Date: 10/11th June 1940 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 12 Operational Training Unit. 6 Group
Type: Battle I
Base: RAF Benson, Oxfordshire
Location: SW of airfield
Pilot: P/O. Basil Percy Thomson 36264 RAF Age 20. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Derek Joseph Craven 581207 RAF Age 25. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: LAC. Percival Arthur Lewis 547112 RAF Age 20. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 02:05 hrs on short cross country training.
Almost immediately after take off suffered engine failure. The pilot attempted to return to the airfield but entered a steep gliding high speed turn and started to spin. He managed to recover but the aircraft then dived into the ground and caught fire - killing all 3 crew members.
P/O. Basil Percy Thomson Basil Percy Thomson. Benson Churchyard Extension (St. Helen). Row F. Grave 7. Born on the 09th October 1919 at Whãngarei. Worked as a mechanic for Robertson Sewing Machine Company prior to service. Selected for a short service commission in June 1939. Awarded his pilots badge on the 12th September 1939. Joined 12 OTU on the 15th May 1940.Son of Adam Francis and Florence Beatrice Thomson (née Porter), of Whangarei, Auckland, New Zealand.
Sgt. Derek Joseph Craven. Benson Churchyard Extension (St. Helen). Row F. Grave 7. Son of Ernest Simpson Craven and Louisa Craven, of Cleveleys, Lancashire. Grave inscription: 'Abide With Me'.
LAC. Percival Arthur Lewis. South Stoneham Cemetery. Sec. H. 6. Grave 183. Son of Edwin Percival and Ada Lewis of Southampton, England
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, Stephen Potts for grave photo, other sources as quoted below: