14.02.1944 No. 22 OTU Wellington III HZ110 Sgt. Robert W. Shields
Date: 14th February 1944 (Monday)
Unit: No. 22 OTU
Type: Wellington III
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)
REASON FOR LOSS:
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.
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.