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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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Bomber Command Crest
1666 HCU Halifax II JD386 P/O. Johann Sigurdson

Operation: Training

Date: 29th February 1944 (Tuesday)

Squadron No: 1666 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit)

Type: Halifax II

Serial No: JD386

Code: "T"

Base: RAF Wombleton, Yorkshire

Location: Bridge Farm, Broughton

Pilot: P/O. Johann Sigurdson J/19620 RCAF Age 23. Killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert Thomas Garth Loughrin 1796421 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: F/O. George Lindley Muskett J/26289 RCAF Age 31. Killed

Air/Bmr: F/O. John Burgess Eaton J/28076 RCAF Age 30. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O.1 Joseph M. Healey R/96219 RCAF Age 33. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Francis Elvin Wilt R/192018 RCAF Age 22. Killed (2)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Peter Zayets R/124095 RCAF Age 23. Killed (3)

Reason For Loss:

Took off at 12:30 Hrs. from RAF Wombleton airbase in Yorkshire for a one day navigational exercise.

It is reported that whilst flying at high altitude the pilot lost control (possibly due to rudder stall) as eyewitnesses on the ground stated that he seemed to be trying to bring the aircraft under control by using the throttles.

At around 800 ft. the bomber went into a spiral dive from which it did not recover, before hitting the ground at 17:10 hrs. The crash site is reported as near Bridge Farm, Broughton which is some 4 miles East South East from Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire.

The complete crew were buried with full military honours in the cemetery in Harrogate on the 8th March 1944. This was the first major accident from 1666 HCU since June 1943.

Harrogate Cemetery (courtesy C.W.G.C.)

The family of Sgt. Zayets lost another son the previous year - 25 year old, Flight Engineer Sgt. Stephen Zayets (4) R/56703 RCAF was killed during service with 428 Squadron on the 14th July 1943. He is buried in the Florennes Communal Cemetery in Belgium.

(1) Sigurdson Peninsula was names after P/O. Johann Sigurdson in 1995.

(2) Wilt Lake in Saskatchewan was named after Sgt. Francis Elvin Wilt.

(3) Zayets Lake was named after Sgt. Peter Zayets in 1974.

(4) Zayets Creek was named after Sgt. Stephen Zayets in 1974.

Burial Details:

P/O. Johann Sigurdson. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row C. Grave 3. Son of Sigurthor and Maria Osk Sigurdson, husband of Mary Eileen Sigurdson, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him. May He Rest In Peace".

Sgt. Robert Thomas Garth Loughrin. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row B. Grave 17. Son of Joseph G. Loughrin and Maude E. Loughrin, of Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Grave inscription reads: "Safe In The Arms Of Jesus".

F/O. George Lindley Muskett. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row B. Grave 20. Son of Henry Joseph Salisbury Muskett and Winifred Janet Muskett, husband of Joan Elizabeth Muskett, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

F/O. John Burgess Eaton. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row B. Grave 19. Son of Charles Edward and Margaret Lydia Eaton, of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.Grave inscription reads: "Till The Sunshine Of To-Morrow Lifts The Shadows Of To-Day".

W/O. 1 Joseph M. Healey. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row C. Grave 2. Son of Thomas R. Healey and Catherine Heale, of the USA. Grave inscription reads: "Jesus Have Mercy On Him Mary And Joseph Pray For Him".

Sgt. Francis Elvin Wilt. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row B. Grave 18. Son of Elvin Edward and Selena Mabel Wilt, of Stelcam, Saskatchewan, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Among Honored Comrades Our Son "Rest On Thy Duty Done" From His Home In Canada".

Sgt. Peter Zayets. Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery Sec F. Row C. Grave 1. Son of Alexander and Maria Zayets, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "In Loving Memory Of Our Dear Son And Brother Peter".

Researched for John Jamieson, nephew of the pilot P/O. Sigurdson and dedicated to all the relatives of the crew. With thanks to sources quoted.

KTY 12.11.2018 Page updated with photo of pilot

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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