08.11.1944 No. 27 Operational Training Unit Wellington X JA343 Sgt. J.S. Hood
Date: 08th November 1944 (Wednesday)
Unit: No. 27 Operational Training Unit (OTU)
Type: Wellington X
Code: Not known
Base: RAF Church Broughton, Derbyshire
Location: Church Broughton, Derbyshire
Pilot: Sgt. John Spurgeon Hood R/188432 RCAF Age 22. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Harold Lawson Fernstrom R/218750 RCAF Age 19. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. James Frederick Gazzard R/220611 RCAF Age 20. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Athol White AUS/430524 RAAF Age 22. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Bernard Ivor Williams 1853012 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Drozdiak R/272259 RCAF Age 18. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 19:35 hrs for a night training exercise weather at the base was clear with a risk of showers. Dark with no moon or moon obscured.
Some 20 minutes after take off the aircraft dived into the ground at 19:55 hrs - killing all the crew.
The subsequent enquiry was not conclusive:
"93 Group Accidents Officer reported that he suspected that probably parts of the main planes became detached as a result of a “violent” recovery from a dive. From the evidence available it would appear that the pilot lost control whilst climbing in cloud and from the disposition of the wreckage that the aircraft broke up during a dive whilst trying to recover."
"The loss of control suggests the inability to fly on instruments in cloud, or that the instruments failed. Records do show that the pilot had 'sufficient training' on instruments."
The aircraft had logged a total of 321 hours. Engine 1: Hercules XVI SS13536 380516 - logged 24.55 hrs - installed on the 05th October 1944. Engine 2: Hercules XVI SS9918 376898 - logged 24.40 hrs - installed on the 05th October 1944.
Fernstrom Lake northeast of Lac du Bonnet was named after Sgt. Harold Lawson Fernstrom in 1973.
Sgt. John Spurgeon Hood. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 101. Son of the Revd. A. Hood, B.D., D.D. and Robina Hood, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Nav: Sgt. Harold Lawson Fernstrom. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 316. Born in Ridgedale, Saskatchewan the son of Barry John and Lena Marie Fernstrom and brother to Betty and Irene, of Morse Place, Manitoba, Canada. Also his fiancée, Doreen Hitt.
Air/Bmr: Sgt. James Frederick Gazzard. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 757. Son of James and Bridget Gazzard, of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Athol White. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 402. Born on the 29th September 1922 at Bacchus March, Victoria, Australia, the son of Ernest Albert and Elsie May White, of Tocumwal, New South Wales, Australia.
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Bernard Ivor Williams. Liskeard Churchyard (St. Martin). Sec. P. Grave 21. Son of James Henry and Elizabeth Jane Williams, of Liskeard, Cornwall, England.
Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Drozdiak. Chester Cemetery (Blacon). Sec. A. Grave 230. Son of John and Catherine Drozdiak, of Edson, Alberta, Canada.
Researched for William McEwan Howse jnr. and for relatives of Sgt. Bernard Ivor Williams. For further details our thanks to the following sources shown below.