MEMORIAL PLAQUE

14/09/12

The Plaque was unveiled by Air Marshal Sir Colin Terry KBE CB DL, representing the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, in the presence of Senior officers from the Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and the New Zealand Defence Force, local dignitaries and VIPs, including representatives of the Quainton and Waddesdon Parish Councils, relatives of both aircrews and other invited guests and the media – over 200 attendees in total.

On 15 March 1944, Vickers Wellington Mark X (LN660: KJ-O, "O" Orange) took off from RAF Westcott at 20:05 on a non-operational night cross-country training flight. After being airborne for two and a half hours, the aircraft was on finals for landing at RAF Westcott when it collided with a Short Stirling Mark III heavy bomber (EH989: WP-P, "P" Peter) of No 90 Squadron, based at Tuddenham, Suffolk flown by Flight Sergeant Joseph Spring RAFVR. The Stirling aircraft had been diverted from its parent airfield, was returning from a mission to the Amiens railway yards in France and was en route to a diversionary airfield when it struck the Wellington from below on the starboard side. The Wellington crashed at 22:35, half a mile east of Quainton Road railway station, and one and a half miles north-east of Westcott, killing all eight crew members. The Stirling, whose crew were on their first mission, crashed at 22.47 at Astwell Park, Wattenham, Northamptonshire killing all on board.

The memorial plaque was erected in memory of the 15 aircrew who died by a relative of one of the crew members Flying Officer James Henry Scott Lyon DFC. Royal Australian Air Force, a Staff Pilot (Instructor) at Westcott, who was flying the Wellington. Mr Bruce Blanche, the nephew of Flying Officer Lyon, explained that his uncle's wife (his aunt) who was pregnant at the time lived at 28 Station Road (now 81 Station Road) Quainton, in rooms rented from Mr Frank Wheeler. Thankfully she was visiting her parents in Coldstream in Scotland at the time of the tragic crash.

The plaque has been placed just before the main gate, next to the existing Westcott Airfield Memorial erected by the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust on the September 2012.


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