Operation: Soest Marshalling Yard, Germany
Date: 5th December 1944 (Tuesday)
Unit: No 426 (Thunderbird) Squadron
Type: Halifax VII
Base: RAF Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire
Location: East of Yelvertoft, near Rugby, Warwickshire
Pilot: F/O. Albert Victor Carter J/35424 RCAF Age 22 Killed (1)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Derrick Lawrence Bourner 1869652 RAFVR Age 19 Killed
Nav: F/O. Albert Edward (Bert) Downing J/39340 RCAF Age 22 Killed
Air/Bmr: P/O. Edward James Francis Harwood J/94452 RCAF Age 22 Killed (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Richard (Dick) Boyd Dowding J/35782 RCAF Age 22 Killed (3)
Air/Gnr: P/O. William James Murrell J/93541 RCAF Age 20 Killed (4)
Air/Gnr: P/O. Ian Thomas Myron J/94453 RCAF Age 19 Killed
Right of the picture a Halifax VII type aircraft
REASON FOR LOSS:
Halifax VII LW200 took off from RAF Linton-on-Ouse at 18.01hrs for an operation to bomb Soest Marshalling Yard. The aircraft was on the outward trip when it collided with a No 428 Squadron Lancaster KB768 NA-E at 19.00hrs. Both aircraft crashed near Rugby in Warwickshire with the loss of 14 lives.
Map showing the area of the collision of Halifax LW200 and Lancaster KB768 (click here)
Details from the accident report for Lancaster KB768 state: '....A number of heavy bombers were passing over the aerodrome travelling in a southerly direction. A flash and flames were seen in the sky and a number of flares fell. Two explosions on the ground were seen and heard. It was found that two aircraft had crashed. It is considered correct to assume that the aircraft was involved in a severe collision in mid-air which caused such damage that it fell to the ground out of control'
'....Both aircraft fell, were destroyed by fire on the ground and by the explosion of bombs. Aircraft totally disintegrated and scattered over large area'
The Mercury & Herald, Friday December 8, 1944
'....An umbrella of flares in the sky drew the eye of villagers for miles around Yelvertoft on Tuesday night. It opened out into a vast dome, reminiscent of the "mushroom" from rockets on pre-war Bonfire Nights. Five or six seconds afterwards there was a crash, shaking doors in houses as far distant as Northampton, Wellingborough, Kettering and Market Harborough, and leaving a bright red glow in the sky, which rapidly sank to a sullen red reflection. Two planes, which has apparently collided in mid-air at a height of three miles, crashed to earth, and a bomb from one fell near the canal bank at Yelvertoft Wharf, making a huge crater, but failing to burst the bank. The first plane fell near the canal bridge and the other near Yelvertoft Convert
A house at the Wharf, called The Boat (formally an inn) occupied by two farmers, Mr J. Spencer and Mr J. Hakesley, with their housekeeper, Mrs Field, her daughter, Mrs Wells, and two young children, was stripped of windows, doors, slates and ceilings. Mrs Wells husband, who is in the forces, had told her; "If you think there is going to be any trouble, grab the children and get out into the open air with them" The advice was followed, with the result that no casualties were suffered. Mrs Field grabbed one child, Mrs Wells another, and escaped before the first pieces of plaster fell in their ill-fated house. This is the third time planes have crashed near the Boat. "Obviously the Lord takes care of us" said Mrs Field next morning
The body of one of the airmen was found a mile away from the wreckage. An example of the strange tricks played by blast is found in the fact that the house of Mr. W. Morris a well-known farmer, in the centre of the village, is undamaged, while houses across the street are minus glass in their windows. Several windows in the church were broken'
Yelvertoft History Group
Air Collision Commemoration. Saturday 6th December 2014. Yelvertoft History Group invited residents from the village and surrounding area to join them, to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the collision and to remember the sacrifice made. For further details click (here)
Flying Officer Carter, Flying Officer Downing
Flying Officer Dowding,
Courtesy Democracy at War
F/O. Albert Victor Carter. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave Ref. 51. J. 8. Son of Albert Victor Stephen and Edna Scott
Carter of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Husband of Bernice Eva Carter of Toronto. (1) Albert was born on the 16th March 1922 in Toronto and enlisted in Toronto on 10th June, 1941 gaining his 'Wings' in 10 April 1942 at No 13 Service Training School, St. Hubert.
'F/O Albert Victor Carter, 22, pilot of a Lancaster bomber, was killed when his plane crashed in England on 5 December, according to his wife, Mrs Bernice Carter, 116 Springdale Bivd. F/O. Carter was on his way to drop a load of bombs over Germany. Two other members of the crew were killed. F/O. Carter was buried in an RCAF military cemetery in Surrey, England. Born in Toronto, F/O. Carter attended MacGregor Public School and East York Collegiate. He enlisted in the RCAF in July, 1941; trained at Belleville, St. Eugene and St. Hubert, where he received his wings in April 1942. F/O. Carter was then stationed in MacDonald, Manitoba for 18 months. He came back to Toronto, and received his commission of Pilot Officer, and went overseas in September, 1943. Son of Mr and Mrs A. V. S. Carter, he had completed 15 operational flights when he was reported killed. Before he enlisted, F/O Carter was a member of the Toronto Scottish Reserve Army. In May, 1943 F/O. Carter married Bernice Daley of Toronto. He leaves a 7 month old daughter, Victoria Bernice, whom he had never seen'
Are you able to provide a headstone picture for Sgt Derrick Lawrence Bourner?
Sgt. Derrick Lawrence Bourner. Chadwell Heath Cemetery, Essex. Grave Ref. Sec 1. Grave 2036. Son of William Henry Samuel and Florence Bourner of Dagenham
F/O. Albert Edward (Bert) Downing. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey Ref. 51. J. 9. Son of William G. Downing and Mabel Downing of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Courtesy Michel Beckers
P/O. Edward James Francis Harwood. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave Ref. 51. J. 5. Son of James and Alice Harwood of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada (2)
Flt. Sgt. Harwood is reported killed 'Flt. Sgt. Edward J F Harwood eldest son of Mr and Mrs James Harwood, of 360 Magdalen Street Charles, who is reported to have been killed on active service. Flight Sergeant Harwood was born in Verdun, attended Lorne and Montreal High Schools and Sir George Williams College. He was a member of the First Riverside Boy Scouts band before enlisting in the RCAF in July 1942. He was buried with full air force honours in Brookwood cemetery, Woking, England. His father served in the 60th Battalion during the Great War. A brother, Clifford W Harwood is in the RCNVR. A memorial service will be held in Grace Church, Point St. Charles, Sunday next at 7 pm'
Right: Courtesy Democracy at War
F/O. Richard (Dick) Boyd Dowding. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave Ref. 51. J. 6. Son of Charles Edwyn Dowding and of Rosalind Letitia Dowding of Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
(3) Oakville Boy Killed on 'Ops' three Weeks: Oakville, December 19, 1944. F/O. Richard B. 'Dick' Dowding, younger son of Mrs Dowding and the late C. E. Dowding, Belyea Street, was killed in action Dec. 5, according to word received here. He had been on operational flying work since the middle of November. F/O. Dowding attended Appleby College and Oakville high school where he was active in football. He graduated from air gunners' school in Guelph and received his wings and commission at Fingal. He was posted at Malton as air-gunner and went overseas in February of this year. Surviving are his mother and a brother LAC Bill Dowding, who is home from Calgary where he attended the wireless air-gunner school
P/O. William James Murrell. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave Ref. 56. E. 7. Son of William Gordon and Velma Helena Murrell of Belton, Ontario, Canada. (4) William James Murrell graduated as air-gunner at Mont Joll, Quebec, March 1944
P/O. Ian Thomas Myron. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave Ref. 50. H. 10. Son of Thomas Cheyne Myron and Isobel Myron of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. Special thanks to Michel Beckers for the newspaper cutting F/Sgt Harwood, The British Newspaper Archive and other sources as indicated below