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