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.

206 Squadron Crest
14.08.1940 No. 206 Squadron Hudson I N7401 P/O. Ballantyne

Operation: Training

Date: 14th August 1940 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 206 Squadron - Coastal Command (16 Group)

Type: Hudson I

Serial: N7401

Code: VX-?

Base: RAF Bircham Newton, Norfolk

Location: Sunderland Farm, Docking

Pilot: P/O. Herbert Gregory Ballantyne 36265 RAF Age 22. Killed

Pilot 2: P/O. John Oscar Lloyd Stephenson 41623 RAF Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Steel 644325 RAF Age 20. Slightly injured (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eddie Fitzgerald 545600 RAF Age 21. Killed


With the great research carried out by Errol Martyn on the Royal New Zealand Airforce losses we have been able to compile this page. If you have further information and or photographs we would welcome contact from you.

Taking off at 03:15 hrs from RAF Bircham Newton in Norfolk. A full report was made on the accident and his death was not attributed to enemy action. It was found that the accident occurred just 5 minutes later due to loss of control during a turn while in a circuit.

The Wing Commander of No 206 Squadron said "This pilot, although comparatively inexperienced, was of a very confident nature, he had done nearly half of his total flying on Hudson Aircraft. Although we cannot be certain of the exact cause of the accident, it is thought that he had his cockpit lights on too brightly, and did not realise he was over-banking on his initial turn until recovery was too late." The port wing hit higher ground to the south west of the aerodrome. The plane then crashed into the ground at a speed of 200 knots, cart wheeled over several times and disintegrated and was destroyed by fire. Three of the four crew member were killed.

Above Course No 9 Pilot training course New Zealand. Tragically all seven pilots were to lose their lives, 5 of them within months of this photo being taken! Rear L-R: P/O. Eric Orgias 36272 RAAF - killed 25th September 1940, P/O. William David Finlayson 36268 RAF - killed 24th May 1940, P/O. Herbert Gregory Ballantyne 36265 RAF - killed 14th August 1940, Front: P/O. Peter Knox Sigley 36276 RAF - killed 24th May 1940, Sq/Ldr. Peter Bettley Robinson 36274 RAF - killed 10th September 1942, F/O. Noel Carrol Pettit 36273 RAF - killed 28th August 1941, P/O. William Oscar George Krogh NZ/2521 RNZAF - killed 22nd July 1940.

Burial details:

P/O. Herbert Gregory Ballantyne. Great Bircham Churchyard (St. Mary) Plot 1. Row 1. Grave 7. Born on the 20th August 1917 at Hastings, Hawkes Bay, the son of Herbert Gregory Ballantyne, and of Edith Emily Ballantyne (née Hartshorn), of Puketapu, Hastings, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. A total of 317 flying hours logged and having completed some 17 operational sorties. Grave inscription reads: "Youngest Son Of H.G. And E.E. Ballantyne, Hastings, New Zealand. Dearly Loved".

P/O. John Oscar Lloyd Stephenson. Great Bircham Churchyard (St. Mary) Plot 1. Row 1. Grave 8. Son of George Henry Stephenson and of Edith Henrietta Bullen Stephenson (née Evans), of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. A total of 208 flying hours logged. Grave inscription reads: "Of New Plymouth, New Zealand. Resting With His Forefathers".

Sgt. Eddie Fitzgerald. Norwich Cemetery (The Rosary) Sec. O. Grave 3/302. Son of Edward and Mary Ann Fitzgerald, of Norwich, Norfolk, England. Grave inscription reads: "He Gave His Today For Our Tomorrow".

(1) Later, After surviving this accident James Steel was given two weeks sick leave before commencing operations again with the squadron, sadly he went missing on the 15th October 1940. Hudson I T9303 VX-V piloted by P/O. Derek Edmund Teden 90486 RAF (/A) during a patrol against any sea borne invasion - all 4 crew are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial:

Sgt. James Steel. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 19. Son of John and Marion S. Steel, of Rhu, Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Details for the other crew members available on contact from relatives.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”,Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY - 05.12.2017

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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.
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 - 2024
Last Modified: 12 March 2021, 13:31

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