During World War II, there were a large number aircraft incidents which took place around the Chester area, below are summaries of incidents listed in chronological order
14th August 1940
A Luftwaffe Heinkel 111 bombed RAF Sealand causing damage to some of the buildings. Pilot instructors at the nearby Hawarden airfield heard the bombs explode and saw the Heinkel just below the clouds. Three Spitfires were scrambled from 57 OTU and they attacked the German bomber, as it was making its third bombing run. The three Spitfires took turns to shoot at the Heinkel until it crashed into a field near to the England / Wales border. The aircraft came to rest about twenty metres from Border House Farm in Bumpers Lane, Chester.
(Image: Courtesy of The Imperial War Museum)
8th April 1941
A Heinkel 111H-2 crashed at Egerton Hall Farm, Malpas
9th April 1941
Spitfire N3250 57 OTU crashed at Tattenhall. The aircraft hit trees during a forced-landing in field. Canadian Sgt R Burton killed.
20th April 1941
N7490, a Miles Master training aircraft of 5FTS hit a wire fence while low flying and crashed at Tarporley. Two killed.
1st July 1941
A Miles Master (N7833) flown by two RCAF pilots Sergeants H A Womack and J M Milmine from 57 OTU was low flying over Upton, Chester, when it hit a tree and a house in Mill Lane adjoining the old Mill. Womack was an American volunteer. Both pilots were killed. It is thought that the student pilot was showing off to a girlfriend who lived in the area.
10th July 1941
Spitfire R6601 of 57 OTU crashed near Two Mills for reasons unknown soon after overshooting approach ay Hawarden. Canadian Sgt RE Nickerson killed. Gap in hedge replaced by a fence, which is till visible alongside the Welsh road A550
6th December 1941
Spitfire P9434 57 OTU Foxcovers Lane, Picton spun into the ground after loss of control, Sgt S Lee killed.
7th December 1941
This day became known as Black Friday, when seven aircraft from Hawarden crashed during a sudden snowstorm and twelve aircrew were lost. Spitfire R7126 of 57 OTU at Hawarden crashed on Parkgate Road Chester. The pilot, Sgt SW Bradshaw, lost control in a snowstorm. The aircraft hit a tree and exploded and the pilot was killed. On the same day Spitfire L1042 of 57 OTU crashed at Hill Farm, Picton near Chester also following loss of control in snowstorm and dived into ground. P/O RL Newell was killed. The other losses on that day occurred outside the Chester area.
26th January 1942
Pilot Officer R. Sowalski of 57 OTU was killed following a head-on collision in Spitfire X4164 with a similar aircraft over Bees’ Nurseries on Sealand Road. The two aircraft collided after breaking off from different formations prior to landing. Spitfire K9863 crashed in Welsh Land Settlement Trust, killing French pilot 2nd Lt RLSF Cordingley. 1 fi/M/42 Another 57 OTU collision occurred during a rendez-vous over the field. Sgt SW
16th March 1942
Another collision occurred during a rendez-vous over the field Sgt SW Steenson (Canadian) crashed on waste ground between Cliveden Road & St Marks Road, Lache in Spitfire AR212 and was killed, Fellow Canadian Sgt RJ Lawlor in Spitfire X4605 managed to return to base with only minor damage.
10th August 1942
Spitfire N3276 of 57 OTU stalled and side-slipped into River Dee near Saltney Ferry. Pilot killed.
17th September 1942
Spitfire EP983 3 Ferry Pool, Hawarden, Spun into ground at Saighton from low cloud. First Officer CW Morris killed. 26/10/42 Spitfire P8040 57 OTU crashed at Lower Hall Farm, Picton. The aircraft hit the ground with a wingtip while low-flying. Sgt J Machalek (Czech) killed.
27th September 1942
Spitfire X4926 57 OTU Station Road Farm, Dunham Hall Road, Little Barrow. Forced-landing after engine failure, hit trees and a telegraph post. Pilot OK.
20th October 1942
Spitfires R7138 and R7024 both of 57 OTU collided near Malpas.
17th June 1943
Master T8558 of 5 AFU. Dived into ground at Kelsall after high-speed stall in steep turn. Pilot killed.
26th June 1943
Boston AM455 from Watton (USAAF) forced-landed at Beckley Wood Farm, Malpas Cheshire when both engines failed. No casualties.
14th August 1943
Mustang Aircraft crashed at Poulton Airfield (pictures below)
(Images: Courtesy of Eaton Estate Archives)
13th December 1943
Mosquito DZ684 from 60 OTU, High Ercall crashed one mile SW of Holt. Radio failure at night, no homing possible, fuel exhausted, crew baled out. 28/02/44 Mustang fighter AG367 41 OTU crashed in Bees’ Nurseries killing Canadian F/O JP Gervais.
11th May 1944
A twin engined Airspeed Oxford LW821 of No 1515 Flight stationed at Poulton crashed in the ground at Eaton Hall near to the perimeter of Poulton airfield. One crew member died in the crash, another died later. On investigation it was found that the pilot had failed to switch on the auxiliary tanks causing the engines to cut and the aircraft to stall on approach to the airfield. 10/06/44 P-47 Thunderbolt 42-25473 from USAAF Burtonwood Base Air Depot suffered engine failure and forced-landed 3 miles north of Chester. Lt JE Morgan.
18th October 1944
P-47 Thunderbolt 42-7889 of the 495th Fighter Training Group at Atcham. Crashed in Eaton Hall Estate, killing Lt JG White. 18/02/45 An A-20G Havoc 43-10187 of 310th Ferrying Squadron, 31 st Transport Group at Burtonwood was on a weather check flight, when it suffered engine failure and spun into a field near Tarvin Road, Littleton killing, Lt CP Congdon and Corporal J Sopo.
6th April 1945
Harvard IIB KF284 of No 5 AFU was carrying out solo night circuits from RAF Wrexham. Engine caught fire in flight and elevator controls burned through. Canadian F/O J.B. Thompson killed when the aircraft crashed and was completely destroyed at Farndon three miles NE of airfield.
Excerpt From: – What Did You Do In The War Deva? – Emma Stuart