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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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Bomber Command Crest
02.01.1943 No. 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit Halifax II R9388 Sgt. Watson

Operation: Training

Date: 02nd January 1943 (Saturday)

Unit No: 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit

Type: Handley Page Halifax II

Serial: R9388

Code: Not issued

Base: RAF Riccall, North Yorkshire

Location: Cawood, North Yorkshire

Pilot: Sgt. Thomas Davis Watson 1340991 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Walter Frank Hewitt 1417486 RAFVR Age ??. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Jack Holder Atkinson 1391253 RAFVR Age 33. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Gordon Maxwell Lipsett R/113870 RCAF Age 23. Injured (1)

Reason for Loss:

Weather, according to Station Operational Record Book: Fine becoming cloudy with strong wintry showers. Visibility mainly good.

The aircraft was undertaking a daytime training flight when fifteen minutes after taking off from RAF Riccall at 10:00 hrs, the aircraft was flying with one engine stopped and propeller feathered.

The aircraft was seen to suddenly climb steeply, stall and then dive into the ground at 10:20 just south of Cawood, near the Tile Bridge. The aircraft had previously suffered a collapsed undercarriage at RAF East Moor in August 1942 but had been repaired.

(1) Sgt. Gordon Maxwell Lipsett of Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada. Admitted to Selby Cottage Hospital and later transferred to RAF Hospital at Raucesby. He recovered and survived the war. Passed away on the 31st October 1974 age just 53. Buried at Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Canada. His wife, Gladys Naomi Lipsett (née Windett) with whom he married in Bournemouth, England in 1943, passed away on the 20th September 2003 age 83, buried in the same cemetery.

Burial Details:

Sgt. Thomas Davis Watson. Lanark Cemetery, St Leonard's Section B, Grave 23. Son of Thomas and Margaret Main Watson of Lanark, Scotland.

Sgt. Walter Frank Hewitt. Wellington Main Cemetery, Somerset, Div. 2, Grave 2156 B. Son of Harold Frank and Agnes Mary Hewitt. Husband of Florence May Hewitt, of Wellington, Somerset, England. Grave inscription reads: 'God Shall Wipe Away All Tears'.

Sgt. Jack Holder Atkinson. Charlton Cemetery, Greenwich, Section Q, 1st Cons. Grave 2. Son of Jack and Emily May Atkinson. Husband of Thelma Atkinson, of Charlton, Greenwich, England. Grave inscription (Family grave) reads: 'At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them'.

Researched by Steve Hunnisett for Aircrew Remembered - April 2019. Extract from 1658 HCU Operations Record Book attached, which doesn't actually provide much detail. Other sources as quoted.

SH 29.04.2019

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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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