21.05.1942 No. 21 O.T.U. Wellington IC R1142 Fl/Sgt. George H. Wilsher
Date: 21st May 1942 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 21 OTU (Operational Training Unit)
Type: Wellington IC
Code: - ?
Base: RAF Edgehill, Oxfordshisire
Location: Shenington area
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. George Herbert Wilsher 741926 RAFVR Age 26. Killed
Pilot 2: Sgt. James Anderson 1083374 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Pilot 3: Sgt. 'Herbie' Herbert Swales 1138904 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Alfred Worley AUS/407659 RAAF Age 24. Killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Aubrey Robert Murray 778598 RAFVR Age ? Injured (1)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Edgehill (Shenington) to carry our dual instruction in overshoot procedures. Landed heavily at 23:50 hrs. and throttles were advanced in order to go round again. It is thought likely that damage had been made to the Wellington as it then stalled and crashed two miles East of the airfield. All but the rear gunner Fl/Sgt. Murray were killed.
(1) Fl/Sgt. Aubrey Robert Murray from Rhodesia made a good recovery and returned to operations only to be killed on the night of 11/12th August 1943 while flying with 40 Squadron in Wellington X HZ544 BL-Z along with all the crew who have no known graves. They are all commemorated at the Alamein Memorial.
Above: Fl/Sgt. George Wilsher (all photo's courtesy Tiff Jacobs and "Olive")
Fl/Sgt George Wilsher and "friends" - can you identify them? Probably taken after completion of training. In May 2015 the chap on extreme right has been recognised as Sgt. Herbert Swales or Herbie as known to his friends. In March 2017 Anthony Darwell recognised Sgt. Thomas Worley as 2nd from right. Further photo added June 2016 of Sgt. Swales (courtesy Michelle Whittaker)
Fl/Sgt. George Herbert Wilsher. Twickenham Cemetery Plot M. Class A. Grave 63. Son of Herbert John and Ada Wilsher, of Twickenham, husband of Olive Eva Wilsher, of Twickenham, England. Epitaph reads: "Greater Hath No Man Than This. That A Man Should Lay Down His Life For His Friends.”
Sgt. James Anderson. Blackpool (Carleton) Cemetery Sec. B. Grave 1364. Son of Joseph and Agnes Anderson, of Workington, Cumberland, husband of Hannah Mabel Anderson, of Workington, England.
Sgt. Herbert Swales. Roundhay (St. John) Churchyard. Sec.E. Grave 53. Son of Edgar Coulson Swales and Louie Swales, of Leeds, England.
Sgt. Thomas Alfred Worley. Moreton-In-Marsh New Cemetery Sec. K. Grave 30. Son of Arthur Villanis Worley and Violet Christina Rebecca Worley, of Collinswood, South Australia. Epitaph reads: “Loved By All.”
(1) Fl/Sgt. Aubrey Robert Murray. Alamein Memorial. Column 269. His loss covered in the book"Sweeping the Skies" by David Gunby (Pentland Press 1995)
With thanks to sources quoted below and also to Tiff Jacobs and "Olive", Anthony Darwell for recognition of Sgt Herbert Swales (mother was his cousin) Also to Michelle Whittaker who’s grandfather, Leslie Swales who was the youngest brother of Sgt. Swales - June 2016.