Vickers Wellington II – Z8536 – NP-S – 158 Squadron -

25th February 1942

On the 25th February 1942 the crew of the above aircraft were one of 61 Aircraft from Bomber Command detailed to carry out an operation to bomb Kiel.   On board were: -

F/S RF Robb – RCAF - Pilot

Sgt C Hackney – RCAF – 2nd Pilot

Sgt TH Bennett – RCAF – Air Observer

F/S CHL Brown – RCAF - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Sgt K Winterton – RAFVR - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

W/O NA Morgan RAFVR – Air Gunner

 

They took off from Pocklington at 1856 hours however their engine caught fire just as the aircraft cleared the airfield.   Shortly after this they jettisoned their bomb load, though due to low altitude the bomber was caught in the blast.    The plane came down at 1900hrs to the north of the airfield close to Yapham village.    All of the crew were killed in the accident.   All of the men with the exception of Sergeants Bennett & Morgan are buried at Barmby Moor.

 

158 Squadron had been formed in February of 1942 having originally been part of 104 Squadron.   Based at Driffield & equipped with Vickers Wellington II Bombers part of the squadron was sent in October of 1941 to Malta & then Egypt in January 1942.   The remainder of men left at Driffield were subsequently renumbered as 158 Squadron.   As the runways at Driffield were unserviceable they would use Pocklington for the first 3 operations on the 14th & 26th February & the 3rd of March before returning to Driffield.

Flight Sergeant Reginald Francis Robb - Pilot

Reginald was born on the 11th June 1916 in Dunnville, Handimand County, Ontario to Walter Tyrie Robb, a Lawyer & Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Grenville Werner.   Walter & Bessie had previously married on the 18th November 1914 in Toronto.

 

By 1921 the family are residing at Broad Street, Dunnville, Ontario, Reginald now 4 years old has an older brother John Tyrie Robb, 2 years his senior.    Brothers James Robert & William Ralph Robb would follow in later years.

 

Reginald would go on to attend Dunnville Public School, Dunnville, Orangeville High & during his time there would become a High School Cadet for a period of 3 years.   He went on to attend the University of Toronto between 1936 & 1939 where he studied English, French, Economics & Psychology & would pass his Arts course with honours.   During the holidays from University he would take on a Temporary job as a truck driver/salesman with Orangeville bottling works before commencing work in February 1940 with the Bata Shoe Company in Orangeville where he worked as Personnel & Wages Clerk, he worked there up until his enlistment.

 

In his spare time Reginald enjoyed hockey, football, basketball, tennis, golf & swimming.

 

Reginald enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on the 20th September 1940 at Toronto & was given the Service No R/72335 & rank of Aircraftman 2nd Class.  He is described as 5ft 5 inches tall with brown hair, blue eyes & a fair complexion.

 

Reginald carried out his initial training at No 2 School in Regina before moving to No 16 Elementary Flying Training School in Edmonton in December 1940 when he trained in a Tiger Moth at this time he was also promoted to Leading Aircraftman.   In January 1941 he moved to MacLeod & No 7 Service Flying Training School

 

Reginald was promoted to Sergeant in April 1940 & obtained his flying badge on the 15th April.  He left for the UK in May of that year & It wasn’t long before he joined 22 Operational training Unit at Wellesbourne.  He was assigned to 104 Squadron at Driffield in August of 1941 & was promoted to Flight Sergeant in November 1941.

 

For a few operations Reginald would fly on operations as 2nd pilot before going on to fly as the Captain of his own aircraft.   He would have been one of the men who transferred to the newly formed 158 squadron in February of 1942.

 

Reginald was 25 years old when he died.   He is commemorated on the War Memorial at Nanton & the Cenotaph in Orangeville.   Robb Street in Pocklington is also named after him.  His father now a Judge would receive his operational wings & certificate

 

The letters Reginald wrote home to his parents were frank, I suppose it was his way of offloading.  An excerpt of one of them would be used in 2005 as a monument within Alexandra Park, Orangeville during the year of the veteran.

 

‘A Letter from the Front’

England 1941

 

Dear Mom & Dad,

It is the knowledge that there are people at home who are depending on you that drives one not only to do his best, but just a little bit more, & it is this spirit that is going to bring a triumphant conclusion to this struggle in which we are presently engaged.

For if we fail then all is lost, not only for ourselves, but for the vast civilized world made up of good people like yourselves.

The sacrifice might be great, but it is dwarfed by the magnificent end to which we are pointing.

Your loving son

Reg.

Monuments at Alexandra Park, Orangeville - Courtesy of Margaret Rose

Sergeant Charles Hackney – 2nd Pilot

Charles Hackney was born on the 2nd April 1921 in Toronto, York to John Taylor Hackney, a Clerk & Helen Rollo.   John & Helen were both from Dundee in Scotland & had moved overseas him in 1913 & her in 1917.   They married in Toronto on the 25th August 1920.

 

By 1921 the family along with Charles then 2 months old are living at 685 Gladstone, Parkdale, Toronto.

 

Charles went on to attend Early Beatty Public School in Toronto.  He then went on to attend the Eastern High School of Commerce between 1935 & 1939 where he studied General Business, Economics & Accounting.   He was also Editor of the School Magazine ‘Eastern Echo’ during his time there.     In his spare time, he enjoyed swimming, bowling, cycling & hiking.

 

In July 1939 he commenced his 1st job as a Laboratory Assistant with the Drug Trading company in Toronto where he remained until his enlistment.

 

Like his father who had enlisted with the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force during World War one, Charles made the decision to enlist in September 1939 but was initially refused as he failed the medical examination.   He attempted to enlist again on the 5th April 1940 at Toronto & was this time accepted being given the Service No R/72081 & rank of Aircraftman 2nd class.   He was described at this time as being 5 feet 11 inches tall with brown hair & blue eyes.    However, on attending the medical in May 1940 he was declared unfit again but advised to return in 3 months to be rechecked.

 

Charles was later approved & carried out his initial training at Edmonton before transferring in October 1940 to No 6 Service Flying Training School in Dunnville, Ontario then No 4 Elementary Flying Training School at Windsor Mills in Quebec in the December where he flew Finch Aircraft, at this time he was also promoted to Leading Aircraftman.  In March of 1941 he commenced training at No 9 Service Flying Training School at Summerside where he flew Harvard II aircraft.   By May of 1941 he had completed his Pupils Pilot & Pilots Courses & was promoted to Temporary Sergeant.

 

He left Canada bound for the UK in June of 1941 & initially trained with No 22 Operational Training unit at Wellesbourne.   Two months later he moved to 104 Squadron & was promoted to Flight Sergeant in December of 1941.    In February 1942 he would move to the newly formed 158 squadron.

 

Charles was 20 years old when he died in the crash & was flying as a second pilot, probably on a training basis.   He is commemorated on the Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton.  He was awarded the 1939-45-star, Air Crew Europe star, war medal & Canadian volunteer service medal (award & clasp) which were sent onto his father along with his operational wings & certificate.

Flight Sergeant Charles Harold Latshaw Brown – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Image of Charles Brown Courtesy
of 158 Squadron Association

Charles Harold Latshaw Brown was born on the 29th June 1911 in Dundas, Hamilton, Canada to Charles Rosendale Brown, an Accountant & Elizabeth Irene Latshaw.   Charles & Irene had previously married on the 15th June 1910 in Dundas, Ontario.

Sadly, on the 12th August 1912 Irene would pass away aged 23 years, she delivered a still born Son which caused a rupture of her Uterus.   Irene would be buried in Grove Cemetery in Dundas.

By 1921 Charles along with his young son Charles now aged 9 are living at 122 Sandford Ave, Hamilton along with his Aunt Mattie who’s help would have been invaluable given the loss of his mother. 

On the 3rd January 1924 Charles senior would marry Douglas Woodhall Anderson, a Musician & spinster aged 32.    Charles & Douglas would go on to have 2 sons Alan & Howard.

Charles attended the Adelaide Hoodless School before moving on to Delta Collegiate then Canada Business College where he would undertake a business course.   He would also take accountancy training with the International Accountants Association.   In his spare time, he enjoyed shooting, baseball, badminton, hockey & volleyball.

His first job in 1931 would be with Ontario Beauty company in Hamilton where he initially worked in the office before moving to a sales position.

Between 1935 & 1936 Charles would serve with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders in Hamilton as a 2nd Lieutenant.

In 1937 Charles would work as a timekeeper before returning to his previous employer Ontario Beauty this time as a stock keeper.

Within a week of World War Two being declared Charles wrote a letter to the National Defence HQ at Ottawa asking to reinstate his commission & offering his services where required.

In June 1940 Charles would enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he was given the Service No R/64344 & the rank of Leading Aircraftman.   He is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall with fair hair, blue eyes & a fair complexion.   Given his love of shooting it was no surprise that he would train as a gunner.

He would carry out his initial training at No 2 Training Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan before moving onto No 1 Wireless School in Montreal, Quebec in the August.  Just before Christmas 1940 he moved to Jarvis, Ontario to commence his Bombing & Gunning training.

In January 1941 he was promoted to Temporary Sergeant & was awarded his Gunners badge.   By March he had been transferred to the UK where he joined 12 Operational Training Unit at RAF Benson near Wallingford, Oxford.   In April he moved again, this time to Cranford to train with No 1 Signals School & the following month would transfer to 27 Operational Training Unit at Lichfield before joining 104 Squadron at Driffield, which would later become 158 Squadron.

In September of 1941 he would be promoted to Temporary Flight Sergeant. 

Charles was 30 years of age when he died the report of his death states that he suffered Multiple Injuries & Burns.  He is commemorated on his mother’s gravestone in Grove Cemetery &  the Canadian Bomber Command Memorial at Nanton.

His father Charles would pass away in 1951 & is buried along with his Step mother at Woodland Cemetery, Hamilton.
 

Sergeant Keith Winterton – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner

Keith Winterton was born on the 17th June 1911 in Leicester to George Ernest Winterton, a teacher & Ethel Clarke.   George & Ethel had married in Leicester in 1902.

 

By the 1911 Census the family along with a daughter Irene aged 7 & a son Paul aged 3 are living at 74 Beaumont Road, Leicester.   George aged 37 is an Organising Secretary with the Police & Citizens Friendly Association.

 

Keith attended Manley Park Council School & after moving to Surrey at the end of World war One he would then become a scholar at Warlingham Council School where he won a scholarship at Purley County School in Kenley.

 

In the meantime, his father George had been secretary of the Manchester & Salford District Temperance Union.   He later went on to become a Journalist with the Daily Herald where he worked for 9 years & from 1929 to 1931 was the Labour Member of Parliament for Loughborough.  

 

 

By 1932 Keith is working as a Journalist & is travelling with his work to places such as Lisbon, Australia & Buenos Aires.  In fact, passenger records in the mid 1930s show him travelling to Egypt & Australia along with his brother Paul, also a Journalist.

 

In 1939 Keith is living in Surrey & is not only a Journalist but Assistant Editor.  Although known to hold pacifist opinions before the war, he made the decision to volunteer for the RAF several months before his age group would be called up.

 

Keith enlisted in the Volunteer Reserves at Uxbridge sometime after September 1939 & was given the Service No 933433, after a period of initial training along with Wireless Operator & Gunnery training, he joined 22 Operational Training Unit at Wellesbourne.

 

In October 1944 he joined 104 squadron which would later become 158 Squadron.   He would be promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

 

In the meantime, his brother Paul would be sent to Moscow from 1942 to 1945 where he was the correspondent for the BBCs Overseas Service.

 

Keith was 30 years old when he died, his obituary records that he had a frank & open nature & that his loss would be deplored by his large circle of friends.   His parents had been glad to have spent some time with him at their new residence in Chichester during his leave a month before his death.   He is commemorated on the memorial at Purley County School.

 

Sadly, in May of the same year his father would pass away following a surgical procedure.   His mother Ethel would pass away at the end of the following year 1943.   

 

It is sad to think that Paul would lose both his parents & a brother during his time in Moscow!   On his return he turned to writing crime & mystery books publishing under the pseudonyms of Andrew Garve, Roger Bax & Paul Somers.  He would also be a founder member of the Crime Writers Association & its first joint secretary.   He died in 2001.

Images of Purley Grammar School Roll of Honour Courtesy
of Nick Peaty

Warrant Officer 2nd Class - Thomas Herbert Bennett – Air Observer

Thomas joined the Royal Canadian Air Force & was given the Service No R/58098, he was 21 years old when he died & was the son of Thomas & Kate Florence Bennett of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.   He is buried in Shepshed Cemetery, Leicestershire.

Sergeant Norman Anthony Morgan – Air Gunner

Norman joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves & was given the Service No 742728, he was 22 years old when he died & was the son of Ralph Charles & Florence Alice Augusta Morgan of Gloucester, England.  He is buried in Gloucester Old Cemetery.

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