Halifax LK930 Remembered
and
A tale of two Palterton village heroes.
by Jack Richards - page Two

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However, as an update to this story, I can now record that a local man, whose identity is known but who wishes to remain anonymous, has in March 2000, erected a stone post with a brass plaque attached.

An image of the brass plaque at the location where it has been erected at the edge of the field by the roadside where the stricken plane came to a halt. The wording thereon records:

IN RECOGNITION OF

THE 7 MAN CREW OF HALIFAX

LK930 NO. 1664 HCU SQUADRON

DISHFORTH

WHICH CRASHED AT THIS POINT ON

22 MARCH 1944

WITH THE LOSS OF 3 LIVES

Memorium

Sergeant William Arthur Roland Andrew.  Number R/201503.  RCAF.  Died 22 March 1944 aged 20 years.  Son of Harold Melville Andrew and Mary Camilla Theodore Andrew nee Wonnacott of Charlotte Town, Prince Edward Island, Canada.  Buried Stone Fall Cemetery, Harrogate. Yorkshire  Section 'F',  row 'D',  grave 19.

Sergeant Air gunner Arley Carlisle "Carl" Starnes, son of Jesse V. Starnes and Marien J. Starnes of Doe River, British Columbia, Canada.  R./198952 RCAF aged 22 years.  Died 23 March 1944.  Buried Stone Fall Cemetery, Harrogate.  Yorks.  Section 'F',  row 'D',  grave number 20.

Sergeant Flight Engineer Russell Irvine Pym, son of Arthur and Florence Pym of Morecambe, Lancashire, England.  No. 1045627.  Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve, aged 21 years.  Died 22 March 1944.  Buried Morecambe and Heysham (Hale Carr) Cemetery, Lancashire.  Plot Red 'A' grave number 99.

George Rolston Groves Calow.  BEM.  1909 to 1962.  Buried 29 June 1962 aged 51 years, buried at Scarcliffe Parish Church, grave no. NE.776.

Albert Groves Calow.  BEM.  1913 to 1998.

Two real village heroes. These are the Calow brothers who entered the burning Halifax 'plane in a courageous effort to rescue the trapped airmen.

Additional information concerning this tragic fatal accident.

Halifax mark 5 aircraft.  R.A.F. number LK.930.  Contractor Rooles Securities.
Contract number 637/C4C.  It had a MERLIN XX engine (ROLLS ROYCE)?

Document A.M. Form 78 records: On the 26 September 1943, as a new aircraft, it was contracted to 428 Squadron RCAF.  On the 15 January 1944 it was contracted to 429 Squadron RCAF and on the 29 February 1944 it was contracted to 1664 H.C.U.  On the 22 March 1944, Cat. E (Burnt) FA / A537 (Fatal accident number A537 - my words).  Finally it records S.O.C.  15.4. 44 and under heading authority it records Pgn. 113(?)8.

The RAF Museum records details of the crash.  The location is map reference 949884.  The file is G.47789. 4/4 (?).  County, Nottinghamshire.

Pilot Sergeant M. R. Collver (Can) - number R.157490 had a total of 900 solo flying hours, 11 on this type of aircraft.  He had 70 hour's night solo flying hours, 8 on this type of aircraft.

This night flight was of 5 hours 45 minutes, solo pilot on Cross Country duties.  The accident occurred at 055 hours and it was dark.

The evidence states "E.F. Port ........ engine - unable to ................. - or maintain ht. Three of crew bailed out. A/C. .......... out of control.  Loss of power. ............... Under a heading Additional Evidence by A.I.B. Invest or C. of I. Other it states:  " Sir C/O.  One of a ............ (number - I think) of incidents where ........... (props - I think) could not be ............. after engine failure, meant in each case a crash.

Acknowledgement:  To Mrs Jill Darlington and her late husband Mr Jack Darlington of Chesterfield.

The Halifax File, published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd. gives a brief history of every one of the type built.  Column after column lists the dates and the record of the causes and locations of the crashes, that were the end of so many crews and their aircraft.

In the lower left hand corner of page 73 of the book, there are the few words and numbers that record what was known of the end of just one of the 6,178 aircraft mentioned.  LK930. 428/429/1664 H.C.U.  Some crew abandoned before aircraft crashed. Location not known. 23.3.1944.

Halifax LK930. - Halifax mark 5 aircraft.  R.A.F. number LK.930.  Contractor Rooles Securities.  Contract number 637/C4C. It had a Merlin XX engine (Rolls Royce).

On the 26 September 1943, as a new aircraft, it was contracted to 428 Squadron RCAF.  On the 15 January 1944 it was contracted to 429 Squadron RCAF and on the 29 February 1944 it was contracted to 1664 H.C.U.

On the 22 March 1944, Cat. E (Burnt) FA / A537 (Fatal accident number A537 - my words).  Finally it records S.O.C. 15.4. 44 and under heading authority it records Pgn. 113(?) 8.

Footnote: The aforementioned brass plaque is kept clean by a local man Mr. Owen Laws and each year at 11 a.m. on the 11 November, Armistice Day, he and another local man Mr. Terry Clifton, together with their wives, stand at the site in remembrance.

Wally Loucks disagrees with my comments at the beginning of this story on page one.
Wally says "As you know the Royal Canadian Air Force played a big part in the war in Germany and we are especially proud of the British air training Plan in Canada, where we trained all types of crew members including ground crew.  As an instructor at an air Observer School for 1 1/2 years before going overseas .   We trained British, Australian, New Zealanders and of course many Canadians.  To read in your write up the Canadians were poorly trained was a very bad and misleading statement .

The airplane that the RAF gave us to fly had crashed twice and was deemed unserviceable by an RAF trained engineer I have his written statement.

Canada's Loss went from 30% to less than 5% at the end of the war when we started flying our own new Canadian built Lancasters and Mosquitos.

Over130,000 trained aircrew, plus other countries and ground crew were trained on our soil and that was a very good effort.  Many boobs have been written about the civilian pilots and the railroad wireless operators from our railroads that went into the service and played an important part as well school teachers and others.

Ray Colver is alive and well in April 2011 aged 91 year and lives in Texas, USA. He says "I am fine although getting a little long in the tooth."

As at August 2010, I am in posession of a copy letter written by Flight Engineer Eric Appleton to Wally Loucks relating to Halifax LK930 prior to this crash.  It reads:
My operational tour with 429 was from Xmas Eve '43 to Aug. '44, during which time I had the doubtful privilege of flying LK930, AL.B. out of Leeming in Jan. '44.  On the 15 Feb., we went to Berlin and landed back at Hethel, (Jimmy Stewarts Liberator base).   It was a weather diversion, but mainly to put a sick aeroplane on the deck.  Briefly Stbd. inner quit forty minutes out of Berlin, covered the aircraft, including rear turret, in oil.  Fifteen minutes out of target down to 9 instead of 20 thousand.  Then the port outer starts to fluctuate badly still losing height.  We had no choice but to jettison load and try to limp home at 2,000 feet.  Eventually we got to Hethel and landed after a "shaky" overshoot.  This heap of garbage had previously given many problems on local and cross country flying, doing its best to kill us.  It did not need any help from the opposition at all.  I was convinced when we left it at Hethel, it would be scrapped out.  It was hard to read and believe that it had been once again patched up and back to flying.  I was one of numerous RAF Flight Engineers attached to RCAF. ...............He mentions during my next trip to the U.K. later this year, he would like to visit the crash site, which is not many miles away from my place of birth.(Markham).  Yours truly,   Eric Appleton.   P.S.  We were lucky enought to finish the tour.

Halifax LK930 Remembered
and
A tale of two Palterton village heroes.
by Jack Richards - page Two


Email: ronstan@richardsbygonetimes.co.uk

Home Page: http://www.richardsbygonetimes.co.uk/

Created 2 December 2001
Last updated: 19 March 2015