Oxford Mk.I R6271 of No.42 OTU RAF crashed at Waterhouses in Staffordshire on the 21st May 1943

Airspeed Oxford


Archibald Douglas Vincent Forsyth RNZAF Flying Officer Pilot Killed
Harry Garnet Sylvester RAFVR Corporal Passenger Killed
Harry Charles Halestrap RAFVR Leading Aircraftman Passenger Killed


The aircraft had taken off for a short air test from Ashbourne.  Along with the pilot, Flying Officer Archibald Forsyth of the RNZAF, were two passengers, both of whom were stationed at Ashbourne and were along to get a good view of the local area.  The aircraft had been flying at low level in the area and eventually the pilot turned south along the Manifold valley.  Shortly after doing this the aircraft struck high tension cables which cross the valley, the cables tore into the aircraft causing enough damage to immediately send the aircraft went of control.  The Oxford crashed inverted onto the steep wooded valley side near Waterhouses and burst into flames killing all three onboard.

Flying Officer Archibald Douglas Vincent Forsyth, Royal New Zealand Air Force
Flying Officer Forsyth
Image via Jean Ide


The three men were buried at different cemeteries, F/O Forsyth was buried at Ashbourne, Sylvester at Brookwood Military Cemetery and Halestrap was taken to Bishop’s Stortford.  Below is a photograph of Corporal Sylvester’s grave at Brookwood, interestingly the Commonwealth War Graves Commission register records him as belonging to the RAF Volunteer Reserve but his headstone records him as regular RAF, though his service number is in a block which was issued to RAFVR NCOs. Also pictured is the grave of F/O Forsyth at Ashbourne.

Grave of Flying Officer Archibald Douglas Vincent Forsyth at Ashbourne Cemetery

Grave of Corporal Harry Grant Sylvester at Brookwood Military Cemetery

Crash site of Airspeed Oxford R6271, Waterhosues, Staffordshire
Above is the some what overgrown crash site of R6271 near Waterhouses.