AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.
Check our Research databases: Database List


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.

coastal command badge
05.02.1943 No. 2 OTU Beaufighter VI X8060 Fl/Sgt. Smith

Operation: Training flight

Date: 5th February 1943 (Friday)

Unit: No. 2 OTU (Operational Training Unit - Coastal Command)

Type: Beaufighter VI

Serial: X8060

Base: RAF Catfoss, Yorkshire

Location: Two miles East of Kilham, Yorkshire

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Alan Rodway Smith 1388945 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Wilfred Billingham 1233699 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Can anyone provide an update on the state of the grave in question - August 2018?


During a training flight the aircraft clipped some trees whilst attempting a forced landing resulting in the aircraft turning over - killing both of the crew.

We are placing this page on the website to not only honour this crew but also to bring attention to the sad state of the Gravestone for Sgt. Billingham at Shiregreen Cemetery in Sheffield. We thank Stephen Farnell for sending us the photographs of the graves and hope that someone somewhere maybe in a position to assist in the repair.

We contacted the CWGC but as this is a family plot, it is outside their control - see their reply below.

Above, the sad state of Sgt. Billingham's grave at Shefffield (Shiregreen) Cemetery. Can someone not do anything about this? We have contacted a local Newspaper to see if they are able to assist. (See below)

Left, the pilot's grave at Brandesburton (St Mary) Churchyard (both courtesy of Stephen Farnell)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Alan Rodway Smith Brandesburton Churchyard. (St Mary) RAF Sec. Grave 26. Son of Walter James Smith and Bessie Smith, of Wembley, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription: "Jesus Said "Whosoever Liveth And Believeth In Me Shall Never Die".

Sgt. Wilfred Billingham. Shefffield Cemetery (Shiregreen). Sec C. Grave 2829. Son of Joseph and Eliza Billingham, of Shiregreen, Sheffield, England. Grave inscription: "Thro Hardships To The Stars".

Researched for relatives of these crews with thanks for additional information to Stephen Farnell, Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


We have received some great press via Ellen Beardmore reporter for the Sheffield Star. Within hours of publication we had a contact who tried to trace any surviving members of the family. No luck as yet. Jenny Morley is also going to try and contact the people who look after the cemetery to establish if they are able to assist.

The Commonwealth Graves Commission explained in a letter to us the following, but also added that they will be asking their regional inspector to look at 'both' graves:

"The family of Sergeant Billingham was offered a Commission war pattern headstone, as were all the families of the war casualties. The family, when contacted, refused a Commission headstone as they intended to mark the grave with a memorial of their own, which they then did.

As we do not own the grave in question, we do not have the authority to remove the private memorial and erect a war pattern headstone without the permission of the owner of the grave. As long as the name of the war casualty is legible on the private memorial then, for our purposes, the war casualty is adequately commemorated. Parts of the stone or kerbs on the grave may be damaged but it is not our responsibility to repair them."

July 31st Update: We have already been contacted by some great people in the area who are prepared to start to tidy the grave - we are now obtaining the relevant permissions to obtain the go-ahead.

The people who are assisting us with the research and the 'grave tidy campaign' Jenny Morley, Craig Allen.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2023
Last Modified: 22 March 2021, 19:44

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor