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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 bomber command crest
12.05.1943 No. 22 OTU Wellington X HE218 W/O I. Kerby

Operation: Night Cross Country Training

Date: 12th May 1943 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 22 OTU (Operational Training Unit)

Type: Wellington X

Serial: HE218

Code: -

Base: RAF Wellesbourne Mountford

Location: Compton Verney Lakes, Staffordshire

Pilot: W/O.I ‘Stewart’ Michael Joseph Stuart Kerby R/82326 RCAF Age 28. Killed

Pilot 2: W/O.II Donald Emil Elliot R/79270 RCAF Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jacob Piket R/120847 RCAF Age 31. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Joseph Harrington Collett R/76749 RCAF Age 29. Killed


During a night cross country exercise and on the return trip to the OTU base at RAF Wellesbourne Mountford one of the engines cut and at approximately 01.00 hrs the aircraft dived into ground close to the Compton Verney Lakes, Staffordshire. The Wellington caught fire on impact with all the crew killed.

W/O.I Michael Kerby had previously served in the Far East with 108 squadron. During his service there he survived a crash on the 16th November 1942 flying a Wellington IC HX380 during a bombing operation. All the crew survived - captured, imprisoned but later escaping.

His co-pilot, 22 year old Fl/Lt. Hugh Baker 116391 RAFVR (from Kellitts, Jamaica) was later missing on an operation on the 30th July 1944, whilst with 97 Squadron. Lancaster III NE121 OF-E during an operation to Cabagnes in the Normandy battle area. 6 crew killed, 3 made PoW.

Burial details:

W/O.1 Michael Joseph Stuart Kerby. Stratford-On-Avon Cemetery. Grave 4174. Son of Michael Kerby and Mary - Minnie Gertrude Kerby (née Stewart), of Ivanhoe, Ontario, Canada. Further information: One of 7 children - born on the 12th April 1915. Worked in a hardware store in Madoc, Ontario. Trained in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, later based at Camp Boden in Barrie, Ontario. He had completed his tour of operations and was due to return to Canada after his period of training new pilots with No. 22 Operational Training Unit.

W/O.II Donald Emil Elliot. Stratford-On-Avon Cemetery. Grave 4197. Son of Roland Reed Elliot and Statia Anna Elliot, of St. Lambert, Province of Quebec, Canada, husband of Phyllis H. Elliot (née Martin).

Sgt. Jacob Piket. Stratford-On-Avon Cemetery. Grave 4196. Son of Dirk and Maaike Piket, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Sgt. Joseph Harrington Collett. Stratford-On-Avon Cemetery. Grave 4173. Son of Joseph Harrington Spedding Collett and Frances Gertrude Collett, husband of Stella Elizabeth Collett, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Brock Kerby - nephew of the pilot W/O.I Michael Kerby, David Champion for photographs and information - March 2016.

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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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