In Memory of those who died whilst training or Serving at RAF Worksop

Being a training base meant unfortunately over the years many pilots were killed learning their craft at the base.  This page is dedicated to them and their families who lost loved ones.

World War 2
On 20th January 1944 a Wellington III (BK273) on night conversion training overshot the runway and sheared a blade from its starboard propeller as it tried to gain height.  It crashed into the grounds of Worksop College killing all the RAFVR crew:Pilot: Flight Officer. Richard Harvey Brooke Jennings (now buried at Southend-On-Sea (Sutton Road) Cemetery), Navigator: Pilot Officer Robert Frederick Wade  (now buried at Islington Cemetery and Crematorium, London), Air Bombadier:  Pilot Officer Colin William Owen Sears (now buried at Beckenham Crematorium and Cemetery), W/Op/ Air Gunner: Sgt. Patrick Downes (now buried at Great Crosby (SS. Peter and Paul) Roman Catholic Churchyard, Liverpool) and Air Gunner: Sgt. Kenneth Ernest Dudley Sillatoe (now buried at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery)

On 27th January 1944 Wellington X HE983 from 18 OTU lost control at 9,000 feet over the bombing range at RAF Misson and crashed about a mile outside of of Lound killing Sergeant Michael Mullins now buried at Salisbury (London Road) cemetery, RCAF Sergeant John Alan Jefferson from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada now buried in Harrogate (Stonefall) cemetery, Sergeant William Roy now buried at Dinsdale (St John the Baptist) graveyard, Sergeant Robert Joseph King now buried at Barking (Rippleside) cemetery and Sergeant George Prentice now buried in Sharlston (St. Luke) churchyard extension.

On 7th March 1944 another Wellington (HE818) on another night training flight crashed in Blyth close to the memorial that now sits on the village green. Pilot Officer: Frank Reginald Bedford now buried at Harrogate (Stonefall) cemetery, Sergeant Charles Robson (Peter) Whisk now buried at South Shields (Harton) cemetery, Sergeant Ralph Wallace Tunnicliffe now buried at Hasland Cemetery and Sergeant Derek William Tindell now buried at Camberwell New cemetery. There was only one survivor from this Flight Sergant C Clitheroe who died in August 1944.

On 19 May 1944 Wellington X LP381 crashed into trees at Peak Hill, Carlton Road Worksop attempting to land on the way back from France on 'Nickeling' operation.  The pilot Sergeant Jozef Pawlik, from Ɓobaczowie, Poland and Sergeant (gunner) Piotr  Pawlowski were both killed and are buried in the Polish Cemetery at Newark on Trent, the rest of the crew survived: FlightOfficer Z Norski, Sergeant W Sledziewski and Sergerant Z Bukalo

Trainee Pilot Officer Gerald Hopkins was killed on 4th December 1952 WL402 Meteor T.7 crashed at 'Retford Farm' near Lound during asymmetrical training. This also killed the QFI (no name as yet)

On 19th May 1953 Pilot Officer Trevor John Hood, from Cheam in Surrey was killed after his F.8 (WK929) crashed near Carburton crossroads, north of Ollerton. Hood is now buried at Retford Road Cemetery, Worksop. He has a stone flower holder on the War Memorial outside St George's, Ashtead, Surrey and is also commemorated on the National Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire.

Sergeant Belville Nicholas Penley was killed on  2nd September 1953 when his Meteor F.8 WE917 of 211 AFS lost its leading edge inverted and then crashed just north-west of the Cannon Public House, Worksop.  Penley is now buried at Retford Road Cemetery, Worksop

On 22nd December 1954 Pilot Officer Douglas Gibson Edwards was killed after his Meteor F.8 (WB108) hit a hillside near Treeton in South Yorkshire.His body was found 150 yards away from the aircraft. This was one of three meteors to crash on the same day. He is now buried at Retford Road Cemetery, Worksop.

Flying Officer Stanley Thomas Jenkins and Acting Pilot Officer Duncan Herbert Moffat were both killed on 1st April 1955 when Meteor T.7 WL474 dived into the ground during asymmetric training at Gamston. Photo of the back of WL474 from 1953

In Millthorpe Derbyshire there is a memorial to Pilot Officer Robert Anthony Tritton who was killed when his F.8 (WE904) dived into the ground whilst dive training on 12 May 1955.  The aircraft hit a tree before destroying a barn and crashing into a field at Brookside Farm. Tritton is now buried at Retford Road Cemetery, Worksop.

21 year old Pilot Officer John Alexander Cohen, from Cardiff was killed on 26th May 1955 whilst on a night training flight in Meteor F.8 (WE916) and crashed into Silkstone Crescent, Frecheville, Sheffield and exploded on impact after an engine caught fire, there was a memorial but this has been lost with time.

Vampires also took their toll on trainees; FB.5 (VZ860) crashed into a house in Harby on 9th January 1957 after presumed hypoxia of  Pilot Officer Stanley Monro (caused by lack of oxygen at high altitude). The Vampire was flying at 18,000 feet with other squadron aircraft when it went out of control and crashed into a house killing Mrs Lois Towning, an elderly lady who was ironing when the aircraft crashed straight into her cottage.  The surrounding cottages were also badly damaged injuring two other women who had to be dug out of their homes. Now the site of Harby Village Hall.  Monro is now buried at Retford Road Cemetery, Worksop

Above: Australian newspaper 'The Age' on January 11th 1957 report on the crash. 

One crash where there seems to be conflicting information is the crash of Vampire T.11 (XE866/17) crashed into Crow Chin on Stanage Edge, Derbyshire during bad weather on 7th August 1957 killing both crew – Flying Officer P R Jones and Flying Officer Derek John Brett (who was learning at the time). Brett is now buried at Retford Road Cemetery, Worksop.

Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Levitt died when his MeteorT.7 (WL359), crashed into the ground after the aircraft became overstressed during low level display whilst preparing for the inter-command aerobatics display on 21st April 1958. The horn balance came off the elevator whilst pulling a loop sending the aircraft vertically into the ground.

Others I'm working on 
Squadron Leader Geoffrey Charles Speer who died on 13 March 1955 buried at Doncaster (Rose Hill) Cemetery.  Only listing under GC speer I can find is 3131902 Moved to RAF Regiment from General Duties Branch? as a Flight Officer on 31st October 52. Part of RAF Regiment reserve on 5th April 1953, promoted to Flying Officer on 22 November 1954.

Pilot officer Derek Ian Brown
DOD 9/11/55

Pilot Officer Glen Ballantyne Whitehouse
(4178014) who died on 4th December 1957 who was from Johannesburg in South Africa.  I can't find a record of any crash on this day - does anyone know how he died? Cremated at Nottingham crematorium

I've also got a big list of 211 AFS crashes with fatalities to go through - if you've got any info please get in touch, cheers

On 4th February 1953 WK924 Meteor F.8  dived out of cloud and crashed killing the pilot 9 miles north of Nottingham
On  8th June 1954 WK906 Meteor F.8 crashed at Whissendene, Rutland during night-time low level exercises killing the pilot

On 16th March 1955 WL354 Meteor T.7 crashed 5 miles south-east of Retford during aerobatics killing both occupants

Thanks to: Michael de Torre for the more precise crash sites in the early 1950's during his time as NCO in charge of 3 crash guards. David Watkins for the details on the Jenkins/Moffat crash and futher details on the Levitt crash.