DENNIS ALFRED KIDBY

 

Born: 1922, Ipswich.

Died: 30th July 1944; age: 22; killed in an aircraft collision.

Residence: 74, Leopold Road, Ipswich.

 

Rank: Warrant Officer/Air Bomber; Service Number: 1391158.

Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 75 Squadron.

 

Memorial Reference:

Panel 214.

Runnymede Memorial,

Englefield Green,

Surrey.

 

Probate to Peggy Joan Chamberlain – spinister.

 

30th July 1944

 

Aircraft: Lancaster I; serial number: HK558; based at R.A.F. station Mepal, Cambridgeshire.

On the 30th July 1944, HK558 took off at 06:10hrs on a mission to attack enemy positions near Amaye-Sur-Seulles, South West of Caen. Over the English Channel the aircraft collided with a 514 Squadron Lancaster LL733. Both aircraft crashed into the sea with the loss of all crews. The collision hadbeen observed by the minesweeper H.M.S. ‘Hannaray’ which immediately made for the crash site. The body of Dennis was recovered but was not brought to shore – instead he was buried at sea hence his name appears on the Runnymede Memorial.

HK558 Crew:

Colin George Nairne; Pilot Officer/Pilot; age 22; R.N.Z.A.F.

Lyndon Clifford Perry; Pilot Officer/Navigator; age 21; R.N.Z.A.F.

Philip Falkiner; Flight Sergeant/Air Gunner; age 22; R.N.Z.A.F.

Raymond Charles Smith; Sergeant/Flight Engineer; R.A.F.V.R.

Alfred Richard Stannard; Sergeant/Wireless Operator/Air Gunner; age 22; R.A.F.V.R.

Stanley Alfred George Woodford; Sergeant/Air Gunner; age 29; R.A.F.V.R.

 

Lancaster LL733 had taken off from Waterbeach just three minutes after HK558 with the same target area as the 75Squadron aircraft.

LL733 Crew:

 

William Stewart Bonell; Flying Officer; age 25; R.C.A.F. (newspaper clipping from the Ottawa Citizen – Operation: Picture Me).

George Charles Wells; Flight Sergeant; age 21; R.A.F.V.R.

Charles Matthieson Guy; Sergeant; age 21; R.A.F.V.R.

Edward William Jenner; Flight Sergeant; age 21; R.A.F.V.R.

Leslie Arthur Ding; Warrant Officer; age 31; R.A.F.V.R.

 

John Edward Richardson; Flight Sergeant; age 21; R.A.F.V.R. (photograph courtesy of Col).

 

Walter Evan Chitty; Flight Lieutenant; age 22; R.A.A.F. – (photograph – The Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/R1704812 )

On the 10th October 1944, the body of Charles Matthieson Guy was found floating off the coast of Normandy. The body was re-buried at sea.

What makes this incident even more tragic is that five members of the 75 Squadron crew, Colin Nairne, Philip Falkiner, Alfred Stannard, Stanley Woodford and Lyndon Perry had all survived another accident on the 18th April 1944 while training with 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit at R.A.F Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire. They took off in Shorts Stirling III, EJ108 at 22:35hrs, but a group of American servicemen were cycling on the runway and the aircraft collided with them killing Sergeant David K. Ollre and Corporals James A. Moore and Teddy B. Potocki. The Stirling managed to get airborne but had apparently sustained damage and was instructed to head for the emergency landing runway at R.A.F. Woodbridge, Suffolk. However, before they could reach their destination an explosion occurred on board and the aircraft pitched violently nose up. As the aircraft went out of control the pilot Flight Lieutenant Hugh C. Wilkie D.F.C instructed the crew to bail out. All but one of the crew, Warrant Officer William A.Watson D.F.M., managed to get out before the aircraft crashed killing the pilot and Watson. Unfortunately Sergeant Frederick T.G. Atkins also died as he had failed to properly secure his parachute harness and fell to his death. The Stirling crashed at 22:30hrs at Moot Farm, Little Glenham, Suffolk. Parto of the wreckage hit a thatched cottage occupied by the Carter siblings, both escaped unharmed.

 

Aircraft information courtesy of John Allan.

Posted in Second World War

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