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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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No 51 Squadron
24.01.1938 No 51 Squadron Anson I K6277 51-T Sgt. Donald William Mansbridge

Operation: Night Training Exercise

Date: 24 January 1938 (Monday)

Unit: No 51 Squadron

Type: Anson I

Serial: K6277

Code: 51-T

Base: RAF Boscombe Down, Wiltshire

Location: Nr. Kingclere, Hampshire

Pilot: Sgt Donald William Mansbridge 580120 RAF Age 24 Injured (1)

2nd Pilot: Acting P/O Cecil Wardman Poulter 39755 RAF Age 24 Injured (2)

Nav: P/O David Lorraine (Laurie) Lloyd Morris Serial No? RAF Age 23 Killed (3)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: AC1 Ronald Harry Price Serial No? RAF Age? Injured (4)

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off from RAF Boscombe Down for a night navigation exercise. The aircraft was returning to its base when both the pilot and navigator sighted lights, which they thought were the lights of the airfield. The weather was cloudy and while coming down to land the aircraft hit some trees on high ground near Kingsclere and crashed at 19.30hrs. The lights they had seen were the of the town of Basingstoke

The aircraft came down in a very isolated area killing the navigator P/O Morris. Sgt Mansbridge was seriously injured and stayed with the body of P/O Morris while Flying Officer Poulter who was injured and AC1 Price who had a broken arm set out in the darkness to summons help. They reached a farmhouse where help and assistance was given. The Basingstoke police came and in response to telephone calls two Basingstoke doctors, Dr H W Bethell and Dr H Radford Potter, who were in evening dress drove as near as possible to the area of the crash and then walked across muddy fields to give first aid. It was not for over 2 hrs that the wrecked aircraft was found

Map showing the area of the crash

Anson MkI (courtesy of Imperial War Museum. Bomber's Night Crash from the Western Daily Press and Bristol Mirror Wednesday, January 26th, 1938. (courtesy British Newspaper Archive)

(1) Sgt Donald William Mansbridge from Fareham was seriously injured but recovered and was one of the Squadron's three crews selected for the first night operation of the Second World War 3/4 September 1939. Squadron Leader D W Mansbridge was killed in action on the 20/21 April 1944. For further details click (here)

(2) Acting P/O Cecil Wardman Poulter. Squadron Leader C W Poulter was killed in action on the 22/23 April 1944. For further details click (here)

(4) AC1 Ronald Harry Price. No further details. Are you able to help?

Burial details:

P/O David Lorraine (Laurie) Lloyd Morris. David's mother Mrs J B Griffiths. No further details of next of kin. Are you able to help?

(3) Gloucester Victim of Air Crash - Funeral of Pilot Officer D L L Morris

Western Daily Press and Bristol Mirror. Monday, January 31st, 1938 (courtesy British Newspaper Archive

The funeral took place at Gloucester, on Saturday, of Pilot David Lorraine Lloyd Morris. of 4 Parkend Road, Gloucester, who was killed when the twin-engine bomber he was navigating crashed at Ibworth, near Basingstoke, on Monday. Pilot Officer Morris was attached to No 51 (Bomber) Squadron, RAF Boscombe Down, Wilts. He was a well know Gloucester sportsman, having figured not only in football and cricket, but also in rowing, swimming and hockey

Various sports organisations were represented at the funeral, the first portion of which was held at St. Mark's Church, Gloucester, the Rev. R Harwood officiating, assisted by Squadron Leader the Rev. Frank Hobbs, Chaplin to the RAF, and the Rev. C P V Mason. A number of RAF Officers led by Wing Commander Elliott were present, and the coffin was draped with the Union Jack. The interment was in the cemetery. The chief mourners were Mrs J B Griffiths (mother), Mr J B Griffiths (step-father), Wally and Bertie Morris (brothers), Mrs D Thomas (aunt), Mrs P O Thomas (aunt) and Mr Ivor Lloyd (uncle)

David Lorraine (Laurie) Lloyd Morris was born in 1915 and was granted a Commission as Acting Pilot Officer 21 December 1936 as per London Gazette dated 8 January 1937 and was posted to No 51 Squadron 7 August 1937. He was confirmed as Pilot Officer 12 October 1937

Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew and other sources as indicated below

KT. Page uploaded 29.10.2016

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', 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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