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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
04th January 1945 10 OTU Wellington X LP729 Fl/Sgt. Haglund

Operation: Training

Date: 04th January 1945 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 10 Operational Training Unit. 91 Group

Type: Wellington X

Serial: LP729

Code: -

Base: RAF Abingdon, Berkshire

Location: Church Eaton, Staffordshire

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Francis Charles Haglund NZ/4211783 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

Pilot: W/O. Neil Willoughby Harnett 798646 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Obs: Sgt. William Alfred George 1850477 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Matthew Henry Walton NZ/429439 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Bruce Allan Hogg NZ/425610 RNZAF Age 32. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Crafton Dudley Wong 605581 RAF Age 19. Killed

Air.Gnr. Fl/Sgt. James R. Gammon RAFVR Injured- survived


Taking off at 11:10 hrs on a cross country exercise. Whilst flying at 17,000 flat 12:45 hrs the starboard engine lost power and the crew were unable to maintain altitude.

It is then believed they headed for the airfield at RAF Wheaton Aston when at 400 ft. the aircraft stalled and crashed just north of Church Eaton. 6 of the crew were killed with the rear gunner surviving with slight injuries was helped clear of the wreckage by a police constable Poole who was one of the first on the scene.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Francis Charles Haglund. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 227. Born on the 09th November 1919 at Greymouth, South Island. Son of Charles Oscar and Christina Miller Haglund (née Thomson), of Cobden, Westland, New Zealand. A total of 309 flying hours logged with 47 solo on the Wellington.

W/O. Neil Willoughby Harnett. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 313. Prior to service worked for the Bank of Nova Scotia. Son of William and Annie May Colbourne Harnett, of Twillingate, Newfoundland. Grave inscription: 'Father, Thy Will Be Done'.

Sgt. William Alfred George. Reading Cemetery (Henley Road). Block 10. Grave 16017. Son of Alfred Edwin and Annie George of Reading, Berkshire, England. Grave inscription: 'Treasured Memories Of One We Loved He Gave His Life That We Might Live'.

Fl/Sgt. Matthew Henry Walton. New Shildon Churchyard (All Saints). Sec. B. Grave 601. Born on the 09th September 1923 at Shildon, County Durham, England. Moved to New Zealand at an early age. Son of Matthew Walton and of Edith M. Walton (née Preston), of Northland, Wellington New Zealand. A total of 214 flying hours logged.

F/O. Bruce Allan Hogg. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 141. Born on the 19th October 1912 at Feilding. Son of Lewis Gordon Hogg and of Bessie Hogg (née Bruce), of Halcombe, Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 120 flying hours logged.

Sgt. Crafton Dudley Wong. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 399. Born on the 25th December 1925 in Kingston. Son of Charles Henry and Irene Catherine Wong (née Elliot), of Kingston, Jamaica. Grave inscription: 'In Loving Memory Of Our Beloved Son And Brother Of Kingston, Jamaica, British West Indies'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 13-11-2021

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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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