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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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RAF Crest
14.02.1944 No. 22 OTU Wellington III HZ110 Sgt. Robert W. Shields

Operation: Training

Date: 14th February 1944 (Monday)

Unit: No. 22 OTU

Type: Wellington III

Serial: HZ110

Code: Unknown

Base: RAF Wellesbourne Mountford, Warwickshire

Location: Snitterfield, Warwickshire

Pilot: Sgt. Robert William Shields R/166344 RCAF Age 28 Killed (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Michael Joseph Craig R/12025 RCAF Age 23 Killed

Air/Gnr: WO1 Arthur Henry Goodman R/60369 RCAF Age 25 Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Tony John Karaim R/210272 RCAF Age 22 Killed (2)


Although based at RAF Wellesbourne Mountford from where they took off, Sgt. Shields and crew were using the nearby satellite airfield at Snitterfield to practice night circuits and landings. During the flight the weather turned against them, and, as they approached to land in the poor visibility, the Wellington undershot the runway, hit the ground and caught fire.

Sgt. Shields had logged just six hours solo night flying and was making his fifth attempt at landing at 22:26 hours when the accident occurred.

This loss was typical of the many OTU accidents, mostly over the British Isles that took the lives of over 3,700 aircrew participating in training flights alone.

Many more inexperienced OTU crews were to die due to enemy action, accidents while on patrols or other tasks and exercises. Such was the urgent need to replace lost crews from the Bomber Command squadrons that training requirements were cut to the bare bones in an effort to graduate aircrew to operational status in the shortest possible time.

The price paid by so many young men from Britain, the Commonwealth and other countries was dear.

Sgt. Shield’s brother, Sub Lieutenant Walter Shields, was lost in 1941 when his ship HMCS Windflower was in collision with a Dutch freighter while on convoy escort duty off of Newfoundland. He was 24 years of age and is commemorated at the Halifax Memorial (3).

Right: Sub Lieutenant Walter Shields.

(1) Shields Lake south of Lopuck Lake in Manitoba is named after Sgt. Shields.

(2) Karaim Lake southeast of Nelson House, Manitoba is named after Sgt. Karaim.

(3) Shields Creek in Manitoba is named after Sub Lieutenant Shields.

Burial Details:

Sgt. Robert William Shields. Stratford On Avon Cemetery. Grave 4169. Son of Walter E. Shields and Clara E. Shields of Waskada, Manitoba, Canada, husband of Lorraine Shields.

Sgt. Michael Joseph Craig. Stratford On Avon Cemetery. Grave 4168. Son of Phillip and Annie Krakoviski of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
 Right: Sgt. Michael Craig

WO1 Arthur Henry Goodman. Stratford On Avon Cemetery. Grave 4170. Son of Henry and Clara Hutson of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.

Left: WO1 Arthur Goodman

Sgt. Tony John Karaim Stratford on Avon Cemetery. Grave 4167. Son of Verna Karaim of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and RCAF specialist Colin Bamford for relatives of this crew. With thanks to "A Place of Honour" for the Shields and Karaim photos. Craig and Goodman photos copied from Veteran Affairs Canada website. Other sources as quoted below.

CHB 22.09.2011
KTY 04.08.2015 Page updated
CHB 04.03.2020 Craig and Goodman photographs 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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