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.

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