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  • Harry Sheldon | St Mark's Graveyard

    Harry Sheldon HARRY SHELDON Corporal Army Service Corps, 1st Army Anti-Aircraft Workshops d. 17 October 1918 age 30 M2/019643 Harry Sheldon was born on the 11th February 1888 and was baptised at St. Stephen's, Hulme, on the 4 March 1888, the son of John James Sheldon (a shipwright) and his wife, Lucy (née Kelly). They were living at 6 Park View, Hulme. By the time he was 13, in 1901, the family had moved to 9 Catherine Street, Winton. Harry had 4 brothers and 2 sisters. By 1911, he and the family were living at 3 Catherine Street, Winton. He was a blacksmith. He married Gertrude Lomax in the fourth quarter of 1918. A TRAGIC HOMECOMING The Winton soldier who died last week within a week of his wedding was Corpl. Harry Sheldon, and not Pte. J. Sheldon, as reported in our last issue. Deceased, who enlisted in the M. T. Section of the A. S. C. in November 1914, had been in France for 3 years and 9 months, and on October 6th came to his home, 3 Catherine Street, Winton. He was married on October 12th, and died on the 17th from pneumonia. The funeral took place on Tuesday of last week in the churchyard at Worsley, in which village he was born and lived for many years, attending the Church Schools as a boy. Deceased was 30 years of age, and before enlisting worked for the Manchester Ship Canal Company at Mode Wheel. His brother, Pte. J. Sheldon, also enlisted in the early days of the war, and has been invalided and discharged. The family are well-known in Worsley and the Eccles district, and deep sympathy is felt for them and for Sheldon's young widow, whose father died on the day her husband was buried. [Local newspaper] Harry Sheldon was buried in the churchyard on 22 October 1918. His grave number is A 335. His abode at the time of his death was Alfred Street Military Hospital, Harpurhey. The officiating minister was Frank Summers, Curate at St. James's, Hr. Broughton. The cause of death is not known but may have been because of illness or war related wounds in the UK. Researched and written by Paul R Speakman Back

  • Robert Ambler | St Mark's Graveyard

    Robert Ambler ROBERT AMBLER 2nd Lieutenant King's (Liverpool Regt.) 13th Bn. d. 24 November 1918 aged 34 ​ Baptised at St. Mary, Eccles, on 7 December 1884, he was the eldest child of John and Sarah (née Walters) Ambler. John was a photographer, though at the time of his marriage in January 1884 he was listed as an artist. Robert's address in the parish burial records was 44 Wellington Road, Eccles, the family abode. Certainly he was living there in 1901, aged 16, and he was a bank clerk. Then, in 1911, he was living as a boarder at an address in Clifton, Bristol, now aged 26, and still a bank clerk. It was announced in the newspapers that 'On Wednesday afternoon the interment took place at Worsley Churchyard of Mr. Robert Ambler, of Eccles. He contracted illness whilst on active service as a second lieutenant in the Liverpool Regiment, and died on Sunday last.' The south porch of Eccles Parish Church has become a memorial to all those who died for their country in World War 1. It was rebuilt under a faculty dated 16 December 1920 and the names of those who died were inscribed on tablets. The porch was opened and dedicated as a memorial to those who died during the Great War by the Revd. Canon John C. Hill, Rector of Bury, on Saturday, 1 October 1921. The name of Robert Ambler is amongst them. Researche d and written by Paul R Speakman Back

  • William Dale | St Mark's Graveyard

    WILLIAM GORDON DALE WILLIAM GORDON DALE Sgt. RAF.VR d. 15 October 1942 aged 20 1124729 WILLIAM GORDON DALE was the only son of Charles Richard Dale (33), an Accounts Clerk, who married Lucy Sykes (28) at St.Paul's, Walkden, on 15 November 1919. William Gordon was born on 4 June 1922 and was baptised at the same church on 9 July 1922. The family was living at that time at 41 Memorial Road, Walkden. William Gordon Dale was the Wireless Operator/Air Gunner on an Avro Anson Mk 1 (serial number L7968) which was returning to Cranage, mistaking a navigation beacon. Instead of flying towards the airfield, the aircraft flew away from it towards high ground around Buxton. Before they were able to correct this error, the aircraft struck the hillside and crashed at Moss House Farm, Moss Ridge, Long Hill, NW of Buxton, Derbyshire. Sadly, if the aircraft had been a little higher it would have cleared the hill. The aircraft was officially written off as damaged beyond repair. There was a crew of four on board. They were: Pilot: Sgt 1312846 Paul Joseph Woodcock, 20 Pilot-UT: Sgt R/121913 James Munro Matheson, 22 RCAF Pilot-UT: Sgt R/113428 Richard James Reay 20, RCAF WOp/AG: Sgt 1124729 William Gordon Dale, 20 The two Canadians on the aircraft were qualified pilots, but were onboard as navigators under-training. RAF Cranage was situated just to the north of Middlewich, Cheshire, and was opened in August 1939. The first flying unit was No. 2 School of Air Navigation RAF , which was formed on 21 October 1940. It operated the Avro Anson for training navigators. The aim of the navigation school (renamed the Central Navigation School in 1942) was to raise the standard of practical air navigation and to train navigation specialists. By the end of the war, accuracy had improved five-fold. The airfield remained operational only for the duration of the war. Researched and written by Paul R Speakman Back

  • Arthur Ratcliffe | St Mark's Graveyard

    Arthur Ratcliffe 22120 Private Arthur Ratcliffe 2nd and 4th Bn Grenadier Guards, Died 11/04/18 ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ Arthur Ratcliffe was born on 23 November 1895 and baptised on 26 February 1896 at St. Mark’s Church, Worsley. His mother was Mary Elizabeth (née Williams) and his father Albert Edward, and they lived at 42 Leigh Road, Boothstown. In 1901, Arthur, who was now 5, had a 3 year old sister, Rachel, and the family were still living at 42 Leigh Road. Boothstown. Another brother John had been born in 1900 and baptised on the 20th September 1900 but John sadly died that year (Q3). Their father was a Coal Miner (Hewer) and their mother worked as a Cotton Weaver. Arthur's father died in 1908 and the family went to live with his grandfather William Williams at 52 Vicars Hall Lane, Boothstown. Arthur's mother kept house for his grandfather whilst also working as a weaver in a cotton mill. Rachel aged thirteen also worked as a weaver whilst Arthur at the age of fifteen was working as a labourer underground at a colliery. Arthur Ratcliffe enlisted in to the Grenadier Guards on 15 January 1915 at Atherton. His address at the time was 52 Vicars Hall Lane, Boothstown, Manchester, his age was given as 19 years and 53 days and his trade was Collier. His next of kin was his mother Elizabeth, and he was 5’ 10 ¾” tall. He joined Caterham Guards Depot on 19th January 1915 and, after training, would have joined the 5th Reserve Battalion at Chelsea Barracks before being posted to the 4th Bn. and deployed to France on 6th November 1915. Over the next couple of years he was often in hospital returning to England for treatment. He suffered from abrasions to the head in February 1916 and was sent back to England to recover. He was issued with a new set of upper dentures at this time. Arthur returned to France in August 1916 before succumbing to trench foot in December 1916 which caused him pain, tenderness, swelling and numbness. He returned to England aboard the hospital ship 'St George' on the 23rd December 1916 and remained in hospital until 10th March 1917. In an undated pencil written letter sent from the front line back to his Mother, it says: ​ "Dear Mother, I am sending the birthday cards back & also a piece of the cake & I wish you to take care of the same till we meet again. The card that Grace sent me, please hand over to her also. It is my wish you should do this, Dear Mother; & then, at the time when we meet again, it will help us all to recall these times. I am very glad to say that the cake kept me a treat & was not broken. We have just finished the cake off & they all wish me to tell you the cake was fine & send their very best respects. I am sorry to say that I was not fortunate enough to get anything out of the cake, for one Sergeant got the baby & is just sending it home; & another Sergeant got the button, & a young chap got the threepenny bit opposite me, & another fellow the ring. I will close now in haste. With best of love. From your loving son Arthur XXXXXXXXXXXX" ​ In June 1917 he was once again returned to the front. On the 9th October 1917 at Langemark he was again wounded, but this time seriously. He was blown up by a shell when advancing with his Battalion. Running after his Battalion to try and catch up, he then suffered a gunshot wound to his leg. He spent four days in the Base hospital, three weeks convalescing at Camp No 5 at Cayeaux, & four weeks in hospital at Le Havre. He then remained on base at Le Havre for a while. During all this time he suffered from breathlessness on exertion and was diagnosed with heart problems caused by being gassed. Deemed physically unfit, Arthur was sent home on the 28th January 1918 to be cared for in a hospital in England. Private Ratcliffe was discharged “no longer physically fit for War Service” on 4 April 1918, he had served 3 years and 80 days. Arthur had seen action at the Battle of the Somme, the 3rd Battle of Ypres, Passchendaele, and the Battle of Cambrai. For his war service, Arthur was awarded the 1914/15 star and the British War & Victory Medal. He was also awarded Silver War Badge number 3451713 having been discharged due to wounds. ​ Arthur Died at home on 11th April 1918. He was buried at St. Mark's Church, Worsley on the 15 April 1918, in grave number W2192 at a cost of £1. 8s and 6d. The payment was received by Frank Derbyshire, the clerk. His documents were marked 'died after discharge' and a war pension was paid to his sister Rachel. The circumstances of his death only a week after being discharged are unclear. His discharge documents from the 5th (Res) Battalion Grenadier Guards dated for the 4 April 1918 in London say that he had a fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair and that he was a fruiterer. His military character was Very Good and he was described as being “A clean sober and hard-working man”. A newspaper article with a photo of Arthur reads: Boothstown Local Guardsman’s Funeral "The death took place at 52 Vicars Hall Lane yesterday week of Arthur Ratcliffe (22) late of the Grenadier Guards, who was discharged from the Army about a month ago after being gassed. Deceased enlisted in January 1915 and had been to France three times, having during that time been wounded, invalided home with sickness and gassed. The funeral took place at Worsley Parish Church yard on Monday with Military Honours. Among those who followed the remains to the grave being a Sergeant, Firing Party and bugler from Leigh Prisoner of War Camp, Boothstown Boy Scouts, under Scoutmaster Barnes and the Sons of the Temperance who were represented by Mr. R. Greenhalgh (Grand Scribe) and other officials. The Rev. Percy Burnett conducted the Funeral Service and at the close the bugler sounde d the “Last Post”. Mr. J. Edge made the arrangements for the Military Funeral. Rest In Peace". ​ By 1921, Arthur's grandfather had passed away. His mother remained living at 52 Vicars Hall Lane along with her son Fred, daughter Rachel and two boarders. Rachel still worked as a cotton weaver whilst Fred worked as a labourer below ground in the colliery. One of the boarders was William Ratcliffe, Arthur's paternal grandfather. Arthur was awarded a Silver war badge, the 1914-15 Star, and the British War and Victory Medal. His medals were auctioned in July 2019 as well as his honourable discharge certificate; a letter written from the front to his mother; and a newspaper cutting regarding his funeral, containing a photograph of Arthur. They were sold for just £130. Details can be found here Link ​ After landscaping work in the graveyard in the mid 1970's, Arthurs resting place became unmarked. On the 26th July 2023 the Commonwealth War Graves Commission installed a new Headstone for Pt Arthur Ratcliffe. With the help of the church graveyard plans, they were able to install it exactly where he was laid to rest. [This biography was submitted to the church by an anonymous donor in recog nition of the bravery and valour of ARTHUR RATCLIFFE, whose body was laid to rest in the church yard ] Back

  • Fred Wilby Slinger | St Mark's Graveyard

    Fred Wilby Slinger ​ FRED WILBY SLINGER Pte. Machine Gun Corps (Heavy Branch), d. 5 July 1917 aged 30 76748 ​ BURIED AT WORSLEY Gunner F. W. Slinger, who was buried at Worsley on July 9th with full military honours, was well known in the Winton and Worsley Districts. He was 30 years of age, lived for some time in Catherine Street, attended St. Mark's School, and later became telegraph boy at Worsley. From here he was transferred to the Parcels Department at the Manchester Port Office, where he was employed when war broke out. He was a member of the 5th Manchester Territorials, but did not proceed with the Division to Egypt, and shortly after transferred to the Royal Scots. With the infantry he saw active service on the Western Front, taking part in the Somme battle last year, and in the offensive of this summer. Early in the present year he was transferred Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps, and became one of the crew of Tank no.2. On June 7th, after the battle of Messines, Slinger was at work outside his tank in the zone of shell fire, when he was struck by a portion of a German shell. He was brought to Leicester Hospital, where he received every possible attention, but his wounds proved fatal, and he died on July 5th. Slinger was married but had no children, his widow's home being with Mrs. Goring at 7 Cleaveley Street, Worsley Road, Winton. [Local newspaper] This is how the death of Fred Wilby Slinger was reported in a local newspaper. He was married to Elizabeth (née Goring) on 22 May 1915 at St. Mark's. His father was Thomas, a shop assistant. Fred's address was Railway View, K. William Street, and he was 28 years old. His wife, Elizabeth, was 24 and her father was Erasmus Goring, an engineer, of Patricroft. Fred was awarded the Victory Medal in 1919. He was buried by Campbell Blethyn Hulton on 8 July 1918, having died of wounds at the Fifth Northern Military Hospital, Leicester. Researched and written by Paul R Speakman Back

  • John McDougall | St Mark's Graveyard

    John Paul McDougall JOHN PAUL McDOUGALL F/Sgt. RAF.VR d. 30 May 1944 aged 20 1795225 ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ JOHN PAUL McDOUGALL was the eldest son of Capt. J. P. McDougall and Ethel May (née Cowburn), of Inglewood, 8 Egerton Road, Monton, (married in Barton district, first quarter of 1923). As a young boy, he attended Monton Green Council School, from where he won a scholarship to Manchester Grammar School. There he played for both the school's football and cricket first teams, and also became a member of Monton Cricket Club. He joined the RAF in October 1941 and under the University short course scheme attended Belfast University. He was a member of No. 13 OTU (Operational Training Unit), formed in April 1940 as part of No. 6 Group RAF Bomber Command at RAF Bicester , originally to train aircrew for the Bristol Blenheim light day bomber. He died while on active service. Trained as a navigator, he had completed his training in Rhodesia. He was onboard a de Havilland Mosquito Mk.IV, reg. HX984, when an engine cut forced it to crashland at Ford Hall, Birkenhead, Wirral on 30 May 1944. The aircraft was heard broadcasting a mayday by ground stations at Valley and Woodvale. This is the entry from Valley's ORB: May 30th 1944, “During the afternoon a Mosquito from Bicester was heard calling “Mayday” on Command Guard. Unfortunately it was impossible to get a bearing on the aircraft and despite the assistance of Woodvale the aircraft crashed near Birkenhead, one of the crew being killed and the other injured.” The crew was F/O (160640) Frank Edwin LEES (pilot) RAFVR, injured, and F/Sgt (1795225 ) John Paul McDOUGALL (nav.) RAFVR, killed. His name is recorded in the Roll of Honour of the Scouts, having been a member of the 1st Manchester Grammar School Scout group. His name is on the Memorial Board at the Monton Methodist Church. In his will, he left his effects to his father. Researched and written by Paul R Speakman Back

  • William Parker | St Mark's Graveyard

    William Parker WILLIAM PARKER Gunner Royal Marine Artillery 8th Bn d. 14th May 1921 aged 24 RMA/14560 In March 2016, the church received an enquiry from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (C.W.G.C.), asking for confirmation and verification of the burial of William Parker in the churchyard. This we were happy to provide and therefore his name has been added to their roll of casualties. His grave number is NP 40. Prior to this, his name was remembered at the Brookwood Memorial. THE BROOKWOOD 1914-1918 MEMORIAL is a memorial to the missing and commemorates casualties with no known grave. The majority of the casualties commemorated by this memorial are servicemen and women from the land forces of the United Kingdom, who subsequently died in the care of their families. They were not commemorated by the Commission at the time but, through the efforts of relatives and research groups, including the “In From The Cold” Project, these casualties have since been found. There are still many cases to be resolved and the memorial therefore allows for further names to be added. Unusually and because of the varied circumstances surrounding many of these casualties, investigative work continues and this may lead to the identification of their burial locations. Whenever a casualty’s grave is located and verified, commemoration will move to the burial site and thus some of the entries on the memorial will no longer be required. As a result and when memorial panels are replaced, these entries will be removed. In addition, the Brookwood 1914-18 Memorial commemorates some land and air forces casualties who were lost at sea. These casualties would normally be commemorated on the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton, but the memorial panels there are now full and so their commemoration has been added to this memorial. [by courtesy of ] ​ William Parker was born on 17 January 1897. In the 1911 census, William Parker (aged 13) was living with his parents, William and Alice, and siblings Mary (17), Alice (14) and Richard (6), at 185 Worsley Road, Winton. William was a student at school and his father was a cashier on a steam ship. They had been at the same address ten years earlier, in the 1901 census. A timeline of his service record shows: 1915 Mar 8. Enlisted 1915 Sep 13. To Gunner 2nd Class 1915 Sep 14. To Gunner 1916 Jan 28 To HMS Malaya 1920 Mar 12. Back to Base 1920 Jun 2. Post to 8 RM for service in Ireland 1921 May 14 died. 2 Royal marine artillery gunners abducted , shot dead and dumped in a local quarry. His father was William Parker of Mulquack Terrace, 285 Worsley Rd, Swinton, Manchester In May 1921, five men of the Royal Marines were killed by 'Irish rebels' in Ireland. It may surprise some to learn that all five of these men are entitled to be commemorated by the CWGC. Any man who died in military service from 4/8/1914 until 31/8/1921 qualifies for commemoration, as the final closure date for WW1 casualties was not until 31 August 1921 (the date the war was officially deemed to be ended by the signing of the peace treaties after the Armistice of 11 November 1918). THE MIDLETON MURDERS On May 14, at 8pm, two marines named Bernard Francis and William Parker were shot dead in the same neighbourhood while walking between Ballymaccura and East ferry. [Northern Whig, Antrim- 26 May 1921: in Midleton, County Cork] MURDER OF MEN FROM EASTNEY Two gunners in the Royal Marines Artillery stationed at East Ferry, near Midleton, Cork, were shot dead on Saturday night near Ballymakerry. This is believed to be their first attack against members of the RMA. The deceased men are 14710 Gunner Bernard Francis (B. Coy.) and 14560 Gunner William Parker (H. Coy.). They belonged to a battalion which was sent from Portsmouth to Ireland in June last for protective purposes. [Portsmouth Evening News: 16 May 1921] His name was inscribed on a memorial tablet in St. Michael and All Angels, Deal, Kent (a former church, once the garrison church to the Royal Marines Barracks), together with the names of 13 others who died on service in Northern Ireland between 1920 and 1922. ​ Researched and written by Paul R Speakman Back

  • John Rowson | St Mark's Graveyard

    John Rowson JOHN ROWSON Pte. RAOC d.3/6/1941 aged 20 925722 JOHN ROWSON was a member of the 4th Div Workshops, Royal Army Ordnance Corps. He was the son of Peter and Margaret (née Knight) Rowson of Walkden. They had married at St.Mark's on 21 April 1919. The Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) was a corps of the British Army. It dealt only with the supply and maintenance of weaponry, munitions and other military equipment. ​ Baptism: 22 Dec 1920 St Mark, Worsley, Lancs. John Rowson - [Child] of Peter Rowson & Margaret Born: 5 Nov 1920 Abode: 244 Lumber Lane Worsley Occupation: Colliery Worker Researched and written by Paul R Speakman Back

  • Evelyn Geoffrey Lord | St Mark's Graveyard

    Evelyn Geoffrey Lord EVELYN GEOFFREY LORD 2nd Lieutenant Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) 37th Bn. d. 25 June 1918 Evelyn Geoffrey Lord was born in 1886 in Audenshaw. He was the son of Charles Lord, solicitor, and Evelyn (née Lord). By 1891, he was living living at Oak Lawn, Manchester Road, Audenshaw, aged 4, with his parents and sister, Dorothy, aged 2. Ten years later, in 1901, he was a boarder at Uppingham School, (admitted in September 1900), where he stayed until April 1905. At that time, his parents were at 10 Wilbraham Road, south Manchester. In 1911, he was a solicitor's articled clerk and was living at 1 Brighton Grove, Rusholme, a boarder at the home of Harry Whittaker. He married Marietta Adelaide Augusta Godbey in the first quarter of 1915 in Holborn. According to the National Probate Calendar, he lived at 14 Jubilee Place, Chelsea. He died at Worsley Hall Red Cross Hospital following an operation and was buried at St. Mark's on 28 June 1918, aged 34. This was probably because it was the most convenient place for burial following his treatment at The New Hall. Probate was granted on 16 September to Marietta Adelaide Augusta Lord (his widow). In reporting his death on the 29 June 1918 The Buxton Advertiser gave Geoffrey's parents' address as "Wood Edge, Buxton". By 1919, his sister, Dorothy, had also moved in with them following the death in 1917 of her husband, Lt. Col. Cyril Benton Johnson. Mrs. E. G. Lord applied for husband's medals on 3/11/21. Evelyn Geoffrey was mentioned in Despatches on 24 December 1917. Geoffrey was Gazetted on 25 October 1916 from Cadet to 2nd Lieutenant in The Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) (London Gazette , 21 November 1916). His Medal Index Card states that he entered into War service on 17th March 1917. The 37th Battalion was part of the 12th (Eastern) Division by the 4 February 1916, and Geoffrey would have joined the Battalion in time to take part in the Battle of Arras in April 1917. Geoffrey's 37th Battalion moved into No 12 Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, on the 1 March 1918. Whether or not he was still with them or what happened after that is not known, nor when he returned to the U.K. or for what reason. However, a number of his comrades in the 37th were killed in action on dates coinciding with The Battle of the Avre, 4 April 1918, and The Battle of the Ancre, 5 April 1918 - the end of the 'Michael offensive'. It is possible he was wounded then - but at the moment this is only speculation. Researched and written by Paul R Speakman Back

  • Church | St Mark's Graveyard

    St Mark's Church Worsley The Burne Jones Window The West Window The Pugin Glass Peter Rasbotham Window The Ellesmere Clock The White Frontal Salvator Mundi The Choir Stalls The Nave The Church Bells Kneelers The Visit of Queen Victoria R Knill Freeman The Baptismal Window The St. Hilda Window The Angel Scrolls Pugin and Barry The Sebastopol Lace The Reredos The Memorial Tomb The Pulpit and Lectern The Baptismal Font A F Egerton Angels War Memorial James Attwood Home

  • Keith Files | St Mark's Graveyard

    Keith Barnet Files Baptism: 5 Oct 1913, St Marks, Worsley, Lancs. Keith Barnet Files - [Child] of James Files & Ethel Born: 5 Sep 1913 Abode: Astley House Boothstown Occupation: Colliery Manager KEITH BARNET FILES Sgt. RAF d. 11 January 1941 aged 27 523740 In the course of World War 2, over 200 airmen lost their lives as a result of air accidents over the North Yorks. Moors. Their names are included on a Roll of Honour posted on the website which carries a great deal of information about these incidents. KEITH BARNET FILES is one of those named. He was born on 5 September 1913 to James and Ethel Files (née Fogg) of Astley House, Boothstown, and baptised at St.Mark's one month later, on 5 October, by John H. Mason, the curate. In the baptism register, his father, James, was a colliery manager in the area. On 11 January 1941, a Lockheed Hudson, serial number N7298, took off from RAF Leuchars, but sadly did not return. The crew on board this flight was P/O Basil Lincoln Fox (aged 26 - pilot); Sgt. Keith Barnet Files (aged 27 - pilot/navigator); W/O/Air Gunner Sgt. William Robert Martin (aged 25); and P/O John McDonald Scott Wylie (aged 21 - Air Gunner). Keith Barnet Files is buried in the churchyard together with both his parents. Although his name and grave appear on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission 's website, he is therefore not to be found with the traditional war memorial stone above the grave. His mother died on 25 April 1933, aged 51, and his father in 1965, ages 86. On the 72nd anniversary of the fatal crash, in 2013, a memorial stone and plaque was dedicated to the lost airmen, close to the scene of the crash. It reads: In Remembrance When returning from a North Sea night time patrol, Hudson aircraft N7298 of 224 Sqn., Command, RAF Leuchars, crashed half a mile north of this point in the early hours of 11 January 1941. There was no fire and the crew of four, although injured, survived the crash. Tragically, they had died of exposure before discovery two days later. Pilot: P/O B. L. Fox - New South Wales, Australia aged 26 Navigator/Pilot: Sgt. K. B. Files - UK aged 27 WirelessOp/AG: W. R. Martin - UK aged 25 Airgunner: P/O J. Macdonald Scott Wylie - UK aged 21 They died in the cause of freedom ​ The story surrounding this flight has been recorded in great detail by the website and its manager, and the details below are taken from that website. The photo of Keith Barnet Files above was supplied to the website by his cousin Mr. Keith Files. The winter of 1940-41 was a very severe winter in the North of England with deep snow in the hills for many weeks. On this flight Hudson N7298 took off from Leuchars, Scotland at 01.17hrs on 11th January 1941 and flew in a south-easterly direction out into the North Sea to undertake a night time operational flight. The precise details of the flight are not fully known, as the RAF's crash card for the incident refers to the operation as being a "special task" and what this task was has not yet been learnt. One suggestion is that the crew had flown some fifty miles out into the North Sea from Leuchars looking for vessels trying to cut through minefields. What exactly happened then is not recorded, but the aircraft probably flew too far south. The crash investigation initially thought that during the flight the wireless equipment and direction finding equipment might have failed. The crew probably were unsure of their position and possibly flew a rough westerly course to make landfall in odrer to try and work out where they were, but then they should have headed along the coast. Instead of this, the aircraft drifted over land and struck high ground. The aircraft struck the top of the area of high ground on Warren Moor, above Kildale, in the early hours of the morning, but did not catch fire. The exact time for the crash is not known. This webpage and other accounts of the incident suggested that Warren Moor was covered in snow at the time of the accident but in 2013 a witness to the incident stated at the memorial service that there was in fact no snow present at the time but that the night was a stormy one and that the crew were flying in poor visibility. All four of the crew survived the crash and, although injured, they managed to scramble clear of the plane but probably later returned to it after the danger of fire had passed, to shelter from the weather. Sadly, all four men had died before they could be rescued. They had all died probably through a combination of their injuries and of exposure before being found at 16.30hrs on 12th January 1941. Their bodies were found under a wing of the Hudson huddled together. Local recollection recounts that the owners of nearby "Park Farm" thought that they heard voices on that night but as the weather was so bad they did not venture out to investigate. The crew must surely have all been seriously injured. Had they been able to explore their surroundings, they would have found the Kildale to Baysdale track (a few yards away) or farms just down from the moor top. I have been contacted by a local man, Mr Bell, whose father was farm manager at Baysdale Abbey during the War and he recalls his father telling him of seeing something odd on the moor the next morning which was noticed whilst he was tending to sheep in the valley bottom. Upon exploring, it became clear that it was an aircraft on the moor. He recalls his father being one of the first to the crash site and that a good clean up job was done by the RAF in the weeks after the accident. This story probably relates to the Hudson accident. The operations logbook lists all the flights made by other 224 Squadron aircraft and crews in the search for the missing Hudson, with six Hudsons undertaking flights - four in the late morning and two in the afternoon, with only one of these later aircraft carrying out a search as far south as was needed. This aircraft searched the coast around Scarborough and Flamborough Head and upon landing the crew reported that the weather was too bad to go inland on their search so returned to base. The death of Sgt. Keith Barnet Files is also recorded in the Roll of Honour in the scouts records, in which it is stated that he belonged to the 1st Manchester Grammar School Group and that he died whilst on active service. On 3 June 1927, he was one of a small number of boys from Manchester Grammar School who boarded the 'Mooltan' (P&O) in London for Gibraltar, with two school masters. Then, on 17 June, he arrived back in London with the school party on the 'Maloja' (P&O) which had originated from Sydney. His name also appears as a member of the Royal Aero Club. This record shows that Keith was living at "The Hurst" on Leigh Road and that he was an engineer. He received his certificate on 24 August 1937 at the Northern School of Aviation at Barton, flying a Hillson Praga (manufactured by F. Hills and Sons). Researched and written by Paul R Speakman Back

  • Books | St Mark's Graveyard

    Books on St Mark's Church and the surrounding area Timeline of St Mark's Church 1846 -1946 Read More Ellesmere in America Read More The Queen Cometh Read More World War 1 Graves Read More Worsley Worthies Vol 1 Read More Why St Mark's ? Read More The Lives of the First Seven Incumbents Read More Lord Egerton's Dream Read More English Country Churches Read More World War 2 Graves Read More Worsley Worthies Vol 2 Read More Home

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