10.02.1943 No. 1657 HCU/1427 FTF Stirling I N6008 XT-W2 P/O. Rogers
Date: 10th February 1943 (Wednesday)
Unit: No. 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit (1427 Ferry Training Flight)
Type: Stirling I
Base: RAF Stradishall, Suffolk
Location: 8 Mill Hill, Keddington, Suffolk
Pilot: P/O. Sidney Clifford Rogers 141459 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. George Trevor Pierce 982034 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Patrick Samuel O’Carroll NZ/404932 RNZAF Age 25. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. B.S. Smith RAFVR Survived - seriously injured
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert William Smith 1380261 RAFVR Age 22. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. H.J. Howells NZ/413758 RNZAF Survived - slightly injured
Civilian: Mr. George Henry Smith Age 20. Killed
A group of volunteers from the Keddington Air Memorial Committee are hoping to erect a cast alloy sculpture to the crews lost in the area - possibly in 2018. They are appealing for relatives of the crews to contact them to advise them of arrangements etc.
REASON FOR LOSS:
1427 Flight was provided for the training of Air Transport Auxiliary pilots. When based at RAF Stradishall (formerly based at RAF Marham) it merged into 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit and on this occasion the HCU borrowed the aircraft for training.
Taking of at 09:39 hrs from RAF Stradishall when almost immediately two engines suffered total failure. The aircraft continued to fly in a south-easterly direction with the undercarriage still locked down.
The Stirling failed to climb and struck high tension cables before hitting some buildings at 8 Mill Hill in Kedington.
20 year old George Smith bravely rushed to provide aid for the crew but killed - possibly by electrocution from the cables tangled in the wreckage.
P/O. Sidney Clifford Rogers. Haverhill Cemetery. Sec. U. Grave 144. Son of William James Rogers and Ethel Maud B. Rogers, of Burgess Hill, Sussex, England.
Sgt. George Trevor Pierce. Llandudno Head Cemetery (Great Orme’s). Sec E. Grave 52. Son of Edward Lloyd Pierce and Margaret Hogell Pierce, of Llandudno, Conwy, Wales.
Sgt. Patrick Samuel O’Carroll. Haverhill Cemetery. Sec. U. Grave 195. Son of Gerald Eustace and Ethel Winifred O'Carroll, of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. A total of 269 flying hours logged. (shown right)
Sgt. Robert William Smith. Haverhill Cemetery. Sec. U. Grave 246. Son of Sidney William and Edith Mary Smith, of Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England.
Mr. George Henry Smith Home Guard. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Percy Smith, of 25 Haverhill Road, Kedington, Suffolk, England.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Kevin Betts for information on the planned memorial. Also to Bill Chorley for his great research, together with Errol Martin for detailed information. Also to Julia and Keld, Stan Murphy for grave photographs. The New Zealand Cenotaph. Other sources as quoted below.