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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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No. 9 Squadron
08.09.1939 No. 9 Squadron Wellington Mk1 L4320 WS-ZB P/O. Rosofsky

Operation: Training Exercise

Date: 8th September 1939 (Friday)

Unit: No. 9 Squadron

Type: Wellington Mk I

Serial: L4320

Code: WS-ZB

Base: RAF Honington, Bury-St. Edmunds, Suffolk

Location: Berners Heath, Nr Elveden, Suffolk

Pilot: P/O. Harold Rosofsky. 40022. RAF Age ? Killed (1)

Obs: P/O. Bruce Innes Clifford-Jones. 36170. RAF Age 22. Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: AC1. Hugh M. McGreevy. 541603. RAF Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: AC1. Thomas Purdie. 545624. RAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: AC2. William Charles Hilsdon. 616753. RAF Age 20. Killed (3)


P/O. Harold Rosofsky and crew took off from RAF Honington for an air firing practice over Berners Heath.The cause of the accident is not known, but the aircraft flew into trees and crashed near Elveden, Suffolk. Berners Heath was a high-altitude bombing range that became available to the RAF on December 13th 1936 for training exercises

Wellington Mk1s of No. 9 Squadron 1939. P/O. Bruce Innes Clifford-Jones missing as a result of RAF operations from the Evening Post 12 September 1939

Hawker Audax Mk1. Harold Rosofsky was a keen rugby player and while training at RAF Montrose took part in this game against Aberdeen University (courtesy Press and Journal, Thursday, October 28, 1937 - British Newspaper archive)

P/O. Rosofsky was involved in a flying accident while landing his Hawker Audax Mk1 at No. 8 Flying Training School at Montrose , Scotland. 21st August 1937

Burial details:

The funeral of P/O. Rosofsky, P/O. Clifford-Jones, AC1 McGreevy and AC1 Purdie took place on the 10th September 1939 with full military honours at Honington (All Saints) Churchyard

Honington (All Saints) Churchyard (courtesy of Volunteers Andrew Evens/Diane Alden and director Ralph McLean, South Africa War Graves Project and Aircrew Remembered archives)

P/O. Harold Rosofsky (courtesy of Volunteers Andrew Evens/Diane Alden and director Ralph McLean, South Africa War Graves Project) P/O. Clifford-Jones, AC1 McGreevy and AC1 Purdie (Aircrew Remembered archives)

P/O. Harold Rosofsky. Honington (All Saints) Churchyard, Suffolk. Row A. Grave 4. Son of Abraham and Bertha Rosofsky of Johannesburg, South Africa. Harold was educated at King Edward School, Johannesburg and had been a member of the school's Cadet Corp. On the 9th August 1937 Harold Rosofsky was granted a short service commissions as Acting Pilot Officer (per London Gazette 24th August 1937) On the 21st August 1937 Acting Pilot Officer Rosofsky was posted to the No. 8 Flying School, Montrose. While at Montrose P/O. Rosofsky was involved in a flying accident while trying to land Hawker Audax Mk1 K5131 the wing hit the ground causing the aircraft to swing and tip up. Acting P/O. Rosofsky war posted to 9 Squadron at Stradishall on the 13th June 1938 after completing a short Navigation course. On the 31st May 1938 Acting Pilot Officer Rosofsky was confirmed in his appointment as Pilot Officer (as per London Gazette 14th June 1938) On the 10th July 1939 P/O. Rosofsky was returning to Honington after a flight to Marseilles, France, when he had to make a forced landing at Lyons, France owing to a opened pilot hatch. He returned to base the following day

P/O. Harold Rosofsky was the first South African to be killed in the war and is remembered on the King Edward VII School, Johannesburg Roll of Honour and the Jewish South African War Memorial Ditsong, Pertoria. Harold Rosofsky was the first Jewish military casualty of WW2 and his death had also been written about in the South African Jewish Times, The Zionist Record, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the American Jewish Year Book of 1940, South African Jewry Book of Honour 1950, UK Jewish Chronicle newspaper September 1939

P/O. Bruce Innes Clifford-Jones. Honington (All Saints) Churchyard, Suffolk. Row A. Grave 3. Son of Harry and Ellen Hanley Clifford-Jones of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. Born on the 31st January 1917, Masterton, Wellington Bruce left for the UK on the 2nd February 1939 having spent a year training at Wigram. Bruce was an accomplished athlete and was captain of the school's first football team and a member of the first eleven cricket team. Bruce also played rugby football and was a tennis champion. In 1939 he reached the semi-final in the RAF tournament at Wimbledon. Bruce was granted a short service commission as Pilot Officer as of 15th March 1939 (as per London Gazette 28th March 1939) P/O. Clifford-Jones had been posted from 75 Squadron to 9 Squadron on the 7th July 1939

AC1. Hugh M. McGreevy. Honington (All Saints) Churchyard, Suffolk. Row A. Grave 1. Son of Joseph and Martha Graham McGreevy of Hamilton, Lanarkshire. Hugh is remembered on the Hamilton Town House War Memorial, South Lanarkshire

AC1. Thomas Purdie. Honington (All Saints) Churchyard, Suffolk. Row A. Grave 2. Son of John Fulton Purdie and Eliza Ann Purdie of Lambhill, Glasgow

AC2. William Charles Hilsdon. Cowley (St. James) Churchyard, Oxfordshire. Row 5. Grave 10. Son of Jessie Elizabeth Kedgers of Kidlington. (3) AC2 Hilsdon was on attachment from 215 Squadron

Researched by: Kate Tame for Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. Acknowledgements: With special thanks to Martin Sugaman - AJEX, Martin Davis, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand - Evening Post 12th September 1939, New Zealand Cenotaph Database, South Africa War Graves Project - Volunteers Andrew Evens/Diane Alden and director Ralph McLean, Aircrew Remembered archives, W.R. Chorley - Bomber Command Losses July 1936 - September 1939 (Latest 2014 edition.

KT. Page updated 09.03.2016

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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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