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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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Bomber Command Crest
11.11.1943 1654 HCU Lancaster II W4902 UG-Q P/O. Barton-Smith

Operation: Training

Date: 11th November 1943 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 1654 Heavy Conversion Unit

Type: Lancaster II

Serial: W4902

Code: UG-Q

Base: RAF Wigsley, Nottinghamshire

Location: Hackthorn, Lincolnshire

Pilot: P/O. Reginald Lionel Barton-Smith 161601 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. James F Snedker 1581768 RAFVR Age ? Injured

Nav: Sgt. Haydn Deryk Ryder 1458224 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Charles S.W Wilkes 1459139 RAFVR Age 21. Injured

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald John Huish 1431980 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Brian Crawford AUS/424507 RAAF Age 19. Injured

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Francis William Murphy AUS/423165 RAAF Age 23. Injured


Took off 17:30 hrs from RAF Wigsley for the crew's final conversion exercise, a long cross-country flight.

At 22:45 hrs the aircraft crashed at Hackthorn, about one mile from RAF Scampton. The crash occurred when the pilot lost control whilst avoiding another aircraft, a Wellington, in poor visibility.

Three crew members were killed but four others survived when the Lancaster hit trees:

Sgt. James Snedker - Concussion, Lacerated scalp, multiple contusions, admitted RAF Hospital Rauceby where he recovered. Survived the war.
Sgt. Charles S.W Wilkes - 2nd and 3rd degree burns to his face and hands admitted RAF Hospital Rauceby and then onto Eats Grinstead for further treatment. Survived the war, passed away on the 29th June 2009.
Sgt. William Crawford - Crush fracture of the spine, abrasions of the face, admitted RAF Hospital Rauceby where he recovered. Survived the war.
Sgt. Francis Murphy - Fractured left femur, admitted to Lincoln Military Hospital where he recovered. Survived the war.

Burial details:

P/O. Reginald Lionel Barton-Smith. Charlton Cemetery, Greenwich. Sec. Q. 2nd Cons. Grave 888. Son of Lionel John and Minnie Jane Barton-Smith of Charlton, London. Husband of Irene Miriam Barton-Smith, of Charlton, London, England. Grave inscription reads: "He Travelled The Skies And Found The Brightness Of Eternity"

Sgt. Haydn Deryk Ryder. Adel Friends Burial Ground (Quakers), Grave 475. Son of Thomas Ernest and Evelyn Ryder of Leeds, England. Sharing the grave with his father who died in 1953.

Sgt. Ronald John Huish. Worle Churchyard (St Martin). South Part, New Ground, Grave O.24. Son of Herbert and Margaret Huish of Upper Worle, Weston-super-Mare, England. Grave inscription reads: "Until The Day Break And The Shadows Flee Away".

Researched by Steve Hunnisett for Aircrew Remembered - April 2019 and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Steve Hunnisett and Sue Hoddinott for grave photographs. Thanks to Haydn Gate for the photograph of great uncle Sgt. Ryder.

RS 10.09.2019 - addition of photograph for Sgt. Ryder

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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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