28/29.04.1944 No 1658 HCU Halifax II BB374 Fl/Sgt. Walter H. Rumney
Date: 28/29th April 1944
Unit: 1658 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit)
Type: Halifax II
Code: Not known
Base: RAF Riccall, North Yorkshire
Location: Irish Sea
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Walter Henry Rumney 1338135 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Pilot: Sgt. Ernest John Hurr 1435265 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Charles Albert James 1869076 RAFVR Age ? Missing - believed killed
Nav: Sgt. Robert Macbeth 1559112 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Robert Dennis Parker Barrett 1315330 RAFVR Age 25. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Morgan 1433267 RAFVR Age 20. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Ashton Howson 1592372 RAFVR Age 21. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Herbert Rimmer 2211927 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Riccall in North Yorkshire on a ‘Bullseye Training Operation’. (1)
At approximately 02:00 hrs the aircraft struck Halifax V DG297 flown by Sgt. P. Bailey from 1663 HCU from underneath. The Halifax BB374 plunged into the Irish Sea at the position shown.
Despite extensive damage to DG297 (undercarriage, controls and port outer engine) the pilot managed to crash land the aircraft with a ‘wheels up’ landing at RAF Broadwell Airfield in Oxfordshire. None of that crew were reported as seriously injured. The pilot commended for his efforts to his skill at bringing the aircraft back.
The body of the rear gunner from BB374 was later recovered and buried at his home town.
Just 3 days earlier Fl/Sgt. Rumney and it is assumed the same crew flying on a Halifax II W7821 took off on a night flying exercise at 23:40 hrs. Just six minutes later during a landing mishap when the aircraft was written off. The port undercarriage broke away under strain during an uncorrected swing after touching down.
(1) A Bullseye exercise was a simulated night bombing operation against a 'target' town or city in the UK designed to give crews the experience of an operational sortie but without crossing into enemy territory. Crews would be given a flight plan to follow and a target to simulate bombing. In the early days before cameras were fitted Personnel on the ground would report on how close aircraft came to the 'target'. These exercises could also include co-operation with fighter units, balloon units and of course anti aircraft guns.
Fl/Sgt. Walter Henry Rumney. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 222. Son of Ernest Walter Rumney, and of Alice Jane Rumney, of Dalston, London, England.
Sgt. Ernest John Hurr. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 232. Son of Charles Ernest and Eva May Hurr, of Lowestoft, Suffolk, England.
Sgt. Charles Albert James. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 232. No further details - are you able to assist?
Sgt. Robert Macbeth. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 233. Son of Robert and Mary Macbeth, of Dundee, Scotland.
Sgt. Robert Dennis Parker Barrett. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 224. Son of Robert and Winifred May Barrett, husband of Olive Mabel Barrett, of Withycombe, Devon, England.
Sgt. James Morgan. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 234. Son of James and Helen Morgan, of Liverpool, England.
Sgt. Charles Ashton Howson. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 231. Son of John Ashton Howson and Harriet Howson, of Limber, Habrough, Lincolnshire, England.
Sgt. Herbert Rimmer. Whiston Churchyard (St. Nicholas) Row E5. Grave 2. Son of Charles Alfred and Elisabeth Rimmer, husband of Jane Rimmer, of Whiston, Lancashire, England.
Researched for Jane Cocks - relative of Sgt. James Morgan who contacted Aircrew Remembered in July 2016. Sources as quoted below.