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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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Grandsable Cemetery
10.06.1943 No. 58 O.T.U. Spitfire I X4241 Sgt. Ricketts

Operation: Training

Date: 10th June 1943 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 58 O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit)

Type: Spitfire I

Serial: X4241

Base: R.A.F. Grangemouth, Scotland.

Location: Alloa, 6 miles East of Clackmannan-shire

Pilot: Sgt. Robert Joseph Prior Ricketts AUS/420057 R.A.A.F. Age 19. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 15,29 hrs on a cross country training flight. It is assumed that the weather quickly worsened during the flight as the pilot requested a course to return at 16.07 hrs. He was provided a course to fly back and reported in 7 minutes later that he was at 3000 ft and still in cloud. He was told not to go any lower as the hills were only a few hundred ft below – no reply and the Spitfire hit the top of a hill 6 miles north east of Alloa killing the pilot.

The accident report states that the name of the hill was ‘Mandy Moss’ and the time of the crash as 16.14hrs. They reported no failure of the aircraft on the report.

                    

Now, the ‘specialist walkers’ in Scotland may find that I have marked this map incorrectly – if so I would love to have a revision from you. Please use the ‘Add Info’ button shown on the top of the page. You may even have some photographs of the area – we would be very happy to use them – full credits placed of course. (I did try and research the loss area for several hours)

The aircraft Spitfire I X4241 had a rather turbulent life!

It was manufactured at Castle Bromwich in August 1940 and then delivered to 37 Maintenance Unit on the 20th August 1940. Moved to 610 squadron on the 30th August, coded DW-S damaged by return fire from a Bf110 at 12.50 hrs which was also damaged. Spitfire received Cat ‘R’ Damage. With A.S.T. for repairs on 10th September 1940 moving back to No. 6 M.U. on the 26th December 1940 – eventually moving to 234 Squadron on the 4th February 1941.

Aircraft flown by P/O. M.C.B. Boddington and damaged a Ju88 south of Plymouth. Moved to 8 O.T.U on the 28th March 1941. During service with 8 O.T.U. suffered Cat ‘M’ damage whilst being flown by Sgt. A.R. Jones who force landed the aircraft with under carriage retracted.

After a short period at 43 group D.A. was sent to 58 O.T.U. on the 8th August 1941. Suffered Cat ‘A’ damage on the 10th June 1941 after under carriage collapse, the pilot, P/O. Tadeusz Żurakowski (1) was OK. Later, on the 11th July 1942 suffered cat ‘A’ after taxing into Miles Master T8815 piloted by P/O. J. Preihs – pilot OK.

(1) P/O. Tadeusz Żurakowsk Killed on 27th May 1944 in a Hawker Tempest JN736

                   

The cemetery at Grangemouth, Scotland visited by the Aircrew Remembered team, difficult to find a more beautiful C.W.G.C Cemetery!



Burial Details:

Sgt. Roberts Joseph Prior Ricketts. was buried at 14.30 hrs on June 14th with the coffin carried by fellow Australians on his course. Grangemouth (Grandsable) Cemetery Sec. 1. Grave 33. Son of Frederick Ernest and Florence Ricketts, of Mascot, New South Wales, Australia. Moving to Bondi, Sydney after the war.


Researched for relatives of the pilot and his friends. With thanks to the following for further information, National Archives of Australia, the Grangemouth Air Cadets and the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust who provided me with so much information and assistance during my visit, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


Any relative or colleague who would like a higher resolution of the grave please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will email a copy free of charge. This goes of course for any image that we hold on our website.

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Acknowledgements
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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