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Thread: Honeychurch Moor (Bombing range) and 19 OTU

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    Default Honeychurch Moor (Bombing range) and 19 OTU

    I have Honeychurch Moor listed as being used by 19 OTU. The source was an incident recorded by a witness on the RAF Forres website where two Whitley bombers collided over the range. The location cannot be confirmed as the name Honeychurch Moor does not appear in the area only in SW England!. Attempts to identify the Whitley(s) that crashed on this range have proved difficult there being no mention of two colliding. The likely candidates listed in Bomber Command Losses Vol 7 don't give the location, but a likely candidate for the Whitley is P5092 of 19 OTU which broke up in the air on 26/5/1942 about 3 miles from Lossiemouth whilst on a bombing run. The accident was thought to have been a photoflash that went off prematurely.

    As the account on the Forres website was a single source I would have marked it as something to followup later but around the same time I found Honeychurch Moor mentioned in a file at the National Archives (MAF 140/12). This was in a list of ranges still on the book in late 1945 and Honeychurch was crossed out. The wartime grid reference is probably suspect as it give a map no. and grid ref that is nowhere near any Honeychurch Moor in Scotland or England.

    Can anyone with 19 OTU records identify Honeychurch or if the P5092 was unrelated?

    This has been bugging me for nearly 10 years and every couple of years I go over the same old ground so can anyone with 19 OTU records identify Honeychurch or if the P5092 incident was related to it?


    For the sake of completeness I should point out that there were a number of other ranges in that area, Clunas (which could take live bombs), Innes Links (aka Links of Innes), Kingston and Rose Valley (aka Roseisle). I believe I have looked at those to see if they were known by alternative names. The final point is that it is possible that Honeychurch was a range used at the end of a long cross country exercise but again the know locations (SW England) don't fit was a bombing range.

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    Default

    What is the map reference you have?

    DaveW

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    PNK,
    Can’t help – but one for your archives!
    The Canberras from Wittering were using Otmoor Bombing Range in the mid-50’s.
    One came in too fast, and too low, and released a 250lb(?) concrete-filled(?) bomb on to Otmoor. It ‘bounced’ rather than ‘dug-in’.
    According to Wittering myth/legend it entered a nearby farmhouse via the back door, passed over the heads of the farmer’s family eating their evening meal, and exited through the front door!!!
    Now there’s one for you to chase!!
    HTH (but it won't!)
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    The Map reference in MAF 140/21 (Apologies not MAF 140/12 as originally posted) was 1" Map 50 (England and wales or Scotland?) and grid 063259 or possbily 063289. It was listed as a practice bombing range and controlled by A.D.G.B. (Air Defence of Great Britain).

    The source of the personal memory was here:- http://www.griffon.clara.net/19/19otu_memories.htm


    Thanks for the Otmoor bomb story. A similar bomb story was told by another squadron, I can't recall which, but it fell on a pub toilet and two old ladies were in residence at the time. No one was seriously hurt though. However they wrote new words for the tune about two old ladies sitting on the lavatory and the new words ended with "only ?? squadron new they were there". I probably heard on this forum!

    I have been looking at the post war use of Otmoor and it seems Canberras were bombing from great heights although I have not found anything like the 45,000 feet bombing run carried out on the Chesil target. I assume some of these were simulated and plotted by the GL radars, which started being used at Otmoor in 1944.

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    The No. 19 OTU ORB has the following for P5092:

    27/5 0002 The CCLO reported an aircraft crashed in flames near to Innes Links bombing range. This proved to be Whitley P5092 in which the Captain, P/O Chadwick, and four crew perished. This aircraft was practice bombing at the time, and appeared to break in two in the air
    Regards,

    Dave

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    Thanks for that. At least I can discount that incident in connection with Honeychurch Moor.

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