Society Aims and Objectives
Alton Barnes Albermarle Crash Site Memorial
Prince Maurice Barracks, Devizes
Beech Knoll, Zeals
Alton Barnes Airfield Marker Stone 18 Sep 1999
Thomas Gray VC
Sgt J Tompkins - Provision of headstone
Wroughton - RAF Hospital
Wroughton Airfield Memorial
The Imber Incident
Links for Wiltshire Historical Military Society
|In 1998 the village of Stert near Devizes set up a committee to produce a 'Millennium book' and approached the WHMS to research details of a WWII aircraft crash, in which there was loss of life.|
The society was successful in providing the identification of the Blenheim from the OTU at RAF Bicester, the names and burial places of the three man crew, the cause, date and crash site map reference.
Wellington Bomber Crash at Bayardo Farm 14 January 1945
|Photograph. L to R: James Done (surviving rear gunner), Doreen Wizner (sister of W.Op), Rod Priddle (Secretary WHMS), Arthur Humphrey (pilot's brother) at Bayardo Farm.|
In 1999 the society was approached by Arthur Humphrey, who's brother was killed when his Wellington bomber crashed near Oare on 14 January 1945.
Arthur was seeking details of the crash site and his brother's crew. The crash site was located at Bayardo Farm not far from the former airfield of RAF Overton Heath.
The names of the other four crew members who were killed and the one survivor were confirmed, the identification of the aircraft from 17 OTU Silverstone and the cause of the accident.
The present farmer recalled the night of the crash and having the survivor in the farm house, before he was taken to hospital. Arthur Humphrey and the farmer asked if the survivor could be traced, this was not an easy task, but was eventually achieved.
This resulted in James Done, the surviving rear gunner, returning to Wiltshire for the first time since his crash and meeting the farmer again.
Doreen Wizner the sister of the W.Op and Arthur Humphrey, brother of the pilot were also there to meet James.
The W.Op was buried at Upavon cemetery, Wiltshire and his sister was traced to her home in Cornwall.
|Vickers Wellington Bomber|
Early in 2001, the society was approached by the village of Urchfont near Devizes, who were producing a book charting the history of the village and parish. The Society were asked to assist with any details of RAF personnel or aircraft accidents relating to Urchfont. We were able to provide the following details:
Sgt Thomas Gray VC
Sgt Thomas Gray VC, was born in Urchfont on 17 May 1914, one of seven sons of the village policeman. He lived in 'Fiddlers Cottage' which doubled as the police station. Tom was serving with 12 Sqn in France, when he volunteered for an operation against the Veldwezelt Bridge over the Albert Canal in Belgium. Tom was the Observer/Navigator on Fairey Battle 1 - P2204 PH-K, which was piloted by FgOff Donald Garland with LAC Lawrence Reynolds as rear gunner. During the attack on 12 May 1940 on the heavily defended bridge the aircraft was shot down and all three were killed. It had been his first operational bombing raid. He and the pilot were posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. All three are buried at Haverlee cemetery.
See Thomas Gray VC page for further details
Mosquito Bomber Crash
A De Havilland Mosquito VI HX910 'OM' of 107 Sqn, based at RAF Lasham, Hampshire crashed at 17:30 hours on Monday 28 February 1944, near Penning Down south east of Eastcott. The aircraft flew into the hill during a snowstorm, killing both of the crew (Pilot - FltLt Roy V How, Navigator - FgOff Eric G Renshaw). Both were buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. At the time of the crash, the aircraft was engaged in a cross-country exercise. The squadron had been flying the American 'Boston' aircraft until January, when they converted to the Mosquito. The squadron was working-up on the new aircraft prior to their first operation on 15 March. Priority targets at the time were German rocket and Flying Bomb sites (V1 & V2) and 107 Squadron had been tasked with destroying them, The Squadron record book records "The loss of these two officers is felt deeply, they were pleasant colleagues and valued friends".
|V1 Flying Bomb|
|V2 Ballistic Missile|
Percival Proctor and Tiger Moth Crash
A Percival P.34 Proctor 3 training aircraft LZ629 from RAF Yatesbury collided with a De Havilland Tiger Moth training aircraft N9409 from RAF Clyffe Pypard at 14:40 hours, Tuesday 31 October 1944. Both aircraft crashed into fields belonging to Manor Farm, Wedhampton. The Proctor came down near the railway line north of the Bell Inn and the Tiger Moth fell in a pond between the railway line and the Bell Inn. The two aircrew in the Proctor were killed as was the pilot instructor FSgt John R Dunford and the pupil Naval Airman 2nd class Kevin Davies (FAA) HMS Daedalus in the Tiger Moth. The instructor is buried at Surbiton and the navy man at Darwen, Lancashire.
|Tiger Moth trainer|
|FgOff John Alfred Eyre (pilot), 217 Squadron based at St Eval flying Beaufort I's was killed on Tuesday 17 June 1941 and is buried in Urchfont cemetery. He was the husband of Megan Eyre of Urchfont. 217 Squadron was equiped with the AVRO Anson, carrying out convoy protection and anti-submarine patrols. In December 1940 the Squadron converted to Beaufort torpedo-bombers. FgOff Eyre was killed on his first solo flight when his Beaufort crashed on circuit following an engine failure. |
|217 Squadron Avro Ansons on convoy protection and anti-submarine patrol.|
Hawker Hurricane Crash
A Hawker Hurricane I N2409 of 55 OTU Aston Down, the pilot of which had become lost, crashed in a forced landing at Urchfont on 19 December 1940. 55 OTU was engaged in the rapid output of new aircrew, required for Hurricane day and Blenheim night fighter squadrons.