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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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420 Squadron Crest
10/11.04.1943 No. 420 Squadron Wellington X HE422 F/O. Charles W. Jackson

Operation: Frankfurt, Germany

Date: 10/11th April 1943 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 420 Squadron RCAF (Snowy Owl)

Type: Wellington X

Serial: HE422 

Coded: PT-?

Location: Burmington near Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire, England

Pilot: F/O. Charles Warner Jackson J/20125 RCAF Age 24. Drowned.

Nav: Sgt. H.B. Elhorn RCAF Survived

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Alexander Hugh MacDonald R/124964 RCAF Survived, slightly injured (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.T. Kydd RAFVR Survived

Air/Gnr: Sgt. K.T. Allan RCAF Survived


F/O. Charles Jackson and his crew had been posted to the ‘Snowy Owl’ squadron on March 26th 1943, and this was to be their second operational sortie with the Squadron. On the night of April 10, 1943 thirteen Wellington bombers of No.420 ‘Snowy Owl’ Squadron, RCAF took off from Middleton St George, Durham en-route to bomb Frankfurt. Among these aircraft was Wellington X, serial number HE422 carrying a total of six small bomb container.

P/O. Jackson with right: his sister, Mrs. Hazel Jackson Elliott, with her husband at her brothers grave

Eight aircraft bombed the target and four returned early. HE 422 was successful in bombing the target but on return the aircraft had apparently wandered decidedly off track, becoming low on fuel the pilot gave the order to bale out as they reached the coastline in the vicinity of Tenby, South Wales. Having selected ‘George’ (automatic pilot) the crew abandoned the aircraft. All were recovered with no more than slight injuries, with the exception of F/O. Jackson who, it is believed was drowned in Carmarthen Bay.

In the early hours of April 11th, the residents of the small Warwickshire village of Burmington were awakened by the sound of an aircraft hitting the ground followed by an explosion. The crashed aeroplane turned out to be Wellington HE422 it had flown some 140 miles after the crew had left her. 

Among the residents of Burmington who would later retain memories of the crash and subsequent fire, was a very small boy, Bob Aston. He and a colleague were to spend a chilly morning at the crash site 46 years later, successfully coaxing a reluctant JCB into action. A team of aviation archaeologists carried out a recovery at the scene, by kind permission of the landowner, Bill Joynes and the Ministry of Defence. Many relics of HE422 were recovered including a geodetic section, tail assembly, Hercules engine makers plate, carburettor, supercharger and main wheel and tyre. 

(1) On the 6th November 1943 Sgt. Alexander Hugh MacDonald was flying with a crew from No. 1679 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit) during conversion training on Lancaster DS649 when the aircraft crashed. Believed to be attempting an emergency landing after an apparent on board fire when the aircraft clipped trees and hit the ground at Rose Cottage Farm near Terrington. All the 6 member crew were killed.

Left: Grave of F/O. MacDonald (place mouse over image)


F/O. Charles Warner Jackson. Carew (St. Mary.) New Churchyard, South Wales. Row. B. Grave No. 6. Son of John Warner Jackson and Ella Eugene Jackson, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Left: Grave of Sgt. MacDonald (place mouse over image)

Sgt. Alexander Hugh MacDonald. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. Sec C. Row D. Grave 14. Son of Hugh MacDonald, and of Rose MacDonald, of Bridgeport, Nova Scotia, Canada.

For further details our thanks to the following, 'Paradie Archive'. Les Allison and Harry Hayward - 'They Shall Grow Not Old', Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’, Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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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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