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Wellington bomber MF509, Brecon Beacons
This is one of the most celebrated and visited of air crash sites (because of the amount of wreckage remaining). Canadian crewed Wellington MF509 crashed in the Brecon Beacons in south Wales on November 20th 1944 with the loss of all crew members.
The Wellington was flying from RAF Stratford on a night navigation exercise. Wireless Op Sgt Burke had requested permission to descend below the cloud base because they were experiencing problems with the starboard engine, though what the pilot had in mind is unknown – was there icing in which case descending might have caused that to melt or was he hoping to put the bomber down somewhere? No-one knows for sure, because shortly afterwards the bomber flew into the hillside at Carrag Goch.
Sergeant Charles Hamel (Pilot) aged 21
Sergeant Jules Robert Rene Villeneuve (Navigator) aged 22
Flying Officer William Joseph Allison (Bomb Aimer) aged 28
Sergeant Joseph Paul Ernest Burke (Wireless Operator / Air Gunner) aged 20
Sergeant Arthur Grouix (Air Gunner) aged 22
Sergenat Gerard Dusablon (Air Gunner) aged 20
MF509 was one of three Wellington bombers from 22 OTU lost that night, all with starboard engine problems;
Canadian pilot P/O Nezan managed to crash land Wellington MF505 at RAF Wellesbourne Mountford with none of the crew being injured.
Wellington LN460 had less luck. A fire broke out in the starboard engine nacelle which could not be extinguished. Three of the crew were able to bale out, but the 3 Canadian crewmen remaining went down with their aircraft which crashed in a huge explosion on farmland south of Evesham. They were;
Pilot Officer Duncan McKenzie Roy (Pilot) aged 29
Flight Sergeant Fred Knowles (Wireless op / Air Gunner) aged 23
Sergeant Alexander Angus Cameron (Air Gunner) aged 19