Halifax HX351 NP-S
- Created: 30 January 2015
- Hits: 2009
Halifax B.III HX351, NP-S
On 19th February 1944, 15 Halifax aircraft of 158 Squadron at RAF Lissett took off on an operation to bomb Leipzig.
A total of 823 aircraft took part in this operation,
561 Lancaster’s, 255 Halifax’s and 7 Mosquitos were ordered to Leipzig.
78 aircraft, failed to return.
Amongst these was Halifax HX351 code NP-S
Pilot: P/O. Peter Milton Jennings RAFVR (157100)
Navigator: P/O. Norman Caffrey RAFVR (169502)
Air Bomber: F/Sgt. Harold Elfed Jones RAFVR. Age 21. (1537023)
Wireless Operator: Sgt. George Frank Gillings RAFVR Age 21 yrs (1393396)
Mid Upper Gunner: Sgt. Samuel Price Morris Age 21 yrs (1503563)
Rear Gunner: P/O. Gerald Robert Fitzsimmons RCAF Age 22yrs. (J/86434)
Flight Engineer: P/O. Charles Joseph Seymour RAFVR Age 22yrs (160592)
P/O Peter Jennings had been commissioned from Sgt. on 31/8/43 and was an experienced pilot who had already flown 23 operational sorties with 158 Squadron. In total he had flown 577 solo hours of which 208 were at night. His Mk III experience was 32 hours (18 at night) first flying the Mark III on 20 December 1943. At least 20 missions were with the following crew. The aircraft HX351 coded NP-S was a Halifax B.III built by Handley Page Ltd. It was allocated to 158 Squadron on 24 December 1943. The aircraft had flown two previous missions as NP-F and was wearing NP-S for the first time when it prepared to take off on 19 February 1944.
HX351 took off from Lissett at 00.06 hrs on 20 February 1944. Nine minutes later at 00.15 it crashed into a field just off a minor road connecting the villages of Atwick and Bewholme. The crew died instantly.
The accident was investigated but the cause was inconclusive. It appears that the pilot may have lost control after entering cloud as a result of which a tail plane failure occurred but this could not be proved beyond doubt.
A memorial stone was erected near the site of the crash by the brother of the Navigator.
We will remember them.
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Researched and compiled by Martyn Owst
(memorial photo) www.airfieldarchaeology.co.uk