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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
21.08.1944 No. 650 Squadron Martinet TT.I JN554 Fl/Sgt. Wilson

Operation: Target towing

Date: 21st August 1944 (Monday)

Unit: No. 650 Squadron. 70 Group

Type: Martinet TT.I

Serial: JN554

Code: T7-?

Base: RAF Cark, Lancashire (now Cumbria)

Location: Middleton Sands, Lancaster

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John Charles Wilson NZ/425967 RNZAF Age 24. Seriously injured

Air/Gnr: Sgt. C.W. Harris 945436 RAFVR Seriously injured


Taking off at around 15:05 hrs on a target towing for Army Co-operation exercise.

Once completed the pilot dropped the drogue and made a circuit out over the sea. He then came in very low over the firing camp on Middleton Sands. During a turn to port a wing tip caught the sand cartwheeling the Martinet. The aircraft crashed at 16:47 hrs and caught fire.

Both crew were pulled from the wreckage seriously injured. Sadly Sgt. Wilson succumbed to his injuries two days later at the Morecambe RAF Hospital.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. John Charles Wilson. Torrisholme Cemetery. Block A. Blue. Grave 19. Born on the 02nd May 1920 at Christchurch, the son of George Charles and Mary Ellen Wilson (née Power'), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. A motor mechanic at Hutchinson's Motors prior to service. A total of 289 flying hours logged with 7 of these on the Martinet.

Every year on Anzac day (25 April) the Royal British Legion, Morecambe and Heysham branch lay a wreath on his grave.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 11.08.2019

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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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