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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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RAAF Crest
22.09.1942 460 Conversion Flight Halifax II W1272 F/O. Purcivall DFC

Operation: Conversion Training

Date: 22nd September 1942 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 460 Conversion Flight. 1 Group (RAAF)

Type: Halifax II

Serial: W1272

Code: Not issued

Base: RAF Holme-On-Spalding-Moor, Yorkshire

Location: Catterton, Yorkshire

Pilot: F/O. John William Purcivall DFC. NZ/401031 RNZAF Age 30. Killed

Pilot U/T: Fl/Lt. John Alexander Falkiner AUS/400952 RAAF Age 24. Killed

Fl/Engr: Sgt. Leslie Horace Jones 646858 RAF Age 30. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Reginald George Cox AUS/402589 RAAF Age 27. Killed


Taking off on a training exercise when the instructor pilot decided to demonstrate the effects of a rudder stall which had been a problem with earlier variants.

The aircraft went into a spin from a considerable height and dived into the ground, exploding in flames on impact at 10:12 hrs.

Fl/Lt. Falkiner had an earlier accident piloting Wellington Z1249, nothing serious and all the crew escaped injury. The aircraft was repaired and placed back into service. It was lost with all 5 crew on the 03rd June 1942. Further details here.

Sgt. Cox also had an earlier encounter in Wellington Z1482, hit by ant-aircraft fire during a trip to Dusseldorf. The pilot Sgt. Peter Stuart Isaacson AUS/401068 RAAF managed to bring the aircraft back to RAF Breighton where it was then repaired. It was lost on the 15th October 1942 whilst with 18 Operational Training Unit. The loss was bizarre - the all Polish crew on a night training exercise decided that they should drop the live bomb they were carrying on the enemy rather than the bombing range. Sgt. Henryk Nowakowski 783663 PAF killed with all other 4 other Polish crew members. Further details can be found on our Polish database.

Burial details:

F/O. John William Purcivall. DFC. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall). Sec. 21E. Grave 7077. Born on the 08th August 1912 at Canbelego, Australia, the son of John William Purcivall, and of Ivy Bertha Purcivall (later Blance), of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. DFC award whilst with 103 Squadron Gazetted on 23rd September 1941. A total of 709 flying hours logged with 482 solo and 67 on the Halifax. Completed 32 operational sorties. Prior to service worked as a Omnibus driver for Gibson Motors Ltd. Half brother of P/O. Ian Edward Blance NZ/421496 RNZAF. He was sadly lost on the 29th July 1944. Further information here.

Fl/Lt. John Alexander Falkiner. Wootton Churchyard (St. Lawrence). Born on the 06th July 1918 at Caulfield, the son of Otway Rothwell Falkiner and Una Caroline Falkiner, of Widgiewa, New South Wales, Australia. B.A. (Melbourne). Grave inscription: "And I Saw A New Heaven And A New Earth" >>> Rev. Xxi.1".

Sgt. Leslie Horace Jones. Adwick-Le-Street Cemetery. Sec. Q. Grave 179. Son of Elijah and Mary Jones and husband of Nellie Gale Jones, of Woodlands, Doncaster, England. Grave inscription: "Ever Remembered".

Fl/Sgt. Reginald George Cox. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall). Sec. 21E. Grave 7078. Born on the 31st May 1915 at Kogarah, the son of Herbert Dunstan Cox and Pearl Cox, of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription: "His Duty Nobly Done".

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, Richard Allenby and his great 'Aircraft Accidents In Yorkshire' website, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 23.08.2019

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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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