Date: 23/24th October 1941 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 10 Operational Training Unit. 6 Group
Type: Whitley V
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
REASON FOR LOSS:
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.
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: