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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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No. 196 Squadron
‘04.04.1944 No. 196 Squadron 'A' Flight Stirling IV LJ842 W/O. Lees

Mission: Training Exercise

Date: 4th April 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 196 Squadron. 'A' Flight

Type: Stirling IV

Serial: LJ842

Code: ?

Base: RAF Keevil, Trowbridge, Wiltshire

Location: Nr. Romsey, Hampshire

Pilot: W/O. John Hugh Lees. AUS/410069. RAAF Age 28. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Shayrene Meera. 1697800. RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Nav: F/O. John Robert Teece. 145397. RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. John Thomas Wilkinson. 1532527. RAFVR Age 29. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Kenrick Payne. AUS/408353. RAAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Sidney Claypole. 1229967. RAFVR Age 23.Killed

Left: Striling aircraft towing a Horsa Glider Right: Sgt. Lees 1st on left back row


Took off from RAF Keevil towing Horsa LG999 on a Group training exercise, code named 'Dreme' This cross-country night exercise of various legs was to take three and half hours and the gliders were to be released over Brize Norton. Low cloud was reported in the Lewis area and on the leg from Lewis to Winchester lower cloud than expected was encountered.

The pilot decided to fly below the cloud and hit the top of a tree. The glider released immediately and crashed at Warnford killing all on board. Stirling LJ842 continued in the air for approx 15 minutes and crashed at 21:00hrs 1m SW of Romsey some 18 miles from the glider accident.

W/O. Lees and Fl/Sgt. Payne

Burial details:
W/O. John Hugh Lees. Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery. Somerset. Plot 39. Sec. H. Row B. Grave 247. Son of John William and Mary Jane Lees of Diggora South, Victoria, Australia. W/O. Lees was buried on the 12th April 1944 with full service honours

Sgt. Shayrene Meera. Gateshead East Cemetery, Durham. Div. 30. Grave 222. Son of Massahood Meera and of Harriet Meera of Gateshead

F/O. John Robert Teece. Dudley (St. Augustine, Holly Hall) Churchyard, Worcestershire. Block A. Row 2. Grave 22. No further information as yet

Fl/Sgt. John Thomas Wilkinson. South Shields (Harton) Cemetery. Durham. Sec. M. Grave 10117. Son of Norman and Elizabeth Catherine Wilkinson of South Shields

Fl/Sgt. Kenrick Payne. Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery. Somerset. Plot 39. Sec. H. Row C. Grave 247. Son of Kenrick Taylor Payne and Mary Winifred Payne of South Forest, Taasmania, Australia. Fl/Sgt. Payne was buried on the 12th April 1944 with full service honours.

Sgt. Sidney Claypole. Nottingham Church Cemetery, Nottinghamshire. All Souls Sec. Grave 7844. Son of Henry and Elizabeth Claypole of Nottingham

Researched by: Kate Tame for Aircrew Remembered and all the relatives of the crew

Acknowledgements: Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Australian War Museum, Find a Grave, Imperial War Museum

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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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