247 squadron Typhoon Ib DN444 Fl/Sgt. Quentin Macphail Shipped
Operation: Ferry Flight
Date: 19th March 1944 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 247 squadron (motto: 'Rise from the East')
Type: Typhoon Ib
Base: RAF High Ercall, Shropshire
Location: Windmill Farm, Madeley, Shropshire
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Quentin Macphail Shippee R/132528 RCAF Are 22. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Fl/Sgt Shippee was flying on a transit flight from High Ercall to Middle Wallop. No special instructions but to keep in formation and to proceed independently if weather deteriorated. Three others were to join him, P/O. Herbert Langtree Van-Zuilecom Aus/403774, P/O. Alexander Swanston Aitchison and Sgt. William Leslie Wheeler 1425579. (1)
Report of P/O. Van-Zuilecom states:
'We had come to High Ercall to pick up aircraft sent there from Middle Wallop for 30 hour inspections. The Wing Commander asked who was to fly these four aircraft and I told him, P/O. Aitchison, Sgt. Wheeler, Sgt. Shippee and myself.
The weather was hazy with ceiling of haze varying from 1,500 to 2,000 feet, the visibility being between 4 and 5 miles. It was practically a flat calm. When we set course, all aircraft were in line astern in the same order as when we took off.
I did not call up the ground station by R/T but after about 4 minutes, I endeavoured to call up the others in the formation but was only able to contact Sgt. Wheeler. I continued on course and in about 3 minutes, we ran into thick haze at 1,500 feet. I climbed to 1,800 feet where it was a little clearer but it was difficult to see the other aircraft, the Typhoon being a difficult aircraft to fly in close formation. Sgt. Wheeler called up and said he lost sight of me and was returning to base. I looked around and could see no other aircraft. I continued on course but the weather was deteriorating and I was gradually losing height until at 1,000 feet I saw ground. It got still worse till I got down to 500 feet. I passed over an airfield and decided to land at Deffort at 16:25 hrs'.
247 Squadron Typhoon Ib
Report of Sgt. Wheeler states:
'I am a pilot in 'A' Flight No. 247 Squadron stationed at Middle Wallop. During the morning of 19th March, 1943, whilst waiting for one of the aircraft to be finished, I went to the Met Office at High ERcall and Sgt. Shippee. We had a look at the reports coming in on the teleprinter, the Met Officer wrote it down and gave it to Sgt Shippee, who later handed it to P/O. Aitchison. On the morning report, I was of the opinion that we could get to Middle Wallop using homing facilities if there was any deterioration. Other than this, I took no part in the arrangements for the flight.
At about 15:45 hrs, P/O. Van Zuilecom spoke to the Commanding Officer who was riding past on his bicycle, and then came over and said that we could take off. I took off at 16:00 hrs as No. 2 in formation. We did two circuits of High Ercall during which time I went into line astern, and I saw P/O. Aitchison and Sgt. Shippee also go into line astern. The leader called me up and asked whether I could see the others and I told him that I could, so we set course. I heard the leader call the other two, but neither of them replied. There was a slight haze at between 1,000 and 1,500 feet between 2 and 3 miles but the ground was easily visible below me.
After we had set course, I went up into my position of No. 2 in Vic formation, and I saw P/O. Aitchison take up his position at No. 3. I was concentrating on getting into position and did not see where Sgt. Shippee was. His position should have been in the box. I never saw Sgt. Shippee after he was in line astern in the circuit. We were flying, I should say, at roughly 1,800 feet. Almost immediately, the weather thickened up and I got about 2 or 3 spans from the leader and lost sight of him for a few seconds. He appeared again and I tried to get close by, he disappeared again. I flew along for a few seconds looking for him and I realised I was not flying normally, and the instruments were not giving normal readings and found myself losing height rapidly in the haze. I suddenly saw the ground from about 1,000 feet'.
Above: Windmill Farm
Sgt. Shippee crashed on the Windmall Farm at 16:10 hrs.
The finding of the Investigating Officer is noted, but I would like to stress that had the weather en route been known, permission to take off would not have been given or asked for by the pilots. W/Cdr. Pritchard. The Group Commander commented. I concur with the findings of the cour, with the rider that the error of judgement on the part of P/O. Van Zuilecom was due to his inexperience.
(1) F/O. Van-Zuilecom was killed on the 10th November 1943 (further details). F/O. Aitchison killed on the 14th February 1944 flying Typhoon Ib JP6492. Sgt. William Leslie Wheeler survived an accident flying Hurricane IIc PG488 on the 05th September 1944 whilst with 286 squadron. It appears he also survived the war.
Above: Aqueduct close to crash site showing memorial plaque
Buried on the 24th March 1943 at 14:30 hrs.
Fl/Sgt. Quentin Macphail Shippee. Donington Churchyard (St. Cuthbert). Row 13. Grave 10. Born on the 25th September 1920 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Educated at University of Utah in Salt Lake City, USA. A welfare officer prior to service. A USA citizen, he chose to live with his mother following his parents divorce.
Enlisted on the 05th September 1941 in Montreal. Trained at No 1 Initial Training School in Toronto on the 11th November 1941. No. 6 Elememtary Flying Training School in Prince Albert from 02nd January - 28th March 1942. No. 1 Service Flying Training School at Camp Borden from 29th March - 31st July 1942. No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre in Bournemouth on the 19th August 1942. With No,17 Advanced Flying Unit on the 29th August. Assigned to No. 59 Operational Training Unit on the 15th September 1942. On the 06th January 1943, posted to 247 Squadron.
Son of Frederick Earl Shippee and Elda Lavina Shippee (née Mac-Vagh), brother of Frederick and Iona of 63 Cedar Avenue, Pointe Claire, Province of Quebec, Canada. Epitaph: 'At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them,.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the National Archive Kew, Government of Canada, The Typhoon Project, Paradie RCAF Archives.
Pages regarding 1943 losses
Pages detailing RCAF Losses
Other sources as quoted below: