19.08.1943 No 1663 H.C.U. Halifax VB DG420 Sgt. Donald C. Ravine
Operation: Training (Cross country)
Date: 19th August 1943 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit, "C" Flight. (H.C.U.)
Type: Halifax VB
Serial No: DG420
Base: RAF Riccall, Yorkshire
Location: Manor Farm, west of Copmanthorpe, York, England
Pilot: Sgt. Donald Charles Ravine 569748 RAF Age 22. Killed
Instructor: F/O Murray Wallace Bonner J/21902 RCAF Age 23. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Norman John Hart 1194214 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Flight Engineer: Sgt John Townsend 1568521 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Flight Engineer: Sgt Peter Cross Parrott 1174427 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Air Gunner: Sgt Albert Edward Gilverson R/184720 RCAF Age 21. Killed
Air Gunner: Sgt Fredrick David Read 1323650 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Mr. Atkinson - Injured, severe burns
Mstr. John Dawson - Age 13. injured, severe burns
Reason For Loss:
On Thursday 19th August 1943, at 10:54 hrs. Sgt Terrance C Ashley and crew took off on a training flight in Halifax R9497 from RAF Riccall HCU 1658, it was a bright sunny morning with clear visibility, they had been briefed to fly the first leg North.
At the same time a few miles North of Riccall Halifax DG420 had taken off from R.A.F. Rufforth, also on a cross country exercise.
Above L-R: F/O. Bonner, Sgt. Ravine, Sgt. Ashley (from Halifax R9497) and Sgt. Gilverson (courtesy Jim Sotheran)
Flying Officer Murrey Bonner, a 23 year old Canadian from Miniota, Manitoba was an instructor with the unit, his pupil was Sgt Donald Ravine, following a briefing they made their way to the aircraft, followed the checks and had taken off at 10:50 hrs. They started to climb and flew a track to the West of York, they were passing over Copmanthorpe when the two aircraft collided - it was 10:55 hrs.
Cause of crash is believed to be dazzled by the sun, DG420 was flying directly into the sun and it was thought they had not seen the other Halifax, the Riccall Halifax lost its tail section, which was seen to ‘flutter’ down like a leaf, the rest of the aircraft banked to port and climbed steeply before diving into the ground. The rear tail gunner attempted to bail out, but his parachute never deployed in time and he was killed.
Leaning on the post 3rd from left is Air/Gnr. Sgt. Albert Edward Gilverson, 2nd from right is thought to be Sgt. Donald Charles Ravine - others unknown, can you assist? (courtesy Jim Sotheran)
On impact the a wide area of ground was covered in burning fuel, injuring two civilians, fortunately well clear of the village, so damage and casualties were minimal.
The two civilians injured who were involved were on a tractor in a field where one of the Halifax's fell. Both ran when they saw the aircraft coming but were engulfed in burning petrol. John Dawson received very severe burns to his legs and lost all his hair but despite this he found some sacking and started to beat out the flames on his colleague.
He spent the next three months in York County Hospital whilst Mr Atkinson spent considerably longer.
Halifax DG420 previously served with 76 Squadron under the markings MP-Q flew 4 operations, then sent to 1663 HCU Rufforth.
Left to right graves of: Sgt. Gilverson, F/O. Bonner, Sgt. Ravine and Sgt. Read (courtesy Mike Harrison)
Sgt Donald Charles Ravine. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, Sec. C. Row A. Grave 8. Son of Charles Edward and Maude Agnes Ravine, of St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England.
Sgt Norman John Hart. Hampreston (All Saints) Churchyard, Grave 398. Son of Elizabeth Maud Hart, of Longham, England.
Sgt John Townsend. Dundee Eastern Necropolis, Sec. X.C. Grave 458. Son of James Howison Townsend and Jessie Townsend, of Lawton, England.
Sgt Peter Cross Parrott. Sunbury New Cemetery, Sec. C. Grave 672. Son of Tom and Martha Parrott, of Sunbury-on-Thames, England.
Sgt Albert Edward Gilverson. Harrogate ( Stonefall ) Cemetery, Sec. C. Row A. Grave 6. Son of Albert Burdett Gilverson and Eadith Walker Gilverson, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Sgt Fredrick David Read. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, Sec. C. Row A. Grave 7. Son of Frederick David and Rose Read, of Upper Sydenham, London, England.
F/O Murray Wallace Bonner. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, sec. C. Row A. Grave 5. Son of James Wallace Bonner and Janet E. Bonner, of Miniota, Manitoba, Canada.
Researched by Jim Sotheran for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to all the relatives of the crew.