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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
18/19.10.1944 No 1651 H.C.U. Stirling III LK488 QQ-E Fl/Sgt. Young

Operation: Training

Date: 18/19th October 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 1651 HCU - 'C' Flight (Heavy Conversion Unit)

Type: Stirling III

Serial: LK488

Code: QQ-E

Base: RAF Wrattling Common, Cambridgeshire

Location: Mickle Fell, Pennines, County Durham

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Peter Dawbarn Young NZ/425313 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Bertram George Davis 1896494 RAFVR Age 36. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Neil Conway Burgess NZ/4212641 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. John Mathew Stack NZ/4213651 RNZAF Age 27. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Rex Patrick Furey NZ/428189 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. George Child NZ/425233 RNZAF Age 31 Killed

Air/Gnr: W/O. Alan G. Small RNZAF Survived injured


A great deal has been written regarding this loss but I have been asked to place it on the website which I am proud to do so of course. I have placed links to other sources at the acknowledgements section at the foot of the page in order that you can take a more thorough look.

Took off at 23:05 hrs from RAF Wrattling Common, Cambridgeshire on a low-level cross country exercise. During the operation weather conditions rapidly deteriorated and visibility became extremely difficult.

Sadly at around 03:15 hrs the aircraft hit the summit of Mickle Fell in County Durham. The tail gunner, Alan Small was thrown clear during the impact and although injured managed to get to the local community at Birkdale Farm and raise the alarm.

Above: Sgt. Bertram Davis with his wife Clarice. The baby is Helen who contacted us in July 2013. Clarice never remarried and died in her hundredth year in 2011.

Extensive operations since then have taken place to remove as much of the wreckage to the RAF Museum. Most of the work being done during the months of August ad September 1977 when 5 tonnes of the wreckage for the now, very rare Stirling Bomber were removed for possible reconstruction at the RAF Museum. Duxford exhibits many parts, including the area that W/O. Alan Small was sitting in!

Above L-R: Fl/Sgt. Peter Young, Sgt. Bertram Davis, Fl/Sgt. Neil Burgess, Fl/Sgt. John Stack, Fl/Sgt. Rex Furey (courtesy New Zealand Cenotaph)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Peter Dawbarn Young. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. Sec. H. Row B. Grave 4. Son of Andrew Reginald Young and of Helen Young (née Fraser), of Castor Bay, Auckland, New Zealand.

Sgt. Bertram George Davis. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. Sec. H. Row B. Grave 1. Son of Samuel George and Clara Ellen Davis, husband of Clarice Elizabeth Rose Davis, of Purley, Surrey, England

Fl/Sgt. Neil Conway Burgess. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. Sec. H. Row A. Grave 19. Son of Conway and Elsie Gladys Burgess, of Karapiro, Auckland, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. John Mathew Stack. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. Sec. H. Row B. Grave 3. Son of John Charles Edward and Ada Ann Stack, of Paraparaumu, Wellington, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. Rex Patrick Furey. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. Sec. H. Row B. Grave 2. Son of Daniel Furey, and of Rose Furey, of Okaiawa, Taranaki, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. George Child. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. Sec. H. Row A. Grave 20. Son of David Poulter Child and Annie Child, stepson of Mrs. S. Child, of Avondale, Auckland, New Zealand.

W/O. Alan G. Small is from Takaka, South Island, New Zealand. - He passed away in 1994. ((With thanks to Jan-Field Dodgson for this information - July 2017.

Researched for relatives of all the crew. We are very happy to thank others for further information including, Helen Hammond (née Davis), Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol. 8', Short Stirling Forum, Yorkshire Aircraft UK, RAF Duxford Museum, The Stirling Project, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, The Warbirds Site, RAF Commands Forum. Auckland Archives and the weekly News.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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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