An aircraft collided with some trees and crashed at Woodhouse Farm, Ipsden at 4-30 pm on 20 October 1943. The site is adjacent to Grim’s Ditch, north of Hailey.
The pilot was a cousin of mine and I thought that I would get down on paper, mainly for my grandchildren, what I knew about him (before it was too late !). He and I went to the same school.
The aircraft was a Short Stirling Mk III ‘ WP-L’ of 90 Squadron based at RAF Tuddenham, Suffolk.
The aircraft had been struck by lightning a few days before, whilst on a mine laying operation, and had to return, damaged, to base. The aircraft then crashed whilst on an Air Test, presumably after repairs. I guess it may have been in difficulties and may have been trying to land at RAF Benson – or maybe it was taking off from Benson.
The crew of seven young men were all killed, three of them being from the Canadian Air Force. The Canadians and the pilot are buried at Botley Cemetery.
I would be most grateful for any snippits of information about the crash as I have very little to go on regarding its details. Also any information regarding visiting Canadians would be welcomed.
A Canadian flag has been attached to the Woodhouse Farm sign, so it seems as if someone, somewhere, has some knowledge of the incident.
The crew buried at Botley were :
Wallace Edgar Jones age 21 RAF(VR) Pilot
Harold Omond Spence age ? RCAF Air Bomber
Kenneth William Pollitt age 22 RCAF Air Gunner
Ervine Eugine Spencer age 22 RCAF Air Gunner
The three other crew members were buried at their home towns :
George Arthur Yates age 22 RAF(VR) Wireless Operator buried at Swansea.
Leslie Thomas Macswayne age 22 RAF(VR) Flight Engineer buried at Spalding
Terry Edwards age 28 RAF(VR) Navigator buried at Bristol
It’s a long shot but I hope for the best !
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