Handley Page Halifax II – W7871 – ZA-C – 10 Squadron - 30th November 1942

At about 1428 hrs on the 30th November 1942 the above aircraft took off from RAF Melbourne on a training flight.

On board were: -

F/S EJ Wilmott - Pilot

S/L GS Barrett – Flying Instructor

Sgt DAD Soggee – Flight Engineer

Sgt AF Flower - Observer

Sgt F Clarke – Air Gunner

Sgt EA Marchant – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Sgt DA Bellerby – Air Gunner

F/S A Brewer - Air Gunner

 

The aircraft was seen to dive from 300 feet into a field near to Laytham Grange Farm, 1 mile south west of RAF Melbourne & burst into flames.  All men were killed in the accident.   Squadron Leader Barrett, Sgt Soggee & Sgt Bellerby were all buried at Barmby Moor on the 3rd of December.

 

The Aircraft was relatively new & had only been delivered to the squadron a month or two before the accident.

Squadron Leader Gerald Spencer Barrett – Flying Instructor

Gerald was born on the 27th June 1911 in Camberwell, South London to Edward Ernest Barrett & Edith Geraldine Spencer.   Edward & Edith had previously married in 1907.

 

An older brother Gareth had been born in Dulwich on 19th July 1908.   In 1922 Gareth was lucky enough to attend Dulwich College a Day & Boarding School in London.   Gerald would follow in 1926 where both attended Marlow house on a day basis.  Gerald would leave after 2 years.

 

By the 1911 Census & just before Gerald’s birth the family are living in 39 Therapia Road, Forest Rd, Honor Oak, S E London.  It shows that Edward has been in Pembrokeshire, Wales & was working as a Railway Clerk.   They appear to be doing quite well & have a Domestic/Cook living & working for them.

 

Gerald went on to join the Royal Air Force in the early 1930s & was given the Service No 29001.  

 

He served as a Pilot Officer in 1931 with 33 Squadron at Bicester before rising to the rank of Flying Officer with 501 Squadron at Filton by November of 1931.

By November 1934 he is still a Flying Officer but is now based at RAF Gosport.  During his time there he was fined 10 shillings for vehicle lighting offences.

 

His Service Record shows that he left the RAF in February 1935 as a Flying Officer, he was transferred to the Reserve, Class A.

 

In 1937 whilst working as an Electrical Engineer living in Park Royal, Gerald submits a design patent for a projection lamp which could be used for cinema projection use.   This patent was registered in August of the following year.

 

On the 22nd November 1938 at the De Havilland Flying Training School, Gerard who still working as an Electrical Engineer gained his Aviator Certificate having trained in a Tiger Moth - Gipsy Aircraft.

 

When the 1939 register was taken at the end of September Gerald is living at Redhill Aerodrome near Godstone, Surrey where he worked as a Flying Instructor.   A note in the side column indicates that he was recalled as an officer (Flight Lieutenant) in the RAF.

 

At the end of 1940 in Manchester Gerald married Anna Wilhelmina Jones or Petley.

 

In December 1941 Gerald was promoted from Flight Lieutenant to Temporary Squadron Leader.

 

He trained with 1658 Heavy Conversion unit & transferred along with his crew into 10 Squadron on the 21st October 1942.   He had flown 6 operations before being killed during this training flight.  He was 31 years old when he died in the crash.

Sergeant Derick Arthur Dudley Soggee – Flight Engineer

Derick Arthur Dudley Soggee was born circa 1920 in India & was the son of Richard Harry & Edna Louise Soggee of Jhansi, India.

 

Derick joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 571587.  His Service No indicates that he may have originally joined as a trade apprentice.

 

Unfortunately, at this stage, not much is known about Derick.   Some information is awaited but will be slower due to the current Coronavirus Crisis.  Hopefully more to follow.

 

He was 22 years old when he died in the crash

Sergeant Douglas Arnold Bellerby – Air Gunner

Douglas Arnold Bellerby was born in 1923 in Salford, Manchester to William Bellerby & Beatrice Minnie Cowell.   William & Beatrice had married at St Mary, Hope in Salford on 27th April 1921.

 

A sister Beatrice ‘Joan’ would follow in 1925.

 

At some point the family moved from Salford to Eccles & were living at 14 Victoria Crescent in Eccles when the 1939 Register was taken.   William is working as a Clerk & Telegraphist with the Post Office.

 

Douglas joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1459372.   He was training with 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit & was only 19 years old when he died in the crash.  

 

He is commemorated on Eccles War Memorial & a memorial window at St Mary the Virgin Church in Eccles.  Bellerby Way in Pocklington is named in his honour.

Flight Sergeant Edward John Willmott - Pilot

Edward John Willmott was 21 years old when he died in the crash. He was the son of Edward & Margaret Willmott of Binfield, Berkshire.    He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1380070, he is buried in Binfield Cemetery.

Sergeant Alan Frederick Flower - Observer

Alan Frederick Flower was 22 years old when he died in the crash. He was the son of Frederick Thomas & Eleanor Catherine Flower, of Cosham, Portsmouth.    He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1187916, he is buried in Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth.

Sergeant Frederick Charles Clarke – Air Gunner

Frederick Charles Clarke was just 19 years old when he died in the crash. He was the son of Alfred William & Edith Florence Clarke, of Cricklewood, London.    He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1333700, he is buried in Tottenham Cemetery.

Sergeant Edward Arthur Marchant – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Edward Arthur Marchant was 30 years old when he died in the crash. He was the son of Edward Arthur & Mercy Marchant of Hastings & Husband of Betty Marjorie Marchant.    He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1377000 & was training with 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit at the time, he is buried in Hastings Cemetery, Sussex.

Flight Sergeant Alfred Brewer – Air Gunner

Alfred Brewer joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 1165987.   He is buried at Ringwood Cemetery, Hampshire

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