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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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Coastal Command Crest
No. 5 Operational Training Unit Beaufort II DD886 F/O. Strachan

Operation: Training

Date: 08th April 1943 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 5 Operational Training Unit (Coastal Command) 17 Group

Type: Beaufort II

Serial: DD886

Code: None issued

Base: RAF Long Kesh, Northern Ireland

Location: Longford Lodge, Largy

Pilot: F/O. James Sherman Strachan NZ/391122 RNZAF Age 31. Killed

Nav: F/O. Herbert James Marriot Chapman NZ/414588 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

W/Op: F/O. Merle Noel Wytkin NZ/416036 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Norman James Casserley NZ/415515 RNZAF Age 24. Killed


Taking off at around 07:50 hrs on a training exercise. Towards the final stages the port engine failed and control was then lost.

The aircraft entered a flat spin and crashed at location shown.

Subsequent air crash investigations revealed that the failure was due to oil pressure gauge adaptor fracture. All four New Zealand crew were killed.

Burial details:

You may notice that the majority of New Zealand aircrew do not have a personalised inscription on their grave. To find out the reason take a look at 'your relatives CWGC explained'.

F/O. James Sherman Strachan. Belfast City Cemetery. Glenalina Extn. Sec. A.S. Grave 16. Son of Sherman Strachan and of Henrietta Maud d'Oyly Strachan (née Bayfeild), of Westport, West Coast of South Island , Nelson, New Zealand. A total of 348 flying hours logged with15 of these on the Beaufort.

F/O. Herbert James Marriot Chapman. Belfast City Cemetery. Glenalina Extn. Sec. A.S. Grave 14. Son of Percival James Chapman and Jessie Beatrice Ella Chapman, of Spreydon, Christchurch, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand. A total of 225 flying hours logged.

F/O. Merle Noel Wytkin. Belfast City Cemetery. Glenalina Extn. Sec. A.S. Grave 15. Son of Esidor John Wytkin and of Mary Josephine Wytkin (née Willis), of Egmont Village, Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand. A total of 108 flying hours logged.

Fl/Sgt. Norman James Casserley. Belfast City Cemetery. Glenalina Extn. Sec. A.S. Grave 13. Son of John Casserley and of Margaret Casserley (née Montgomery), of Kaiapoi, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand. A total of 110 flying hours logged.

Researched with the assistance of Jenifer Lemaire - April 2019 and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, Also Auckland Library Heritage Collection for crew photographs (permission licence no's: AWNS434430519-18-34 - AWNS19430609-18-35 - AWNS19430609-18-37 - AWNS430516-18-48. ) other sources as quoted below:

JL/KTY 06.04.2019

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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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