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Thread: Crash Cliffe Kent 24/10/1942

  1. #1
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    Default Crash Cliffe Kent 24/10/1942

    From Hansard 18/11/1942
    Mr. Thorne
    asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he can give any information in connection with the crashing of an aeroplane at Cliffe, Kent, on Saturday, 24th October; how many people were injured; what property was damaged; and what was the cause of the accident?

    Sir A. Sinclair
    This accident occurred when a Royal Air Force aircraft crashed on returning from an operational flight. The causes of the accident are being investigated by a court of inquiry. The crew of seven and one civilian were killed and two civilians were injured. Four cottages and a farmhouse were destroyed

    Has anyone more detailed information on this?

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    Chorley has this as Stirling W7628 of No.149 sqn returning from Genova on the night of 23rd/24th Oct.

    Regards
    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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    Default Hopefully a useful start

    Sergeant Leonard Joseph Barnard
    Casualty of WWII,

    Leonard served with 149 (R.A.F.) Sqdn Royal Canadian Air Force,Service No.117579. He was killed in the Stirling Bomber crash at Cliffe in Kent.

    The Stirling bomber W7628 OJ-B was commanded by Flight Sergeant (Pilot), 22 year old Adolph Siwak, of Angusville, Manitoba, Canada. The aircraft took off from R.A.F. Lakenheath, Suffolk at 18:36 hours on 23 October 1942 on a bombing mission to Genoa, Italy.

    112 Lancasters of 5 Group and the Pathfinders were dispatched in a mixed bomber force to re-commence the campaign against Italy, which was timed to coincide with the opening of the British Eighth Army offensive at El Alamein, Egypt. It was a perfectly clear moonlit night and the Pathfinder marking was described as being both prompt and accurate. The bombing by this comparatively small force of aircraft, carrying only 180 tons of bombs, could hardly have been carried out under more ideal conditions.

    A number of aircraft were lost on this raid but none reportedly due to enemy action. Some crashed on landing, other losses were due to mechanical failure, and others being low or completely out of fuel.

    On the return leg of the mission the Stirling ran out of fuel and crashed at 0300 hours into a row of four cottages and a farmhouse at Rye Street, Cliffe-at-Hoo, on the Hoo Peninsular five miles north of Rochester, Kent, killing the seven crew of the bomber. There was a civilian casualty, a 21 year old Lilian May McPherson, who had recently given birth to a baby girl, died of exposure before help could get to her. The baby survived.

    Another reason put forward for the crash was that a searchlight crew half a mile away had been unable to make radio contact with the plane, and they illuminated the houses for the pilot to see as there were open fields all around. The pilot appears to have thought they were showing him a way down and flew down the beam. Certainly it was reported that it appeared to be in some trouble as it made several circuits. The aircraft ended up in the field opposite. Two Canadians and another crew member are interred in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey, and the other four were laid to rest in their respective home town or village cemeteries.

    Source: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=17662118
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Thanks- you've come up trumps as usual

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    The baby who survived is my sister in law,still fit and well and living in Sheffield.A few years back a commemorative service was held to which she attended.If anyone wants more information,email me ,I will pass on any messages,I'm sure Diana will reply.
    paul.bennett356@gmail.com

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    Here is the newspaper report for the crash - Gravesend Reporter 31/10/42 p.5

    Best
    Andrew
    Last edited by Invicta; 29th November 2013 at 15:56.

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    Another newspaper article about the crash - Kent Messenger 30/10/42 p.1

    Best
    Andrew
    Last edited by Invicta; 29th November 2013 at 16:05.

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