07.06.1944 No. 1654 HCU Stirling III LK594 Sq/Ldr. James Swyers
Date: 7th June 1944 (Wednesday)
Unit: No. 1654 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit) (1)
Type: Stirling III
Code: Not listed
Base: RAF Wigsley, Lincolnshire
Location: Near RAF Saltby, Leicestershire
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. James Swyers 40575 RAF Age 29. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Leslie Theodore Cordon 2211649 RAFVR Age 34. Killed
Nav: F/O. Frank Donald Collinge J/29613 RCAF Age 33. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Alvin Edward Lindenfield J/29690 RCAF Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Vernon Bowden 1682849 RAFVR Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Maurice Hough 1819715 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur James Davies 1100499 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Wigsley in Lincolnshire at 03:00 hrs. for a Night Training exercise.
Just 3 hours later the aircraft crashed near the airfield at RAF Saltby - it is thought the pilot, Sq/Ldr. Swyers may have lost control whilst descending through cloud. Although he had some 1,215 flying hours logged, only 23 on this type of aircraft with just 10 hours night flying experience.
Sadly all the crew were killed in the impact.
(1) With the introduction of new heavy bombers, the four-engined Short Stirling, Avro Lancaster and Handley Page Halifax, the Royal Air Force introduced Heavy Conversion Units. The heavy conversion units began forming in late 1941, to qualify crews trained on medium bombers to operate the heavy bombers prior to an assignment to an operational training unit to gain experience, before final posting to the operational squadrons.
Sq/Ldr. James Swyers. Lincoln Cemetery (Newport) Sec. H. Grave 169 South. Son of Joseph Thomas Swyers and Alice Swyers, husband of Elsa Maud Swyers, of Picton, Ontario, Canada. Of Newfoundland. Grave inscription reads: "I Hope To See My Pilot Face To Face When I Have Crossed The Bar".
Sgt. Leslie Theodore Cordon. Liverpool Cemetery (Allerton) Sec. 2F. C. of E. Grave 241. Son of William J. M. Cordon and Mary J. Cordon, of Liverpool, husband of Alice Cooper Cordon, of Mossley Hill, Liverpool, England. Grave inscription reads: "To The Proud Memory Of A Darling Husband And Daddy".
F/O. Frank Donald Collinge. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall) Sec. B. Row F. Grave 1. Son of Frank C. Collinge and Annie Collinge, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "His Memory Is As Dear To-Day As In The Hour He Passed Away".
F/O. Alvin Edward Lindenfield. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall) Sec. B. Row F. Grave 2. Son of Edward and Laura Lindenfield, husband of Ruth Anne Lindenfield, of Zurich, Ontario, Canada.
Sgt. George Vernon Bowden. Cheadle And Gatley Cemetery. Sec. 17. Grave 73. Son of Mr. and Mrs. George Bowden, Stockport, Cheshire, England.
Sgt. Maurice Hough. Birmingham Cemetery (Brandwood End) Sec. B.9. C of E. Grave 376. No further details - are you able to assist?
Sgt. Arthur James Davies. Burgh Castle Churchyard (Ss. Peter And Paul) Son of Harriet Emily Davies, of Burgh Castle, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. Grave inscription reads: "A Little While And We Shall Meet Again".
Researched for the niece of Sgt. George Vernon Bowden - Elaine Bolton contacted us in December 2016. Page dedicated to her mother, George’s sister and to all the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as quoted below.