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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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54 squadron
26.11.1945 54 Squadron Tempest II MW778 Fg Off Richardson DFM.

Operation: Training

Date: 26th November 1945 (Monday)

Unit: 54 Squadron

Type: Tempest II

Serial: MW778 / MW811 / MW799

Base: RAF Chilbolton, Hampshire

Location: Clatford Oakcutts, Hampshire.

Pilot: Fg Off. Leonard Richardson DFM. 177113 RAFVR Age 24. Killed


We have listed Fg Off Richardson as the main page, but the reason that we have decided to place this page is that within one hour - three aircraft from the same squadron were killed in totally separate accidents. Quite astonishing in peace time.

Having said that, the squadron had just moved to this base some two months previously and were the first squadron to receive this variant of the Tempest and delivered as they arrived at RAF Chilbolton.

Above: as described (Courtesy Mark Sheppard)

Fg Off. Leonard Richardson had broken away from the formation and it is assumed that he lost control whilst flying on instruments, the Tempest spun out of cloud, crashed and caught fire.

Note: The exact locations have been reported in areas that we have not been able to positively identify - however after further research we feel that we have the locations more or less correct.

WO. Peter Cobb 1676246, killed when his Tempest II MW811 hit the ground at 11:05 hrs. Inexperienced on this type of aircraft and flying in cloud - descended to gain more visual - aircraft banked steeply at 100 ft and side slipped into ground. Location: Pill Heath, Hampshire.

Flt Sgt. Frederick Blakey 1567606, killed whilst practising 'homings' the pilot lost control of his Tempest II MW799 in cloud and crashed at 11:30 hrs. Location: Mungry Lodge, Hampshire.

Burial Details:

Fg Off. Leonard Richardson DFM. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 25.E.3. Son of Augustus Thomas Richardson and Lillian Richardson of Dorking, Surrey, England.

1335505 Flt.Sgt. Leonard Richardson was awarded the DFM whilst with 197 Squadron, London Gazette 31st October 1944.

WO. Peter Cobb. Rawdon Churchyard (St. Peter). Sec D. Grave 248. Son of Albert and Janet Cobb of Horsforth, Yorkshire, England.

Flt Sgt. Frederick Blakey. Billingham Churchyard (St. Cuthbert). Son of John and Margate Ann Blakey of Billingham, Durham, England.

Researched for relatives of these pilots. With thanks to the following for further information supplied, Colin Cummings - 'The Price Of Peace'. Also to Mark Sheppard for the supply of the pilot photographs. Other sources as quoted.

We welcome any contributions from relatives / friends regarding this or indeed any other losses, both aircrew ground crew. Not much has been written regarding the women who helped their countries. We would like to help change the imbalance. Addition of DFM details for Fg Off Richardson (Apr 2021).

RS 07.04.2021 - Updates and DFM notification added

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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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