Halifax R9489 took off for an air test on 21st July 1942.
Its seven-man crew (along with two army passengers) comprised:
- TC Murray (Pilot)
- PM Thurgood (Observer)
- H Hibbert (Air Bomber)
- HR Giddens (WOP / Air Gunner)
- SA Keen (Air Gunner)
- WW Craig (Air Gunner)
- AT Wharfe (Flight Engineer)
- A Roebuck (Army)
- W McBurney (Army)
The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “Whilst carrying out an air test at about midday, R9489 (T), with two army sergeants McBurney and Roebuck flying as passengers, crashed near Tadcaster (Catterton), bursting into flames on impact. All in the aircraft were killed”
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s records show the following burial details:
- CRAIG, WILLIAM WARREN, Warrant Officer Class I,I ‘R/63057’, NEWTON-ON-OUSE (ALL SAINTS) CHURCHYARD Row T. Grave 6B.
- GIDDENS, HAROLD RICHARD, Flight Sergeant, ‘R/66046,’ NEWTON-ON-OUSE (ALL SAINTS) CHURCHYARD Row T. Grave 6A.
- HIBBERT, HARRY Pilot Officer ‘117003’ SUTTON-IN-ASHFIELD CEMETERY Sec. A. Grave 11545.
- KEEN, STANLEY ALLAN Sergeant ‘844873’ ST. ALBANS (ST. STEPHEN) CHURCHYARD Sec. F. Grave 1.
- MURRAY, THOMAS CRAIK Sergeant ‘1365896’ MARKINCH (ST. DROSTAN’S) CEMETERY Compt. U. Grave 34.
- THURGOOD, PETER MITCHELL Sergeant ‘1312235’ NEWTON-ON-OUSE (ALL SAINTS) CHURCHYARD Row T. Grave 7.
- WHARFE, ARTHUR THOMAS Sergeant ‘567426’ KERESLEY (ST. THOMAS) CHURCHYARD New Part. Row B. Grave 5.
The AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) shows “At approx 1200 feet, three steep turns alternatively to port and starboard, first from 200 – 300 feet; apparently full control first two turns, started on third, partially stalled. Two army NCOs carried extra to orders. No consensus on cause due to lack of evidence”
It is understood that the army personnel were members of the 43 Searchlight Reg. (5th Bn The Duke of Wellington’s Reg.) Royal Artillery, stationed at Linton. CWGC records show that they were buried as follows:
- Sgt William Henry McBurney – Stottercliffe Cemetery Penistone Section 4 Consecrated Grave 109.
- Sgt Amos Roebuck – Netherfield Congregation Chapleyard Penistone Row 14 Grave 28.