04th January 1945 10 OTU Wellington X LP729 Fl/Sgt. Haglund
Date: 04th January 1945 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 10 Operational Training Unit. 91 Group
Type: Wellington X
Base: RAF Abingdon, Berkshire
Location: Church Eaton, Staffordshire
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Francis Charles Haglund NZ/4211783 RNZAF Age 25. Killed
Pilot: W/O. Neil Willoughby Harnett 798646 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
Obs: Sgt. William Alfred George 1850477 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Matthew Henry Walton NZ/429439 RNZAF Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Bruce Allan Hogg NZ/425610 RNZAF Age 32. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Crafton Dudley Wong 605581 RAF Age 19. Killed
Air.Gnr. Fl/Sgt. James R. Gammon RAFVR Injured- survived
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 11:10 hrs on a cross country exercise. Whilst flying at 17,000 flat 12:45 hrs the starboard engine lost power and the crew were unable to maintain altitude.
It is then believed they headed for the airfield at RAF Wheaton Aston when at 400 ft. the aircraft stalled and crashed just north of Church Eaton. 6 of the crew were killed with the rear gunner surviving with slight injuries was helped clear of the wreckage by a police constable Poole who was one of the first on the scene.
Fl/Sgt. Francis Charles Haglund. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 227. Born on the 09th November 1919 at Greymouth, South Island. Son of Charles Oscar and Christina Miller Haglund (née Thomson), of Cobden, Westland, New Zealand. A total of 309 flying hours logged with 47 solo on the Wellington.
W/O. Neil Willoughby Harnett. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 313. Prior to service worked for the Bank of Nova Scotia. Son of William and Annie May Colbourne Harnett, of Twillingate, Newfoundland. Grave inscription: 'Father, Thy Will Be Done'.
Sgt. William Alfred George. Reading Cemetery (Henley Road). Block 10. Grave 16017. Son of Alfred Edwin and Annie George of Reading, Berkshire, England. Grave inscription: 'Treasured Memories Of One We Loved He Gave His Life That We Might Live'.
Fl/Sgt. Matthew Henry Walton. New Shildon Churchyard (All Saints). Sec. B. Grave 601. Born on the 09th September 1923 at Shildon, County Durham, England. Moved to New Zealand at an early age. Son of Matthew Walton and of Edith M. Walton (née Preston), of Northland, Wellington New Zealand. A total of 214 flying hours logged.
F/O. Bruce Allan Hogg. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 141. Born on the 19th October 1912 at Feilding. Son of Lewis Gordon Hogg and of Bessie Hogg (née Bruce), of Halcombe, Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 120 flying hours logged.
Sgt. Crafton Dudley Wong. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 399. Born on the 25th December 1925 in Kingston. Son of Charles Henry and Irene Catherine Wong (née Elliot), of Kingston, Jamaica. Grave inscription: 'In Loving Memory Of Our Beloved Son And Brother Of Kingston, Jamaica, British West Indies'.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: