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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
07.02.1944 No. 1663 HCU Halifax V DK192 Fl/Lt. Alfred J.S. Hodson DFC

Operation: Training

Date: 7th February 1944 (Monday)

Unit: No. 1663 HCU. (Heavy Conversion Unit)

Type: Halifax V

Serial: DK192

Code: ?

Base: RAF Rufforth

Location: Garrowby Hill, Yorkshire.

Pilot: (Inst) Fl/Lt. Alfred John Shirley Hodson DFC. 130663 RAFVR Age 29. Killed (1)

Pilot 2: (U/T) Fl/Sgt. Stanley Bright 1042582 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Frederick Nelson 1796160 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Nav: F/O. John Kingsley Meyler 151321 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Smith 1577088 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Gordon McDonald 1822095 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: (U.T) Sgt. Sidney James Booker 1866190 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Civilian: Home Guard. Arthur Wood Kirkby Age 39. Killed


Took off from RAF Rufforth in the morning of the 7th February for a cross country training exercise. 

A well respected local employee, Arthur Kirkby was driving his milk collection vehicle to the various village farms, collecting milk to take to the railway station when at 10:14 hrs Halifax DK192 hit the truck killing him and all the crew on the aircraft. The aircraft had skidded across the main road after, it seems, it reduced height to get their bearings not realising that they were in the area of Garrowby Hill - the highest peak in that area at 838 ft. The aircraft exploded in flames shortly after impact.

The usual bomb aimer on that flight had been Alun Emlyn-Jones but had an erupting appendix and was taken off duty by the medical officer. He never forgot his crew and in May 1996 he was instrumental in having a granite memorial built at the spot. The York Gliding club have laid wreaths at the crash site.

(1) Fl/Lt. Alfred John Shirley Hodson, during service with 76 Squadron completed a tour. London Gazette January 7th 1944 reads:

"This officer has completed many sorties, involving attacks on various centres in the Ruhr and many other important targets in Germany. He is a fearless and skilful captain, whose determination to achieve success has always been apparent and his efforts have been worthy of great praise. His example has greatly inspired his crew."

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Alfred John Shirley Hodson DFC. Harrogate Cemetery Sec. C. Row K. Grave 19. No further details as yet - are you able to assist with this?

Fl/Sgt. Stanley Bright. Newcastle Upon Tyne Cemetery Sec. E. Cons. Grave 108. Son of Thomas and Mary Bright, of Westerhope, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.

Sgt. John Frederick Nelson. Belfast City Cemetery Sec. L.1. Grave 304. Son of John and Dorothy Louise Nelson, of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

F/O. John Kingsley Meyler Jarrow Cemetery Sec. 3 Grave 258. Son of John Charles and Margaret Meyler, of Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, England.

Sgt. Kenneth Smith. Hednesford Church Sec. E. Row 12. Grave 3. Son of Edward and Annie Maria Smith; husband of Jane Lorraine Smith, of Hednesford, Cannock, Staffordshire, England.

Sgt. Peter Gordon McDonald. Glasgow Western Sec. D. Grave 1040. Son of P. McDonald and Margaret McDonald, of Bearsden, Dunbartonshire, Scotland.

Sgt. Sidney James Booker. City of London Cemetery Manor Park, Square 328. Grave 111442. No further details as yet - are you able to assist with this?

Civilian: Home Guard. Arthur Wood Kirkby. Pocklington Rural District Cemetery. Employed at the time by the London and North Eastern Railway. Son of B.A. Kirkby, of 3 Carlton Street, Hessle Road, Hull, and of the late John W. Kirkby 33030 - A private in the East Yorkshire Regiment, killed on the 9th April 1918 and buried in Pas de Calais, France.

Researched by Jennifer Graham and webmaster for relatives / friends of the crew.

KTY/JG 01.07.2015 Update layout

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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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