14/15.08.1940 No. 77 Squadron Whitley V P5044 KN-O F/O. Stenhouse
Date: 14/15th August 1940 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 77 Squadron
Type: Whitley V
Base: RAF Driffield, Yorkshire
Location: Allington Lane, Fair Oak, Eastleigh, Hampshire (1)
Pilot: F/O. William Alan Stenhouse 39904 RAF Age 26. Killed
Pilot: P/O. Robert Butler "Bobbie" MacGregor 41856 RAF Age 19. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Claude Lionel Geoffrey Hood 746840 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John "Jack" Burrow 551597 RAF Age 19. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold Davies 632374 RAF Age 20, Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Driffield in Yorkshire at 19:35 hrs to attack oil refineries in the Gironde department of South West France and in Bordeaux.
At about 03:30 hrs on 15th August, when returning, the aircraft hit barrage balloon cables near Eastleigh in Hampshire.
Part of its wing was sheared off and it crashed in Allington Lane, Fair Oak, with the loss of all five of the crew. (1)
Of the 22 Whitleys that took part in this operation 2 were lost for the same reason - striking balloon cables.
The other a 51 Squadron Whitley V P4982 Flown by 25 year old, F/O. Stanley Powell Swensen 40328 from Calgary, Canada was killed along with his 4 other crew members. In the area of West Drayton.
(1) In the latest edition of the great Bill Chorley’s series of publications he wrote that although many locations of the crash are described as been in the area of Eastleigh, he feels more likely that the Whitley came down in the area of Fawley.
It appears that there was a standing order at the time, to the effect that returning aircraft should cross the coast at less than 5000 ft, or below cloud base, in order that the Royal Observer Corps could identify them as friendlies and so avoid false alerts. That, no doubt, was the reason for 310 RAF aircraft known to have hit cables as opposed to only 54 hostiles! (source: Barrage Balloon Reunion club)
Above and below: funeral for the crew (courtesy Geoffrey Gillon)
F/O. William Alan Stenhouse. All Saints Churchyard, Marsh Lane, Fawley, Hampshire. Old Portion. Row 2. Coll. grave 2. The son of Alexander James Stenhouse and Jessie L. (née Wilkie) Stenhouse of Glasgow, Scotland. Grave inscription reads: “In Proud And Loving Memory Of Alan”. (see note below regarding his shared grave)
P/O. Robert Butler MacGregor. All Saints Churchyard, Marsh Lane, Fawley, Hampshire. Old Portion. Row 2. Joint grave 9. The son of Robert Morrice MacGregor and Carmel Gertrude (née Butler) MacGregor, of Nairobi, Kenya. Grave inscription reads: “In Sacred And Loving Memory Of Our Darling Son Bobbie. RIP”.
Sgt. Claude Lionel Geoffrey Hood. All Saints Churchyard, Marsh Lane, Fawley, Hampshire. Old Portion. Row 2. Coll. grave 2. The son of William Herbert and Mabel (née Abbott) Hood and husband of Marian Eva (née Hicklin) Hood of Leicester, England. Grave inscription reads: “In Grateful Remembrance Of A Steadfast Warrior”.
Sgt. John Burrow. All Saints Churchyard, Marsh Lane, Fawley, Hampshire. Old Portion. Row 2. Joint grave 9. The son of James and Helen (née Marr) Burrow, of Blackburn, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads: “Into The Mosaic Of Victory We Lay This Priceless Piece, Our Son. RIP”.
Sgt. Harold Davies. All Saints Churchyard, Marsh Lane, Fawley, Hampshire. Old Portion. Row 2. Coll. grave 2. The son of Walter and Mary Davies, of Bridgtown, Cannock, Staffordshire, England. Grave inscription reads: “At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Shall Remember Them”.
Note: The grave shared by F/O. Stenhouse is that of AC2 Alexander Taylor 951883 RAFVR. Killed on the same date when Hudson T9320 from No. 1. OTU crashed on houses in a similar manner to this loss. All 9 crew and passengers were killed, along with 2 civilians on the ground when it hit houses at No. 195 Nutbeem Road in Eastleigh.
Researched for Aircrew Remembered by Mike McQuaid - July 2017. With thanks to Colin on Find A-Grave for grave photographs - used with permission. Also to Geoffrey Gillon for funeral photographs of the crew - used with permission. For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below.