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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
09.11.1941 No. 25 Operational Training Unit Wellington IC W2783 PP-Q Sgt. Howard

Operation: Training

Date: 09th November 1941 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 25 Operational Training Unit ‘B’ Flight (7 Group)

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: W2783

Code: PP-Q

Base: RAF Finningley, Yorkshire

Location: Near Rossington, Yorkshire

Pilot: Sgt. Henry Clifford Howard AUS/400471 RAAF Age 22. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Arthur John Coe NZ/404530 RNZAF Age 21 Injured (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frank Morton Oddy 1308648 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Willie Holden 992165 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Clifford William Musto AUS/406149 RAAF Age 26 Injured (2)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Reginald Wilton Durdin AUS/407201 RAAF Age 27. Killed


Taking off from RAF Finningley in Yorkshire on a night training exercise.

It is understood that the aircraft crashed due to incorrectly setting the altimeter. The Wellington crashed at 21:15 hrs near the village of Rossington. Two of the crew survived with various degrees of injuries - sadly only to lose their lives later in the war!

(1) Sgt. Arthur John Coe survived the crash with burns. After a 6 month recovery period he then returned to New Zealand carrying out ground duties. In 1943 he returned to England as F/O. to take up further operational flying duties.

On Friday 06th April 1945 whilst based at Rosières-en-Santerre in France with 487 (NZ) Squadron they took off at 22:03 hrs on an intruder operation against railway junctions and trains.

With his pilot 27 year old, Sq/Ldr. Ian George Medwin NZ/41488 RNZAF from Claudelands, Auckland, New Zealand in Mosquito FB.VI. SZ990 EG-E. After about a mile the aircraft dropped sharply hitting the airfield approach Funnel tower landing lightpost - killing both the crew.

(2) Sgt. Clifford William Musto recovered from his mainly facial injuries and later joined 207 Squadron based at RAF Bottesford. On the 10/11 August 1942 he was flying with 21 year old F/O. John Garfield Speir J/5136 RCAF from Toronto, Canada on Lancaster I R5499 EM-O on a gardening operation to the Silverthorn area. All 7 crew are classed as missing - believed killed.

Burial details:

Sgt. Henry Clifford Howard. Finningley Churchyard Extension (Holy Trinity And St. Oswald). Row F. Grave 4. Born on the 10th April 1919 at Norwood South Australia, the son of Egbert Percy and Irene Eliza Clifford Howard, of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Sgt. Frank Morton Oddy. Shipley Cemetery (Nab Wood). Sec. U. Grave 735. Son of Frederick William and Gertrude Oddy, of Shipley, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Willie Holden. Bradford Cemetery (Bowling). Sec. G. Grave 238. Son of William E. Holden and Mary Ann Thackray Holden, of Bradford, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Reginald Wilton Durdin. Finningley Churchyard Extension (Holy Trinity And St. Oswald). Row G. Grave 4. Born on the 09th December 1913 in Nort Adelaide, South Australia, the son of William Reginald and Elizabeth Eleanor Durdin and husband of Betty Mavis Durdin, of Lameroo, South Australia.


F/O. Arthur John Coe. Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery. Plot 7. Row BB. Grave 11. Son of John Coe and of Helen Mildred Coe (née Chamberlain), of Irwell, Canterbury and husband of Linda Margaret Coe, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. 439 flying hours logged with a recorded 30 operations.

Sgt. Clifford William Musto. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 113. Born on the 22nd May 1914 at Applecross, Western Australia, the son of Sydney and Edith Julia Musto and husband of Patricia Alice Musto, of South Perth, Western Australia.

Sq/Ldr. Ian George Medwin. Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery. Plot 7. Row BB. Grave 10. Son of Hubert George and Rhoda Medwin, of Claudelands, Auckland, New Zealand. 1124 flying hours logged with a recorded 40 plus operations.

For further details our thanks to Errol Martyn - For Your Tomorrow Vol’s 1-3, Bill Chorley for his great work, Australian Archives and New Zealand Cenotaph, also to the following sources.

KTY - 20.08.2017

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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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