Chorley's Bomber Command Losses 1944

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RobertBrown
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Chorley's Bomber Command Losses 1944

Post by RobertBrown »

Does anyone have a copy of the above? Specifically, I'm looking for the reference for EH 933, a Stirling Mk III, which crashed on the night of 26/27 January 1944. Every reference I've found, including the official accident report (kindly supplied by James) gives the crash site close to Exton in DEVON. Having read the report, I believe the crash site is more likely to be Exton in SOMERSET. I'd be interested in seeing the exact wording from Chorley if anyone has it.

Bob

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AlanW
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Re: Chorley's Bomber Command Losses 1944

Post by AlanW »

Chorley states, crashed on a hillside at Coppleham Cross, North of Exton, 6 miles SSE of Exeter.
There is no paralell in warfare, to such courage and determination in the face of danger, over so long a period. Such devotion, should never be forgotten.

RobertBrown
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Re: Chorley's Bomber Command Losses 1944

Post by RobertBrown »

Thank you Alan

The Exton 6 miles SSE of Exeter is indeed in Devon, but I'm not sure it's the correct one.

The official crash report gives the circumstances as:

Aircraft became airborne at 21.40 - hours on 26-1-44 and proceeded on the prescribed exercise. At 23.50 - hours in the vicinity of Winsford, 10 miles east of the required track for the fourth leg of the exercise, an aircraft was heard flying towards the west, visibility was bad and no sign of the aircraft was apparent; it then turned south east, with engines spluttering, and flew towards an aerial lighthouse beacon, down a valley, still losing height; the engine noise then stopped, and 4-seconds later the aircraft crashed and burst into flames. The crew were all killed in the crash.

And the Date, Time and Location (of the crash) is given as: 27-1-44 at 00.02 hours, at Brigetown, Exton, Devon

However, there is also an Exton in Somerset, where, within a few miles of one another, can be found Winsford and Brigetown and (at the junction of Edbrooke Road and the A396) Coppleham Cross (little more than a road sign), behind which a hill rises.

My great uncle was one of the crew of EH 933, which is why I've been trying to nail down the actual crash site. I do believe it's possible that someone originally attached the Devon label - which has perpetuated ever since - to an incident which actually occurred approx 30 miles north, in Somerset.

Still working on this one :-)

Bob

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AlanW
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Re: Chorley's Bomber Command Losses 1944

Post by AlanW »

Hi Bob,
I think you are right. The GRO gives the place of death registration as Exmoor, which is much closer to the Exton in Somerset, as it is to Exton in Devon
There is no paralell in warfare, to such courage and determination in the face of danger, over so long a period. Such devotion, should never be forgotten.

RobertBrown
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Re: Chorley's Bomber Command Losses 1944

Post by RobertBrown »

Just to update this thread...

Firstly, thank you Alan for highlighting the registration district for John Kerry’s death. I’ve since checked the rest of crew, and they are all listed under the Exmoor district.

I’ve also been in touch with Exton Parish Council (Somerset) to see if there is any local knowledge out there, and people have very helpfully come back with memories of an aircraft crash on the hill above Bridgetown.

One other local piece of information was passed my way: a reference to be found in a wonderful book ‘Exmoor in Wartime 1939-1945’, by local journalist Jack Hurley, first published in 1978 - “On January 27th, 1944, six died in the wreck of a British Stirling at Bridgetown.” (“Six” should, I believe, read “eight”, but the rest of the details match exactly.)

There are one or two loose ends to tie up, but I am of the firm belief that EH933 came down in the Exton/Bridgetown area of Exmoor, Somerset - rather than the south coast of Devon.

Bob

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Re: Chorley's Bomber Command Losses 1944

Post by RobertBrown »

Just in case anyone comes across this who is researching Stirling EH933, I've completed my investigation into the crash site and believe that in all likelihood the aircraft came down on the hill above Bridgetown, Exton, Somerset. I've sent a copy of my document to the Air Historical Branch and asked if they could include it with file P413044/44 (which covers the accident) and make it available to anyone seeking info on EH933 in future.

Bob

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