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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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Coastal Command crest
07.11.1942 224 Squadron Liberator III FK245 XB:C Flt.Sgt. Crabtree

Operation: Anti-Shipping

Date: 7th November 1942 (Saturday)

Unit: 224 Squadron (Coastal Command)

Type: Liberator III

Serial: FK245

Code: XB:C

Base: RAF Beaulieu

Location 1 mile short of RAF Beaulieu

Pilot: Flt.Sgt. Kenneth Crabtree 1378372 RAFVR Age 31. Killed

Pilot: Sgt. Ronald Sydney Horsley 1377433 RAFVR Age 31. Killed

Flt.Eng: Sgt. Kenneth Edward Hunt 1274114 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Arthur William Colston 925920 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt Eric Simonds Bayley 1057894 RAFVR Age 32. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Roland William James Harrison 1124085 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Henry Rupert Jennings 920231 RAFVR Age 24. Killed


Taking off 08:49 hrs on an Anti-Shipping patrol.

On final approach to RAF Beaulieu the aircraft crashed one mile short from the runway at 19:30 hrs. The Squadron ORB provides no information other than the aircraft crashed on landing and subsequently exploded. No further details as to the cause - are you able to assist?

A interesting and informative video entitled "Discovering WW2 Relics at RAF Beaulieu" has been filmed by Marc Heighway which speaks of Flt.Sgt. Crabtree and Sgt. Hunt along with the history of RAF Beaulieu and what remains today. The video time stamps for the mentions are:

  • 5 mins 17 seconds
  • 7 mins 45 seconds
  • 15 mins 46 seconds

Burial details

Left and middle: Images of grave markers for Flt.Sgt. Crabtree and Sgt. Hunt courtesy of Marc Heighway; right: marker for Sgt Jennings courtesy Steve Hunnisett.

Flt.Sgt. Kenneth Crabtree. Boldre Churchyard (St John). Row 1, Grave 4. Son of Frank Crabtree and Rose Olive Crabtree of Bingley, Yorkshire. Husband of Ida Crabtree of Bingley, Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Rest In Peace".

Sgt. Ronald Sydney Horsley. Coulsdon Churchyard (St John). Grave 538. Husband of Ethel Horsley and father of Malcolm and Anne of Tollers Lane, Old Coulsdon, Surrey, England.

Sgt. Kenneth Edward Hunt. Boldre Churchyard (St John). Row 1, Grave 2. Born in the 2nd quarter of 1922 in Camberwell, Greater London. Son of Edward and Dorothy Lilian olive (née Jury) Hunt of Camberwell, Greater London, England. His mother predeceased him in 1935. Brother to Pamela Dorothy (née Grady) Hunt (1925-1997).

Sgt. Arthur William Colston. Bristol Cemetery (Arnos Vale). Plot RR, Grave 760. Son of William and Clara Colston of Southville, Bristol, England.

Flt.Sgt Eric Simonds Bayley. Manchester Southern Cemetery, Section S. C of E, Grave 5973. Son of George Henry and Martha Florence Bayley of Manchester. Husband of Ida Bayley of Higher Crumpsall, Manchester, England.

Sgt. Roland William James Harrison. Burnley Cemetery, Grave A 10305. Born on the 18th September 1920 in Burnley, Lancashire. Son of William Harold and Clara (née Pilkington) Harrison and husband to Doris (née Thornber) Harrison from Burnley, Lancashire, England.

Sgt. Henry Rupert Jennings. Charlton Cemetery, Greenwich. Section S (2nd Cons.) Grave 599. Son of Henry Hough Jennings and Eva Florence Jennings of Greenwich, London, England.

Researched by Steve Hunnisett for Aircrew Remembered - April 2019 and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. Thanks to Marc Heighway for the grave marker images for Flt.Sgt. Crabtree, Sgt. Hunt and for the link to his RAF Beaulieu video. (Oct 2020).

RS 06.10.2020 - Grave markers and video update for Flt.Sgt. Crabtree and Sgt. Hunt

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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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