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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
02.09.1943 No. 11 O.T.U. Wellington IC R1451 KX-P Fl/Sgt. Sydney G. Rickersey

Operation: Night Training / bombing exercise

Date: 2nd September 1943 (Thursday)

Unit: No 11 OTU (Operational Training Unit)

Type: Wellington IC 

Serial: R1451 

Code: TX-O

Base: RAF Westcott, Buckinghamshire 

Location: North of Watlington, 12 miles SSW of Westcott, Oxfordshire 

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Sydney George Rickersey AUS/420272. RAAF Age 29. Killed 

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Kenneth George Fitzgerald AUS/422640. RAAF Age 22. Killed 

Air/Bmr: P/O. Stanley Maxwell Johnston AUS/425166. RAAF Age 23. Killed 

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Francis William Nixon 1134784. RAFVR Age 25. Killed 

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald John Clifford AUS/424119. RAAF Age 19. Killed 


Took off from RAF Westcott at for a night training bombing exercise. The Wellington crashed at 21.43 hours approx. 5 miles east of their base at Westcott, west of the small village of Pyrton less than a mile north of Watlington, Oxfordshire. The reason for the air crash has never been established 


Weather conditions on the day were described as low cloud and drizzle, improvement set in and by midmorning winds veered westerly, cloud broke and cloud base lifted to 2500-3000 ft. Visibility improved and remained good for the rest of the day.


11 OTU Operations Record Book for the day (courtesy Agnes Modrzejewska)


New memorial unveiled on the 3rd October 2012 to the crew of Wellington R1451, 11 O.T.U. at Watlington, with 16 crew relatives in attendance. Kate Tame of Aircrew Remembered attended and the webmaster met with the relatives after the unveiling.


Group photograph of 77 Pilot training course. Names listed to assist relatives search. Fl/Sgt. Rickersey is shown row 3, 7th from right. (courtesy Agnes Modrzejewska) - Image available at higher resolution to relatives of those shown.

Front Row: Sgt. Ramsey, Sgt. Hulbert, Sgt. Cochrane, Sgt. Wyatt, Sgt. Lyall, Sgt. McVeigh, Sgt. Warren, Sgt. Pepper, Sgt. Ford, Sgt. Clark.
2nd Row: Sgt. Stafford, Sgt. Russell, Sgt. Quirk, Sgt. Lawes, Sgt. Harvey, Sgt. Joy, Sgt.  Jones, Sgt. Dunbar, Sgt. Hall, Sgt. Baker, Sgt. Campbell, Sgt.  Clifford.
3rd Row:  P/O. Keith, P/O. Robinson, P/O. Sage, P/O. Murray, Fl/Sgt. Struthers, Fl/Sgt. Lickner, Fl/Sgt. Trenouth, Fl/Sgt. Birdling, Fl/Sgt. Allin, Fl/Sgt. Rackley, Fl/Sgt. Bruhns, Fl/Sgt. Rickersby, Fl/Sgt. Rawsthorne, Fl/Sgt. Curling, Fl/Sgt. Harris, Sgt. Cattell, F/O. Richards. F/O. Weir.
4th Row: Sgt. Peake, Sgt. Adams, P/O. Albutt, Sgt. Andrews, Sgt. Featherstone-Haugh, Sgt. Woodward, Sgt. Smith, Sgt. Mann, Sgt. McDonald, Sgt. Kelly, Sgt. Honeyman, Sgt. Grant, Sgt. Fitzgerald,  Sgt. Field, Sgt. Briggs,  Sgt. Withers, Sgt. Walker, Sgt. West,  Sgt. Elsmore.
5th Row: Sgt. Williams, Sgt. White, Sgt. Watt, Sgt. Ward, Sgt. Towner, Sgt. Swinton, Sgt. Summers, P/O. Goulden, Sgt. Stevenson, Sgt. Smith, Sgt. Pritchard, Sgt. Mulholand,  Sgt. Nash, Sgt. Nixon, Sgt. Kilgour.
Rear Row: P/O. Caldwell, P/O. Good, P/O. Johnston, P/O. Everingham, P/O. Bannatyne, Sgt. Butler, Sgt. Court, Sgt. Hillford, Sgt. Holmes, Sgt. Payne, Sgt. Short, P/O. Marks, Sgt. Thompson, Sgt. Collet, Sgt. Dobson.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Sydney George Rickersey. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery. Plot I/2 Grave 57. Son of George James Rickersay and Ann Alice Rickersey of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Husband of Ellem Mary Rickersey of Waverley, New South Wales, Australia.

Fl/Sgt. Kenneth George Fitzgerald. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery. Plot I/2 Grave 58. Son of Harold Henry and Edith Farrell Fitzgerald. Husband of Enid Esther Fitzgerald of Manly, New South Wales, Australia.

P/O Stanley Maxwell Johnston. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery. Plot I/2 Grave 54. Son of John Wesley Johnston and Frances Margaret Johnston of Kingaroy, Queenslands, Australia

Sgt. Francis William Nixon. Galloon (St Comgall) Church of Ireland Churchyard. Son of Robert James Nixon and Emily Jane Nixon. Husband of Mary Elleanor Nixon of Newtown Butler, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

Sgt. Ronald John Clifford. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery. Plot I/2 Grave 59. Son of Edward Timothy and Mary Assissuim Clifford of Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Kate Tame for relatives of this crew with assistance from Lynne Parker. N/Archives Air 29/642 and 645. With thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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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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