9.03.1942 No. 21 OTU Wellington 1C Z8774 P/O. Richard Chevenix Trench
Date: 9 March 1942 (Monday)
Unit: No. 21 Operational Training Unit (OTU)
Type: Wellington 1C
Code: Not known
Base: RAF Edgehill, Oxfordshire
Location: RAF Edgehill, Oxfordshire
Pilot Instructor: P/O. Richard Chevenix Trench 106547 RAFVR Age 20 - Killed (1)
Pilot: Sgt. Ernest Millington 1125315 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (2)
Pilot: Sgt. Arthur Lascelles Clipson 1314119 RAFVR Age 20 - Killed (3)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Merryweather Fitzjohn 1152646 RAFVR Age 28 - Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Fossey 1217369 RAFVR Age 24 - Killed
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REASON FOR LOSS:
Wellington Z8774 took off from RAF Edgehill to practice night circuits and landings. In weather conditions described as marginal and having received permission to land, the aircraft was observed to commence a left hand turn, but instead of straightening out it continued to bank before hitting the ground and bursting into flames.
The flare path was reported to have been well marked with a double row of Glim lamps i.e. the standard type of RAF runway lighting, mounted on poles and Goose neck flares. Goose Neck flares were shaped like a large coffee pot, the spout being shaped like a goose neck. It was filled with paraffin and had a wick down the spout. After being ignited a round sheet metal cover about 3 feet in diameter on short legs was positioned over the flares allowing the light to shine out onto the ground and the flares were not visible from height.
The layout of RAF Edgehill in 1945 (left) and right the same features still recognisable today.
All five members of the crew were killed in the crash, their bodies being later returned to their families for burial in their respective local churchyards or cemeteries.
(1) P/O. Richard Chevenix Trench was born on 1 January 1922 the first son of Hugo Chevenix Trench and Emma Margaret Florence Trench nee McAlpine of Virginia Water, Surrey. 1255905 Sgt. Richard Chevenix Trench was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) as announced in the London Gazette of 14 October 1941. A pupil at Charterhouse School 1935-1939 he is commemorated on the stone panels bearing the names of the fallen in the Charterhouse School Memorial Chapel.
(2) Sgt. Ernest Millington was born 6 November 1920 at Chesterfield, Derbyshire the son of Ernest Millington and Gertrude Millington nee Woolley. Ernest Millington senior was a Works Manager and the family lived at Donington House, Victoria Road, Pinxton, Derbyshire.
Ernest Millington junior entered Nottingham High School in 1929 aged 8. He played in the First XI and was House Captain for Cricket and in 1937 with a batting average of 22 it was recorded that "Millington has proved a distinct success as a first wicket batsman and should make runs next year". He also played at Scrum Half in the 2nd XV. He was also a Prefect in 1937 and on leaving that year his tutor noted that "He has developed into a really good and reliable fellow".
It was also recorded that he had left school to take up employment at Pinxton Mine. He is commemorated on the Nottingham High School War Memorial (Details courtesy of Nottingham High School Archives)
(3) Sgt. Arthur Lascelles Clipson was born in 28 February 1922 the son of Arthur Frederick Clipson and Edith Elsie Clipson nee Wooster of Barnes, Surrey.
(4) Sgt. Thomas Merryweather Fitzjohn was born in 1913 the son of George Fitzjohn and Minnie Fitzjohn nee Burditt of Market Harborough, Leicestershire
(5) Sgt. Ronald Fossey was born in 1917 the son of Frederick Henry Fossey and Mary Elizabeth Fossey of Hull.
(1) P/O. Richard Chevenix Trench was buried in the private vault of the McAlpine family adjoining Cobham Cemetery, Esher, Surrey.
(2) Ernest Millington was buried at St. Helen's Churchyard, Pinxton, Derbyshire - Plot 1. Row 14. Grave 38.
(3) Sgt. Arthur Lascelles Clipson was buried at East Sheen Cemetery, Barnes, London - Section G. Grave 576.
(4) Sgt. Thomas Merryweather Fitzjohn was buried at Moreton-in-Marsh New Cemetery, Gloucestershire - Section K. Grave 1.
One of the best
(5) Sgt. Ronald Fossey was buried at Hull Eastern Cemetery - Compt. 166. Grave 46.
Happy and smiling
Loved and respected
Wherever he went
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for Nottingham High School and all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - March 2016
With thanks to the sources quoted below.