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JAMES ERIC ALLEN Fg.Off. RAF.VR  d. 7 December 1941  aged 28  106109   


JAMES ERIC ALLEN was the son of William Henry and Sarah Agnes Allen (née Aston), his second wife, of Monton Green. He was born on 14 March 1913As a school boy, he attended Eccles Grammar School. He married Vera Margaret Gaskell in the early part of 1940 (Barton district).


On 14 April 1941, R.A.F. Wellesbourne Mountford opened, 4 miles east of Stratford-upon-Avon, which became home to No. 22 Operational Training Unit RAF, flying Vickers Wellingtons and Avro Ansons for RAF Bomber Command. It was part of R.A.F. No.6 Group Bomber Command and remained an O.T.U. over the next four years, its purpose being to train British and Commonwealth aircrews, (pilots, navigators, bomb aimers, wireless operators and air gunners) day and night, and have them ready to move on to operational squadrons. As 22 O.T.U. grew in size, sadly the loss of aircraft and personnel rose accordingly. In total, some 90 aircraft were destroyed, with 80 airmen injured and 299 killed. Of these, 244 were Canadians.


James Eric Allen came to Wellesbourne as a member of No.12 course, training to be a pilot on Wellingtons. Each course taught the basic skills over an eight-week period. Because of the intensity of the course, accidents started to occur more frequently. One such accident, typical of dozens that were to befall Wellesbourne, occurred on 7th December 1941. It was a Sunday evening and the Midlands was suddenly engulfed in severe snowstorms. Two aircraft were carrying out circuits and landings. At 1830 hours, Wellington T2566 of 'B’ Flight was on finals, approaching runway 24 when the pupil pilot, P/O J. Lynas, aged nineteen, completely lost visual sight of the runway lights. He dramatically lost height and hit a row of trees in line with the flarepath. The aircraft burnt out in the ensuing crash by Heath Spinney on the Newbold road, killing P/O Lynas, P/Instructor Turner and WO/AG Sgt. Chancellor, and badly burning P/O Jackson and AG Sgt. Lane. Five minutes later, Wellington X9625 of 'A’ Flight was unable to line up with the runway due to the snow and, in trying to overshoot, caught the trees on Loxley Hill, finally crashing into the top of Red Hill, near Woodfield farm, quite close to the station wireless building. All four of the crew initially survived the crash, but sadly P/O J. E. Allen and W/O A. D. Cuthbert RCAF died later of their injuries. The other crew members were Sgt. J. H. Cox and AG Sgt. Allen.


The death of James Eric was recorded in Stratford-upon-Avon in December 1941. His will, which was proved on 2 February 1942, shows that he lived at 'Berwyn', 1 Larch Avenue, Swinton. He had died on 7 December 1941 at Ettingley Farm, Loxley, Warwickshire. His estate was left to his wife, Vera Margaret. His name appears on the War Memorial Board from Eccles Grammar School which was re-dedicated in its new home in St. Paul's Church, Monton, at 10.45 on Remembrance Sunday, 13th November 2005

Researched and written by Paul R Speakman

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