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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
02.09.1944 No. 1656 HCU Halifax LW344 P/O. Herbert Garthwaite

Operation: Training - cross country flight

Date: 2nd September 1944 (Saturday)

Unit: No.1656 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU)

Type: Halifax II

Serial: LW344

Base: RAF Lindholme

Location: On the outskirts of Little Casterton, Lincolnshire

Pilot: P/O. Herbert Garthwaite 179288 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Ernest Clifford Alsop 1488179 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav(Screened): P/O. Douglas John Black AUS/426028 RAAF Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Stanley George Jacobs AUS/432193 RAAF Age 20. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Hugh Andrew Bodin 1050107 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Douglas Stanley Thompson 338267 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Campbell 1355935 RAFVR Age 38. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ambrose Trimby 1354812 RAFVR Age 32. Killed


Extract from the Court of Inquiry into the accident - Halifax II LW344.

(A) Halifax II number LW344 was on a Y training cross country flight of the aircraft by day when it flew into bad weather and crashed one and a half miles N.N.E. of Stamford. All eight members of the crew were fatally injured. Parts of the aircraft were found scattered a considerable distance from the main wreckage and none of these showed any signs of fire. The main wreckage caught fire on impact. (12.50hrs) A search was made over a wide area for the two port engines but they could not be found.
(B) The Court consider that there is no evidence to show any mechanical failure to the aircraft. It is our opinion that the loss of the aircraft was due to the weather.

We are of the opinion that the weather could have caused the crash in two ways:
(1) The aircraft became out of control due to icing.
(2) The aircraft was struck by lightening causing partial disintegration. The twelfth witness, the only witness who could be found who saw the aircraft in the air immediately before it crashed is emphatic when he states that the aircraft appeared to him to be flying normally and that it was struck by lightening.
The Court can find no evidence of burns caused by lightening in the parts of the aircraft which fell some distance from the main crash. From the evidence it is known that severe icing conditions existed in the area and at the time of the crash. It is therefore the opinion of the court that the aircraft entered cloud and became iced up and then out of control descended at an excessive speed causing partial disintegration immediately before impact. Dated 13th December 1944.

Above left to right: Sgt. Ernest Clifford Alsop, Fl/Sgt. Stanley George Jacobs, Fl/Sgt. Hugh Andrew Bodin, Sgt. Ambrose Trimby

Burial details:

P/O. Herbert Garthwaite. Austerfield (St.Helena) Churchyard. Right of entrance. Son of Leonard Stanley and Ethel Garthwaite, of Austerfield.

Sgt. Ernest Clifford Alsop. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. Sec. 12N. Grave 3886. Son of George and Clara Alsop, of Harrogate.

P/O. Douglas John Black. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 14702. Son of John William and Daphne Helen Black, of Coorparoo, Queensland, Australia.

Fl/Sgt. Stanley George Jacobs. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 14502. Son of Reuben Armitage Jacobs and Edith Jessie Jacobs, of Eastwood,New South Wales, Australia.

Fl/Sgt. Hugh Andrew Bodin. Cathcart Cemetery. Grave 905. Son of Revd. William Bodin and Elizabeth Patterson Marr Bodin, of Lochee, Dundee.

Sgt. Douglas Stanley Thompson. Walsall Ryecroft Cemetery. Sec. 1. Grave 69. Son of Alexander G. Thompson and Emily Thompson, of Walsall.

Sgt. William Campbell. Glasgow (Sandymount) Cemetery. Grave 440. Son of William John and Janet Sneddon Campbell, of Mount Vernon, Lanarkshire.

Sgt. Ambrose Trimby. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 14302. Son of Reginald Percy and Clara Jessie Trimby, of Bournemouth, Hampshire, husband of Iris Trimby, of Boscombe, Hampshire.

Thanks to Fred Trimby for supplying photos for this remembrance page. Also to Dorothy Alsop and to Graeme Clark for photographs. Roger Garland from Australia contacted us in August 2017 and submitted photo of his Great Uncle, Fl/Sgt. Stanley George Jacobs.

KTY - Page updated 11.08.2017

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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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