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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
02.05.1943 11 Operational Training Unit Wellington Ic Z8866 Sgt. Richmond

Operation: Training Exercise

Date: 02nd May 1943 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 11 Operational Training Unit 92 Group

Type: Wellington Ic

Serial: Z8866 (some publications state Z8806 also Z8805)

Code: XM-X

Base: RAF Westcott

Location: Belcher's Farm, near Stadhampton

Pilot: Sgt. John Roderick Richmond 658703 RAF Age 22. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Leonard Robert Crouch 1320612 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Horace James Cox 1333683 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric Desmond Scott 1272216 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Arthur Cheetham 949236 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Nathaniel Harker 1563753 RAFVR Age 21. Killed


The six crew members were all part of Course 69 with 11 OTU.

Taking off from RAF Westcott at 01:44 hrs. At 02:45 hrs. the aircraft was undertaking night bombing practice at Warpsgrove Range but after dropping two bombs, the aircraft was seen to be on fire.

It was later confirmed to have crashed at Belcher's Farm as described within the forms at the National Archives, Kew. The crew were all killed and their bodies claimed by the next of kin.

The pilot (probably with the same crew) were involved in an accident just two weeks previous to this loss. On Wednesday 21st April taking off from RAF Westcott at 21:20 hrs on a night exercise. Flying Wellington Ic T2883 when a propeller became detached. He managed to force land the aircraft at 01:15 hrs with no injuries to the crew.

Burial details:

Sgt. John Roderick Richmond. Epsom Cemetery, Section N, Grave 258. Son of Herbert Roderick and Bessie Harriet Richmond (nee Reeves), of 45 Copse Edge Avenue, Epsom, England. Grave inscription reads: "To A Beautiful Life Came A Sudden End; He Died As He Lived Everyone's Friend".

Sgt. Leonard Robert Crouch. South Ealing Cemetery, Section B, Rox X, Grave 3. Son of Arthur Robert and Catherine Edith Crouch, of Cranmer Avenue, West Ealing, England. Grave inscription reads: "In Memory Of Dear Len, "Not Just Today But Every Day, In Silence, We Remember. D.G.R.J".

Sgt. Horace James Cox. Carshalton Churchyard (All Saints) Section T, Grave 167. Son of Horace Walter and Edith Frances Cox, of 100 Westmead Road, Sutton, England. Wife of Mrs. J.P. Cox of 217 Gander Green Lane, Sutton Surrey, England.

Sgt. Eric Desmond Scott. Beckenham Crematorium and Cemetery. Section K.2, Grave 19054. Son of Thomas and Beatrice Minnie Scott, of 197 Upper Elmers End Road, Beckenham, England. Also notified WAAF LAC. Bonehill of 67 Dagman Road, Balham, London, England. Grave inscription reads: "Shall Arise In God's Glorious Sunshine".

Sgt. James Arthur Cheetham. Liverpool Cemetery (Anfield). Section 7 RC, Grave 2072. Son of James and Esther Cheetham, of Liverpool, England.

Sgt. Thomas Nathaniel Harker. Darlington West Cemetery, Section W.7G, Grave 372. Son of Thomas Edward and Amy Elizabeth Harker, of Darlington, England. Grave inscription reads: "He Died That We Might Live".

Researched by Steve Hunnisett for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown. Air 29/942 / AIR 29/645 - National Archives.

KTY 02.02.2019

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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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