Handley Page Halifax Mk.III LK878 of No.1659 Heavy Conversion Unit, RAF, crashed at Felixkirk on the 15th January 1945
|Frank William Mooney||Flying Officer, RCAF||Pilot (u/t)||Killed|
|Geoffrey Walton||Flight Sergeant||Pilot||Killed|
|James Alexander McCrea||Flying Officer, RCAF||Navigator||Killed|
|Duncan Pearson McGregor||Flying Officer, RCAF||Bomb aimer||Killed|
|Albert Russel Robson||Sergeant, RCAF||Flight Engineer (u/t)||Killed|
|Micheal Richard O’Sullivan||Sergeant||Flight Engineer||Killed|
|Joseph Aloysius Savy||Sergeant, RCAF||Wireless Operator / Air Gunner||Killed|
|Angus John MacDonnell||Sergeant, RCAF||Air Gunner||Killed|
|Leonard Charles Stavenow||Sergeant, RCAF||Air Gunner||Died of Injuries|
On the 15th January 1945 Flying Officer Mooney and his crew were briefed to carry out local flying with circuits and landing practice from RAF Topcliffe to the southwest of Thirsk. They initially boarded Halifax LK871 but when taking off that aircraft swung to starboard receiving serious damage, which resulted in it being written off. Rather than being removed from flying for the rest of the day they instead were assigned to a second aircraft, which they took off in shortly before 21:00 to carry out their assigned practice.
Only a few minutes into the flight the aircraft flew into a low hill to the east of the village of Felixkirk, itself a short way to the east of Thirsk. The crash was quickly reported and the Medical Officer along with Orderlies and the crash ambulance set out from Topcliffe. They soon arrived at the crash site and found that eight of the nine occupants were dead. The tail gunner, Sgt Stavenow, was found alive but gravely injured. He was taken to the RAF Hospital in Northallerton but died on the way to hospital.
The following day the Mountain Rescue Team from Topcliffe recovered the bodies of the eight who had died in the crash and brought them back to Topcliffe, they had postponed the recovery work overnight owing to snow fall making access to the site difficult. Sgt Stavenow was also returned to Topcliffe the same day. This was the second Halifax crash the team had dealt with in as many days in the same area, the snow cover in the area had also caused problems the previous day.
A memorial service was held at Topcliffe on the 18th and the Canadian crew members were buried at Harrogate on the 20th January.