24/25.05.1942 No. 22 OTU Wellington Ic DV840 Sgt. Whitworth
Date: 24/25th May 1942 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: No. 22 Operational Training Unit. 91 Group
Type: Wellington IC
Code: Not known
Base: RAF Stratford, Warwickshire
Location: At airfield
Pilot: Sgt. Charles Robert Whitworth 1202832 RAFVR Age 28. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Ronald Ernest Herbert NZ/411721 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Eric Hough 994140 RAFVR Age 28. Killed (1)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Douglas Cook R/62860 RCAF Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. S.A. Noyes RCAF Survived, injured (2)
REASON FOR LOSS:
After a cross country training exercise DV840 were returning to the base. The aircraft overshot the runway and swung badly during their approach in a 3O degree crosswind. Control was lost and they struck AD625 which was stationary.
Five of that crew were killed, 2 others suffering severe injuries, which the pilot F/O. John Gale DFM succumbed after many operations the following year. The other survivor killed in another incident whilst with 419 Squadron on Wellington III BJ602 VR-J.
The resulting enquiry concluded that the accident occurred due to a lack of judgement by the pilot of DV840 as his approach took him over the flare path - even if he had not struck the other aircraft he would have crashed as he was still airborne at point of impact. No blame was placed to the crew of AD625 or ground control.
(1) Many publications have Sgt. James Hough as being on the other Wellington involved and Fl/Sgt. John Gibby as being on this aircraft. The accident report (Form 765) shows the crew list for AD625 as we have shown for that page. Of course, if you have other evidence we would be interested in hearing from you.
(2) We have not been able to discover any further information on Sgt. Noyes - are you able to assist?
The funerals at Stratford-Upon-Avon Cemetery took place at 13:00 hrs on the 29th May 1942.
Sgt. Charles Robert Whitworth. Shepshed Cemetery. Plot 93. Grave 5. Son of Robert and Fanny Georgiana Whitworth, of Shepshed, husband of Beatrice Whitworth, of Loughborough, England.
Sgt. Ronald Ernest Herbert. Stratford-Upon-Avon Cemetery. Grave 4202. Born on the 21st May 1919 at Te Aroha, the son of Houlahan Hugh Herbert and of Daisy Herbert (née Harding), of Ellerslie, Auckland, New Zealand. Worked as a garage attendant for H.A Herbert. A total of 228 flying hours logged.
Sgt. James Eric Hough. Macclesfield Cemetery. Plot C. Grave 3162. Son of James and Sarah Ellen Hough, of Macclesfield and husband of Kathleen Mary Hough, of Congleton, Cheshire, England. Grave inscription: "He Love That Never Faltered The Love That Stood The Test Is The Love We'll Ever Cherish The Ones Who Loved Him Best".
Sgt. Robert Douglas Cook. Stratford-Upon-Avon Cemetery. Grave 4221. Born on the 14th November 1920 at River Charlo, the son of Peter William and Mary Cook, brother of James W. and Ronald John and of Freyda, of River Charlo, Restigouche Co., New Brunswick, Canada.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jennifer Lemaire and to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Australian National Archives, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: