Vickers Wellington Mk.IC R1538 of No.28 Operational Training Unit, crashed near Dilhorne in Staffordshire during the early hours of the 30th January 1943

Vickers Wellington Mk.X at the Royal Air Force Museum


George Albert Reynolds Sergeant Pilot Injured
Thomas Butterly Sergeant Observer Killed
Francis William Bull Flight Sergeant Air Gunner Injured
Royston R. Clarke Flight Sergeant Wireless Operator Injured
Allan Priest Sergeant Air Gunner Killed


This aircraft had taken off at 19:00 on the 29th January Wymeswold airfield near Loughborough, five other aircraft took off regular intervals around the same time, and a sixth aircraft from the satellite airfield at Castle Donington, to carry out a Bullseye navigation and practice bombing exercise. Also taking part in the exercise were aircraft from No.27 OTU from Lichfield and Church Broughton.

The Operations Record Book for No.28 OTU mentioned the exercise, and said that the crew from Castle Donington “made an excellent trip under difficult conditions”. Of the six crews from Wymeswold two were lost, one being this aircraft which flew into the ground in low cloud at 02:15 on the 30th January.

The other aircraft from No.28 OTU which was lost was Wellington Mk.IC R1011, this aircraft crashed on Birchen Bank Moss on the northern side of Bleaklow about 30 minutes before R1538 crashed, the accident is recorded elsewhere on this site. No.27 OTU lost one of their aircraft during the Bullseye exercise near Darley Dale, this was Wellington X3941.

Plaque at the crash site of Vickers Wellington Mk.IC R1538 on farm land at Dilhorne
The site is marked by two plaques on a concrete post on at the edge of the field the aircraft crashed in.
Image: Mark Sheldon
Crash site of Vickers Wellington Mk.IC R1538 on farmland near Dilhorne, Staffordshire
Above is another the memorial seen in 2003, this photo is looking into the field which the aircraft first impacted in.
Image: Mark Sheldon.

The three surviving members of the crew after recovering from their injuries returned to active service.
On the 15th/16th February 1944 Sgt Clarke was onboard Lancaster DV236 SR-G of No.101 Sqn on airborne cigar duties when it was shot down by an Me110 night-fighter over Berlin. Along with four others he was able to abandon the aircraft before it crashed after which he was taken prisoner, he eventually escaped captivity during a forced march in 1945.
Sergeant Bull was killed on the 13th July 1944 while a crewmember of Lancaster PA999 of No.103 Sqn when it was shot down near Veel in eastern France.