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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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Fighter Command Cest
15.09.1942 No 53 OTU Spitfire Ia P9322 Sgt. Stewart Davison

Operation: Training

Date: 15th September 1942 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 53 Operational Training Unit

Type: Spitfire Ia

Serial: P9322

Code: PQ-? Not known at this stage

Base: RAF Rhoose (Satellite station)

Location: Cardiff Golf Course

Pilot: Sgt. Stewart Davison 1039474 RAFVR Age 19. Killed


Weather for the training: Good - sky clear - visibility 15-20 miles.

During a routine training flight the pilot was instructed to climb to 25.000 ft then return to base. After approximately 40 minutes the aircraft was seen to be diving steeply at an estimated height of 10.000 ft. Its behaviour during the dive was not observed but shortly afterwards the starboard wing became detached. The pilot seemed to have made no effort to bale out and was killed in the crash on Cardiff Golf Course.

The resulting board of enquiry held on the 06th November 1942 concluded that the pilot who had 152 hours with 7.5 hours on this type of aircraft experience, lost control of the aircraft.

Wing failure occurred due to over stressing during a violent pull out at very high speed - this may have occurred during a badly executed manoeuvre or during an uncontrolled dive after the pilot had passed out due to oxygen failure.

The oxygen bottle and tap was found to have been turned on but a detailed examination of the remainder of the system could not be made due to extensive impact damage.

Mr. David Edwards contacted us in June 2018. A fellow golfer witnessed the crash:

"Like most school children I found “playtime” the most enjoyable time of day. During the afternoon school break on 15th September 1942 in Lisvane Primary School we were all making the most the free time in the sun when we heard a most fearful whine, it was sometime before we saw it was coming from a Spitfire that had lost it's starboard wing.

It was spinning around and falling from a great height, we had not heard any air raid warnings so there were no German planes that afternoon, later we learned the wing had broken off when the plane took a sharp turn.

We knew the plane must have crashed in the Llanederyn / Cyncoed area but no idea where. As the school numbers had been boosted by several evacuees many billeted in the rural part of Cyncoed they all vowed to find out exactly where it had landed.

Next day claims were made about what they had seen, I am sure they would not have got as close to the wreckage as they would have had us believe but they did discover the pilot was not able to bail out, he was a trainee pilot on a training flight from Rhoose, a 19 year old from Consett in Northumberland, Stewart Davison.

The crash is recorded, unfortunately as landing on Llanishen Golf Club, but it was on the Cardiff 11th fairway near the brook and the pool, now guarding the 12th. Apparently the Club was given a plaque to commemorate the event but as it said Llanishen not Cardiff it was not displayed.

It definitely was in the direction of Cardiff Golf Club, the green keepers were able to show you exactly where.

I have tried to find more details about what happened but could not find a report in the Echo, Western Mail or the Cardiff Times, may be such news was not published also there were a lot of other things going on at the time.

Now when you curse if your ball lands in the Nant Glandulas or the pond, just remember Sgt. Stewart Davison he would be delighted to have enjoyed your bad luck".

Note: Aircraft manufactured at Eastleigh Merlin III Engine fitted.

Burial details:

Sgt. Stewart Davison. Consett Blackhill And Blackhill Old Cemetery. Sec. 11. New Ground. Grave 5. Son of Robert and Jessie Armour Davison, of Blackhill, Durham, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to information sent in by Chris Bowles to Aircrew Remembered 2016. Our thanks also to David Edwards and other members of Cardiff Golf Club who contacted us in June 2018. Other sources as quoted below:

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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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