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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
21.05.1942 No. 21 O.T.U. Wellington IC R1142 Fl/Sgt. George H. Wilsher

Operation: Training

Date: 21st May 1942 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 21 OTU (Operational Training Unit)

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: R1142

Code: - ?

Base: RAF Edgehill, Oxfordshisire

Location: Shenington area

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. George Herbert Wilsher 741926 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Pilot 2: Sgt. James Anderson 1083374 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Pilot 3: Sgt. 'Herbie' Herbert Swales 1138904 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Alfred Worley AUS/407659 RAAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Aubrey Robert Murray 778598 RAFVR Age ? Injured (1)


Took off from RAF Edgehill (Shenington) to carry our dual instruction in overshoot procedures. Landed heavily at 23:50 hrs. and throttles were advanced in order to go round again. It is thought likely that damage had been made to the Wellington as it then stalled and crashed two miles East of the airfield. All but the rear gunner Fl/Sgt. Murray were killed.

(1) Fl/Sgt. Aubrey Robert Murray from Rhodesia made a good recovery and returned to operations only to be killed on the night of 11/12th August 1943 while flying with 40 Squadron in Wellington X HZ544 BL-Z along with all the crew who have no known graves. They are all commemorated at the Alamein Memorial.

Above: Fl/Sgt. George Wilsher (all photo's courtesy Tiff Jacobs and "Olive")

Fl/Sgt George Wilsher and "friends" - can you identify them? Probably taken after completion of training. In May 2015 the chap on extreme right has been recognised as Sgt. Herbert Swales or Herbie as known to his friends. In March 2017 Anthony Darwell recognised Sgt. Thomas Worley as 2nd from right. Further photo added June 2016 of Sgt. Swales (courtesy Michelle Whittaker)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. George Herbert Wilsher. Twickenham Cemetery Plot M. Class A. Grave 63. Son of Herbert John and Ada Wilsher, of Twickenham, husband of Olive Eva Wilsher, of Twickenham, England. Epitaph reads: "Greater Hath No Man Than This. That A Man Should Lay Down His Life For His Friends.”

Sgt. James Anderson. Blackpool (Carleton) Cemetery Sec. B. Grave 1364. Son of Joseph and Agnes Anderson, of Workington, Cumberland, husband of Hannah Mabel Anderson, of Workington, England.

Sgt. Herbert Swales. Roundhay (St. John) Churchyard. Sec.E. Grave 53. Son of Edgar Coulson Swales and Louie Swales, of Leeds, England.

Sgt. Thomas Alfred Worley. Moreton-In-Marsh New Cemetery Sec. K. Grave 30. Son of Arthur Villanis Worley and Violet Christina Rebecca Worley, of Collinswood, South Australia. Epitaph reads: “Loved By All.”

(1) Fl/Sgt. Aubrey Robert Murray. Alamein Memorial. Column 269. His loss covered in the book"Sweeping the Skies" by David Gunby (Pentland Press 1995)

With thanks to sources quoted below and also to Tiff Jacobs and "Olive", Anthony Darwell for recognition of Sgt Herbert Swales (mother was his cousin) Also to Michelle Whittaker who’s grandfather, Leslie Swales who was the youngest brother of Sgt. Swales - June 2016.

KTY 13.06.2016 - Updated - new photo added

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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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