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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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96 Squadron Crest
09.02.1943 96 Squadron Beaufighter VIF V8438 Flt.Lt. George S. Taylor

Operation: Training

Date: 9th February 1943 (Tuesday)

Unit: 96 (Night Fighter) Squadron, 9 Group

Type: Beaufighter VIF

Serial: V8438

Code: ZJ-A

Base: RAF Honiley, Warwickshire

Location: RAF Turweston, Buckinghamshire

Pilot: Flt.Lt. George Stringer Taylor 391849 RNZAF Age 24. Died of his injuries

Observer: Fg.Off. Patrick William Kemmis DFC 118368 RAFVR Age? Survived


Taking off from RAF Bicester in Oxfordshire on a cross country training flight at about 18:10 hrs.

Shortly after taking off the starboard engine failed and so he decided to make an emergency landing at the closest field. During the turn to the airfield the aircraft stalled and crashed.

The records that describe this sortie as a solo flight were compiled without the benefit of the 96 Sqn Operational Record Books (ORB) which were not available at the time. The ORB for this date together with the relevant page from Fg.Off Kemmis' log book, provided by David Smith (the son-in-law of Patrick Kemmis), confirms that he was the Observer aboard this flight. David recalls that:

Although Patrick never spoke to David's wife of his war-time experiences, Patrick’s wife (now deceased) recalled him having been involved in a crash where the pilot was severely injured and subsequently died, although Patrick had managed to pull the pilot clear of the crashed aeroplane which Patrick’s wife described as ‘burning’.

Flt.Lt. Kemmis’ DFC was gazetted on the 6 June 1944 and was awarded whilst he was with 169 Sqn.

Flt.Lt.Taylor was admitted to Horton General Hospital in Banbury but he died of his injuries later the same evening.

Burial details:

Flt.Lt. George Stringer Taylor. Weaverham (St Mary's Churchyard), Northwich. Grave 2742. Born on the 20th July 1918, the son of William John and Elizabeth Taylor, of Oamaru, Otago, New Zealand and husband of Betty Taylor (née McMean) of Northwich, Cheshire, England. 762 flying hours logged - completed 68 operations.

Researched 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 Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand. Thanks to David Smith, the son-in-law of Flt.Lt. Kemmis, for the update to the crew complement. Other sources as quoted below:

RS 20.11.2019 - Update to crew complement and other detail

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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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