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The Welney Website

Halifax LK789 crash, April 1944, Colony Farm

page created 31st July 2010, amended/updated Thursday, 31 March 2011
halifax mk3 in colour
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halifax mk3 black & white
Serial no. LY862, a similar aircraft.
The colour photo shows serial no LK789.
click any photo for larger image.

P.O Dibbins
above, P/O DR Dibbins

below, F/Sgt JR Bathe & Sgt NM Harrison
Sgt Bathe Sgt Harrison
An RAF Halifax bomber, s/no LK789, identity code MP-L, from 76 Squadron, crashed near Colony Farm, Manea, on 25th April 1944. It was returning to RAF Holme in Yorkshire after a mission to Karlsruhe when it was attacked by a German Me410 'intruder' aircraft at a height 3,400 feet and caught fire.

In March 2003 this website was contacted by Mike Harrison in Nottingham who was researching the crash of this aircraft in which all but one of the seven-man crew died, including his uncle Sgt. N M Harrison.

After seven years of effort, including a visit to the crash site in 2009, Mike finally pieced together about as much as he can about this accident and the crew. The results are posted on the Air Crew Rememberance Society's website - the link on the panel at bottom right will take you to the exact page.

Mike discovered from local farmer Ken Goodger, that Ken's grandfather Stan had been in the Welney Fire Brigade during WW2 and had attended the scene. Apparently, Stan and his colleague Bill Kemp rescued the only survivor, the rear gunner F/Sgt John Anderson, from his turret. Another local resident, ex-farmer Cyril Medcalf, remembers being at the scene as a young boy and assisting the doctor who attended to the trapped gunner's injuries by carrying his medical bag from his car.

F/Sgt. Anderson, described as Scottish with a very broad accent, was later taken to RAF Hospital Ely. After recovering he returned to Welney to thank the fire service, and It is thought that he may have come to this area after the war to live.

All those killed were members of the RAF Volunteer Reserve.
The crew of LK789
positionrank, name, age
pilotP/O DR Dibbins, 21
Fl EngSgt GJ Head, 20
NavigatorSgt KC Oswald, 22
Bomb aimerFl/Sgt JR Bathe, 30
W/Op, gnrSgt JG Davenport, 21
Mid upper gnrSgt NM Harrison, 19
Tail gunnerFl/Sgt J Anderson, ?

the crew
(l to r) Dibbins, Bathe, Anderson, Davenport, Harrison, Oswald, Head.
click images for large view
halifax operation record book
The operations record book. Note incorrect initials for Sgt Head, should be as table above.
below, Sgt GJ Head & F/Sgt J Anderson
Sgt Bathe Sgt Harrison
76 Sqn badge
information & photos supplied by and displayed at the request of
Michael Harrison and
Aircrew Remembrance Society
If you want to see what it was like flying in a Halifax during the war, use the link on the right. The clip is on You Tube, nearly 7 minutes. Note unfamiliar insignia. There is also a video of a magnificent model also uploaded by Uupimann; and a walk-through video taken at the Yorkshire Air Museum at the former RAF Elvington. Do watch.

A site containing some details of the German pilot (who was himself shot down and killed two days later) and some graphics of his Me410, can also be found on the right.

If you can provide any further details about the crash, the rescue or those involved, please contact the Webmaster using link bottom right. Thanks.
below, Sgt JG Davenport & Sgt K Oswald
Sgt Davenport Sgt Oswald

Related pages on this website
Welney Fire Brigade
Welney Roll of Honour WW2
Related External websites
Air Crew Rememberance Society
Control Towers Website RAF Holme
Airfield Memorials Huge Photo site
RAF Holme Spalding Moor, Yorks
Wartime video of Halifax flight
East Anglian Aircraft Research Grp
Me410 aircraft & pilot details
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