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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.
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RAF Finningley
16.08.1941 25 OTU Handley Page Hampden I X2959 Sgt. Sydney Douglas Baldachin

Operation: Night Training

Date: 16th August 1941 (Saturday)

Unit: 25 Operational Training Unit (OTU)

Type: Handley Page Hampden I

Serial: X2959

Base: RAF Balderton, Nottinghamshire

Location: New Balderton, Nottinghamshire

Pilot: Sgt. Sydney Douglas Baldachin 778405 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Grahame Wood 1105933 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air Gnr: Sgt. Hector John MacDonald 818088 RAFVR Age 24. Injured (1)


Hampden X2959 took off from RAF Balderton for night circuits and landings training exercise. The aircraft was slightly off course and while trying to find the airfield at 00.25hrs hit some trees and then plunged down into houses in London Road, New Balderton. Shortly after the impact the aircraft burst into flames with three houses being totally destroyed. Two of the crew were killed and the third was slightly injured

Left: Handley Page Hampden on a training flight. Handley Page Hampdens in flight

Left: Nottingham Evening Post 16th August 1941

Mrs Lucy Brumpton and her seven children were in their house at 84 London Road at the time of the crash. She was at the front of the house in her bedroom with her youngest child Roy when she heard the crash on the house and thought it was a bomb. She tried to get to her other children in the adjoining rooms, but found the doorway blocked. She then managed to open a window in her bedroom and lowered her son Roy to a man outside, before jumping out of the window herself. William Brumpton was at work on the night shift at the railway shunting yard at the time of the accident and it wasn't until he returned from work at 6am that he realised that the disaster was at his hous

William and Lucy Brumpton lost six of their seven children that night. Geoffrey Lascelles Brumpton aged 18, Joyce Brumpton aged 14, Mary Elizabeth Brumpton aged 13, Alan Brumpton aged 12, Lucy Brumpton aged 9 and Sheila Brumpton aged 6. The children were all buried on the 20th August 1941 in St. Giles Churchyard, Balderton. Only their youngest son Roy survived. Roy William Brumpton died on the 26th December 2004 and was reunited with his bothers and sisters in St. Giles Churchyard.

The Newark Advertiser 20th August 1941. Reporter Tim Warner wrote: (courtesy of Laurence Goff) Extracts from the report: "To make matters worse, fire broke out very soon after the crash, and the flames fed by petrol from the burst tanks, confronted the Newark Fire Brigade and members of the AFS with a most difficult task, particularly as the outbreak was mainly at the rear of the premises, where the access was restricted. Eventually, however, the efforts of the firemen were successful, and then began the grim task of searching for the victims. ARP personnel, policemen, firemen, members of the RAF, and soldiers, all lent a hand in removing the tons of debris, but even so it was not until about half-past ten in the morning that the last of the bodies was recovered. The scene at the rear of the house was really indescribable - simply a litter of bricks, masonry, charred wood, glass and parts of the wrecked aircraft. Half the tail of the plane was perched on the roof of the outhouse and had to be roped to a nearby apple tree to prevent the possibility of it crashing on the workers below.

Before returning verdicts of "Accidental death" in each case, the Coroner said "I should like to express the sympathy that is felt, not only by myself, but all over for Mr and Mrs Brumpton in this terrible tragedy, and to assure them that everyone is deeply sympathetic towards them in this sorrowful time for them". The coroner continued: "I think I should also express to Mr Judson our recognition of his act of gallantry in trying to assist the pilot. He certainly took a great risk, and was very fortunate to get away so lightly as he did, with only a few burns"

(1) Sgt. Hector John MacDonald. Born on the 26th August 1917 in Penarth, Glamorgan, Wales. Son of John, who died in 1930, and Hannah MacDonald from Penarth, Glamorgan, Wales. Hector married Hilda Rhodes in 1947. Hilda had lost her first husband, William Carter RASC killed at Dunkirk on the 27th May 1940 and her son William aged 6, in 1943. Hector was a PoW after being shot down according to his niece, once removed, but she doesn't have any details. (note: no corroborating information has been found). Hector passed on the 16th May 1995 in Penarth, Glamorgan, Wales.

Burial details:

Left to right: Sgt. Sydney Douglas Baldachin CWGC Headstone (courtesy of Nigel Grizzard) Sgt. Baldachin and brother, Bulawayo Cemetery (courtesy Dave Bloom) Sgt. Thomas Grahame Wood (courtesy Peter Lucas)

Sgt. Sydney Douglas Baldachin. Doncaster (Rose Hill) Jewish Cemetery. Grave 162. Son of Rudolph and Florence Baldachin of Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia. Born on the 29th June 1921 in Port Elizabeth, the eldest son of Rudolph and Florence Baldachin.

Educated at Bulawayo Convent, Sydney had been a Boy Scout with the 3rd Bulawayo Scout Group at some time. Sydney enlisted on the 8th November 1940 and by the 29th November that year was based at No. 25 EFTS (Elementary Flying Training School) Belvedere, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, where he would have started his flying training in the de Havilland Tiger Moth aircraft and was awarded his Flying Badge on the 2nd April 1941. Sydney left Rhodesia on the 28th May 1941 for England to train as a pilot and was posted to 25 Operational Training Unit (OTU ) at RAF Finningley where Sydney started his night flying training in Handley Page Hampden aircraft. Awarded his "Wings" on 20th May 1941. It was while he was still under training in the RAF some three months later on the 16th August 1941 that Sydney lost his life in this tragic accident. He is remembered in Bulawayo Cemetery, Zimbabwe and on the Roll of Honour, Milton High School, Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia.

Trainee pilots walk past their De Havilland Tiger Moth trainers at No 25 Elementary Flying Training School at Belvedere Airport, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. Tiger Moth in flight

Sgt. Thomas Grahame Wood. Woodford (Christ Church) Churchyard, Cheshire. New Ground. Row G. Grave 4. Born on the 26th May 1921 in Salford. Son of Thomas and Nelly Wood of Bramhall, Cheshire. His brother, John Mydelton Wood, also died on service 16th October 1942.

Above: The headstone for the Brumpton children who lost their lives in 1941 Geoffrey, Joyce, Mary, Alan, Lucy and Sheila. Right Roy William Brumpton the only child that survived died in 2004

Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. With special thanks to Steve Edmonds who sent in details of this crew and civilian loss, Sharon Bernstein and Mark Turnbull niece and nephew of Sgt. S. D. Baldachin, Nigel Grizzard - Leeds Jewish Community, Dave Bloom - Zimbabwe Jewish Community, Peter Lucas - Find a Grave, Laurence Goff - Friends of Newark Cemetery. Thanks to Shaun Noble for providing the correction to Sgt. MacDonald's identification and NoK details (Jan 2021) Other updated by Aircrew Remembered (Jan 2021). With special thanks to sources quoted below

RS 10.01.2021 - Correction to Sgt. MacDonald's identification and update to his NoK details

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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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.
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