Memorial honours crash crew after almost 70 years

Ken Scott (right) who witnessed the crash of the Halifax in 1944 with Gp Captain Tim Nicoll (rtd) at the memorial to the crew members, six of them Canadian, who died that night. The new memorial has been created at Elsham Wold.
Ken Scott (right) who witnessed the crash of the Halifax in 1944 with Gp Captain Tim Nicoll (rtd) at the memorial to the crew members, six of them Canadian, who died that night. The new memorial has been created at Elsham Wold.
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A new memorial has been dedicated to a bomber crew killed when their plane crashed near the banks of the River Ancholme in World War II.

The Halifax bomber, containing a mainly Canadian crew, fell from the sky on a wintery evening in 1944.

A witness to the fatal incident on February 29 of that year was a seven-year-old boy.

Ken Scott had just left his father, a shepherd, and was making his way home, when he saw the four-engine plane plunge from the sky.

Now, thanks to the memories of Mr Scott and research work by Group Captain Tim Nicoll of 103 Squadron RAF, which was based at Elsham Wolds, the full story of that eventful night is known.

The memorial has been erected at the site of the Elsham Wolds base.

The plane has been identified as a Halifax MK2 JD 386.

The exact location of the crash was Bridge Farm (Grid Ref TA 975105) near the banks of the Ancholme.

“Witnesses gained the impression the pilot had difficulty in controlling the aircraft and estimated it spiralled into the ground from a height of 800 feet,” said Mr Nicholl.

“Halifax aircraft were prone to rudder stall.

“The board of enquiry into the crash concluded that the Halifax had a rudder problem.”

The length of the sortie suggests the crew had been on a long navigation exercise.

There were seven of them - six Canadians, based at Wombleton near Hemsley in Yorkshire, and the Flight Engineer was a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland.

All the crew were killed and were buried in the Stonefall Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery at Harrogate.