03/04.01.1943 21 OTU Wellington Ic W5613 Sgt. Clark
Date: 03/04th January 1943 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: No. 21 Operational Training Unit (91 Group)
Type: Wellington Ic
Code: Not known
Base: RAF Moreton-In-Marsh, Gloucestershire
Location: Orchardleigh Park, Somerset
Pilot: Sgt. Richard Clark NZ/414252 RNZAF Age 29. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Wilson RAFVR - Survived
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Osborne RAFVR - Survived
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur James Cook 1378841 RAFVR Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Perkins 1075785 RAFVR Age 31. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
On a night training flight and over Frome flying art 4000 ft. and in cloud the starboard engine began to fail. Sgt. Clark reduced height to 3000 ft. to clear the cloud.
The faulty engine then suddenly backfired and caught fire. The Graviner fire extinguisher system failed to prevent fire from spreading to the wing and so the pilot ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft.
Two of the crew managed to do just that and landed without injury - the remaining crew were killed in the crash at Orchardleigh Park in the early hours of the 4th January at 00:25 hrs.
(With regret, we don't have full details of the two crew that survived)
Sgt. Richard Clark. Glasgow Cemetery (Riddrie Park). Sec. E. Grave 4808. Born on the 16th November 1913 at Glasgow, the son of Charles and of Louisa Clark (née Waller) and husband of Winifred Florence Clark (née Williams), of Geraldine, Canterbury, New Zealand. Family moved to New Zealand in 1823. Prior to service a flour miller working for Wood Brothers in Christchurch. A total of 309 flying hours logged.
(note: The CWGC register incorrectly lists his date of death as the 03rd January 1943)
Sgt. Arthur James Cook. Frinton-On-Sea Churchyard (St. Mary). Row C. Grave 26. Son of Clara Isabella Cook and husband of Beryl Trene Cook. Grave inscription: "Always So Thoughtful Unselfish And Kind Few In The World His Equal To Find".
Sgt. William Perkins. Bath Cemetery (Haycombe). Plot 51. Sec. H. Row V. Grave 255. Son of Edwin Perkins, and of Lottie Mary Perkins, of Sale, Cheshire, England. Formerly of Argentina - left to join the RAFVR on the 14th September 1940. Grave inscription: "He Gave His Strength And His Comeliness For His Country And Is Now Quiet Dust".
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: