Albemarle V1755, Honeystreet, Wiltshire

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Albemarle V1755, Honeystreet, Wiltshire

October 25th 1944. Albermarle V1755 took off from RAF Keevil near Trowbridge in Wiltshire towing a glider, a Waco CG-4A probably (named the ‘Hadrian’ by the British).

Albermarles were generally regarded as awful things to fly or to be a passenger in. Designed as bombers, but too slow and with a limited range and low ceiling, the poor Albermarle was consigned to other duties, usually as a transport aircraft or, in this case, for towing gliders.

Flying east in low cloud over the Vale of Pewsey, the pair had barely gone 20 miles when the pilot of the glider lost sight of the Albemarle, and began to overtake it. This meant the hemp rope yanked the tail of the Albemarle upwards, and the aircraft dived to the ground killing both crewmen.

Fortunately for the glider crew, the rope snapped and the pilot was able to land safely at a nearby airfield.

This site is by the Kennet and Avon Canal in Wiltshire. Albermarle bombers may not have been used for what they were designed for, but had successfully towed Hadrian gliders and the larger Airspeed Horsa gliders to silently drop into Normandy and at Arnhem earlier that year.

The plaque reads

“This memorial is dedicated to
Flt. Sgt Thomas C Newton RAFVR – pilot
Sgt John A.C.Wilson RAFVR – W/Op./Air Gunner
who lost their lives when Albermarle Bomber V1755 of No. 22 H.G.C.U. RAF Keevil crashed near here on the 25th October 1944.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.”

The site memorial was unveiled on the anniversary of the crash in 1997 by Flight Sergeant Newton’s best friend and Sergeant Wilson’s brother. There was a low and slow fly past by an RAF Hurcules, and an RAF bugler played the Last Post.

View from an Albermarle towing a glider (in this instance, an Airspeed Horsa). You can see how easily the accident could have happened.


image from Wikipedia Commons

16 comments on “Albemarle V1755, Honeystreet, Wiltshire
  1. Tech Owl says:

    An interesting find Ian – have travelled the K&A but not spotted this. Great detail

  2. pasujoba says:

    Great spot Ian , interesting stuff . Risky business towing those gliders !
    They have a glider at YAM with a cut away section to see the jeep inside .

  3. Gary Shield says:

    Great shadows on it

  4. Keartona says:

    A different reason for a crash than the usual bad weather and loss of bearings. Not something you would think of actually but it’s easy to see how it could happen.

  5. Air Frame Photography says:

    As a glider pilot I can tell you this type of accident still(very rarely) happens………….and is one of the things you are told about when training!

  6. C J Paul (chris) says:

    great work ian good find

  7. mick cooke says:

    interesting story as usual ian

  8. Ian D B says:

    Thanks everyone.

    I wondered if it still happens, thanks for that.

  9. Billy Currie says:

    great looking memorial, great to see something at least

  10. andy cleworth says:

    If you go thro the stile from the canal the memorial is on your left at the top of the feild

  11. I use that Timber Yard at Honeystreet regularly, never new there was a crash site. The airfield at Alton Barnes, adjacent, has crash history too. May I say this is a brilliant web site, but OS co-ordinates would be very useful.

    • Ian D B says:

      Thanks Paul, glad you like the site. I often put grid refs on individual crash site posts, though most of my stuff is up north. Let me know if you need any though, if I have them will provide them – email address on the contact page.

  12. Mark Jones says:

    The area of the monument is now much better tended with a wooden fence rou down it with the grass kept short.

  13. Tim Flint says:

    There is also a sign with ‘To Memorial’ on a post beside the stile directly next to the tow path that Andy mentions. It has white lettering on a green background and points across the field, but turn immediately left once over the stile as Andy says as its at the top of the field just over the hedge from the tow path.

    The grid reference is: SU 1080 6126

    Visited the memorial today (3 Sep 2020) when walking between Honeystreet and Wilcot.

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