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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
28.10.1944 No 1661 HCU Striling Mk III EE907 - K Fl/Lt. Martin

Operation: Training Exercise

Date: 28th October 1944 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 1661 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit)

Type: Stirling Mk III

Serial: EE907

Code: - K

Base: RAF Winthorpe, Nottinghamshire

Location: Horsham Wood, Lincolnshire

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Stanley Henry Martin 49148 RAF Injured (1)

Fl/Eng: F/O. Ralph J. Fairhead RAF Injured (2)

Nav: F/O. James Robertson. DFC. 155090 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Nav: Sgt. John James Glasgow. 1581293 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Alfred William Gayford. 154954 RAFVR Age 29. Injured (3)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Reed. 1590929 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.E. Buckminster RAF Injured

Air/Gnr: Sgt. A.W. Coombes RAF Injured                 


Took off from RAF Winthorpe for a night training exercise, but during the flight one engine had to be shut down. The crew were then ordered to divert to RAF Swinderby, Lincolnshire due to bad weather at their home base. While making their approach at RAF Swinderby the engines failed. The aircraft was out of control and crashed at 23.20hrs into Horsham Woods near Norton Disney, Lincolnshire. 

(1) Fl/Lt. Stanley Henry Martin had served with 83 Squadron and 14 OTU. He remained in the RAF retiring as Wing Commander and was awarded the OBE in 1968

Burial details:


F/O. A. W. Gayford and his headstone. F/O. J. Robertson DFC is remembered on the family headstone 


F/O. J. Robertson DFC is remembered on Elgin Post Office War Memorial and Lossiemouth War Memorial

F/O. James Robertson DFC. Elgin New Cemetery, Morayshire. Sec. E. South Div. Grave 37. Son of William and Helen Robertson. Husband of Agnes Robertson of Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland. F/O. Robertson had worked as a post office engineer in Elgin and is remembered on the Elgin Post Office War Memorial. He was awarded the DFC  in 1944 while serving with 467 squadron as per London Gazette 21 April 1944. He is also remembered on the Lossiemouth War Memorial

Sgt. John James Glasgow. Coventry (Canley) Cemetery. Son of Charles and Ann Rennison Glasgow of Coventry. Grad. I.A.E. At the time of his death his address was 92 Leamington Road, Coventry, England.

(2) Ralph Fairhead publish his story in a book 'An Airmans Diary. 9780861165995 Published by New Horizon 1982. 104 pages plus 11 pages of photographs. An evocative account of one man's service in the RAF before, during and after WW2 - as an Engine Fitter in Fighter Command and as a Flight Engineer/Second Pilot in Bomber Command. Following his first tour, a spell as an Instructor ended in the inevitable crash and a long period in hospital.

(3) F/O. Alfred William Gayford died of his wounds three days later on the 31st October 1944 and is buried in Grays New Cemetery, Essex. At the time of his death his address was 26 Grange Road, Grays, Essex, England.

Sgt. Robert Reed. Hartlepool (Stranton) Cemetery. Grave 98. Son of Robert and Annie Reed of West Hartlepool, England.

Researched by Kate Tame - Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. With special thanks to Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Donald Stewart - Lossiemouth Book of Remembrance, W R Chorley - Bomber Command Losses Heavy Conversion Units 1939-1947, Find a Grave, Imperial War Museum. Colin Saville from the Newark Air Museum for alerting us on the publication 'An Airmans Diary' in June 2015.

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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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