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15 October 2014
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Halifax Bomber Crashicon for Recommended story

by Leeds Libraries

Contributed by 
Leeds Libraries
People in story: 
Vernon Wood and Walter Townend
Location of story: 
Tingley near Leeds, West Yorkshire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
25 April 2005

TINGLEY CROSSROADS, MORLEY, Near LEEDS. Yorkshire. Circa 17.30 , ?day, November 14th, 1944.

Contributions by Vernon Wood and Walter Townend who, at the time, were 13 years old schoolboys at Morley Grammar School.

Vernon Wood.
It is over sixty years since this tragic event occurred, and my memories of it are blurring with every passing year. I believe that my reactions to the event are best expressed in a poem penned at the time, which was put together by me and my father Clifford as a homework exercise (yes — even in those days Dads helped Lads from time to time !).
It was published in the Spring 1945 issue of the school magazine “Morleian”.

Tribute to a Bomber Crew
Twilight fell swiftly, that horrible night,
With rain lashing down from a darkening sky;
Came loud roar of bomber, that gave us a fright,
With engines diminishing,then shrieking high.
Five years of long war had taught us the sound,
(of planes that were stunting and stooging around,
But this sounded different somehow to my ear,
And up welled within one a sickening fear.
For the crew of that plane who were homeward bound.

They fought against odds to clear the large town,
Seeking clear country before they touched down;
And suceeded, thank God! but fate was unkind,
Something went wrong, and down they came,blind;
But avoiding the town, so perilously near,
They gave up their lives for us living here.
V. W. (L. IV. R)

Written shortly after the tragedy and before the facts were known, one or two inaccuracies and perhaps fanciful schoolboy suppositions have crept into the story — for instance, the plane was outward, not homeward bound, and crashed just a few minutes following take-off on a training mission from Snaith RAF station.
The following afternoon — a cold grey November day - a friend and I cycled the 2 miles to Tingley to view the wreckage, where we were amongst a crowd of 30 to 40 people. The sad remains of a giant 4-engined bomber were scattered across a rhubarb field adjacent to Tingley Crossroads. The plane had exploded, clipped the roofs of cottages beneath the flightpath, leaving seven families to mourn the loss of their kin.
I have Walter to thank for refreshing my memories of November 14th 1944, and his deep research and recording of the historic incident are highly commendable. A BBC radio interview given by him on November 16th 1997 is especially evocative, and his prodigious efforts to fund and install the Memorial Tablet at Tingley is beyond praise.

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