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Halifax Bomber
 

   

 

 

 

    Halifax Bomber crashes

    at Bunwell 

      
      ...... as remembered by John Meen


 

23rd October 1944 about 09.30hrs

I was indoors with my parents and brother when we heard a plane making a terrible revving noise.  We went outside and saw a plane on fire; it was going around in a circle and sounded in real trouble.  Father said we should go indoors.

 

After about five minutes we heard an explosion: then silence.  My father and a neighbour, Arthur Smith, jumped on a motorbike and rushed to the main crash site at the back of my grandfather’s house at May Tree Farm. They saw a number of small fires but failed to notice the bomb crater until Arthur slipped into it.  There was no sign of life; all the crew had been killed.

 

The plane was a Handley Page Halifax Bomber from 76 Squadron, Holme-on-Spalding Moor in Yorkshire. It had a crew of seven and had been trying to put down at one of the local airfields.  The wreckage was spread over a wide area.  One wing landed in our horse yard at Home Farm.   The other wing, along with a lot of other debris, landed at the end of my grandfather’s house; one engine was found at the back.  The largest piece of the plane was near a small wood at Black Carr Farm; part of the tail end was found at Poppylot Farm.

 

The morning after the crash the Americans from Old Buckenham, thinking there might be unexploded bombs, sent a sentry to guard the site and closed the road.

 

If it was wet the guards used to shelter in my grandfather’s garage and we boys got to know them.  They would set up some tins on a log and let us shoot at them with their pistols.  The guard was changed twice a day.  One morning, when the guard was due to be changed, he was nowhere to be seen.  He had brought some cartridges from the base, taken my grandfather’s shotgun and gone partridge shooting.  He shot some partridges and was getting through a hedge in the Green Lane with a loaded gun when the trigger caught on a twig and blew his side out.  He was found later in the day by Harry Hall a local farmer.  His name was Antonio Thomas Farver.  An inquest attended by some high-ranking Air force officers was held at my grandfather’s house.  My grandfather was Frederick Potter.  Potters lane at Wattlefield was named after him.

 

Two years ago the grandson of the flight engineer brought his grandmother to lay a wreath at the site of the crash.

 

Crew

Pilot                     F/Sgt Leslie George White

Engineer            F/Sgt George James Brown

Navigator          F/Sgt Herbert Winder

Bomb Aimer    F/Sgt Thomas Clough Dawson

Wireless Op.    Sgt Thomas Lawson

Air Gunner         Sgt Albert Charles Thornhill

Air Gunner         Sgt Cecil Waltham

 

Aircraft

Handley Page Halifax III

Built by English Electric Co Ltd, Salmesbury, Preston

We are indebted to Mike Harrison for drawing our attention to the Lost Bomber Web Site http://www.lostbombers.co.uk/bomber.php?id=7942

With grateful acknowledgement to RAF Bomber Command