1666 HCU Halifax II JD386 P/O. Johann Sigurdson
Date: 29th February 1944 (Tuesday)
Squadron No: 1666 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit)
Type: Halifax II
Serial No: JD386
Base: RAF Wombleton, Yorkshire
Location: Bridge Farm, Broughton
Pilot: P/O. Johann Sigurdson J/19620 RCAF Age 23. Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert Thomas Garth Loughrin 1796421 RAFVR Age 20. Killed
Nav: F/O. George Lindley Muskett J/26289 RCAF Age 31. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. John Burgess Eaton J/28076 RCAF Age 30. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O.1 Joseph M. Healey R/96219 RCAF Age 33. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Francis Elvin Wilt R/192018 RCAF Age 22. Killed (2)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Zayets R/124095 RCAF Age 23. Killed (3)
Reason For Loss:
Took off at 12:30 Hrs. from RAF Wombleton airbase in Yorkshire for a one day navigational exercise.
It is reported that whilst flying at high altitude the pilot lost control (possibly due to rudder stall) as eyewitnesses on the ground stated that he seemed to be trying to bring the aircraft under control by using the throttles.
At around 800 ft. the bomber went into a spiral dive from which it did not recover, before hitting the ground at 17:10 hrs. The crash site is reported as near Bridge Farm, Broughton which is some 4 miles East South East from Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire.
The complete crew were buried with full military honours in the cemetery in Harrogate on the 8th March 1944. This was the first major accident from 1666 HCU since June 1943.
Harrogate Cemetery (courtesy C.W.G.C.)
The family of Sgt. Zayets lost another son the previous year - 25 year old, Flight Engineer Sgt. Stephen Zayets (4) R/56703 RCAF was killed during service with 428 Squadron on the 14th July 1943. He is buried in the Florennes Communal Cemetery in Belgium.
(1) Sigurdson Peninsula was names after P/O. Johann Sigurdson in 1995.
(2) Wilt Lake in Saskatchewan was named after Sgt. Francis Elvin Wilt.
(3) Zayets Lake was named after Sgt. Peter Zayets in 1974.
(4) Zayets Creek was named after Sgt. Stephen Zayets in 1974.
P/O. Johann Sigurdson. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row C. Grave 3. Son of Sigurthor and Maria Osk Sigurdson, husband of Mary Eileen Sigurdson, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him. May He Rest In Peace".
Sgt. Robert Thomas Garth Loughrin. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row B. Grave 17. Son of Joseph G. Loughrin and Maude E. Loughrin, of Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Grave inscription reads: "Safe In The Arms Of Jesus".
F/O. George Lindley Muskett. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row B. Grave 20. Son of Henry Joseph Salisbury Muskett and Winifred Janet Muskett, husband of Joan Elizabeth Muskett, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
F/O. John Burgess Eaton. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row B. Grave 19. Son of Charles Edward and Margaret Lydia Eaton, of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.Grave inscription reads: "Till The Sunshine Of To-Morrow Lifts The Shadows Of To-Day".
W/O. 1 Joseph M. Healey. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row C. Grave 2. Son of Thomas R. Healey and Catherine Heale, of the USA. Grave inscription reads: "Jesus Have Mercy On Him Mary And Joseph Pray For Him".
Sgt. Francis Elvin Wilt. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row B. Grave 18. Son of Elvin Edward and Selena Mabel Wilt, of Stelcam, Saskatchewan, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Among Honored Comrades Our Son "Rest On Thy Duty Done" From His Home In Canada".
Sgt. Peter Zayets. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row C. Grave 1. Son of Alexander and Maria Zayets, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "In Loving Memory Of Our Dear Son And Brother Peter".
Researched for John Jamieson, nephew of the pilot P/O. Sigurdson and dedicated to all the relatives of the crew. With thanks to sources quoted.