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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
13.08.1944 No. 14 OTU Wellington X LN281 F/O. Norman Owen DFC

Operation: Training

Date: 13th August 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 14 OTU (Operational Training Unit)

Type: Wellington X

Serial: LN281

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Market Harborough

Location: Saxby Rod, Melton Mowbray

Pilot: F/O. Norman Owen DFC. 162950 RAF Age 26. Killed (1)

Pilot U/T: Sgt. Edward Mansell Roberts 1624053 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: P/O. Sydney Jack Guiver 174686 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Nav U/T: Sgt. William Marshall Thomas 1652484 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Leonard Wilson 1684528 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert McCudden 1822819 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Robert Stafford 1881894 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Henry Raby RAFVR Age 19. Survived - seriously injured (2)


Taking off on a cross country exercise from RAF Market Harborough in Leicestershire at 15:45 hrs.

Instructors on the flight were the experienced pilot, F/O. Norman Owen DFC and navigator, P/O. Sydney Guiver.

During the flight the starboard engine failed - Wellington overflew the airfield at some 1000 ft and commended a large circuit in order to land the aircraft.

At around 19:30 hrs, Wellington LN281 stalled, coming down in a field off Saxby road, east of Melton Mowbray. The aircraft immediately caught fire. Despite heroic efforts from a group of air cadets to assist the crew only the rear gunner escaped death suffering major burns to his hands and face.

In August 2014 Brian Fare and others from the Melton Aviation Society, as well as relatives, friends and well wishers had managed to raise funds, to unveil a memorial to the crew. (see link below for full story)

Right: Memorial photo courtesy Peter Wolfendale)

(1) F/O. Norman Owen DFC Had previously served with 207 Squadron. The father of Peter Corley, who contacted us in July 2015, had served as a member of his crew on several operations.

(2) Sgt. George Henry Raby suffered severe burns - recovered and re-entered service after treatment. after receiving treatment at the Guinea Pig Club (Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, Sussex). Passed away in August 2015.

Burial details:

F/O. Norman Owen DFC. Old Colwyn Church Cemetery. Sec. C of E. Grave 34. Further information: Son of Richard and Diana Owen, of Colwyn Bay, husband of Mary Owen, of Dolwen, Conway, Wales. Norman Owen grew up on Pendared Farm, Llysfaen, with his sister and five brothers. In the 1930s he was a constable with London Metropolitan Police, serving at Hammersmith throughout the Blitz. He volunteered to join the RAF and trained as a pilot at Turner Field, Georgia, USA. Completing his training in Britain. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, backdated to 12th August 1944, for completing 36 sorties - a full operational tour as a Lancaster bomber pilot with 207 Squadron, based at RAF Spilsby, Lincolnshire. Having completed the tour, he became an instructor at Market Harborough, Leicestershire with 14 OTU.

Sgt. Edward Mansell Roberts. Buckley Non-conformist Cemetery. Son of Wilfred and Martha Roberts, of Buckley, Flintshire, Wales.

P/O. Sydney Jack Guiver. Southend-On-Sea Cemetery (Sutton Road). Plot C. Grave 722. Son of Frederick George and Maud Emily Guiver, of Southend-on-Sea. England. Husband of Dora Isabel Guiver.

Sgt. William Marshall Thomas. Aberdare Cemetery, Glamorganshire. Uncons. Grave X/4120. From Aberdare, Wales.

Sgt. Leonard Wilson. Alverthorpe Churchyard (St. Paul). Sec. T. Grave 374. Son of Elsie Wilson, and stepson of Hedley Whittlestone, of Lupset, Wakefield, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Robert McCudden. Selkirk Cemetery, Selkirkshire. Sec. H. Grave 2108. Son of Alexander and Christina McCudden, of Kilncroft, Selkirk, Scotland.

Sgt. Peter Robert Stafford. Oxford Cemetery (Botley). Plot H/3. Grave 124. Son of John Francis and Dorothy Mary Stafford, of Addiscombe, Croydon, Surrey, England.

Thanks to Peter Corley whose father had served with F/O. Norman Owen DFC during 207 Squadron service. Brian Hare and the Melton Aviation Society for information and photographs. They also have a Facebook page with far more information on the memorial. With thanks also to Peter Wolfendale who contacted us with details - January 2017) For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.

KTY 18.07.2015 Updated January 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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