View Full Version : 410517 - Unaccounted airmen - 17-5-1941

Henk Welting
27th September 2008, 13:56
What were the places of death registration for:

F/Sgt (Airgunner) Reginald COWAN - 535102;
Sgt Eric P. DIAPER - 563093 - 504 Sqn (Exeter, Devon);
F/Sgt Jack T. DUNMORE - 741448;
Sgt (Pilot u/t) Hugh A. HOUNAM - 534390, and
LAC James N. SWANSTON - 803465.

Proposed aircraft losses for this day:

Blenheim I - L1302 - 54 OTU - overshot landing at Church Fenton.
Defiant I - N1573 - 54 OTU - crashed on take-off at night 3 miles E of Church Fenton.
Master I - T8638 - 9 FTS - spun into ground at Grittleton, 2 miles WSW of Hullavington, Wiltshire.
Oxford I - N4604 - 2 FTS - undershot landing at Akeman Street LG.
Spitfire I - N3046 - 53 OTU - crashed on approach Sealand, Flintshire.

Regards and thanks for your help.

27th September 2008, 14:22

Sgt (Pilot u/t) Hugh A. HOUNAM - 534390 is listed as the pilot of Master I - T8638 in 'Wings over Wiltshire' by Rod Priddle. His death was registered at Chippenham.



27th September 2008, 14:25
Hi Henk
Cowan,25,is registered at Selby, E Yorkshire,
Diaper,27 is registered at Devon Central, the right area for an incident E or SE of the city of Exeter
Hounam,22, is registered at Chippenham which is right for Grittleton
Dunmore and Swanson did not come up, and Warner records no injuries on L1302

Henk Welting
27th September 2008, 14:46
Thanks Nick & Dick for your support.
Sunny greetings from the continent,

Henk Welting
27th September 2008, 14:51
Who has a pilot's name for Hurricane V7225 of 1401 Flight, crashed after collision 17-5-1941.

27th September 2008, 15:44
Henk, Hi,
Tell us more about Hurricane V7225! This looks like being the area of interest of Met Flights. Brian (Lyffe on this Forum) is writing these Flights up - I would hate for him to have missed some "copy"!!!
Weather in S UK unseasonably warm, dry, and sunny. Good gardening weather - unfortunately!!! We will, no doubt, pay for it when the inevitable Equinoctal Gales arrive!!
But, in the interim, have a good day (and my respects to Carla).

27th September 2008, 16:44
Hi Henk,

I have some details on a casualty 17/5/1941 listed on RAF Overseas Deaths :-
951434 AC2 Ronald DAWSON 17 O.T.U Buried Blackpool cemetery (Canadian ?)

I was wondering if he was part of the crew of 17 OTU Blenheim V5565 ?


Ken MacLean
27th September 2008, 17:00

Sgt. J.T. Dunmore is "Previously reported wounded or injured on active service, now reported died of wounds or injuries received on active service" in the Times, 10 October 1941.

I did not find the initial announcement of his being wounded or injured on searching 1939-1941.

Regards, Ken

Henk Welting
27th September 2008, 17:16
Thanks Ken for info on Dunmore; will amend my files.

Henk Welting
27th September 2008, 17:23
Indeed DAWSON from Canada. Was killed on Oxford II serial R6342 of 17 SFTS. Accident on Cranwell during take-off (had to avoid other aircraft).

27th September 2008, 18:40
Cowan was in the 54 OTU Defiant, I see that the ORB records a slightly different serial for an aircraft that was written off in October 1940.

May 17th 1941, “There was a fatal accident, involving Defiant aircraft No.N1578. The pilot
No.990448 Sgt V.M. Russell went into the ground at speed when taking off. This was during
night flying practice, at 0350 hrs; and it is presumed he failed to use his instruments. The pilot was slightly injured, but his Air Gunner, No.535102 Sgt R. Cowan, was killed. The aircraft was burnt out. There was a second accident during night flying; Blenheim No.L1302, piloted by P/O M.W. Kinmouth, overshot during its approach after both engines had failed owing to the pilot making wrong use of his cold air system which caused the carburettor to ice up. The aircraft was written off, but the pilot uninjured.”

I don't have anything about the others.

27th September 2008, 19:19
Hi Henk
Given what Al has put later about Cowan, his death could be registered at Selby rather than at Tadcaster(more usual for Church Fenton)the areas do seem to be very close and you have the Defiant as crashing 3 mls East of the Airfield.

27th September 2008, 22:54
Thanks again Henk

Re Dawson I can easily believe 17 SFTS instead of 17 OTU, but what I can't understand if he died at Cranwell why is he listed on the RAF Overseas Death list !

Another mystery !

Thanks again


Henk Welting
28th September 2008, 13:36
Thanks Al and Dick for additional info.
Mark: On Overseas Death List because he was from Canada ?

29th September 2008, 20:12
LAC James Nicholson SWANSTON's death, aged 26, is registered at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary from natural causes but the date given is 14th May 1941. No service number recorded.



Henk Welting
30th September 2008, 08:55
Thanks David. Will sustain to CWGC's date 17-5-1941.

1st October 2008, 22:21
Who has a pilot's name for Hurricane V7225 of 1401 Flight, crashed after collision 17-5-1941.

P/O McDiermid Killed - Foreman - Turning Point Part 2

Though I can't find him on CWGC!

1st October 2008, 22:25
What did the Hurricane collide with was it Wellington R1587

2nd October 2008, 09:09
Hurricane Pilot was IAIN ROBERTSON MACDIARMID DFC #43420

Please can anyone confirm death registration district - If it was nearly Ely Cambridge. it looks like the Collision would be with the Wellington

2nd October 2008, 09:37
Hi Paul
Macdiarmid doesn't show on the England and Wales Register in the 2nd Qtr of1941 but is on CWGC, d-o-d 17/5/41( I think your 1st spelling was slightly out). His family were in Scotland and he may have died there.

2nd October 2008, 10:02
I have the Hurricane colliding with the Wellington, the latter coming down at Prickwillow, NE of Ely (Chorley). However all the fatalities are registered at Cambridge where I would have expected the Wellington deaths at least to be registered at Ely.

Note that where Chorley Has 'DG Gray', CWGC and Death Register have 'GD Gray'.

'McDairmid' is the spelling on the death register.

Another mystery.



2nd October 2008, 10:36
P/O McDiermid Killed - Foreman - Turning Point Part 2

Though I can't find him on CWGC!


I think this is your man (although no unit given)

Iain Robertson MACDIARMID, DFC



Henk Welting
2nd October 2008, 10:51
Thanks for info on MacDIARMID; also Lyffe will be a happy man.

2nd October 2008, 10:56
(I'm never happy Henk - just the original grumpy old man)


Because of my interest in Met Flights any chance can you provide any more information (off board if you'd prefer) about this incident. At the time 1401 Met Flight was based at Mildenhall (10 KM southeast from Prickwillow) and equipped with Gladiators; consideration was being given to replacing them with the Hurricane, and one, possibly two, were being trialed with this in view.

Unfortunately the 1401 Met Flight ORB does not start until Feb 1942, after 1401 had moved to Bircham Newton; I have been unable to find anything of a similar vein to cover its time at Mildenhall. (And before anyone suggests AIR14/316, that doesn't contain anything relevant.)

The Mildenhall connection explains the deaths being registered in Cambridge.


2nd October 2008, 18:11
Name: for Iain Robertson MacDiarmid or McDiarmid

- The London Gazette has BOTH Spellings!

He was aged 24

There is an Ian MacDiarmid both in Scotland in Glasgow City in 1917 - Which would be OK for his parents living in Kilcreggan

2nd October 2008, 20:55
McDairmid's Hurricane (V7225, an ex-87 Sqn BoB machine) crashed at Lark Farm, Soham Fen. Wellington R1587 OJ-M of 149 Sqn crashed at Low Barn Farm, Prickwillow. A member of the ROC (Post B3, Soham) plotted four Wellingtons flying E-W at 5,000 ft when the Hurricane dived steeply from cloud above and ahead. It completely severed the tail section of OJ-M, losing part of the port wing before it dived inverted into the ground. Several crewmen from the Wellington jumped but too low for their parachutes to open.
The site of Hurricane V7225, which was one of two Hurricanes only recently arrived at 1401 Flt Mildenhall at the time of the accident, was excavated by a consortium of East Anglian groups in Jan 1985. Among the items recovered were the control column, remains of radiator, aircraft and meteorological instruments, leather flying helmet from pilot, and a King George III penny.


2nd October 2008, 21:03
Many thanks BC - I've emailed you.


31st July 2011, 20:54
Hi Henk,

F/Sgt Dunmore who died from injuries on the 17th was the instructor pilot Sgt Dunmore who was injured in the No.58 OTU Master T8780 crash on 5-5-41.

He was taken to Larbert Military Hospital after the crash.

The No.58 OTU RoH link given has a couple of errors so needs to be checked before use.


phill jones
31st July 2011, 21:30
Henk , with regard to Spitfire N3046 , this a/c did not arrive at 53 OTU until26/8/41.

i have it with 57 OTU, 10/5/41,IT RAN OUT OF FUEL ON APPROACH AND CRASHED SEALAND 17/5/41, CAT E ,

Henk Welting
3rd August 2011, 14:26
Thanks Phill. 53 OTU was in Air Britain and Air Britain's Aeromilitaria. You mention 53 OTU not before 26-8-1941 what means that the aircraft was repaired after the incident on 17-5-1941.

3rd August 2011, 15:06
I think he means that Spits were not with 53 OTU until August 1941

phill jones
3rd August 2011, 19:03
Henk , with regard to Spitfire N3046 , from the RAF F 78 ,
57 OTU,10/5/41
43 GROUP,20/5/41.
8 MU,9/8/41.
53 OTU,26/8/41.
it may have suffered another accident at 53 OTU ,AS IT was ROS,VICKERS,2/10/41
RIW 7/10/41.
Air britain Aeromilitaria , then lists this a/c as being SOC 31/10/41 , but the RAF F 78 MAKES NO MENTION OF THE SOC DETAILS , the 53 OTU orb also makes no mention of the crash on the 2/10/41.
i do hope this answers your question
bw phill jones

Henk Welting
4th August 2011, 17:09
Thanks Phill, all clear.

16th February 2012, 12:22
Just wanted to post on here that P/Off Iain Robertson MacDiarmid 43420 (that is the correct spelling - although as you have noticed it is spelled numerous different ways in official publications) was my great uncle.

For further info if any of you wanted it he began service pre-war as a pilot Sergeant and was promoted to Pilot Officer after the start of the war.

I have been unable to find why he was awarded the DFC (his sister - my grandmother - never knew - and had always said he flew Hurricanes, but was moved to training new pilots - something I have not been able to verify) so would be interested if anyone has any information on this.

There seems to be very little information available about the meteorological flights; was this classified information historically?

Incidentally my grandmother Catherine C. MacDiarmid 2614 (often shown in records as Catherine Rena MacDiarmid) was an officer in the WAAF (attached to Bomber Command) during the war, and married my grandfather Grp Cpt P A Askew 112477,who was an oral surgeon, after her first fiance (I believe a bomber pilot) was killed in combat

Mark Hood
18th July 2015, 21:13
There is also an account of Hurricane V7225 Met Flight, coming down into Wellington R1587 p.27, 28 and a footnote on p.29 in Bowman's 2006 book "Flying into the Flames of Hell".

29th April 2019, 00:36
I don't think Sgt Diaper was further mentioned in the above thread but he is mentioned in the 504 Sqn ORB.

Found shot through the head with service revolver. Inquest ruled it a suicide.

25th March 2021, 17:58
James Nicholas Swanston 803465, died in the Edinburgh Royal infirmary from chronic intestinal nephritis

15th April 2021, 20:04
Percy Edward Spice 1359279 , An ACH GD attached to Number 32 ASP, became seriously ill on May 19th and was admitted to Number 2 General hospital where he died at 19:15 hours of a cereberal tumour

10th December 2021, 16:34
Dennis Knox Atkinson 83500 , attached to 107 MU, was found dead in his tent of a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head

15th February 2022, 20:51
Bert Williams 954567 , attached to 102 MU , was admitted seriously ill to Number 54 General hospital on 11 May where he died at 23:45 Hours of typhoid fever