Brookwood Military Cemetery/Lytchett Minster Churchyard/Glasgow Western Necropolis/ LANCASTER CRASH

Discussion in 'War Grave Photographs' started by STAN50, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    Hello all. I'm carrying out some research on a Lancaster crash which occurred here in Colchester in April 1944. This Lancaster had the markings UM-K2 and the serial number of DV177. It was part of 626 Squadron and left Wickenby on the night of the 24th April 1944. It's bombing mission that night was Karlsruhe, Germany. In the early hours of the morning 25th April back over home territory it was intercepted by a German raider and badly damaged.

    The aircraft headed for Boxted, a USAAF base which was just outside Colchester in the village of Langham, (Station 150). In the early hours of the morning it was quite foggy and unusually the Americans lit up the flare path to help guide the aircraft to safety. This was quite a chancy thing to do as it quite possibly could have also shown the raider the airfields' location. However, the stricken aircraft never quite made the runway and it crashed with all of the crew lost. They almost certainly would have seen the flares but the aircraft hit the ground at 04.10 hours.

    As a member of the Boxted Airfield Historical Group, mixing with members who were school boys during the War, I became aware of this incident. One actually saw the burning plane go over his house - which would have been 4am in the morning. So as you can imagine, a burning Lancaster must make some noise. Two other school boys visited the crash site later and saw the grim reality of a bad impact. Therefore I have been able to identify where the crash site would have been. In 1944 this was fields but now is a built up area with a storage facility on the site.


    Very few people seem to know of this occurrence and in the back of my mind I've wondered for some time whether a memorial could be somehow arranged. Thus I am looking into whether this could be accomplished. The obvious first hurdle in such a project is the cost. But even if we could have a plaque on a wall somewhere, in my mind it would be worth it.

    I have some information on the crew but I'd like to verify the details. If anyone out there can help with this and maybe even send a photo of each grave that would be really good.

    So here goes:

    I've been linformed that five of the crew are buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery but looking at the CWGC website can only get three confirmed. I've sent an email requesting info but this can take a couple of weeks I'm told.

    Anyway, I can find these three:

    P/O F.W. Gunn, listed as a Canadian.
    Sgt. D. Randle, listed as British.
    WO1 R.E.H. Cameron, listed as Canadian.

    I can't find these two:

    WO2 M.L. Mcpherson, Canadian.
    F/S J.L. Shell, Canadian.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In Glasgow Western Necropolis I have had this Officer confirmed as being buried there:

    F/S J.D. Maygar. Grave 2118 Row N. Canadian.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I'm not sure about this last Officer as all I've been given is 'Lychett Minster Churchyard.'

    Sgt. E.J. Fancy, Canadian.

    Doing a 'Google search' I found: Lytchett Minster, St. Dunstans Church, Poole Road, Upton, Poole, Dorset, BH16 5JA. I've emailed the office but having phoned today as well there is a message saying that the office is closed 5/8 - 12/8.
    So I don't know whether I'm contacting the right church on this one.

    If anyones' into a bit of detective work and could substantiate the burial sites I'd be more than grateful for their input. I'd also be grateful for a photo of each.

    Many thanks.

    Stan.
     
    James S likes this.
  2. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    McPherson is buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery

    Name: McPHERSON, MURRAY LANGTRY
    Nationality: Canadian
    Rank: Pilot Officer
    Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
    Unit Text: 626 (R.A.F.) Sqdn.
    Age: 22
    Date of Death: 25/04/1944
    Service No: J/89285
    Additional information: Son of Donald Grant McPherson and Annie Maud McPherson, of Myrtle, Manitoba, Canada.
    Grave/Memorial Reference: 48. I. 6.
    Cemetery: BROOKWOOD MILITARY CEMETERY

    Grave photo from the Veterans Affairs of Canada website.

    2667671_9.jpg

    2667671_2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
  3. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    So is Shell, but not Canadian.

    Name: SHELL, JOHN LANDER
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Flight Sergeant (Air Bomber)
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Unit Text: 626 Sqdn.
    Age: 23
    Date of Death: 25/04/1944
    Service No: 1317832
    Additional information: Son of Owen and Inez A. Shell, of Stogursey, Somerset.
    Grave/Memorial Reference: 24. D. 19.
    Cemetery: BROOKWOOD MILITARY CEMETERY
     
  4. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Fancy is not a Canadian, but shown at the Cemetery you mentioned.

    Name: FANCY, ERNEST JOHN
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Sergeant (Air Gnr.)
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Unit Text: 626 Sqdn.
    Age: 22
    Date of Death: 25/04/1944
    Service No: 1608414
    Additional information: Son of Willie George and Edith Mary Fancy, of Upton.
    Grave/Memorial Reference: S.E. part.
    Cemetery: LYTCHETT MINSTER CHURCHYARD

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
  5. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    In Glasgow Western Necropolis I have had this Officer confirmed as being buried there:

    F/S J.D. Maygar. Grave 2118 Row N. Canadian.

    Stan.

    Maygar's headstone is listed on the Scottish War Graves website as not found. He also is not listed as being Canadian.
     
  6. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Photo of F.W. Gunn's headstone at Brookwood Military Cemetery. From the Veterans Affairs of Canada website.

    2666925_10.jpg

    2666925_2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
  7. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    REH Cameron's headstone at Brookwood Military Cemetery. From the Veterans Affairs of Canada website. There are other interesting images as well. Link to them.

    [​IMG]

    His funeral.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
    James S likes this.
  8. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    Thanks for all of that info and the quick delivery. This will be very useful if we get a positive response back from the present company that occupies the crash site.

    - Bit confused with F/S J. D. Maygar. The information I gained on that one was by phone (grave 2118 Row N).
     
  9. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Thanks for all of that info and the quick delivery. This will be very useful if we get a positive response back from the present company that occupies the crash site.

    - Bit confused with F/S J. D. Maygar. The information I gained on that one was by phone (grave 2118 Row N).

    Maygar is spelt Mayger. Probably why you did not find his name previously. It is also in Section N, not Row N.

    Also, the entry shows the grave ref you quoted.

    Name: MAYGER, JAMES DOUGLAS
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Flight Sergeant (Flt. Engr.)
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Unit Text: 626 Sqdn.
    Age: 21
    Date of Death: 25/04/1944
    Service No: 1821101
    Additional information: Son of Charles Walter and Frances Alice Mayger, of Jordanhill, Glasgow.
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. N. Grave 2118.
    Cemetery: GLASGOW WESTERN NECROPOLIS

    Checking elsewhere, there is a grave, but you would have to pay £3-50 for a digital image from The War Graves Photographic Project. The picture you see is blurred, so you don't see the name. Pay for it and you will. You also cannot show their clear photo on another website as they claim copyright. At least the image shows he has a place of rest.

    A link to Mayger's entry if you require it.

    The War Graves Photographic Project

    [​IMG]
     
  10. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    I checked on Findagrave for Mayger's headstone, but hit a blank here as well for a free photo. Practically every CWGC listed name at the Glasgow (Western) Necropolis has a photo, but once again, nothing for him. The use of a non-CWGC headstone I think has thrown people off the scent.

    I did find something else on the Scottish War Grave website, which is a commemorative plaque from the school where Mayger went to. L

    [​IMG]

    and this framed photo set, name number 10, but not too clear.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    So is Shell, but not Canadian.

    Name: SHELL, JOHN LANDER
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Flight Sergeant (Air Bomber)
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Unit Text: 626 Sqdn.
    Age: 23
    Date of Death: 25/04/1944
    Service No: 1317832
    Additional information: Son of Owen and Inez A. Shell, of Stogursey, Somerset.
    Grave/Memorial Reference: 24. D. 19.
    Cemetery: BROOKWOOD MILITARY CEMETERY


    Found a headstone photo for J L Shell on Findagrave.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Fancy is not a Canadian, but shown at the Cemetery you mentioned.

    Name: FANCY, ERNEST JOHN
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Sergeant (Air Gnr.)
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Unit Text: 626 Sqdn.
    Age: 22
    Date of Death: 25/04/1944
    Service No: 1608414
    Additional information: Son of Willie George and Edith Mary Fancy, of Upton.
    Grave/Memorial Reference: S.E. part.
    Cemetery: LYTCHETT MINSTER CHURCHYARD


    I don't believe my luck. I've found a headstone photo on Findagrave for E J Fancy as well.:D

    [​IMG]
     
  13. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    And Sgt D Randle on Findagrave as well.:)

    [​IMG]
     
  14. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    Thank you. This information is very much appreciated and you have done brilliantly in finding all of this out.

    I will impart this to the old guys who were about as school boys when this happened. The chap who actually saw this aircraft go over his home will be most interested I know.

    I just hope my letter to the company that now resides on the crash site is well received. This is 'Space Maker' which is a large company. My incentive to them is that a memorial would give them some good publicity. Our local MP has shown quite a lot of interest in our old airfield over the years and I know he would support such a project. But I also pointed out that more importantly seven otherwise forgotten servicemen would be commemorated.

    Once again thanks for your input.
     
  15. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Lytchett MInster. Near me. I was in the convalescent home then at lady lees Manor House. On my return from Holland.

    A USA flying fortress crash landed in the fields at Lytchett. The Americans repaired it, then created a runway for it to take off again across several fields and the Lytchett Upton road.

    many moons ago...
    Sapper
     
  16. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    These men are not forgotten, as the fact that someone has taken the time an effort to upload the headstone photos to the sites on which I found them testifies.

    Good luck with your quest to have them commemorated close to where they died all that time ago.:)
     
  17. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    Not much of an update, but the person I need to speak to from the storage company is away on holiday. But at least there was a reply and it wasn't an instant 'no, not interested.' Fingers crossed for more contact.
     
  18. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    Bit of an update. Having spoken to the company that now occupies the crash site they will have a look at my proposal if I can come up with a definitive plan. No guarntees, but at least they'll consider it. I've also spoken to a local stone masons who would provide their services at cost. Thus my next step is to now go back to the Storage company with some prices once I have them to hand from the stone masons.

    I'm not getting my hopes up yet so we'll see.

    More information has come to light about the crash itself. The Lancaster narrowly missed colliding with personnel accomodation on the the airfield on that morning. Whether it was the skill of the pilots or just good luck that it missed the nissen huts we'll never know, but certainly there would have been considerably more losses had it happened. I'm told however that a generator crashed through one of the huts and passed between the bunks of some of the sleeping occupants.

    I also searched our library's micro fiche archive's for local newspapers at that time, but could find nothing on this crash. There were other crashes that made the headlines but not this one. So I find it baffling that some crashes is this area made headlines and others didn't. All I can imagine is that someone deemed some incidents more important to keep quiet than others in the form of censorship that was in force during the War.
     
  19. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    I will be updating my thread in a day or so and will be asking members for their help in finding relatives of this crew. I'm sure that their are some good detectives out there on this forum.

    ATB,

    Stan50
     
  20. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    We have now been given permission to place what will be a relatively small memorial on land close to the Lancaster crash site. This has been made possible by the Space Maker storage company. In 1944 the crash site was fields, now obviously with the passage of time the area is built up and is mainly a large Business Park. The memorial will consist of a brick pillar with a marble top which we have sourced from a local company.

    Our next hurdle is to seek out relatives of the Lancaster crew and inform them of our intentions. We have located relatives of Ernest Fancy (RAF Air Gunner) who is buried in Lychett Minster in Dorset.

    We now need to locate relatives of the following and any help is welcome:

    P/O McPHERSON RCAF
    P/O GUNN RCAF
    W/O CAMERON RCAF
    F/S MAYGER RAF
    F/S SHELL RAF
    SGT RANDLE RAF

    Ref. P/O Mcpherson, Murray, Langtry Service No: J89285: buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery Surrey: further info from CWGC: son of Donald Grant McPherson and Annie Maud McPherson of Myrtle, Manitoba, Canada.

    Ref. P/O Gunn, Frances Winburn Service No: J85972: buried at Brookwood Military cemetery Surrey: further info from CWGC: son of George Francis and Dorothy Louise Gunn, husband of Mary Elizabeth Gunn of Carrot River Saskatchewan Canada.
    Also info from book ‘Age Shall Not Weary Them’ by Bill Barry & Doug Chislom:
    His wife was also known as ‘Molly’ and he had a daughter called Sharon Patricia. (thanks for that bit of info Di).

    Ref. W/O Cameron, Robert, Edgar, Hall Service No. R/116874: buried at Brookwood Military cemetery Surrey: further info from CWGC: son of Edgar Wilson Hall and Margaret Amanda Hall: Stepson of Alexander Nelson Cameron of London Ontario Canada.

    For the above I have contacted ‘Legion Magazine Canada’ and they are publishing a request for information in their ‘Lost Trails’ section in the September / October edition. If anyone has other ideas of how to trace these three Canadians relatives then please let me know.

    #

    Ref. F/S Mayger, James, Douglas, Service No. 1821101 buried at Glasgow Western Necropolis with his parents. His parents were called Charles Walter and Frances Alice Mayger of Jordanhill Glasgow. Glasgow Western Necropolis cannot help with our search for this mans relatives. His mother was buried into his grave in 1969 and they don’t have any records other than that.

    I have contacted ‘The Glaswegian’ newspaper who has published an appeal for information. ‘RAMACAL’ on this forum who was really helpful in finding a lot of initial information also found some pictures of a school plaque and photograph, which I have passed to the newspaper. I’ve also been in contact with his former school and they are very interested in the memorial which they would like to feature in their school magazine eventually. We may get somewhere with this appeal but in the meantime any further ideas to search for this mans relatives are welcome.

    #

    Ref. F/S Shell, John, Lander, Service No. 1317832, buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery Surrey: further info from CWGC: son of Owen and Inez A. Shell of Stogursey Somerset.
    I have contacted the Bridgewater Mercury newspaper in Somerset who has published a request for information last week. There has been no responses yet. Any other ideas are welcome in the meantime

    #

    Ref. Sgt. Randle, Dennis, Service No.1575025, buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery Surrey: further info from CWGC: son of Henry and Ada Randle of Smethwick Staffordshire, husband of Vera Randle of Smethwick.

    I have contacted the Smethwick Weekly News / Express and Star newspaper who will also publish my letter. Again a case of wait and see, and again if anyone has some other ideas then please can they get in touch with me.
     

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