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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
14.02.1942 No 12 OTU Wellington IC R1027 Plt Off. John R. Reenberg

Operation: Training

Date: 14th February 1942 (Saturday)

Unit No: 12 Operational Training Unit (OTU), 6 Group

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: R1027

Code: Not issued

Base: RAF Chipping Norden, Northamptonshire

Location: At base, RAF Chipping Norden

Pilot: Plt Off. John Reginald Reenberg 404944 RNZAF Age 26. Killed

2nd Pilot: Plt Off. Frederick Burns Richardson 41997 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Gilbert Noel Duke 1063676 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt Sgt. Wilbert Lome Sinclair R78077 RCAF Age 27. Killed

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Wilfrid Walsh 1360278 RAFVR Age 31. Killed


Taking off on a night bombing, photography and navigation exercise.

On return to the airfield and during the approach to land at 23:35 hrs the pilot opened the throttles to go round again but the starboard engine cut and control was then lost. The starboard wingtip hit a tree with the Wellington flying into the ground 50 yards from the Station Headquarters (SHQ) at 23:36 hrs, catching fire and killing all the crew.

Burial details:

Plt Off. John Reginald Reenberg. Brookwood Military Cemetery Grave: 2.J.1A. Born on the 13th April 1915 at Martinborough, Wairarapa, New Zealand, the son of Kay and Elizabeth Reenberg.

244 flying hours logged - 91 solo with 21 on this type. No grave inscription as instructed by the Government of New Zealand. For reasons see the page: Your relatives grave explained.

Plt Off. Frederick Burns Richardson. Brookwood Military Cemetery Grave: 2.A.9. Son of Frederick and Emily Margaret Richardson, of Wellington City, New Zealand. 261 flying hours logged.

No grave inscription as instructed by the Government of New Zealand. For reasons see the page: Your relatives grave explained.

Sgt. Gilbert Noel Duke. Knocknamuckley Church Of Ireland Churchyard (St. Matthias). Grave inscription reads: "He Asked Life Of Thee And Thou Gavest It Him, Even Length Of Days For Ever And Ever". Son of John James Duke and Sarah M. Duke, of Knocknamuckley, Craigavon, Northern Ireland.

Above: York Mills honours its Boy Knight (Courtesy of The Province dated, 16th April 1942)

Flt Sgt. Wilbert Lorne Sinclair. Brookwood Military Cemetery Grave: 37.E.10. Grave inscription reads: "Tranquil You Lie, Your Knightly Virtue Proved, Your Memory Hallowed In The Land You Loved". Born on the 9th March 1915 in Toronto. Son of Arthur James and Alfretta Winifred (née Bassett) Sinclair, of 98 York Mills Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. Wilfrid Walsh. Manchester Cemetery (Gorton). Sec. A. Grave: 194. Husband of Bessie Walsh (née Hatton), of Chorlton-upon-Medlock, Manchester, England.

Researched by Kelvin Youngs (webmaster) and dedicated to the crew and their families. (Apr 2018). Update to Next of Kin details and addition of clipping got Flt Sgt. Sinclair by Aircrew Remembered (Jun 2023).

For further details our thanks to the following sources:

RS 19.06.2023 - Update to details for Flt Sgt. Sinclair

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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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