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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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R.A.F. Crest
07.11.1943 No. 3 OTU Wellington MP615 Fl/Lt. Northridge

Operation: Training

Date: 07th November 1943 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 3 OTU. (Operational Training Unit) Coastal Command

Type: Wellington

Serial: MP615

Base: RAF Haverfordwest, Wales

Location: At base - RAF Haverfordwest.

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Robert Edward Hamilton Northridge 113764 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Donald Marvin Thew J/22086 RCAF Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. II John Ashwood R/129078 RCAF Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Wellington XIV, HE150, from 304 (Polish) Squadron had taken off at 18.55 hrs from RAF Davidstow Moor on a Leigh Light training exercise had been forced to make an emergency landing at RAF Haverfordwest. It had already attempted a landing but had overshot so had gone round again.

During a taxi run across the airfield No. 3 OTU Wellington was struck by the Polish Wellington at around 20:00hrs.

Both aircraft were destroyed in the fire that followed although all the Polish crew managed to escape, pilots Fl/Lt. Alfred Kasprzyk P-1327 and Sgt. Karol Jan Polanin P-2673 and the Observer. Fl/Lt. Tadeusz Kolodziejski P-1248.

Above: Fl/Lt. Alfred Kasprzyk, Sgt. Karol Jan Polanin and Fl/Lt. Tadeusz Kolodziejski.


The blame was placed at both the Traffic controller for not giving the Polish crew a 'Red' at their second attempt and to the pilots of the 304 Squadron for allowing aircraft to drift and that a 'Green' was not showing the second time around - disciplinary action was recommended. - It is not known what happened regarding this.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Robert Edward Hamilton Northridge. Haverford West Cemetery. Cons. Row. 1. Grave 8. Son of the Revd. Robert Northridge, M.A. and Frances Charlotte Ellerker Northridge, of Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Irish Republic. B.A., LL.B. (Trinity College, Dublin). Grave inscription reads: 'He Is Not Dead But Sleepeth Until The Day Break And The Shadows Flee Away'.

F/O. Donald Marvin Thew. (Shown right) Haverford West Cemetery. Cons. Row. 1. Grave 6. Born in Toledo, Ohio but raised in Detroit and was living in Detroit when he enlisted in RCAF in late 1941. He was born in 1922. Married to Violet Sullivan, a Canadian (originally of King Township, Ontario) in 1942. Married in Guelph, Ontario while in training. His son, Donald Thew was born in Guelph. Grave inscription reads: 'Breathe On Me Breath Of God So I Shall Never Die But Be With You In Eternity'.

W/O. II John Ashwood. Haverford West Cemetery. Cons. Row. 1. Grave 7. Son of William and Sarah Ashwood, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: 'Greater Love Hath No Man; He Gave His Life That Others Might Live'.

Researched for: Donald Thew, son of F/O. Donald Marvin Thew. With thanks for further information supplied by Les Allison and Harry Hayward - 'They Shall Not Grow Old', Ross McNeill for additional information, Commonwealth Graves Commission.

KTY - Page updated 24.12.2018

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 (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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, 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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