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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 Cottesmore Crest
30.10.1941 No 14 Operational Training Unit Hampden I P1294 F/O. George D. Kerr

Operation: Training

Date: 30th October 1941 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 14 Operational Training Unit (6 Group)

Type: Hampden I

Serial: P1294

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Cottesmore, Rutland, England

Location: White Lion crossroads on Llynclys Hill, Wales

Pilot: F/O. George Donald Kerr 87062 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Ivor Morgan Williams 927803 RAFVR Age 19. Killed (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Tatton 1355405 RAFVR Age 21. Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Herbert Playforth 1052823 RAFVR Age 21. Killed


Taking off from RAF Cottesmore in Rutland on a cross country navigation flight.

Witnesses stated that the aircraft was seen to emerge from cloud and to dive almost vertically. The Hampden had just cleared the Berwyn mountains in very poor visibility and driving rain. F/O. Kerr had just been provided with a corrected course back to Cottesmore when it seems the pilot lost control although from other reports it seems that the aircraft had actually levelled out prior to impact as though they were trying an emergency landing.

The evidence of this came from eye witness reports who stated that the aircraft clipped trees and a high tension wire before crashing at about 14:30 hrs into an open field where it immediately burst into flames and shortly afterward exploded. The crew were killed.

(1) The parents, Arthur and Charlotte Williams of Sgt. Williams lost another son - also during training. 23 year old LAC Stanly Rhys Williams 951314 RAFVR was killed on the 05th March 1943 during training as a navigator in South Africa. (Buried at Port Elizabeth Cemetery-South End. Grave H.Ext.Grave 28S)

(2) Later in the year on the 24th July 1941 the parents of Sgt. Tatton, William and Florence Tatton tragically lost another son. 25 year old Sgt. Cyril Tatton 1163487 RAFVR was listed as missing believed killed during a daylight operation to Brest. With 405 Squadron on Wellington II W5557 LQ-O, flown by P/O. Ronald Victor Trueman 61969 RAFVR from Shatton in Derbyshire - 4 RAFVR, 2 RCAF crew were classed as missing. (Runnymede Memorial. Panel 53)

Burial details:

F/O. George Donald Kerr. Liverpool Cemetery (Allerton) Sec. 1. R.C. Grave 37. Son of Richard and Isabella Kerr, of Liverpool, England, husband of Phyllis Kerr. (F.S.M.C)

Sgt. Ivor Morgan Williams. Cardiff Cemetery (Cathays) Sec. E.B. Grave 494. Son of Arthur Morgan Williams and Charlotte Elizabeth Williams, of Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales. Grave inscription reads: "He Loved Things That I Did And When My Footsteps Cease I'll See Him Smile Again".

Sgt. Douglas Tatton. Eddington Churchyard (St. Barnabas) Grave H.121. Son of William Caldicott Tatton and Lily Florence Winifred Tatton, of Erdington, Birmingham, England. Grave inscription reads: "His Brother Cyril Serving With The RAF Was Lost In A Raid On Brest 24th July 1941 Age 25".

Sgt. Herbert Playforth. Brompton Cemetery (Northalleton) Sec. C. Grave 111. Son of James Henry and Portia Reed Playforth, of York, England.

For further details our thanks to Helen at Find-a-Grave, Len for grave photo of F/O. Kerr, Dafydd Williams grave photo of Sgt. Tatton, Dimitrios Corcodilos for grave photo of Sgt. Playforth, Shropshire History website for further details, Ian at the Airfield Research Group, Northallerton Memorials Project for photo of Sgt. Playforth, thanks to Jim Szpajcher for correction on Cyril Tatton aircraft details - January 2018, also the sources shown below.

KTY - 07.11.2016 KTY - amended details 25.11.2017

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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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