Military aircraft crashes in the
north west Midlands - 1944
Details of the crashes and the names of the
aircrew involved appear on this page. Please contact us
if you are related to somebody on the list, or know of
a photograph of them. If original photographs or
papers are still in the family, we can help to caption
photographs and explain the codes and nicknames that
were used at the time. We appreciate the opportunity
to copy original material for the museum's archive.
The Midland Aircraft
Recovery Group has found the sites of many of the
crashes, but we are still looking for a significant
number, so we'd like to hear from anyone who can
pinpoint a crash that we've listed. We are
always looking for photographs, log books and
anecdotes relevant to the units based in the Midlands.
below are have been compiled from numerous sources of
information in the public domain over many years.
We've done our best, but errors are inevitable. Please
contact us if you have more accurate information on
any of the crashes or people listed, or can add the
names of crew that we haven't traced. Thank you.
10 February 1944 (10/02/1944) Wellington X HF516 of 30
Operational Training Unit undershot its landing and
crashed on a building site within the airfield boundary at
Hixon. The pilot, Sgt W E Keeler and three of his crew
escaped from the aircraft before it was engulfed in flames
but Sgt A J Welstead, the Wireless Operator found his
parachute harness tangled in the wreckage. A passing bread
roundsman, Cyril Fradley ran through the flames and
dragged Sgt Welstead clear but the airman died of his
injuries the next day. Mr Fradley was hospitalized for
five months recovering from burns and was awarded the BEM.
20 February 1944 (20/02/1944) Whitley LA927 of 42
Operational Training Unit Crashed at Upper Longdon after
hitting a tree during a forced landing. Its crew of four
were killed: Sgt William Ivor Roberts, Sgt Fredrick Hill,
Sgt William J Constable, Sgt Vincent Joseph Ashmore.
21 February 1944 (20/02/1944) Wellington X HE211 of 27
Operational Training Unit crash landed 2 miles SW of the
aerodrome at Lichfield. Sgt N A Hallam and Sgt J C Lee
24 February 1944 (20/02/1944) Wellington X HE903 of 30
Operational Training Unit crashed at Ranton. The crew, as
follows, were all killed: F/O E Ryan, F/O W O Thompson,
F/O C J Yeates, Sgt D D Roblin, Sgt D H Hearton.
3 March 1944 (03/03/1944) Oxford V3723 of 21 Pilots
advanced Flying Unit crashed at Yoxall. F/Sgt E L Maybee
5 March 1944 (05/03/1944) Tiger Moth T6299 of 28
Elementary Flying Training School dived into ground 1 mile
west of Bishop’s Wood, Staffs. Sgt J W R Arnold and F/Sgt
E J Evans were both killed.
11 March 1944 (11/03/1944) Tomahawk I AH832 of 1686 Flt,
based at Hixon was caught by a cross-wind on take-off and
crashed on a railway embankment. F/O C S Chapman was
15 March 1944 (15/03/1944) Anson I R3381 of 3
Observers Advanced Flying Unit, based at Halfpenny Green,
overshot landing. Fate of crew unknown.
25 March 1944 (25/03/1944) Wellington X LN229 of 18
Operational Training Unit suffered a collapsed
undercarriage on landing at RAF Lichfield. Pilot F/Sgt R
Mansell and crew unhurt.
10 April 1944 (10/04/1944) Wellington X HE165 of 27
Operational Training Unit crash landed at Lichfield
following engine failure whilst on a Nickel operation.
Crew including F/Sgt V K Gratton RAAF and F/Sgt A V
Pearson RAAF were unhurt.
16 April 1944 (16/04/1944) Spitfire II P8095 of 61
Operational Training Unit hit a tree in fog, Grub Street,
High Offley, Staffordshire. Sgt Marian Krenz (Polish) was
killed. While flying with 65 Squadron, this aircraft had
survived a collision with a Bf109 on 26 June 1941.
26 April 1944 (26/04/1944) Wellington III DF640 of 30
Operational Training Unit, Hixon flew into Weston Bank on
a second attempt at landing: F/O N A R Mousdell, Sgt E D
MacDonald, Sgt H D Purbrick were all killed.
28 April 1941 (28/04/1944) Halifax II HR847 of 1652 Heavy
Conversion Unit, force landed at Lichfield Aerodrome
following an engine failure. Crew unhurt.
30 April 1944 (30/04/1944) Mosquito NT192 of 1 Ferry
Pool flew into a railway bank near Lichfield. F/O W L
Godwin was killed.
3 May 1944 (03/05/1944) Wellington III DF622 of 30
Operational Training Unit suffered an engine failure on
take-off from Hixon; attempted to go round again but came
down short of the airfield. Crew Sgt K Sidwell, F/Lt
Gaunt, Sgt A B Howell were unhurt.
23 May 1944 (23/05/1944) Tiger Moth T6689 of 28 Elementary
Flying Training School crashed on landing at Penkridge.
Fate of pilot unknown.
1 June 1944 (01/06/1944) Anson N9738 of 3 (Observers)
Advanced Flying Unit collided with Anson EF927 shortly
after take-off from Halfpenny Green and crashed on the
F/Sgt P Lane, Sgt A Brown, Sgt R Thwaite, Sgt R Clark, Sgt
D W Dixon were all killed. The crew of EF927
5 June 1944 (05/06/1944) Martinet HP384 of 27 Operational
training Unit got into a spin in cloud and crashed near
the airfield. F/Sgt G B Mc Sweeney RAAF, P/O A R Duel RAAF
were both killed.
7 June 1944 (07/06/1944) Oxford V3321 of 21 Pilots
Advanced Flying Unit hit a HT cable and crash landed 1
mile south of Harlaston. There were no casualties.
10 June 1944 (10/06/1944) Wellington X HE820 of 30
Operational Training Unit stalled during an overshoot
whilst on circuits and landings practice. F/Lt A Maclean
and Sgt D Kelly were killed; three other crew members were
4 July 1944 (04/07/1944) An unidentified P-47 force landed
near Wheaton Aston and slid into the Shropshire Union
Canal. The pilot was unhurt.
13 July 1944 (13/07/1944) Beaufighter VIF X7550 of 288
Squadron flew into trees in bad visibility and crashed at
Wychnor Bridges NE of Lichfield Aerodrome. Pilot, F/O
George Edward Hobdell was killed.
16 July 1944 (16/07/1944) Wellington X NC678, 30
Operational Training Unit caught fire when hit by a
practice bomb dropped by another aircraft. The crew failed
to hear the pilot’s order to abandon and were still in the
aircraft when it crashed at Huntingdon, Staffs. F/O S D
Mann RCAF, Sgt P C H Mullins RCAF, F/Sgt J H Jones RCAF
and Sgt J D D Walt RAF were all killed. Sgt D L Phillips
RCAF escaped, but was injured.
18 July 1944 (18/07/1944) Wellington X MF584 of 27
Operational Training Unit had its starboard engine fall
out due to metal fatigue caused by vibration. The crew
abandoned the aircraft, which fell at Marchington. Pilot
F/Sgt J S Walker RAAF and crew were unhurt.
20 July 1944 (20/07/1944) Anson DJ510 of 3 Observers
Advanced Flying Unit was landing at Halfpenny Green when
the pilot did not ensure the flaps were in the correct
landing setting and were only at 30 degrees. The aircraft
ran over the end of the runway and finished in a ditch.
20 July 1944 (20/07/1944) Messerschmitt Bf108 B-1 DK280
(German werke number 2039, British civil registration
G-AFRN). The aircraft was on the strength of Maintenance
Command Communications Squadron when it suffered an engine
failure whilst on a test flight and crashed at Colton,
24 July 1944 (20/07/1944) Wellington III HF735 of 30
Operational Training Unit caught fire and burnt out during
maintenance at Hixon Aerodrome.
25 July 1944 (25/07/1944) Tiger Moth T6820 of 16
Elementary Flying Training School crashed in forced
landing at Walton on Trent.
27 July 1944 (27/07/1944) Hurricane I V6793 of 5 Pilots
Advanced Flying Unit dived into the ground near Stafford.
F/Sgt R H T Martin was killed.
30 July 1944 (30/07/1944) Wellington X LP437 of 27
Operational Training Unit stalled and crashed in circuit
on return from night bombing practice. The crew were all
killed: F/Sgt Fredrick Luckman Stephens RAAF, F/Sgt Ray
Kethel Bolger RAAF, F/Sgt John H Normyle RAAF, Sgt Hugh A
Smyth RAAF, Sgt Earl Hume Beatson RAAF, F/Sgt Jack J
1 August 1944 (01/08/1944) Lancaster B1 LL849 of 101
Squadron descended to establish position in adverse
weather, but hit a tree and crashed near Lichfield
F/O N M Cornelius injured, Sgt Lipfriand injured,
Sgt Middlehurst injured, F/Sgt William G Evanson
killed, Sgt Alexander Holmes killed, Sgt Leonard A Street
killed, Sgt S B Eales injured, Sgt A J Clarke injured.
7 August 1944 (07/08/1944) Wellington X JA533 of 30
Operational Training Unit had its port engine catch fire
in the circuit and flames spread to the wing. The pilot,
W/O A D Groome, landed the aircraft safely at Seighford
aerodrome and the nine men aboard had abandoned it before
it came to a halt! Also on board F/L McKinnon and F/L G A
8 August 1944 (08/08/1944) Wellington X LN588 of 30
Operational Training Unit returned to Seighford early from
a fighter affiliation exercise with hydraulic failure. It
overshot landing and smashed the undercarriage. Pilot F/O
G C Rogerson and crew were unhurt.
11 August 1944 (11/08/1944) Wellington III DF612 of 30
Operational Training Unit was damaged beyond repair in a
heavy landing at Hixon.
17 August 1944 (17/08/1944) Oxford EB731 of 21 Pilots
Advanced Flying Unit on approaching Tatenhill airfield,
the pilot failed to notice another aircraft landing below
him. On being given a red light warning, he banked too
steeply to starboard and the wing tip hit the ground
causing the aircraft to ‘cartwheel’. The pilot escaped
26 August 1944 (26/08/1944) Anson DJ663 of 3 Observers
Advanced Flying Unit was on a beam approach to Halfpenny
Green through cloud when it struck trees and crashed at
Six Ashes. F/Sgt M F J Cox killed, P/O J L Staples
injured, F/O N E Trusty killed, Sgt C D R Verrier killed,
P/O A J Welham injured.
26 August 1944 (26/08/1944) Wellington X HE224 of 30
Operational Training Unit was engaged in night circuits
and landings when it stalled onto a railway embankment.
Pilot F/Sgt R E George and crew were unhurt.
26 August 1944 (26/08/1944) Wellington X LP675 of 105
Operational Training Unit crashed whilst making a forced
landing near Kinver and was destroyed by fire. Crew of
13 August 1944 (13/08/1944) Anson DJ583 of 3 Observers
Advanced Flying Unit was landing at Halfpenny Green, when
the pilot swung the aircraft at the end of its landing run
and it was damaged (beyond repair?).
13 September 1944 (13/09/44) Tiger Moth DE846 of 28
Elementary Flying Training School was approaching to land
at Wolverhampton when it undershot and overturned.
16 September 1944 (16/09/1944) Anson EG168 of 3 Observers
Advanced Flying Unit was involved in a mid-air collision
over Halfpenny Green Airfield with Anson EG293, which
landed safely. (This aircraft was itself destroyed in a
ground collision three months later, see below.)
EG168’s crew of four were killed. W/O1 Ivor Donald Olson
RCAF, F/S Norman Sadler, P/O Myrddyn Rees Hopkins, Sgt
Donald (Don) Horace Bates.
18 September 1944 (18/09/1944) Wellington LP436 of 27
Operational Training Unit failed to pull out of a dive in
time and crashed 4 miles west of Lichfield. The RAAF crew
of five, as follows, were killed. F/Sgt L D Southwood, F/O
E C Buckland, F/Sgt D Fletcher, F/Sgt D R McDonald, F/O J
M Ruglen. (3 of the five men were still teenagers.)
26 September 1944 (26/09/1944) Wellington X LN711 of 30
Operational Training Unit suffered an engine failure on
take-off from Seighford, overshot and was wrecked; crew
unhurt. Pilot: F/O J S Walker RAAF.
16 October 1944 (16/10/1944) Wellington III X3357 of 30
Operational Training Unit was on a night navigational
detail when it transmitted a request for a course to steer
at 21.41 hrs. Nine minutes later it crashed into a wood in
Ingestre Park. The RAAF crew of five, as follows, were all
killed. F/S P E B Vallender, F/O P J Castle, P/O R C
Parker, F/O W P Heatley, F/O G B Sandilands.
25 October 1944 (25/10/1944) Hurricane IIc LF170 of 30
Operational Training Unit crashed into a tree near the
Officers’ Mess at Seighford. F/O A V Browne RAAF was
27 October 1944 (27/10/1944) Wellington III BK146 of 30
Operational Training Unit caught fire on its take-off run;
the pilot raised the undercarriage to stop and the
aircraft burnt out. Sgt W B Pollock and crew were unhurt.
8 November 1944 (08/11/1944) Wellington X JA343 of 27 OTU
broke up in the air a mile from Church Broughton airfield,
when 20 minutes into a night exercise. Sgt J S Hood
RCAF, Sgt H L Fernstrom RCAF, Sgt J F Gazzard RCAF, Sgt A
White RAAF, Sgt W J Drozdiak RCAF and Sgt B I Williams
were all killed.
20 November 1944 (20/11/1944) Wellington X LP569 of 30
Operational Training Unit was destroyed in a hangar fire
22 November 1944 (22/11/1944) Mosquito HJ650 of 60 OTU was
flying in formation when the pilot lost control and the
aircraft crashed in West Bromwich. P/O Jan Antoni
Lillikmaa (Polish) and F/Sgt Jerzy Hara (Polish) were both
24 November 1944 (24/11/1944) Mosquito DZ429 of 1655
Mosquito Training Unit entered a spin which caused the
starboard engine bearers to fail. The aircraft crashed
near Lichfield. The pilot and navigator, were killed: F/O
R M Jones RCAF, F/O D G MacKenzie.
13 December 1944 (13/12/1944) Anson EG293 of 3 Observers
Advanced Flying Unit was hit by Oxford HN593 whilst parked
at Halfpenny Green.
17 December 1944 (17/12/1944) Anson N9875 of 3
Observers Advanced Flying Unit crashed 2 miles north of
Lichfield. The pilot became lost, failed to manage the
fuel system properly and, when an engine failed owing to
fuel starvation, he attempted a wheels down landing in a
field, but the aircraft ‘nosed-over’.
17 December 1944 (17/12/1944) Oxford LB515 of 3 Observers
Advanced Flying Unit crashed 1.5 miles N.N.E of
Halfpenny Green, circumstances unknown. Pilot F/O B. Smith