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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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R.A.F. Crest
No. 30 O.T.U. Wellington III DF640 BT-P Another crew lost in training

Operation: Night circuit training exercise.

Date: 26th April 1944 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 30 Operational Training Unit

Type: Wellington III

Serial: DF640-P

Code: BT-P

Base: RAF Hixon, Staffordshire.

Location: Weston Bank, Stafford.

Pilot: F/O. Norman Albert Roberts Mousdell 149351 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Edward Dixon Macdonald 1685261 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Harold Desmond Purbrick 1836889 RAFVR Age 19. Killed 


On the 26th April 1944,Wellington DF 640-P took off from RAF Hixon, Staffordshire, on a night-circuit training exercise. On their first landing at 01:34 hours the Wellington bounced rather badly and the crew attempted to go round again, but the aircraft failed to gain height and flew into a hill, known locally as Weston Bank, Stafford, two hundred and fifty feet above sea level. before bursting into flames on impact among some trees.


30 O.T.U, Wellington's with DF640 shown 2nd from bottom. Also, a print widely available post war of same scene. A model Wellington was also produced using the same decals for this lost Wellington.


Memorial of St. Margaret, Yatton Keynell. Insert showing Sgt. Harold Desmond Purbrick and the church. (courtesy Duncan and Maddy Ball)

Burial details:

F/O. Norman Albert Roberts Mousdell. Chester (Blacon) Churchyard, Cheshire. Section A. Grave 541. Son of Albert James and Emily Grace Mousdell of Liverpool, England.

Sgt. Edward Dixon Macdonald. Ennerdale (St.Mary) Churchyard Extension, Cumberland. Grave 164. Son of Edward Dixon and Mary Agnes MacDonald of Cleator Moor, England.

Sgt. Harold Desmond Purbrick. Yatton Keynell (St.Margaret) Churchyard, Wiltshire. South West Corner. Also commemorated on the memorial of St. Margaret, Yatton Keynell, Wiltshire. Further information:

Born on the 13th January 1925, the son of Albert Edward and Ellen Rose Purbrick of Yatton Keynell, Wiltshire, England. When his father died in 1938 of appendicitis, Harold, known as “Deb” helped his mother out in their village shop and petrol filling station and also did the boot and shoe repairs for customers. (His brother Ted survived the war on H.M.S. Wizard in the Pacific, being in Tokyo Bay for the surrender of the Japanese.) Harold enlisted in the R.A.F.V.R. on the 24th July 1943 Deb had been one of the air gunners of the crew.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Photo credits of Sergeant Purbrick to Ted Purbrick (brother) Thanks also to Duncan and Maddy Ball for memorial photograph.

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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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