Sunday, 10 August 2008


The following is an eye witness account from one of two teenage boys (Tom and Jacky Lamb) who were present at the time of the crash; this is a verbatim account and all spelling and grammatical mistakes have been faithfully copied except that the original was in block capitals and contained a sketch of the scene. The author, Tom Lamb, went on to become a very well respected pitman artist.

“It was December 14th 1.30pm 1940.
My brother and I were in Millwood to gather holly for Xmas. We suddenly heard a sound. It’s a plane. There she is Jacky shouted, coming over our village just above the trees. It seemed to be coming straight above us rocking from side to side and losing height. We became aware the huge bomber was heading for West Edmondsley Farm. It was a very dark colour except for the very bright ring markings in the dull light of the December afternoon.

The pilot turned a hard right to avoid the farm, and with, a loud crash dropped into a wooded riverine with a stream running through. ‘Wardels Wood’. My stomack felt sour as I remembered the last plane crash. Oh please don’t let them die! We soon arrived at the crash. A sorry sight met us. The first thing we saw was the huge tail fin. The plane had brocken its back, leaving the tial- fin and the main part of the fuselarge on the slope of the [deletion] riverine its wings spreading out in the valley, and its nose broken open in the stream, with the pilot strapped in his seat, open to the air. Only one of the four airman could walk. He had injured his forhead. The others were alive but badly injured.

Jacky and the farm workers carried the airmen to the farm house, using an old door, as a stretcher. The airman who could walk got the maps and other various documents from the plane, and came up the slope towards where I was standing near the tal-fin. He turned and looked back at the crash. He asked me, where are we? I told him County Durham. I walked with him to the farmhouse, and was met by Mrs Lawton who said the doctor had arrived, and was given morphian to the other airmun, and dressing their wounds. The airman was in a state of shock and mumbling that they were on a training flight and got [deletion] short of fuel.

Soldiers arrived from their camp at Edmondsley to guard the aeroplane. And to take the airmun to Chester-le-Street Hospital. The Polish airman all survived. The bomber was a Vickers Wellington No R1268 604 Sqn. [error should be 304] Some of the ladys of the village would visit the airmun in hospital.”

All in all, this is an excellent, and mainly accurate, description – not sensationalised (as you might expect) by a teenage boy. The sketch is also very good and clearly shows the geodetic framework. Unfortunately, the copy I have is a very poor quality photocopy and cannot be reproduced here.

Friday, 8 August 2008


I have spent the last month reviewing information I have received and I have come across two more crashes that have been only lightly recorded:
HE304 17th July 1943

Recorded only in the RAF Davidstow Moor Operations Record Book and Dennis Burke’s excellent website on foreign aircraft landings in the Irish Republic. This Wellington Mk X was returning from an anti-submarine patrol over the Bay of Biscay when it ran out of fuel. The crew baled out and landed safely in Carlow and the aircraft crashed near Ballickmoylar, Co Laois. Three aircraft were sent out to look for it but found no trace as they did not violate Irish neutrality by searching over the Republic. The crew returned to Britain and continued to fight; they were Sgt Stanislaw Kieltyka, Sgt Remigiusz Duszczak, Sgt Karol Stefan Pasieka, Sgt Mieczyslaw Franciszek Salewicz, Sgt Mikolaj Pawluczyk and Sgt Wladyslaw Kaczan.
HE150 7th November 1943

During the course of a Leigh Light exercise, this aircraft suffered engine problems and attempted an emergency landing at RAF Haverfordwest with disastrous results. The crew are unknown but the pilot was Flight Lieutenant A A Kasprzyk and the co-pilot was Sergeant Karol Polanin. The accident report is difficult to read but the following is a transcript:

EF [Engine Failure] Loss of revs on port engine. Pilot of HF150 [error, should be HE150] decided to land at strange airfield, overshot and went round again and on final landing struck unlighted a/c 615
Close to midway. Co-pilot could have returned to base. COF Airfield controller to blame gave 615 green permission to cross runway should have given 150 a red when he saw him coming in to land the second time 1000 yards away. Pilot of 150 allowed his a/c to drift and did not synchronise his motors. Did not get a green to land 2nd time. CO Commanding pilot of 150 to blame AOF Pilot to blame. Discip action. A/O CinC agrees with AOC.

The results of any disciplinary action are unknown, but both aircraft were destroyed in the ensuing fire.
I cannot understand why these crashes are omitted from so many major websites. HE150 was a training accident, so maybe that is understandable, but HE304 was an operational loss.