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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
07.06.1944 No. 1654 HCU Stirling III LK594 Sq/Ldr. James Swyers

Operation: Training

Date: 7th June 1944 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 1654 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit) (1)

Type: Stirling III

Serial: LK594

Code: Not listed

Base: RAF Wigsley, Lincolnshire

Location: Near RAF Saltby, Leicestershire

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. James Swyers 40575 RAF Age 29. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Leslie Theodore Cordon 2211649 RAFVR Age 34. Killed

Nav: F/O. Frank Donald Collinge J/29613 RCAF Age 33. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. Alvin Edward Lindenfield J/29690 RCAF Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Vernon Bowden 1682849 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Maurice Hough 1819715 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur James Davies 1100499 RAFVR Age 28. Killed


Taking off from RAF Wigsley in Lincolnshire at 03:00 hrs. for a Night Training exercise.

Just 3 hours later the aircraft crashed near the airfield at RAF Saltby - it is thought the pilot, Sq/Ldr. Swyers may have lost control whilst descending through cloud. Although he had some 1,215 flying hours logged, only 23 on this type of aircraft with just 10 hours night flying experience.

Sadly all the crew were killed in the impact.

(1) With the introduction of new heavy bombers, the four-engined Short Stirling, Avro Lancaster and Handley Page Halifax, the Royal Air Force introduced Heavy Conversion Units. The heavy conversion units began forming in late 1941, to qualify crews trained on medium bombers to operate the heavy bombers prior to an assignment to an operational training unit to gain experience, before final posting to the operational squadrons.

Burial details:

Sq/Ldr. James Swyers. Lincoln Cemetery (Newport) Sec. H. Grave 169 South. Son of Joseph Thomas Swyers and Alice Swyers, husband of Elsa Maud Swyers, of Picton, Ontario, Canada. Of Newfoundland. Grave inscription reads: "I Hope To See My Pilot Face To Face When I Have Crossed The Bar".

Sgt. Leslie Theodore Cordon. Liverpool Cemetery (Allerton) Sec. 2F. C. of E. Grave 241. Son of William J. M. Cordon and Mary J. Cordon, of Liverpool, husband of Alice Cooper Cordon, of Mossley Hill, Liverpool, England. Grave inscription reads: "To The Proud Memory Of A Darling Husband And Daddy".

F/O. Frank Donald Collinge. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall) Sec. B. Row F. Grave 1. Son of Frank C. Collinge and Annie Collinge, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "His Memory Is As Dear To-Day As In The Hour He Passed Away".

F/O. Alvin Edward Lindenfield. Harrogate Cemetery (Stonefall) Sec. B. Row F. Grave 2. Son of Edward and Laura Lindenfield, husband of Ruth Anne Lindenfield, of Zurich, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt. George Vernon Bowden. Cheadle And Gatley Cemetery. Sec. 17. Grave 73. Son of Mr. and Mrs. George Bowden, Stockport, Cheshire, England.

Sgt. Maurice Hough. Birmingham Cemetery (Brandwood End) Sec. B.9. C of E. Grave 376. No further details - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Arthur James Davies. Burgh Castle Churchyard (Ss. Peter And Paul) Son of Harriet Emily Davies, of Burgh Castle, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. Grave inscription reads: "A Little While And We Shall Meet Again".

Researched for the niece of Sgt. George Vernon Bowden - Elaine Bolton contacted us in December 2016. Page dedicated to her mother, George’s sister and to all the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as quoted below.

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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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