AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
Check our Research databases: Database List

.

We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.

bomber command badge
18.04.1944 No 1657 H.C.U. Stirling III EJ108 Fl/Lt. Wilkie DFC

Operation: Training

Date: 18th April 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: 1657 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit - 3 Group)

Type: Stirling III

Serial: EJ108 (1)

Code: W

Base: RAF Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire.

Location: Little Glemham, Suffolk.

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Hugh Charles Wilkie DFC. NZ/415397 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Colin George Nairne NZ/42117 RNZAF Age 22. Survived (2)

Fl/Eng: W/O. William (Sandy) Alexander Watson DFM. 567222 RAF Age 25. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Frederick Thomas George Atkins 1603538 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Lyndon Clifford Perry NZ/428925 RNZAF Age 21. Survived (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Frederick Gerald Rickard NZ/429366 RNZAF Age 22. Survived (3)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alfred Richard Stannard 1338510 RAFVR Age 22. Survived (2)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Stanley Alfred George Woodford 922095 RAFVR Age ? Survived (2)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Philip Falkiner NZ/425140 RNZAF Survived (2)

On the ground:

S/Sgt. David K. Ollre. 6288183 545 Bomber Squadron, 384th Bomber Group, 8th Air Force. USAAC Age 23.

Cpl. James A. Moore. 545 Bomber Squadron, 384th Bomber Group, 8th Air Force. USAAC Age 23. Killed

Cpl Teddy R. Potocki. 32141939 545 Bomber Squadron, 384th Bomber Group, 8th Air Force. USAAC Age 23. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 22:35 hrs on a training exercise practicing night take off / landings (circuits and bumps). During one such take off when they were using RAF Polebrook as being used by the USAAC and were clear of operational flights during the night. The aircraft hit three USAAC personnel who had returned from an evening out on their bikes, killing them all instantly. The aircraft, with a damaged engine and probably damaged undercarriage they were already committed to take off.

They were then diverted to the emergency landing strip at RAF Woodbridge, as they approached Woodbridge the aircraft became more and more difficult to handle (4). The pilot, Fl/Lt. Wilkie DFC, with plenty of experience having completed a tour already with 15 Squadron and the equally experience flight engineer W/O. Watson DFM. decided they would try and land the aircraft after the remaining crew had baled out.

During the baling out a loud explosion was heard and the aircraft went into a steep nose up angle.

The aircraft crashed into a field by a pond at Moat Farm, Little Glemham, Suffolk at 23:30 hrs. The two crew members were killed instantly, but sadly Sgt Atkins was killed when he failed to attach his parachute harness correctly and fell to his death in a field at Pettistree, near Woodbridge, Suffolk.

Mr. William Carter and his sister, who lived at a nearby cottage were unhurt when part of the aircraft hit the roof.

(1) The East Anglian Aircraft Research Group recovered parts of this aircraft. The aircraft had, on an earlier Gardening operation whilst with 75 Squadron) been attacked by a night fighter on the 04/05th November 1943. The damage during this attack amounted to port wing, starboard flap, rear turret and fuselage. The aircraft managed to return to base but the rear gunner, 28 year old Fl/Sgt. Walter Hurdle NZ/421279 RNZAF from Fielding, New Zealand was killed during the attack.





(2) These crew members survived, tragically only to be killed just three months later. Flying with 75 Squadron on Lancaster I HK558 AA-D.

(3) P/O. Frederick Gerald Rickard, as far as we are able to ascertain, survived the war - no further details. Born on the 06th May 1919 and passed away in 1998. (with thanks to June Springer for this information)

(4) At least one of the engines was damaged and it is thought that one of the dinghy's had broken free and possibly damaged controls in the process. The reason this is thought is that at the scene of the first impact on the airfield, a dingy cover and emergency rations pack had been found.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Hugh Charles Wilkie DFC. Son of Robert Hitton Wilkie and of Marion Edith Wilkie (née Pemberton), of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand. A very experienced pilot with 952 flying hours logged - 567 solo on the Stirling) Had already completed some 28 operations.

W/O. William (Sandy) Alexander Watson DFM. Auchtergaven Parish Churchyard. New ground. Grave 242. Son of William and Christina Watson, of Bankfoot, Perthshire, Scotland

Sgt. Frederick Thomas George Atkins. Mortlake Cemetery, Surrey. Plot 15. Sec C. Grave 291. Son of Frederick Thomas George and Eleanor Lucy Atkins, of Hammersmith.

S/Sgt. David Kent Ollre. Born on the 10th February 1921 in Gonzales County. Odd Fellows Cemetery, Gonzales County, Texas. USA.

Cpl. James A. Moore. Born on the 28th June 1921, from Sussex County, Delaware, USA. Still Pond Cemetery, Kent County, Maryland, USA.

Cpl Teddy Potocki. Born on the 06th March 1921 from 64 St. Stanislaus Street, Rochester, Monroe County, New York. Riverside Cemetery. Sec.S, vet. plot, grave 133.

Researched for Keith and June Springer - relatives of Fl/Sgt. Colin George Nairne and dedicated to all the relatives of this crew and the USAAC personnel who were also killed. With thanks to Keith / June Springer for information and also to Errol Martyn for his comprehensive information on RNZAF losses of WW2.

Reference Pages
Bomber Command Memories • Abbreviations • Gardening Codenames • CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained
Acknowledgements
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2021
Last Modified: 29 March 2021, 14:10

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor