Loss of Wellington Z1327 – 17th February 1942

On February 17th 1942 a cross-country training flight was planned in which the crew of No. 460 Squadron RAF would fly from their base at RAF Breighton in the East Riding of Yorkshire, to Peterborough, Harwell, Pershore, Sywell and then back to Breighton.

At 19:20 the Wellington MK.IV ‘Z1327’ (listed in the operational record books as V1327) took off. On board were a crew consisting of all Sergeants: Sgt. James Henry Ware  (RAAF) (s/n: 402897), Sgt. Robert Litchfield Tresidder (RAAF) (s/n: 402894), Sgt. William Leonard Ashplant (RAFVR) (s/n: 1170676), Sgt. Cyril Caradoe Davies (RAFVR) (s/n: 1052270), Sgt. Frederick Dutton (RAFVR) (s/n: 1006728) – the youngest member – and Sgt. Cyril Raymond Dickeson (RAFVR) (s/n: 1292128), a mix of pilots, wireless operators, observers and Air Gunners.

The initial part of the flight went according to plan and contact was made between the ground Station at RAF Holme-upon-Spalding Moor at 22:22 hours moments before the aircraft crashed into a hillside killing all on board. In the fire that followed the crash as Farnley Tyas near to Huddersfield, the Vickers Wellington was also destroyed being written off charge shortly after. It is thought that the aircraft was off course by almost 40 miles and may have been looking for landmarks, when it hit the roof of a cottage  sending it crashing into the hillside.

This was the first 460 Sqn fatality since the squadron was formed in the previous November. Four of the crew remain buried together at All Saint’s Church, on the hill overlooking the village of Holme-upon-Spalding Moor.

All Saint's Church

Sgt. C.R. Dickeson (RAFVR)

All Saint's Church

Sgt. W.L. Ashplant (RAFVR)

All Saint's Church

Sgt. R. L. Tresidder (RAAF)

All Saint's Church

Sgt. J. H. Ware  (RAAF)


AIR 27/1907/1 National Archives.

15 thoughts on “Loss of Wellington Z1327 – 17th February 1942

  1. So sad – and simply, beautifully told. It reminds me of visiting Stamford on holiday and remembering that my mother’s step brother was buried there. His death returning from a raid was part of family lore. My wife promptly said we had to find the grave – which took ages because we were looking for a typical CWGC headstone and it wasn’t. We eventually found him and consequently unearthed the whole tragic story about his Wellington, flying out of RAF Marham, returning from bombing Stavanger in 1940 (which I hadn’t realised we did) and crashing into a hill in Yorkshire. We also discovered he’d been married and that his wife gave birth to a son he never knew. I still have a Christmas card he sent my mother.

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  2. A tragic story indeed. I believe at the beginning of the war that there was a saying certainly in Fighter Command that “Only Owls and Fools fly at night!” Operational needs changed that of course and so many pilots and crews were lost to nocturnal accidents. Just because it was a training accident does not mean it was lesser than a combat loss of course. ALL such losses I’m sure were keenly felt. They were still very much “doing their bit” and deserve to be remembered for it. That is precisely why I love this website! Thanks Andy.

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  3. Another excellent but sad tale, too common by far in the OTUs. I’ve been researching one of our Old Boys who flew his Wellington on a daytime navigation training flight from RAF Harwell, near Oxford, to Gloucester, to Caernarvon, to Peterborough and then back to Harwell. Twenty miles from Caernarvon on a clear, sunny day with a bit of light sea fog scattered around, he flew the aircraft straight into the sea. Everybody was killed. And that happened literally hundreds of times! So many young men never even got to see a German!

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    • You do wonder how some of these very sad accidents happened. On a bad day you can almost understand, but on a good day it’s almost bizarre. There could of course, have been a catastrophic mechanical failure causing the aircraft to plummet very quickly, that also accounted for many young men.

      Liked by 1 person

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