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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
06.07.1942 22 Operational Training Unit (OTU) Wellington IC R1465 LT:Y Flt Sgt. John Kemp

Operation: Training

Date: 6th July 1942 (Monday)

Unit No: 22 Operational Training Unit (OTU)

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: R1465

Code: LT:Y

Base: RAF Wellesbourne Mountford, Warwickshire.

Location: Waen Rhydd, Brecon Beacons, Wales.

Pilot: Flt Sgt. John Beverley Kemp R88687 RCAF Age 21. Killed

Obs: Flt Sgt. Ernest Edward Mittell R71725 RCAF Age 22. Killed

Obs 2: Sgt. Kenneth Ferguson Yuill R106035 RCAF Age 30. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Harold Creighton Beatty R75332 RCAF Age 28. Killed

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. James Patrick Hayes R82352 RCAF Age 22. Killed


On a training night cross country run when the aircraft came down at 00:30 hrs on Waen Rhydd in the Brecon Beacons. The aircraft was carrying practice bombs and reconnaissance flares at the time.

It is thought that during heavy low cloud the pilot decided to descend from his cruising height of 10,000 ft to try and fix his position. During his descent the Wellington hit the summit of Waen Rhydd with the loss of all five Canadian crew.

Simon Cooper visited the crash site and kindly submitted the photographs for use on this remembrance page.

The Brecon Beacons Memorial Cairn is the UK's highest situated war memorial standing in a rough and exposed Beacons' area at SO062201 near Cwar-y-Gigfran. The Cairn was built in 1980 by the Tredegar Comprehensive School's Outdoor Activities Group. R1465 took part in the first ever Thousand-Bomber-Raid on Cologne carrying two 500lb bombs but, during a similar attack the following night, it suffered radio failure and was forced to return to base. R1465 was thereafter employed for training. On the fateful night other crews reported bad weather and icing at 10,000' over the Brecon Beacons.

The aircraft's wreckage surrounds the Memorial Cairn, while both engines lie in the valley below.
Each Remembrance Sunday hill walkers converge on this site to pay their respects. A member of the group gives a short talk and then the two minutes silence is observed. At least two wreathes are laid, one on behalf of all Canadian veterans and the other on behalf of The Brecon Beacons Memorial Cairn Association.

Memorial Cairn - 11 November 2018 (courtesy Keith Williams - Retired teacher (Tredegar Comprehensive School))

Note: Keith's contact email is now: [email protected]

Crash site images 2012 (courtesy Simon Cooper)

Although it is great that many walkers visit this crash site, it must be remembered that it is protected. So, please, take only photos - leave only footprints or a poppy in remembrance!

Burial details:

Flt Sgt. John Beverley Kemp. Hereford Cemetery. Plot A. (C. of E.) Joint grave 5619. Grave Inscription: "HUSBAND OF FREDA VICKERS. TO MEMORY EVER DEAR". Born on the 25th August 1920 in St. Catharines, Ontario. Son of John Beverley Oxborough and Emma Isabel (née Donovan) Kemp; husband of Freda Rose (née Vickers), of Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

His brother, Fg Off. Kenneth D. Kemp was also KiA. Flying with 405 (Vancouver) Squadron, RCAF as a Bomb Aimer on an operation to Kiel when his Lancaster III PB239 LQ:D was lost off the coast of Denmark. Esbjerg (Fourfelt) Cemetery. Grave A.13.12

Flt Sgt. Ernest Edward Mittell. Hereford Cemetery. Plot A. (C. of E.) Joint grave 5640. Grave Inscription: "BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH. AND I WILL GIVE THEE A CROWN OF LIFE." Born on the 7th August 1919 in Clinton, Ontario. Son of Edward L. And Annie Edna (née Rozell) Mittell, of Clinton, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Kenneth Ferguson Yuill. Hereford Cemetery. Plot A. (C. of E.) Joint grave 5619. Grave Inscription: "HIS LIFE IS A BEAUTIFUL MEMORY, HIS ABSENCE A SILENT GRIEF". Born on the 28th March 1912 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Son of James McAuley and Agnes (née McCririck) Yuill, brother of Grenville, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Educated at Principal Sparling School and Daniel McIntyre College. Prior to enlistment in May, 1941 he worked for Ronald Griggs and Co.

Yuill Lake East of Etawny Lake in Manitoba is named after Sgt. Kenneth Yuill

FltSgt. Harold Creighton Beatty. Hereford Cemetery. Plot A. (C. of E.) Joint grave 5640. Grave Inscription: "REST IN PEACE". Born on the 24th November 1914 of Donalda, Alberta. Son of Rowe Henry and Ina Ellen (née Brown) Beatty of King Edward Hatel, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Beatty Point on Wollaston Lake,Saskatchewan is named after Flt Sgt. Harold Beatty

Sgt. James Patrick Hayes. Hereford Cemetery. Plot A. (C. of E.) Grave 5660. Grave Inscription: "HE GAVE HIS LIFE. HIS ALL THAT OTHERS MIGHT BE FREE. FATHER, MOTHER, JACK, WILLIAM AND DONALD.". Born on the 24th March 1920 in Souris, Manitoba. Son of Emmanuel and Mabel (née Hollowell) Hayes, of Souris, Manitoba, Canada.

Main interest prior to joining the RCAF was scouting and that the had reached the level of King's Scout. A shopman prior to his enlistment in 1940.

Hayes Lake, north of Tadoule Lake, Manitoba is named after Sgt. James Hayes

Researched for relatives of the crew. With thanks to Simon Cooper for the use of the photographs, Colin Bamford our Canadian researcher for additional valuable information, Les Allison and Harry Hayward - 'They Shall Grow Not Old', Many thanks to Keith Williams for the added information regarding the memorial (Nov 2018). Thanks to Keith Williams for the correction to his contact details (Sep 2022). Other updates to NoK details by Aircrew Remembered (Sep 2022).

Other sources listed below:

RS 16.09.2022 - Correction to Keith Williams contact and update to NoK details

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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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