Date: 2nd March 1945 (Friday)
Unit: PFNTU (Pathfinder Force Navigation Training Unit.)
Type: Mosquito XX.
Location: Basford, Cheddleton, Stafford.
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Arthur Ian Albertson AFC. 80126 RAFVR. Age 30. Killed.
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Robert James Eaton AUS/430960 RAAF Age 20. Killed.
REASON FOR LOSS:Took-off from Warboys at 19:15 hrs for a high-level night cross-country training flight, the crew being briefed to fly at 27,000 feet. Weather conditions at the time was described as good. At 21:15 hrs, the Mosquito broke up and crashed at Yew Tree Farm, Basford, Cheddleton, south of Leek, Stafford. Neither of the crew had attempted to bale out of the aircraft.
It is thought that they were also testing new oxygen equipment and this failed during the flight causing the crew to lose consciousness. But many pieces were never recovered as the wreck was subject to wide spread petty theft at the time and many items were removed, illegally. The crash site was spread over a very wide area as the aircraft broke up prior to crashing.
Crash area of the Mosquito
F/Lt. Arthur Ian Albertson AFC. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 15362. Son of Richard Wright Albertson and Elizabeth Albertson, husband of Rona Albertson (nee Johnson), of Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia.
Fl/Sgt. Robert James Eaton Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 15361. Son of James Bygrove Eaton and Selina Marjorie Eaton, of 554 Macauley Street, Albury, New South Wales, Australia. Further information: A surveyor's assistant born Holbrook, New South Wales on 30th January 1925, who enlisted on 23 April 1943. After initial training as a navigator in Australia, Eaton embarked from Sydney on 18 May 1944 for overseas service attached to the RAF, arriving in the United Kingdom on 28 June 1944. He converted to de Havilland Mosquitos with 1655 Mosquito Training Unit (1655 MTU), based at RAF Marham from 19 December 1944 until early January 1945, before transferring to 16 Operational Training Unit (16 OTU). Eaton was assigned to the Pathfinder Navigator Training Unit on 11 February 1945 but died on 2 March while testing new pattern Canadian oxygen equipment aboard a Canadian production Mosquito bomber Mk XX, serial KB206. Eaton was engaged to be married at the time of the accident.
Photo of Fl/Lt. Arthur Ian Albertson AFC kindly supplied by Mike Harrison. Michel Beckers via Len for grave photographs. With thanks to the sources shown below:
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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