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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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22nd September 1940 No. 17 O.T.U. Blenheim I L8610 Sgt. Wilson

Operation: Training

Date: 22nd September 1940 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 17 O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit)

Type: Blenheim I

Serial: L8610

Base: RAF Upwood.

Location: Abersychan, Wales

Pilot: Sgt. Hubert Henry Wilson 745159 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Obs: P/O. Anthony Drake Coplestone 84720 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John November 938877 RAFVR Age 20. Killed (1)


On a training exercise with 11 other Blenheim's from the unit. Weather conditions were described as low cloud base as they took off to carry out navigational training.

L8610 was heard by locals in the Garndiffaith area as flying very low when shortly afterwards at around 15:10 hrs it crashed into the summit of Garn Wen in the south eastern corner of the Breacon Beacons.

The official course of the accident was placed as pilot error, but investigations at this stage of the war were not as thorough as perhaps they could have been.

Above as described (courtesy Ken Clark)

Above P.C. Tom Jarvis and Sgt. Davies (courtesy Ken Clark)

The first person to arrive at the scene was a local policeman P.C. Tom Jarvis, who remained at the crash site overnight, sleeping in a tent to deter souvenir hunters. All the crew were killed.

On September 22nd Ken Clark and members Abersychan and Garndiffaith local history group erected a stainless steel memorial (with the assistance of many local people). Ken also produced a booklet covering his research into the crash. A copy of which he kindly sent Aircrew Remembered.

(1) Sgt. John November was a former pupil of Moseley Grammar school (Now secondary/grammar school). We are working very closely with the school's historians to remember all the ex pupils who died whilst serving with the RAF and recorded on the school memorial.

Left: The memorial (courtesy Ken Clark)

Burial details:

Sgt. Hubert Henry Wilson. Bury Cemetery (Huntingdonshire) Row c. Grave 22. Son of Frederick George and Annie Maud Wilson, of Muswell Hill, Middlesex, England.

P/O. Anthony Drake Coplestone. Boldre (St. John) Churchyard. Row 1. Grave 1. Son of William Drake Coplestone, M.A., B.CH., and Edith Mary Coplestone, of Gorey, Jersey, Channel Islands. B.A. (Cantab.) Barrister, Member of Inner Temple; M.I.C.A.

Sgt. John November.Yardley Wood (Christ Church) Churchyard Sec. F. Grave 110. Son of David and Maud F. November, of Hall Green, Birmingham, England.

With thanks to the following: Ken Clark who has researched this loss and produced a booklet in association with Abersychan and Garndiffaith local history group. (Available to purchase) Keith Townsend historian of Moseley Secondary/Grammar school memorial records other sources as quoted.

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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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