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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
Further data available at Allied Losses & Incidents database

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57 Squadron Crest
16.03.1942 57 Squadron Wellington III X3599 F/O. Hunter

Operation: Cross Country

Date: 16th March 1942 (Monday)

Unit: 57 Squadron. 3 Group (motto: Corpus non animum muto - I change my body not my spirit)

Type: Wellington III

Serial: X3599

Code: DX-?

Base: RAF Feltwell, Norfolk

Location: Slieve Donard Mountain, Ireland

Pilot: Fg.Off. Harold Eric Hunter 4092060 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

Obs: Fg.Off John William Elliott J/5318 RCAF Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Swordy Taylor 1381318 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. W.L. Henderson RAFVR Survived - injured

Passengers:

Obs: Flt.Lt. Hugh Larmour Magee 81690 RAFVR Age 30. Killed

Section Officer. Barbara Kathleen Blakiston-Houston 1696 WAAF Age 24. Killed

Rev: James Dawson Crawford Age 40. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

It has been very difficult to establish who had been on this Wellington when it crashed. Some publications have quoted other names but with the assistance from Alien Eyes from WW2 Talk Forum we think that we have it right.

Taking off from RAF Feltwell in Norfolk at 10:45 hrs. to Aldergrove in Northern Ireland. The trip was primarily a navigation exercise but was used to drop off some passengers.

They encountered heavy fog on the way over and so reduced height to 800 ft. As they approached the coast of Ireland the pilot started to climb to avoid the hilly terrain, however visibility was very poor.

At 12:30 hrs the Wellington crashed into the hill in the area shown on the map. All but the rear gunner were killed. Sgt. Henderson climbed out of the wreckage before it exploded. He stated that he was sure the other crew and passengers were killed at the time of the impact as it had been extremely violent and they were all situated in the front section of the aircraft.

The cause of the accident at the court of enquiry stated that the crew were sound and experienced and due to the very poor weather conditions.

Burial details:

Fg.Off. Harold Eric Hunter. Belfast City Cemetery. Glenalina Extn. Sec. A.S. Grave 127. Born on the 23rd March 1916 at West Malton, the son of Eric Douglas and Rose Amelia Hunter (née Watson), and husband of Maire Ethel Hunter (née Fear), father of Jill, of Heathcote Valley, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. Prior to service worked as a clerk for Mt. Cook and Southern Lakes Tourist Company. A total of 405 flying hours logged and completed 17 operational sorties.

Fg.Off. John William Elliott. Belfast City Cemetery. Glenalina Extn. Sec. A.S. Grave 128. Son of John William and Ida Elliott, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and husband of Margaret Wilson Elliott, of Toronto, Canada.

Sgt. William Swordy Taylor. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Cemetery (Byker And Heaton). Sec. 2. Grave 326. He was Born on the 3rd October 1914 in Newcastle upon Tyne, the youngest of 4 children. his parents were John Taylor a miner born 1870 in Lucker Northumberland and Alice Jane Swordy of Shilbottle Northumberland. His wife was Audrey Stewart also of Newcastle. In the 1939 Register he was a Clerk in the local Rating Department, they were married on 7th October 1941 and had no children.

Flt.Lt. Hugh Larmour Magee. Carrickfergus Cemetery (Victoria). Sec. D. Grave 174. Son of Edward and Jane Magee, of Finaghy, Belfast, Northern Ireland. B.A. (Dublin): Trinity College.

Section Officer. Barbara Kathleen Blakiston-Houston. Loughinisland Church Of Ireland Churchyard (St. John). Grave 166. Daughter of James Edward and Dorothy Blakiston-Houston, of Killyleagh, County Down, Northern Ireland.

Rev: James Dawson Crawford. Belfast City Cemetery. Son of Joseph H. Crawford, of Drum, Newbliss, County Monaghan, Irish Republic and husband of E.E. Crawford.

With thanks to Alien Eyes from WW2 Talk Forum, Charles McRobert for photograph of the crash area. Thanks to Ian Briggs for the NoK details for Sgt. Taylor. For further details our thanks to sources shown below.

RS 10.01.2020 - Addition of NoK details for Sgt.Taylor and editorial updates

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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