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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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RAF Crest
31st October 1944 2. Radio School Proctor II LZ629 Fl/Sgt. Hampshire

Operation: Training

Date: 31st October 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 2. Radio School. 27 Group

Type: Proctor II

Serial: LZ629

Code: -

Base: RAF Yatesbury, Wiltshire

Location: Manor Farm, Wedhampton

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Allan Frederick Hampshire NZ/427446 RNZAF Age 20. Killed

W/Op: Fl/Sgt. Septimus Mark Best 1595801 RAFVR Age 20. Killed


Taking off from RAF Yatesbury on a training exercise. Whilst at 1200 ft. a mile west of Patney collided with Tiger Moth 1I N9408 from 29 Elementary Flying Training School at 14:40 hrs.

The Tiger Moth crashed into a pond at Manor Farm in Wedhampton, Fl/Sgt. Dunford and pupil Naval Airman 2nd Class Davies (see details below) both lost their lives. The Proctor continued to fly for a short while before a wing broke off. They crashed near the railway line close to Sunnyside Farm. Both crew also lost their lives.

Investigators considered that both pilots may have missed each other becoming distracted by a string of Dakotas towing gliders half a mile east of them. Although another factor considered was the low cloud and fog in the area.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Allan Frederick Hampshire. Bath Cemetery (Haycombe). Plot 51. Sec. H. Row T. Grave 237. Born on the 08th January 1924 at Morrinsville, Waikato. Worked as a farm hand on his fathers farm at Kerone prior to service. In the 2 Battalion, Hauraki Regiment from 01st May 1942 tor ten weeks. Enlisted in the RNZAF on 11th July 1942 at Rukurhia. Embarked for Canada on the 17th May 1943. Awarded his pilots badge on the 01st October 1943 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 22nd October 1943. Joined 2. Radio School on the 16th August 1944 as staff pilot. Son of Frederick Ivo Hampshire and Rose Edith Hampshire (nee Gadd) of Hospital Street, Tauranga, New Zealand. A total of 490 flying hours logged.

Fl/Sgt. Septimus Mark Best. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Cemetery (Byker And Heaton). Sec. I.N. Cons. Grave 235. Son of Mark Best, and of Beatrice Ann Best, of Wallsend-on-Tyne. Grave inscription: 'Death Divides But Memories Cling Ever Remembered By All. Thy Will Be Done'.

Tiger Moth crew:

Fl/Sgt. John Reginald Dunford 1388781 RAFVR Age 20. Surbiton Cemetery. Sec. 18. Grave 6251. Son of Frederick William and Agnes Kate Dunford, of Surbiton. Grave inscription: 'In Proud And Loving Memory Of Our Youngest Son'.

Naval Airman 2nd Class Kevin Davies FX/705234 RNVR H.M.S. Daedalus Age 18. Darwen Cemetery. Sec. 3. Grave 3954. Son of William Stanley and Nellie Davies, of Darwen. Grave inscription: 'The Freedom Of The Sky Is Yours, Kevin, For All Time'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of these crews with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 05-05-2021

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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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