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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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64 Squadron Crest
09.10.1945 No. 64 Squadron Mustang III HB867 F/O. Gough-Calthorpe

Operation: Training

Date: 09th October 1945 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 64 Squadron

Type: Mustang III

Serial: HB867

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Horsham

Location: Bull Camp, Blythburgh, Suffolk

Pilot: F/O. Ronald Arthur Somerset Gough-Calthorpe 15087 RAFVR Age 21. Killed


Earlier on the 23rd May 1945 the pilot were engaged in dog-fight training over the Cantley area in Norfolk. It seems that the other pilot from the Squadron Fl/Lt. Harthill (see below) flying Mustang III FB135 misjudged the distance and he collided with Mustang KH566 flown by F/O. Gough-Calthorpe. Fl/Lt. Harthill was killed in the crash, but the other pilot managed to bale out without injury.

On the date shown six aircraft from the squadron took off from RAF Horsham at 14:30 hrs on an interception exercise with 65 Squadron. They intercepted at about 20,000 ft near Cromer. A general 'dog-fight' then took place. After which the leader called over the R/T to reform.

All did so apart from F/O. Gough-Calthorpe.

A Mustang thought to be his, was seen flying normally on a parallel course to that of the formation, but about a mile away to starboard. The leader called several times order the pilot to close in - but received no answer and neither did the Mustang change its course. However, due to the distance they could not place a positive identity to be sure it was HB867 - this lone aircraft then turned to port, crossing astern to the other five aircraft and disappeared inland.

A couple of minutes prior to the accident two or more aircraft were seen to be 'dog-fighting' at about 10,000 ft. over the area of Blythburgh. (witnesses on the ground confirm this and that they saw these aircraft were flying together and that they were executing violent manoeuvres for several minutes) One of the aircraft was then seen to begin a dive as if to try and catch up with another aircraft ahead of it - both were travelling very fast.

The diving aircraft instead of pulling out gradually steepened its dive until it was probably over the vertical. It quickly gained enormous speed and one witness declared that as it is descended it was executing an aileron turn to its right. It then struck the ground near the Blythburgh Poor Law Institute. Engine at full power it exploded on impact and caught fire.

Attempts were made to identify the others pilot involved in the dog-fight but proved to be unsuccessful.

A full 7 page PDF file is available on this accident and the subsequent investigation report, is available from Aircrew Remembered.

Burial details:

F/O. Ronald Arthur Somerset Gough-Calthorpe. Brookwood Cemetery. Son of the Hon. Frederick Somerset Gough-Calthorpe and of Rose Mary Dorothy Gough-Calthorpe (née Vernon-Harcourt), of Worplesdon Hill, Woking, Surrey, England.

Others mentioned within this report:

Fl/Lt. John Edward Anthony Hartill. Wolverhampton Churchyard (St. John). See below for further details.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to sources as quoted below. Also to Ray Durrant for grave photo of Fl/Lt. Hartill and to Julia Keld for grave photo of F/O. Gough-Calthorpe.

Note: Other respected researchers have enquired for several years to make it possible that the Mustang should be recovered. This has always been refused. We understand and respect the wishes of the family that the crash site is not to be excavated to recover any remnants of his aircraft. Indeed the Landowners have also followed the family requests, consequently no licence without these permissions would ever be granted by the Ministry of Defence.

This, Aircrew Remembered totally endorse. However, should any relatives of the family wish a memorial to be placed to the pilot we are more than willing to assist them with this. It would not involve any excavations, just the necessary permissions for it to be placed. As the actual crash site is on arable land, the closest location would have to be investigated - the purpose after all is to remember the pilot - nothing else! Not that we have the funds to do this - just happy to assist if required.

P/O. John Edward Anthony Hartill:

Born at Brierley Hill, Dudley in the West Midlands, the eldest son of the Rev. and Mrs. Joseph and Catherine Hartill of St. John’s Church vicarage, Castle Street close. He was educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School and upon leaving there he worked for Boulton and Paul before enlisting into the RAFVR in 1941.

While training in the USA (Spartan School of Aeronautics, Tulsa, Oklahoma) his aircraft collided with another and he was forced to bale out and broke his leg on landing. Note: the accident was not attributed to him as another aircraft had clipped his tail.

He received his commission to P/O. on probation on the 24th January 1942 and rose to F/O. on probation on the 01st October 1942 and then to Fl/Lt. on the 14th January 1944.

4 Squadron: During a landing of Lysander V9485 on the 24th May 1942 that he was piloting, the aircraft stalled and the undercarriage gave way, damaging the aircraft which was later repaired. The pilot suffered no injuries.

4 Squadron: Another accident occurred on the 05th June 1942 he overshot the runway flying a Mustang, slightly damaging the aircraft but he suffered no injuries.

Information courtesy 'Lost Wolverhampton' website and also to the great people at 'Aircraft Yorkshire Accidents'.

KTY - 27.03.2018

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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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