Wellington BJ652

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Wellington BJ652 near Youlgreave

21 January 1944. Australian crewed Wellington BJ652 took off from RAF Lichfield in Staffordshire on a night navigation exercise. The crew were training with OTU 27 preparatory to converting to four engined bombers.

Towards end of exercise the bomber entered cloud which possibly created problems for the pilot in having to rely on instruments. For reasons unknown, the aircraft descended and was seen flying low over Youlgreave in the Peak District, and then over the next village, Middleton.

It is unknown whether Flt Sgt Edmonds was disoriented or whether he was trying to keep below the cloud and maintain visual contact with the ground but at 2210, just seconds after passing over Middleton, the Wellington crashed into the side of the valley at Smerrill Grange killing all on board.

CREW
Note there is some discrepancy in the various records of crew positions. I have gone with Cunningham (2006) who comments that there were two wireless operators, the staff wireless op overseeing the performance of Flt. Sgt. Barnes.

Flight Sergeant Lloyd George Edmonds RAAF (pilot)
Flying Officer Keith Jobson Perrett RAAF (navigator)
Flight Sergeant Frederick Popham Deshon RAAF (staff wireless operator)
Flight Sergeant William Thomas Barnes RAAF (wireless operator)
Flight Sergeant James Kydd RAAF (bomb aimer)
Sergeant Thomas Dudley Murton RAAF (air gunner)

Below; the memorial in the nearby village of Youlgreave, erected by Major General P B Cavendish CB OBE DL in August 1995.

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