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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
9.03.1942 No. 21 OTU Wellington 1C Z8774 P/O. Richard Chevenix Trench

Operation: Training

Date: 9 March 1942 (Monday)

Unit: No. 21 Operational Training Unit (OTU)

Type: Wellington 1C

Serial: Z8774

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Edgehill, Oxfordshire

Location: RAF Edgehill, Oxfordshire

Pilot Instructor: P/O. Richard Chevenix Trench 106547 RAFVR Age 20 - Killed (1)

Pilot: Sgt. Ernest Millington 1125315 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (2)

Pilot: Sgt. Arthur Lascelles Clipson 1314119 RAFVR Age 20 - Killed (3)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Merryweather Fitzjohn 1152646 RAFVR Age 28 - Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Fossey 1217369 RAFVR Age 24 - Killed

We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs to please contact us via the Helpdesk


Wellington Z8774 took off from RAF Edgehill to practice night circuits and landings. In weather conditions described as marginal and having received permission to land, the aircraft was observed to commence a left hand turn, but instead of straightening out it continued to bank before hitting the ground and bursting into flames.

The flare path was reported to have been well marked with a double row of Glim lamps i.e. the standard type of RAF runway lighting, mounted on poles and Goose neck flares. Goose Neck flares were shaped like a large coffee pot, the spout being shaped like a goose neck. It was filled with paraffin and had a wick down the spout. After being ignited a round sheet metal cover about 3 feet in diameter on short legs was positioned over the flares allowing the light to shine out onto the ground and the flares were not visible from height.

The layout of RAF Edgehill in 1945 (left) and right the same features still recognisable today.

All five members of the crew were killed in the crash, their bodies being later returned to their families for burial in their respective local churchyards or cemeteries.


(1) P/O. Richard Chevenix Trench was born on 1 January 1922 the first son of Hugo Chevenix Trench and Emma Margaret Florence Trench nee McAlpine of Virginia Water, Surrey. 1255905 Sgt. Richard Chevenix Trench was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) as announced in the London Gazette of 14 October 1941. A pupil at Charterhouse School 1935-1939 he is commemorated on the stone panels bearing the names of the fallen in the Charterhouse School Memorial Chapel.

(2) Sgt. Ernest Millington was born 6 November 1920 at Chesterfield, Derbyshire the son of Ernest Millington and Gertrude Millington nee Woolley. Ernest Millington senior was a Works Manager and the family lived at Donington House, Victoria Road, Pinxton, Derbyshire.

Ernest Millington junior entered Nottingham High School in 1929 aged 8. He played in the First XI and was House Captain for Cricket and in 1937 with a batting average of 22 it was recorded that "Millington has proved a distinct success as a first wicket batsman and should make runs next year". He also played at Scrum Half in the 2nd XV. He was also a Prefect in 1937 and on leaving that year his tutor noted that "He has developed into a really good and reliable fellow".

It was also recorded that he had left school to take up employment at Pinxton Mine. He is commemorated on the Nottingham High School War Memorial (Details courtesy of Nottingham High School Archives)

(3) Sgt. Arthur Lascelles Clipson was born in 28 February 1922 the son of Arthur Frederick Clipson and Edith Elsie Clipson nee Wooster of Barnes, Surrey.

(4) Sgt. Thomas Merryweather Fitzjohn was born in 1913 the son of George Fitzjohn and Minnie Fitzjohn nee Burditt of Market Harborough, Leicestershire

(5) Sgt. Ronald Fossey was born in 1917 the son of Frederick Henry Fossey and Mary Elizabeth Fossey of Hull.


(1) P/O. Richard Chevenix Trench was buried in the private vault of the McAlpine family adjoining Cobham Cemetery, Esher, Surrey.

(2) Ernest Millington was buried at St. Helen's Churchyard, Pinxton, Derbyshire - Plot 1. Row 14. Grave 38.

(3) Sgt. Arthur Lascelles Clipson was buried at East Sheen Cemetery, Barnes, London - Section G. Grave 576.

(4) Sgt. Thomas Merryweather Fitzjohn was buried at Moreton-in-Marsh New Cemetery, Gloucestershire - Section K. Grave 1.

Epitaph reads:

Always remembered.

One of the best

(5) Sgt. Ronald Fossey was buried at Hull Eastern Cemetery - Compt. 166. Grave 46.

Epitaph reads:

Happy and smiling

Always content

Loved and respected

Wherever he went

Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for Nottingham High School and all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - March 2016

With thanks to the sources quoted below.

RW 19.03.2016

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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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