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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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Bomber Command Crest
20.01.1944 No. 18 OTU Wellington III BK273 F/O. Richard H.B. Jennings

Operation: Training

Date: 20th January 1944 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 18 OTU (Operational Training Unit)

Type: Wellington III

Serial: BK273

Base: RAF Worksop, Nottinghamshire

Location: Worksop College, Nottinghamshire

Pilot: F/O. Richard Harvey Brooke Jennings 118399 RAFVR Age 30. killed

Nav: P/O. Robert Frederick Wade 152946 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Colin William Owen Sears 152995 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Patrick Downes 1671293 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Ernest Dudley Sillatoe 1216021 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Relatives of the crew are invited to send us any information / photographs that can be added to this page of remembrance.


Took off at 20.25 hrs from RAF Worksop on a night conversion training exercise for this crew on this type of aircraft. 

Later, at around 20.50 hrs after overshooting the runway towards the West then climbing to around 400 ft. a blade sheared from the starboard propeller and very shortly afterwards the nose dropped with the aircraft diving into the grounds of Worksop College.

Right: Sgt. Patrick Downes (courtesy Dave Walsh)

The aircraft hit the ground and burst into flames - scattering debris over a large area, killing all the 5 man crew. The bodies were claimed by relatives and buried in their various home towns.

If anyone has further information on this, we would welcome it, passing onto the relatives. 

Another crew lost during training - just one of thousands (yes - thousands!) that are perhaps not thought of as much as the other operational crews. 

Aircrew Remembered hope, with the assistance of relatives and volunteers, to address this.

Help us - to remember them.

Worksop College today - with insert dated 1936 (archives)

Burial details:

F/O. Richard Harvey Brooke Jennings. Southend-On-Sea (Sutton Road) Cemetery. Sec C. Grave 433. Son of George and Elizabeth Marie Jennings, of Charlton Horethorne, Somerset. M.Inst. M.T. England.

P/O. Robert Frederick Wade. Islington Cemetery and Crematorium. Sec. O. Block 10. Grave 21257P. Son of Frederick James Wade and Lucy Edith Wade, of Upper Holloway, London, England.

P/O. Colin William Owen Sears. Beckenham Crematorium and Cemetery. Sec H1. Grave 19397. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Sgt. Patrick Downes. Great Crosby (SS. Peter and Paul) Roman Catholic Churchyard Sec D. Grave 473-474. Son of James and Ellen Downes, of Liverpool, England.

Sgt. Kenneth Ernest Dudley Sillatoe. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec C. Row J. Grave 13. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Walter Sillatoe, of Holloway, London, England.

Researched for Dave Walsh, relative of Sgt. Patrick Downes and all the relatives of the crew.

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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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