10.04.1941 No. 149 (East India) Squadron Wellington 1c R1181 OJ-W P/O. J. H. Fisher
Unit: No. 149 (East India) Squadron - Motto: "Fortis nocte" ("Strong by night").
Badge: A horseshoe and a flash of lightning interlaced. The horseshoe is indicative of good fortune in the First World War when the squadron flew extensive operations with the loss of only one pilot and observer. A further reason for the horseshoe is that much of the squadron's work was in connection with the cavalry. The flash of lightning is symbolic of the speed with which work was done during a comparatively brief history. Authority: King George VI, February 1938.
Type: Vickers Wellington Ic
Base: RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk
Location: Beck Row, Mildenhall, Suffolk
Pilot: P/O. J. H. Fisher - Seriously injured. (1)
2nd Pilot: Sgt. Robert James Uhrig Aus/402011 RAAF Age 20 - Died of injuries (2)
Obs: Sgt. John Kenneth Moseley 956949 RAFVR Age 19 - Died of injuries (3)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Donald Charles Smallbone 943825 RAFVR Age 19 - Seriously injured (4)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Henry James Forster (Jimmy) Kerr DFM R/53757 (later J/16073) RCAF Age 21 - Seriously injured (5)
W/Op/Air Gnr: Sgt. Cyril Ingleby 937625 (later 18898) RAFVR Age 23 - Slightly injured (6)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Henry Goodwin 1376144 RAFVR Age ? - Slightly injured (7)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Reginald Leonard (Reg) Clarke NZ40734 RNZAF Age ? - Slightly injured (8)
We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs to please contact us via our HELPDESK
REASON FOR LOSS
On 10 April 1941 No. 149 Squadron Flight Commander, S/Ldr. L.S. Cookson DFC detailed P/O. J.H. Fisher and his crew for a Cross Country to RAF Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire. No one occupant of the aircraft was instructing the other. Special equipment on board was Lorenz and IFF (abbreviations)
At 12.30 pm the crew, flying Wellington 1c R1181 OJ-W took off on the Mons Wood side of the airfield. Visibility at the time was reported to have been 12 miles, cloud cover was 9+/10 at 2000 ft. and surface wind NE 10 mph decreasing. The aircraft failed to climb quickly enough, collided with trees and demolished a cottage at Holmsley Green, Beck Row.
Among those who rushed to the aid of the crew was Mrs A.E. Smith the wife of Sergeant A. E. Smith of Station Headquarters, Mildenhall. The part she played in attempting to rescue trapped members of the crew was recognised in the proceedings of the Court of Enquiry which opened the following day.
The second pilot Sgt. Uhrig and observer Sgt. Moseley both died from their injuries. The Captain, P/O. Fisher was seriously injured having sustained a fractured skull; Sgts. Smallbone and Kerr were also seriously injured with head injuries whilst Sgt. Goodwin had sustained a fractured ankle. These four were all taken to Ely Hospital. Sgts. Ingleby and Clarke having sustained bruising were treated at Mildenhall sick quarters.
Among the rubble remains of the cottage was found the body of the sole occupant, 75 year old widow Martha Brightwell.
On 11 April a Court of Enquiry was opened composed of S/Ldr. Arthur Waite Oldroyd AFC. (3 BAT Flt. Mildenhall), Fl/Lt. Percy Hall MBE (SHQ Mildenhall) and Mr. Leslie Reginald Lee (Clerk of Works, Mildenhall)
As stated earlier the 2nd Pilot, Sgt. Uhrig had died from injuries sustained in the crash whilst the Captain of the aircraft, Pilot Officer J.H. Fisher was too ill to give evidence to the Court.
The Pilot was stated to have had 320 hours solo flying experience including 213 hours on the Wellington 1c.
Ten witnesses including crew members Sgts. Ingleby and Clarke made statements to the Court.
Right: This charred photograph of Martha Brightwell was the only one of her possessions recovered by her relatives from the remains of her cottage.
The findings of the Court of Enquiry were as follows:
After considering the evidence the Court are of the opinion that the cause of the accident was due to the Pilot not making full use of the longest run of the Aerodrome with the wind in the direction and at the strength it was that day, or making use of flaps to assist take off. On becoming airborne the aircraft reached a height of 20 feet and sank back to within 3 or 4 feet of the ground and on being pulled up abruptly failed to climb sufficiently to clear the obstruction ahead.
Wing flutter noticed by the 6th witness [ACL S. Cubbison SHQ Mildenhall] was due in our opinion to bumpy weather conditions prevailing that day at the time of the accident.
No technical evidence of any airframe or engine failure.
BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS OF THE CREW
(1) P/O. J. H. Fisher possibly 742889 Sgt. John Howard Fisher RAFVR commissioned as a Pilot officer on probation (emergency) on 6 July 1940 (London Gazette 30 July 1940). He relinquished his commission on account of ill health and retained his rank on 15 December 1941 (London Gazette 23 December 1941)
If you have any information to corroborate the above suggestion or to offer any alternative please contact our helpdesk
(2) Sgt. Robert James Uhrig was born on 26 April 1920 at Cessnock, New South Wales, Australia, the son of Leslie Jacob Uhrig and Margaret McPherson Uhrig nee Allan. He had four brothers and one sister and the family lived at 48 Light Parade, Bar Beach, Newcastle, NSW.
He was educated at Hamilton Primary School, Newcastle Boys High School (1932-34), Hamilton Evening Continuation School (1934-35) and Newcastle Technical College (1935-40).
He was employed as an Electrician by his father's company, Electrical Contractors Uhrig and Allan.
In 1939 he won a scholarship competition that entitled him to free flying lessons at the Newcastle Aero Club where he was later successful in gaining a pilot's "A" licence.
When he enlisted at Sydney on 28 April 1940 aged just 20, he was 5' 10" tall weighing 147 lbs with a fair complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair and stated that he played cricket and tennis.
He was posted the following day to No.1 Initial Training School at RAAF Somers, Victoria and after 8 weeks basic training on Course No. 1 (Pilots) to No. 5 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) No.1 Course at RAAF Narromine, New South Wales; this course also being of 8 weeks duration lasting until 19 August. He was promoted to Leading Aircraftsman on 27 May 1940.
He embarked at Sydney for Canada on 5 September disembarking there on 26 September and posted to No. 2 Service Flying Training School at RCAF Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario.
Having trained on Tiger Moths, North American Yales and Harvards Robert Uhrig was awarded his Pilot's Badge on 22 November 1940 and Graduated Flying Training Corse at No. 2 SFTS RCAF Uplands on 9 December 1940. The following day he was promoted to Sergeant and on 15 December embarked for the UK.
Christmas Day 194o found him disembarking in the UK where he was posted to No. 11 Operational Training Unit at RAF Westcott, Buckinghamshire. On 8 April 1941 he was posted to 149 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk.
Robert Uhrig was one of the first 40 Australian trainee pilots sent on the No. 1 Course Empire Training Scheme in Ottawa Canada. Of the 40 trainees only 22 survived the war.
He is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial Panel 131 at Canberra and on the
Newcastle Boys High School Memorial Entrance World War II
(3) Sgt. John Kenneth Moseley was born in 1921 at Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire the son of John Sydney and Minnie May Moseley nee Wellburn. He had a sister, Agnes M. Moseley born 1919 and a brother, Peter W. Moseley born 1926.
He is commemorated on the Scarborough War Memorial, Oliver's Mount, Scarborough, North Yorkshire
(4) Sgt. Donald Charles Smallbone was born in 1921 at Kings Norton, Staffordshire the son of John C Smallbone and Violet A.R. Smallbone nee Eborall. He had three siblings, William H Smallbone born 1917, Thelma R. Smallbone born 1931 and Norma E. Smallbone born 1933
Donald Charles Smallbone was killed on 29 June 1941 whilst a member of the crew of Wellington 1c T2806 HA-T of No. 218 Squadron captained by P/O. Francis Egerton Bryant. The aircraft was lost on an operation to bomb Bremen. All the crew were killed and are buried in the Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Niedersachsen, Germany.
(5) Fl/Lt. Henry James Forster (Jimmy) Kerr DFM was born 4 March 1920 at Mountain Ontario, the son of Samuel James Kerr (a Tinsmith) and Luella Kerr nee Laurin of Russell Ontario. He had four brothers and two sisters.
After graduating from Ottawa Technical high School in April 1940, he enlisted in the RCAF at Ottawa and in November 1940 he was promoted to Sergeant and awarded his Wireless Air Gunner Badge from No.1 Bombing & Gunnery School at RCAF Jarvis, Ontario.
He arrived in the UK on 25 December 1940 and was later posted to 149 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk. After the crash landing in April 1941 he spent several months in hospital recovering from his injuries.
He eventually returned to flying duties and on 25 April 1942 while returning from a bombing raid on the Heinkel works at Rostok, Germany, an enemy Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter attacked his aircraft, Stirling Mark I, “B”, W7510. Jimmy Kerr shot down the enemy fighter and for his skill and bravery during that attack, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal promulgated in the London Gazette of 15 May 1942.
The citation reads:
"One night in April, 1942, this airman was the rear gunner of an aircraft detailed to attack the Heinkel Works at Rostock. After leaving the target area, his aircraft was suddenly attacked by an enemy fighter whose, pilot opened fire from close range. As the attacker broke away, Flight Sergeant Kerr delivered an accurate burst of fire causing the enemy aircraft to waver and then dive sharply. It was then observed to catch fire and finally it exploded with a bright flash. By his great coolness and efficiency, this airman contributed materially to the safe return of his aircraft. Flight Sergeant Kerr has participated in numerous, sorties and he has always set an excellent example".
Later in 1942 he was posted to No. 22 Operational Training Unit at RAF Wellesbourne Mountford, Warwickshire as an instructor and whilst there took part in at least three operational missions over Germany. He was to spend nine months as an instructor.
On 17 October 1942 he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer (J16073) and after re-mustering as a pilot. After attending Initial Training School in the UK he returned to Canada for training at No. 6 Service Flying Training School at RCAF Dunneville, Ontario. He trained on Course No. 94 from 14 November 1943 to 6 April 1944 when he received his wings.
He was posted to 440 Squadron from 83 GSU effective 5 April 1945 but only physically showed up in May. He never flew with 440 Squadron and does not appear in the flight logs. He was posted to 403 Squadron on 30 June 1945.
He later lived in California USA becoming a Naturalised American Citizen on 7 March 1975
He died at Sechelt, British Columbia on 6 October 2000 at the age of 80.
(6) Fl/Lt Cyril Ingleby was born in 1917 at Romford, Essex. In 1939 he left his job as a Storekeeper at International Combustion in Derby to volunteer for the RAF and was trained as a Wireless Operator.
In early 1940 he married Constance Armroyd at Derby. A daughter, Wendy Ingleby was born the following year and a son, Roger Ingleby, in 1943
In September 1940 he was posted to No. 149 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall for operational flying and over the following months he took part in 27 Operations prior to the crash of 10 April 1941.
After recuperating from his injuries, he was posted to No. 11 Operational Training Unit at RAF Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire as an instructor until 26 March 1942 when he was posted to No. 75 (New Zealand) Squadron at RAF Feltwell in Norfolk. During the next four months Cyril completed a second tour of operations consisting of 32 missions. Also with 75 Squadron and flying in the same crew on most of those missions was Air Gunner Reg Clarke.
On completion of his second tour Cyril Ingleby was posted back to No. 11 Operational Training Unit at RAF Bassingbourn on 25 July 1942 for further duties as an instructor.
He was later posted to No. 233 Squadron Transport Command, and took part in glider towing operations on D-Day, Paratroop and resupply drops over Arnhem as part of Operation Market and glider towing during the Rhine Crossing (Operation Varsity).
The photograph of Cyril Ingleby and Reg Clarke courtesy https://75nzsquadron.wordpress.com/ the largest online resource in the world for No. 75 (NZ) Squadron RAF.
After the war Cyril Ingleby remained in the RAF and in 1946 was posted to the Far East.
In 1948 he was the Wireless Operator of the six man crew of Avro York Aircraft Moyau-Rafair 248. Also on board was passenger Sir Edward Gent who had just been relieved of his position as High Commissioner for Malaya and recalled to London. Onn 4 July after a stop at Luqa Malta, the aircraft was approaching its destination of RAF Northolt when shortly after 4 pm it collided with a Swedish DC6 about 4¾ miles NNW of RAF Northolt. On board the DC6 was a crew 7 plus 25 passengers but in the ensuing crash there were no survivors from either aircraft.
Fl/Lt. Cyril Ingleby aged 30, was buried at Derby.
Details of the crash and the RAF career of Cyril Ingleby have been taken from "Sixty Years Ago - The Story of Two Aviation Disasters" published in the Ruislip, Northwood & Eastcote Local History Society Journal 2008. To read the full account of the crash see http://btckstorage.blob.core.windows.net/site8867/...
Promotions and Awards
937625 F/Sgt. Cyril Ingleby was commissioned as a Pilot Officer (118898) on probation (emergency) on 19 March 1942 (London Gazette 28 April 1942) He was promoted to Flying Officer on probation (war subs) on 1 October 1942 (London Gazette 20 November 1942).
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross promulgated in the London Gazette 29 December 1942.
He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant (war subs) on 19 March 1944 (London Gazette 7 April 1944)
On 18 December 1945 he was appointed to a commission in the Royal Air Force as a Flying Officer extended service (four years on the active list) (London Gazette
4 February 1947) and granted seniority in substantive rank w.e.f. 19 September 1945 (London Gazette 25 February 1947).
On 1 July 1946 he was promoted from Flight Lieutenant (war subs) to Flight Lieutenant (London Gazette 28 February 1947)
(7) W/O. Charles Henry Goodwin was Mentioned in Dispatches as per the London Gazette 16 January 1946. Nothing further known, if you have any information please contact our helpdesk
(8) P/O. Reginald Leonard Clarke from Napier New Zealand. After the crash of 10 April 1941 he was posted to No. 11 Operational Training Unit at RAF Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire as an instructor until 17 April when he was posted to No. 75 (New Zealand) Squadron at RAF Feltwell in Norfolk. Here he completed a second tour of operations many of them in the same crew as Cyril Ingleby. On 10 July 1942 he was posted to No. 1 Personnel Despatch Centre at RAF West Kirby, Merseyside.
Nothing further known, if you have any information please contact our helpdesk
BURIAL DETAILS, MEMORIALS AND EPITAPHS
Mrs Martha Brightwell was buried at Beck Row (St. John) Churchyard near Mildenhall Suffolk.
Sgt. Robert James Uhrig was buried at Beck Row (St. John) Churchyard near Mildenhall Suffolk - Row A. Grave 13.
His epitaph reads
Greater love hath no man
Than to give his life
For his country
Sgt. John Kenneth Moseley was buried at Scarborough (Manor Road) Cemetery - Section U. (Border). Grave 94.
His epitaph reads
The dearly beloved elder son
Of John Sydney
And Minnie M. Moseley
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - August 2017
With thanks to the sources quoted below.