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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.
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Abingdon crest

Operation: Training

Date: 23/24th October 1941 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 10 Operational Training Unit. 6 Group

Type: Whitley V

Serial: P5023

Code: -

Base: RAF Abingdon, Berkshire

Location: Eton, Berkshire

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Charles Eric Levitt 906354 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Obs/Pilot: Sgt. William Royal Crowther NZ/41313 RNZAF Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Samuel 'Sammy' Slater 1326353 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Geoffrey Norman Leadley 942407 RAFVR Age 21. Killed


Taking part in a training exercise taking off from RAF Stanton Harcourt in Oxfordshire at 01:50 hrs.

Shortly afterwards a mist formed and they were given a green light to land.

During the circuit just before 02: hrs. the port wing clipped a 60 ft. high tree. This impact caused the Whitley to roll left, crashing inverted. The aircraft caught fire with all the crew losing their lives.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Charles Eric Levitt. Brookwood Military Cemetery. 21. A. 14. Son of Charles John and Laurie Florence Levitt, of Shenfield, Essex. Grave inscription: 'In Proud And Ever Loving Memory Of A Valiant Son'. A total of 1,469 flying hours logged.

Sgt. William Royal Crowther. Brookwood Military Cemetery. 2. C. 8. Born on the 28th June 1915 at Wellington. Prior to service worked as a labourer for Kiwitea County Council. Enlisted for pilot training on the 19th January 1941. Son of Royal Crowther and of Kate Mary Crowther (née Byrne), of Mangaweka, Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 166 flying hours logged.

Sgt. Samuel Slater. Edmonton Federation Jewish Cemetery. Sec. U. Row 53. Grave 52. Born on 20th February 1915 in East London. Prior to service worked as a shop assistant. Son of the late Henry and Betsy Slater (née Cohen), of IIford, Essex. Grave inscription (private): 'Deeply Mourned By His Sorrowing Mothers, Sisters, Brothers, Nephews, Nieces, Relatives And Friends. Peace To His Dear Soul'.

Sgt. Geoffrey Norman Leadley. Warwick Cemetery. Sec. 112. Consecrated Grave 25. Born in Medway, Kent 1920. Son of Arthur William and Isobel Nellie Leadley (née Joyce), brother of Patricia, of 39 Greville Road, Warwick. Grave inscription: 'Such Spirits Do Not Die'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and 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, Warwick War Memorial, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 10-01-1921

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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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), 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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Last Modified: 10 January 2021, 18:57

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