de Havilland Mosquito N.F. Mk.II DD750 of No.25 Squadron, RAF, crashed near Silsden in West Yorkshire on the 23rd March 1943

de Havilland Mosquito


John Hudson Staples Sergeant Pilot Killed
Ralph Ernest Andrews Sergeant Navigator / Wireless Operator Killed


The two crew of Mosquito DD750, along with two other crews, had been deployed from their home base at RAF Church Fenton near York to RAF Coltishall in Norfolk during the afternoon of the 22nd March 1943. That night they were due to carry out a “Ranger” operation. These were broadly similar to the Luftwaffe intruder flights carried out over the UK with the Mosquito crews prowling the skies over western Germany looking for aircraft to attack and also any opportune ground targets. A “Ranger” sortie on the 23rd / 24th March flew a route across Holland and into Northern Germany attacking a number of railway engines.

The sortie planned for the 22nd / 23rd March was cancelled and the three crews ordered to return to Church Fenton, Staples and Andrews flew too far west and while descending through cloud struck the gently sloping hillside not far from White Crag Plantation where the aircraft broke up and burst into flames.

Wreckage at the crash site of Mosquito DD750, White Crag, Silsden, Yorkshire
A bare patch in the heather marks the crash site, where only a handful of wood screws and other tiny fragments can be found.