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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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Bomber Command Crest
04.01.1944 No. 11 OTU Wellington IC Z8793 W/O. Thomas K. Paul

Operation: Night cross-country training.

Date: 4th January 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 11 OTU (Operational Training Unit)

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: Z8793

Base: RAF Westcott. Buckinghamshire.

Location: Brockhurst Wood, Farnham Common

Pilot (Instructor): W/O. Thomas Keith Paul NZ/41525 RNZAF Age 26. Killed (1)

Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Lawson Coulter 421358 RNZAF Age 23. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Ernest Clayton 1602352 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Jack O'Callaghan 426153 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Clive W. Estcourt RNZAF Survived

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Victor Edmond Payne 1627385 RAFVR Age 19. Killed


Took off on a night cross-country training exercise although other reports state that it was a practice high level bombing run on a range.


Above L-R: W/O. Thomas Paul, Fl/Sgt. Arthur Coulter, Fl/Sgt. Jack O'Callaghan, Sgt. Clive Estcourt (courtesy Charles Gray, K. Beauchamp and Kate Tame)

At around 02.00 hrs the aircraft hit barrage balloon cables and crashed into trees at Brockhurst Wood on Farnham Common. 

Sgt. Clive W. Estcourt survived baling out, landing in trees uninjured. 


Mrs Florence Payne visiting the stained glass window in remembrance to the crew. Newspaper cutting. (courtesy Slough Express and Kate Tame)

(1) 24/25th May 1942 W/O. Thomas Keith Paul whilst serving with 207 Squadron, escaped injured from a Lancaster I R5617 that he was piloting. Four of his crew were killed, the rear gunner, Fl/Sgt. T.A.M. Whiteman also survived.


Fl/Sgt. O'Callaghan and hIs grave at Northwood Cemetery (courtesy Kate Tame)

Burial details:

W/O. Thomas Keith Paul. Durham (St. Oswald's) Burial Ground. Row K. Grave 56. Son of Thomas Paul and of Margaret Isobelle Paul (née Savage), of Normandale, Wellington, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. Arthur Lawson Coulter. Northwood Cemetery. Sec. H. Grave 430. Son of Joseph Lawson Coulter and of Florence Ruby Coulter (née Williamson), of Auckland City, New Zealand.

Sgt. Ernest Clayton. Northwood Cemetery. Sec. H. Grave 408. Son of Ernest and Beatrice Clayton, of Southampton, England.

Fl/Sgt. Jack O'Callaghan. Northwood Cemetery. Sec. H. Grave 430. Son of Patrick O'Callaghan and of Annie O'Callaghan (née Quinn), of Lumsden Southland, New Zealand.

Sgt. Victor Edmond Payne. Northwood Cemetery. Sec. H. Grave 452. Son of Robert Victor and Florence Ivy Emily Payne, of Harrow Weald, England.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Kate Tame (relative of Fl/Sgt. Jack O'Callaghan), dedicated to other relatives and friends of the crew.


Acknowledgements: 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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', 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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