks to the Australian Archives and other sources as quoted.