Wellington Mk.III X3941 of No.27 Operational Training Unit RAF crashed near Darley Dale and Matlock on the 30th January 1943

Vickers Wellington Mk.X at the Royal Air Force Museum


William Alan Catron Sergeant RAAF Pilot Killed
Kenneth Barton Killeen Sergeant RAAF Air Bomber Killed
Neil Garrett Traylen Pilot Officer RAAF Navigator Injured
Neil Charles Craigie Sergeant RAAF Wireless Operator Injured
Thomas Somerville Easton Sergeant RAAF Air Gunner Injured


The crew were taking part in Bullseye exercise from RAF Church Broughton, near Derby. The exercise involved aircraft from both No.27 and No.28 Operational Training Units, with all the aircraft beginning the exercise around 19:00 on the 29th January, X3941 had taken off at 19:15.

At 00:59 on the 30th January No.27 OTU recalled their aircraft as the weather was quickly deteriorating, this order was acknowledged by most crews. However the crew of X3941 didn’t acknowledge the order. At 02:00 while flying the final leg of the exercise back towards base the aircraft struck a line of trees close to Gladwins Mark, some 3 miles Northeast of Darley Dale, and crashed in the field on the opposite side of the road.

Thomas Easton was later taken prisoner while with No.460 Squadron, the aircraft he was flying in, Lancaster Mk.III W4986, crashed near Dortmund.

Crash site of Vickers Wellington X3941 near Darley Dale, Matlock, Derbyshire
This photo shows the field in which X3941 crashed.
Crash site of Vickers Wellington X3941 near Darley Dale, Matlock, Derbyshire
The view looking across the field to the line of trees that the aircraft hit, the gap with few old trees is where the aircraft hit.