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Military aircraft crashes in the north west Midlands - 1945 to 1953

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.

The details 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.

4 January 1945 (04/01/1945) Wellington X LP729 of 10 OTU was attempting to reach Wheaton Aston following an engine failure, but dived into the ground at Church Eaton. The rear gunner, F/Sgt J R Gammon was injured, the rest of the crew were killed: F/Sgt F C Haglund RNZAF, W/O N W Harnett, Sgt A W George, F/Sgt M H Walton RNZAF, F/O B A Hogg RNZAF, Sgt C D Wong (Jamaican).

7 January 1945 (07/01/1945) Spitfire P8091 “Miners of Durham II”, of 7 SFTS/ 7PAFU suffered an accident on this date at Castle Bromwich. “Owing to a fault, the undercarriage did not lower and lock properly”. In “Spitfire, The History” by Morgan and Shacklady the damage it suffered was Category AC, but on 11/01/45 this was elevated to Category E. Then, on 18/01/45 the aircraft was re-classified as a ground instructional air frame: 4936M. Colin Cummings in “Clipped Wings Vol 3” simply has it listed as written off on 07/01/45; Bruce Robertson in “Spitfire, the Story of a Famous Fighter” does not include this as an instructional airframe, whilst the Air Britain Serials register has it becoming 4936M in January 1944!

20 January 1945 (20/01/1945) Tiger Moth N6920 of 14 EFTS crashed at Tamworth whilst attempting a forced landing during a snow storm.  Pilot F/O George Murray MacLean RCAF and navigator P/O Richard Henry William Stoneman were both killed. MacLean’s brother Sgt A K MacLean was killed on 10/09/1941 whilst on convoy escort duty with 236 Squadron, his body being washed up on the north Devon coast. Both brothers are now buried at Heanton Punchardon, near Chivenor, Devon.

4 February 1945 (04/02/1945) Anson N9618 of 3 OAFU was hit by another aircraft whilst parked at Halfpenny Green.

18 February 1945 (18/02/1945) Blenheim AZ984 of 12 PAFU suffered an engine failure during take-off from Hixon and the aircraft sustained damage that was not repaired.

22 February 1945 (22/02/1945) Tiger Moth NL912 of 9 MU crashed at the Britool factory in Bushbury, Wolverhampton. F/Sgt A Barton and F/Sgt E E Evershed were both killed. 

24 February 1945 (24/02/1945) Oxford V4148 of 21 PAFU was being taxyied at the Perton airfield, that was in use as a R.L.G. for Seighford. In attempting to go round two other aircraft, V4148 left firm ground and bogged down, suffering damage that was not repaired.

9 March 1945 (09/03/1945) Tiger Moth II DE473 of 16 EFTS was struck by Halifax NA317 while on approach to land at Abbots Bromley airfield. The pilot, F/Sgt Alan Reginald Edwards and his pupil, AC2 Alan John Mclaren Keay were both killed.  The Halifax, of 1665 HCU, crashed half a mile to the north. The crew were all killed: F/O J W Cairns, W/O A G Hemmings, W/O K Millard, Sgt P Richman, Sgt J Forbes, Sgt G Dinsdale.

12 March 1945 (12/03/1945) Blenheim BA238 of 12 PAFU struck trees and crashed near Chartley whilst on a night flying exercise. F/O R Martin was killed.

12 March 1945 (12/03/1945) Liberator III BZ784 of 51 MU suffered a collapsed nose wheel while landing at Lichfield. The aircraft probably arrived for scrapping in any case.

15 March 1945 (15/03/1945) Oxford P9023 of 21 PAFU crashed on take-off  from Seighford.

9 April 1945 (09/04/1945) Wellington X ME881 of 27 OTU was wrecked in a forced landing at base following engine failure. Pilot F/O S.E.Bourke RAAF and seven other crew members were unhurt.

14 April 1945 (14/04/1945) Lancaster X KB816 of 428 Squadron overshot a forced landing at Church Broughton on return from Kiel. No casualties.

16 April 1945 (16/04/1945) Vultee Vengeance TTIV HB456 crashed during unauthorized aerobatics over Burton-upon-Trent. F/Sgt W Saul was killed. Also killed on the ground were: Ivy Goy (29), Elizabeth Banton (60), Edith Baker (25), Brian Baker (20 months), Agnes Jones (59). Four others were injured.

22 April 1945 (22/04/1945) Beaufort ML687 of 12 PAFU flew into the ground whilst making a single engine approach to Hixon Aerodrome. F/S T W Johnson was killed.

25 April 1945 (25/04/1945) Beaufort ML714 of 12 PAFU was written off in forced landing four miles south of Desford. The pilot was practicing asymmetric flying and, after un-feathering the starboard engine, it refused to deliver power so he force landed in a field. (Note Colin Cummings book gives the location as Defford, Worcs.)

30 April 1945 (30/04/1945) Lancaster X KB879 of 428 Squadron disintegrated during a dive, possibly caused by the explosion of an oxygen cylinder, wreckage landing near Sandon. The crew, as follows, were all killed. F/L W G Campbell RCAF, Sgt J H Kay RCAF, WO2 T D Lawley RCAF, F/S S Berryman, F/S E J Wright RCAF, F/S J L Tweedy RCAF, F/S W G Ward RAFVR. (F/S Wright was only 16 years old.)

11 May 1945 (11/05/1945) Beaufort ML628 of 12 PAFU had its port undercarriage torn off  when the aircraft developed a swing on take-off from Hixon Aerodrome. No one was hurt.

15 May 1945 (15/05/1945) Beaufort ML652 of 12 PAFU was wrecked when it was landed at Hixon with its undercarriage retracted. F/O D J Followes was injured.

15 May 1945 (15/05/1945) Beaufort ML709 of 12 PAFU overshot landing into No.2 site at Hixon Aerodrome where it caught fire and also set fire to a living hut. F/O Fisher was treated for shock.

23 May 1945 (23/05/1945) Beaufort ML632 of 12 PAFU was on approach to Hixon Aerodrome when a red flare was fired to warn the pilot to go round again.  A lag in response from the port engine caused the aircraft to stall into the ground. F/O G D Neame was seriously injured.

30 May 1945 (30/05/1945) Oxford NM482 of 1545 BAT Flight was engaged in beam flying training at Halfpenny Green when it collided with Anson DG799 which was landing. F/O J W Gooch (pilot), F/Sgt S R Hawkins (pupil) were both killed.  The Anson also crashed, killing Sgt Oswald Teague and P/O Goronwy Wyn Roberts.

13 June 1945 (13/06/1945) Whitley BD418 of 9 MU was damaged beyond repair in a taxying accident at Cosford.

6 July 1945 (06/07/1945) Tiger Moth R4773 of 16 EFTS crashed on landing at Church Greasley, near Burton upon Trent. Both crew members survived, but one was injured.

10 November 1945 (10/11/1945) Mosquito RG204 of RCASU broke up in the air following the failure of its starboard engine and crashed near Wheaton Aston Airfield. The pilot, P/O J P M van der Heijden was killed, the navigator bailed out successfully.

13 November 1945 (13/11/1945) Spitfire IX TD328 of 17 SFTS crash landed on Hixon Aerodrome following  engine failure.

28 November 1945 (28/11/1945) Tiger Moth R4849 of 28 EFTS stalled at low altitude and crashed at Chetwynd in Shropshire. Fate of pilot unknown.

11 February 1946 (11/02/1946) Mosquito RG313 of 51 MU crashed near Lichfield aerodrome following loss of control during a slow roll at 3,000 feet. The pilot, F/Lt Mark Laicyo George Dickens, and passenger LAC Richard George Dickens were killed.

1 August 1946 (01/08/1946) Oxford LW788 of 21 PAFU was on a night cross country exercise from Wheaton Aston when it suffered a failure of the port propeller and crashed out of control at Huddlesford, near Lichfield. Pilot W/O Matthew Hamilton Orr was killed as were 7 sheep in the field where the aircraft crashed.

26 November 1946 (26/11/1946) Oxford T1246 of 21 PAFU crashed half mile south of Seighford in an attempted forced landing following an engine failure.

9 September 1948 (09/09/1948) Mosquito RK945 of 51 MU was on a delivery flight from Lichfield to Shawbury when an engine cut out. An attempt at a forced landing was made at Brindley Heath, but the aircraft broke up and the pilot, F/Lt Henry Warwick of No. 4 Ferry Pool was killed.

19 September 1948 (19/09/1948) Mosquito TA507 of 51 MU crashed during a low level turn at the Battle of Britain display at Lichfield Aerodrome. F/Lt Hedley, pilot and S/L F G Shaw, the unit’s Senior Equipment Officer were killed.

6 December 1948 (06/12/1948) Mosquito RG295 of 9 MU was wrecked when an engine cut on take-off from Cosford. Pilot F/Lt Hank Costain and fitter Sgt Thomas Hargreaves were unhurt.

13 February 1949 (13/02/1949) Balliol T2, VW897 was on a test flight from Boulton and Paul in Wolverhampton when serious control problems with elevator reversal were found at 320 knots. Speed was increased to 420 knots in a dive to determine the effect that this would have, but the port windscreen side panel disintegrated and the cockpit hood burst open. Both pilots were incapacitated and the aircraft dived into the ground out of control at Coven. Mr Robin Lindsey Neal, 37 and Mr Peter Tisshaw, 25 were both killed. Neal had been the company's test pilot during the war and was involved with the development of the Boulton Paul Defiant.

14 April 1949 (14/04/1949) Wyvern TS384 crashed in forced landing at Lichfield Aerodrome whilst undergoing tests with Rolls Royce. The engine broke up and caught fire in flight and the pilot, Mr H C Rogers DFC, made a successful wheels-down landing at Lichfield, but missed the runway and landed on the station football pitch where a match was in progress. Fortunately, there were no casualties!

27 July 1950 (27/07/1950) Tiger Moth N6624 of 5 RFS based at Castle Bromwich broke away from a formation and began a loop from the top of which it span in, possibly because the pilot blacked out from pulling too hard. Student pilot, F/O J A Deighton survived, but the instructor, F/Lt Arthur Benjamin Mobley was killed.

13 October 1952 (13/10/1952) Wellington X RP387 of 6 School of Air Navigation crash landed and hit tree near Lichfield Aerodrome. Sgt L Bahal and P/O C Cooke were injured, P/O Francis Patrick Purcell was killed.

30 November 1952 (30/11/1952) Tiger Moth R5123 of 25 RFS hit a tree while engaged in unauthorised low flying near Stafford, injuring the pilot.

26 February 1953 (26/02/53) Miles Hawk G-AKMN belonging to the Wolverhampton Aero Club took off from Wolverhampton for a solo training flight to Wheaton Aston, but crashed into a ploughed field on the outskirts of Wheaton Aston aerodrome.  The pilot, Geoffrey Harold Lloyd, was a 17 year old sergeant in the Air Training Corp and he died from his injures. The aircraft was formerly Miles Magister L5992 which had served with 12 OTU and the Air Transport Auxilliary before being sold on 26/02/1948.

19 August 1953 (19/08/1953) Chipmunk WK523 of 5 RFS based at Castle Bromwich had its controls jam when the pilot, Flight Cadet J K Jennings, was performing aerobatics and had just completed a Derry Turn. Unable to free them, he baled out at 2,000 feet. The aircraft descended in a flattish turn to the right, struck a tree, a telegraph pole and two bungalows which were severely damaged (by fire?); the aircraft coming down in Walmley Ash Road, Sutton Coldfield. The station fire officer at Sutton Coldfield, Donald Whitton, when dispatched to the site was dismayed to discover that the aircraft had crashed into his home.

27 May 1954 (27/05/1954) Chipmunk WP779 of 5 RFS based at Castle Bromwich made a slow roll over the airfield, but too low and too slow, and hit the ground. The pilot, F/Lt Jack Netherwood DFC (31) and his passenger Mr Douglas Jones, a mechanic, were killed.  F/Lt Netherwood won his DFC on bomber ops with 106 Sqn and was Chief Flying Instructor to the University of Birmingham Air Squadron.

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