08.04.1942 No. 23 Operational Training Unit Wellington Ic R1597 Sgt. Kennedy
Date: 08th April 1942 (Wednesday)
Unit: No. 23 Operational Training Unit
Type: Wellington Ic
Base: RAF Pershore, Worcestershire, England.
Location: Llangammarch Wells, Breconshire
Pilot: Sgt. (Pupil): Jack Matthew Kennedy R/68661 RCAF Age 23. Killed
Obs (Pupil): Sgt. William McLafter Lomax 1076999 RAFVR. Age 34. Killed
Obs (Pupil): Sgt. William Smith 1126014 RAFVR Age ? Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: (Pupil): Sgt. Frederick Thomas Ellingham 1262787 RAFVR Age 27. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: (Pupil): Sgt. William Haylett Lacey 1263271 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: (Screened): Sgt. Neville Griffin 905561 RAFVR Age 34. Killed
Air/Gnr: (Pupil): Sgt. Desmond Walter Dowling 1311793 RAFVR Age 19. Killed
Reason For Loss:
Taking off from RAF Pershore on a cross-country exercise. Last heard transmitting at 14:35 hrs.
Infuriatingly, the Operational Record Book for 23 OTU makes no mention of this crash (or any events on this day) but the file does contain a message sent from 23 OTU to HQ 43 Group and "Accidents Gloucester", which states that on 8 April 1942 at 15:37, Wellington Ic R1597 crashed at Llangammarch Wells in Breconshire.
At first, only Sgts. Dowling, Ellingham and Griffin were confirmed as killed and the remaining crew were posted as missing, but a second follow-up message confirms that all crew were definitely killed and that the bodies had been taken to the Lake Hotel at Llangammarch Wells and that all next of kin had been informed with the exception of Sgt. Kennedy's father in Canada.
It is reported that a violent storm was raging over the Brecon Beacons that day and it is likely that played a major part in the loss.
Sgt. Jack Matthew Kennedy. Buried at Pershore Cemetery. Plot Q. Grave 396. Born on the 30th April 1918 at Ealm Creek, Manitoba, the son of Matthew Sexsmith Kennedy and Hattie Elizabeth Kennedy of Red Lake, Ontario, Canada.
Jack Kennedy Lake northwest of Fly Lake, Manitoba was named after Sgt. Kennedy in 1995.
Sgt. William McLafter Lomax. Buried at Pershore Cemetery. Plot Q. Grave 399. Son of William and Rose Lomax. Husband of Margaret Lomax, of Liverpool. Grave inscription reads: "Cherished Memories 'Bill' Beloved Husband of Margaret. David's Dear Daddy."
Sgt. William Smith. Buried at Wallasey Cemetery (Rake Lane). Section 7.R. Grave 197. No further details, are you able to assist?
Sgt. Frederick Thomas Ellingham. Buried at Morden Cemetery. Section S.B. Grave 1203. Son of Thomas and Emily Ellingham. Husband of Mary Muriel Ellingham, of Morden. Grave inscription reads: "Memories So Dear Are That Are Left Of One We All Knew As Dearest And Best."
Sgt. William Haylett Lacey. Buried at Charlton Cemetery, Greenwich. Section P. 2nd Cons. Grave 181. Born on the 03rd August 1922, the son of William Haylett Lacey and Nora Lacey of 6 Ormiston Road, Plumstead. Grave inscription reads: "High Above The Clouds, The Fight Was Fought And Your Great Task Was Done."
Sgt. Neville Griffin. Buried at Pershore Cemetery. Plot Q. Grave 420. Son of Charles William and Emily Amelia Griffin of Palmers Green, Middlesex. Grave inscription reads: "The World Is Grander For His Living Our Hearts Are Richer For His Giving."
Sgt. Desmond Walter Dowling. Buried at Pershore Cemetery, Plot Q. Grave 418. Son of Thomas Henry and Nellie Harriet Dowling of Salisbury. Grave inscription reads: "At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning, We Will Remember Him."
Researched by Steve Hunnisett for Aircrew Remembered - May 2019. Page dedicated to the relatives of the crew. Further information from sources shown. With thanks to Julian Tansell and Michael Berrell for grave photographs. Steve Hunnisett for grave photo off Sgt. William Lacey.