War Memorials of Holy Trinity, Penn

Penn WW1 War Memorial

On 11th January 1919, a public meeting was held in Penn to discuss a suitable memorial to the men of the village who had died in the Great War. Penn had lost 22 of its sons out of a village population of around 1000, slightly higher than average for Britain. A war memorial was an important focus for mourning, as most of those who had died were buried overseas, in Nigeria, Salonika and Gallipoli as well as France and Belgium. A committee was formed, including at least three bereaved parents; one, Mr Busby (Penn Parish Clerk), had lost three sons, Fred, Willie and George. The memorial was to be funded by public subscription, and the substantial sum of £371 8s 8d was quickly raised, with donations ranging from 2d to £20.

At the meeting, Lord Howe promised to donate the piece of land adjacent to Holy Trinity church (formerly the site of the village stocks), on the condition that the memorial take the form of a cross. The committee engaged an architect from London, Mr Eden, and embarked on a lengthy deliberation of designs before settling on a simple cross on an octagonal plinth, with the inscription ‘1914 1918 REMEMBER’. The committee took care that ‘the wishes of Penn Village should have first consideration in the choice of the Memorial as most of the men in whose memory it was to be erected came from Penn Village itself.’ The memorial was unveiled at an opening ceremony on 10th April 1921 by Field Marshall Sir William Robertson.

The erection of the memorial is a telling indication of the village hierarchy that existed at the time. Not only was the committee led by the village gentry, but this class consciousness was preserved in the inscribed roll of names around the plinth. The Imperial (later Commonwealth) War Graves Commission had decided that names on their memorials would be inscribed alphabetically, regardless of rank, but names on the Penn memorial are listed in order of rank, from a Lieutenant-Colonel down to the Privates. What the memorial does not show, of course, is those who returned home disabled, scarred physically or mentally by their experiences of war.

Amy Lim, September 2015

Unveiling of Penn war Memorial

A photograph of the unveiling of the Penn War Memorial by Field Marshall Sir William Robertson on 10th April 1921 has recently been found in The Sphere magazine of April 23rd 1921.

The following men are remembered on the Penn WWI War Memorial

Private Albert ALLEN, TF3464, Middlesex Regiment 1/8th Battalion
Died of wounds France, 02 Jul 1916, Aged 22, Occupation; Gardener
Etretat Churchyard, Seine-Maritime, France, Memorial Reference II.E.18
Born c1894 Beaconsfield or Penn, Baptism, 10 Jun 1894, Penn HT
Parents George Arthur & Ellen Allen, Gardener, Knotty Green.

Private Norman Lionel ATKINS, Rifleman 9668
City of London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade) 1/5th Battalion
Died of wounds, received in Flanders (Ypres), 7 December 1914, Aged 19
Bailleul Communal Cemetery (Nord), A.21, France, 14.5 Km SW of Ieper, Belgium.
Born: 29 Jan 1895, Penn, Occupation: Clerk, Western Telegraph Co
Parents: Arthur Harris Atkins (dec’d 1901) & Fannie Alice Atkins, Yew Tree House, Penn 

Major Richard Spencer BRITTEN, Deputy Asst. Director Remounts
Enlisted, Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars, Remounts 5th Army HQ.
Died of Diptheria, 18 Aug 1918, in France, Aged 40.
Buried: Aire Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France, IV.B.30
Born c1878, Great Billing, Northants. Served in the Boer war.
Son of Arthur Britten, farmer, & Ellen Brain Britten nee Wells
Wife: Gladys N Britten née Grove, of ‘Watercroft’, Penn.
More in ‘P&TG in the Great War & the men who did not return’
Photograph, Northampton Independent, 24-8-1918

Private Frederick (Fred) BUSBY, 16009
Wiltshire Regiment 10th Entrenching Bn.
Killed in action Salonika, 24 Apr 1917, Aged 24.
Doiran Military Cemetery, Greece, III.A.30
Occupation: Gardener; Chorister and bell-ringer at Penn;
Second son of Alfred & Emma Busby, brother of Willie and George.
His father Alfred was Penn parish clerk for over 50 years.

Private William Albert (Willie) BUSBY 38420
Gloucestershire Regiment 2/6th Battalion
Killed in an accident, 26 Sep 1917, Aged 21,
Sunken Road Cemetery, Fampoux, France, I.B.17
Worked as a gardener at Troutwells, chorister at Penn.
Third son of Alfred & Emma Busby, brother of Fred and George.

Private George Alfred BUSBY, 20720
Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry 5th Battalion
Killed in action, Battle for Langemark, 19 Aug 1917, Aged 19,
His grave was lost. Commemorated on Tyne Cot Memorial,
Panel 96 to 98, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
The plaque in the church erroneously shows France, not Belgium
Fourth son of Alfred & Emma Busby, brother of Fred and Willie

Private William John CHANNER, S/33857
City of London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade) 4th Battalion
Died at sea, on HMMS Wandilla between Beirut and Alexandria, 17 Nov 1918, Aged 30. Born June 1888, Kennington, Pre-war occupation: Cab Proprietor.
Parents Ambrose & Harriet Eliz Channer née Johnson. Ambrose was born in Penn.
Parent’s address: 1911: 4 Wigton Place, Kennington, London. Cab Proprietor.

Captain Gordon CUTHBERT
Middlesex Regiment 1st/8th Battalion
Born 14 Aug 1876, Charlton near Sunbury, Middx.
Educated Clifton College, Bristol. Occupation – Oil & Tallow broker. Husband of Eleanor Bruce Ankertell Cuthbert, Drews, Knotty Green.
Parents – Henry Westell & Rose Isabell Douglas Cuthbert
Killed in action, 25 Apr 1915, Ypres, Aged 38.
Ypres Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium, Panel 49 & 51.
There is a memorial plaque in Penn Church, On the South Aisle wall.
(Photograph, Ron Saunders, Western Front Association Journal, Stand To, Issue 57)

Private Jesse DENNIS, 24844 Grenadier Guards 4th Battalion
Killed in action, Ypres, 21 Jul 1917, Aged 33.
Bleuet Farm Cemetery, I.G.10, Ieper, Belgium.
Born, June 1884 Penn, Occupation: Bricklayer.
Parents Frederick & Jane Dennis, Carpenter, Old Reading Room Cottage, Penn

Private Arthur DRUCE, T/20885
Royal Warwickshire Regiment 8th Battalion.
Son of Charles Druce, Coal Merchant, and Ellen Dennis.
Died, aged 18, 29th November 1916, Chatham hospital,
of wounds received in the Somme.
Worked as cowman at Puttenham Farm, Penn.
Given a full military funeral at Penn (Holy Trinity),
Buried in Churchyard, north of chancel.

In the churchyard, near the North boundary wall, there is a headstone to:
Driver Frederick John GIBBS,
T/277540 Royal Army Service Corps, 2 Company
CWGC grave stone reads: ‘Died 7th January 1919 age 27
Death Certificate reads: ‘7th January 1920, Age 35.
Tubercular Laryngitis, Mary Gibbs present at death, Beacon Hill, Penn. Certified by the local Doctor G. Smith Wynne‘.
Son of Henry James Gibbs (Dec.d) & Mary Gibbs née Cannon, of Penn. Frederick’s wife, Ada Kate Stickland, & 3 children, were living in Southampton, 1911.
(Thanks to Ron Saunders for death certificate, and this information)

Private Harry HILL
No Information.

Major Arthur F. HENDERSON,
Indian Light Cavalry / 27th Battalion
Educated: Haileybury and sandhurst. GSO2 to Gen Gough.
He fell attempting to save a wounded officer near the Conde Bridge at the Battle of the Aisne Sept. 12th 1914. Aged 39
His grave was lost, Indian Memorial, Neuve-Chapelle, France, Panel 2
More about Major Henderson in: Western Front Association
Born: 21 Nov 1874, Shanghai, China
Son of Doctor Edward & Mrs Henderson, Lexham Gardens, London W
Husband of Muriel Henderson, née Hanbury, ‘The Knoll’, Paul’s Hill.
More in ‘P&TG in the Great War & the men who did not return’
There is a memorial plaque in Penn Church, above the pulpit.

Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Hugh HILL M.V.O. D.S.O
Royal Welch Fusiliers, General Staff. Born May 16th 1875.
Killed in action in France, Sept 10th 1916, aged 41.
Bethune Town Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France, III.K.40
Only son of the late James Eardley Hill, Barrister at law,
and Katharine Shepperson (re-married) of Penn parish.
Grand-son of the late Sir Hugh Hill, Knt, a judge of the Queen’s bench, of Graig, Doneraile, Co. Cork, formerly of Pipe Staffordshire. Educated Lockers Park, Rugby and Sandhurst, and served in the South African War, 19001-1901.
More information in ‘P&TG in the Great War’ & Buckinghamshire Remembers
There is a memorial Window in Penn Church to Lt. Col. Hugh HILL

Private William H. (Willie) JAMES, 17051,
Northamptonshire Regiment 1st Battalion
Killed in Action, Somme, No known grave, 17 Aug 1916, Aged 19
Thiepval Memorial, Pier & Face 11A & 11D, Somme, France
Born, c1897 Beaconsfield,
Parents: William Alfred & Sarah Elizabeth James, Carter, Forty Green, Beaconsfield

2nd Lieutenant Richard Bartlett MELLARD,
North Staffordshire Regiment 1/5th Battalion
Killed in action France, 01 Jul 1916, Aged 22, No known grave. Memorial Gommecourt Wood New Cemetery, Foncquevillers, France
Born c1894 Newcastle under Lyme, Staffs, Occupn., farming in Canada
Private, Canadian Expeditionary Force. Promoted Lt. on return to UK
Parents Richard Bartlett Mellard, (4 times Mayor of Newcastle u Lyme.)
& Annie Beatrice Mellard, née Morley, moved to
‘Grass Side’, Church Rd, Penn, after the death of her husband, 1907.
More details: Nottinghamshire CC, Roll of Honour
(Photograph, The Old Boys of Nottingham High School)

Private Albert PARKER, G/8083, Middlesex Regiment 4th Battalion
Killed in action, Bellewaarde Wood, Ypres, 29 Sep 1915, Aged 31
No known grave, Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium, Panel 49 & 51
Born, c1883 High Wycombe, Occupation: Butcher
Parents William & Jane Parker, French polisher, 55 Richardson St, High Wycombe
Wife Mary Parker, Forty Green, Beaconsfield.
Brother of Bernard Parker (High Wycombe War Memorial)

Lieut. Derek Weatherall PAWLE, Captain 2nd Batt: Border Regiment
attached to the Northern Nigeria Regiment.
killed in action 2nd April 1915, aged 27,
defending Fort Gurin Cameroons.
Buried at Yola Station Cemetery, Adamawa State, Nigeria.
Son of Lewis Shepheard Pawle and Angelina Burgess Pawle,
of Hutchins Barn, Knotty Green.
There is a memorial Window in Penn Church to Lieut. Derek PAWLE

Private Arthur Henry PERFECT, 17287, Hampshire Regiment 2nd Battalion
Killed in action Gallipoli, 06 Aug 1915, Aged 20
No known grave, Helles Memorial, Turkey, Panel 125-134.
Born: c1895 High Wycombe, Baptised Penn, 2 June 1895
Parents: Frank & Harriett Perfect, Gardener, Penn  

Private Alfred Hedley SIMMONDS, 8331,
Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry 2nd Battalion
Killed in action, Langemarck trenches, Ypres, 01 Nov 1914, Aged 22
Born c1892 Penn, One of eight children, Occupation: Farm labourer.
No known grave, Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium, Panel 37 & 39
Parents: John & Charlotte Simmonds, Farm labourer, Beacon Hill, Penn

Private Henry John (Harry) SIMMONDS, 633438
London Regiment 20th Battalion
Killed in Action,  Somme, 01 October 1916, Aged 22
Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France,
Pier & Face 9D,9C,13C,12C
Born c1894 Penn? Occupation: ?
Younger brother of Alfred Simmonds, Penn.
Parents John Henry & Charlotte Simmonds, Farm labourer, Beacon Hill, Penn

Private Albert SMITH, CH610(S)
Royal Marine Light Infantry Chatham Bn RN Division
Killed in action Gallipoli, 6 June 1915, Aged 17
Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Turkey, B.65
Born: 24 Jan 1898, Penn, Occupation: Furniture factory apprentice.
John & Sarah Annie Smith, Wood labourer, Pennleigh, Penn
Half brother of Arthur Smith on Haddenham War Memorial.
Apprentice with Randall Bros, High Wycombe.

Lieutenant Harold WILLIAMS,
Royal Fusiliers (London Regiment) 1st Battalion
Killed in action France, 7/8 Oct 1916, Aged 30,
Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France, 9D & 16B
Born c1886 Sutton, Surrey, Pre-war occupation Standard Bank, Rhodesia
Parents: Edwin & Florence M Williams, Latimers, Beaconsfield
Volunteered for service in S Africa 1914 but rejected. Paid passage home in 1916 & enlisted.

The information above is from June and Peter Underwood’s comprehensive website Buckinghamshire Remembers, and the detailed ‘Penn & Tylers Green in the Great War and the Men Who Did Not Return‘, by Ron Saunders, published by the Penn & Tylers Green Residents Society.


Penn WW2 War Memorial

The names of the men who died in WW2 are recorded on a plaque in the Lady Chapel of Penn Church, with more details in the pages of the Book of Remembrance displayed in the cabinet under the plaque.

Holy Trinity Penn, WW2 Book of Remembrance

Pilot Officer Harry Andrews, Royal Air Force
Son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. H.L.Webb of Hutchins Barn, Knotty Green, and husband of their daughter Sybil : educated at Trinity College, Glen Almond, Scotland. Aged 32 years.
Enlisted August 1940 – gained his commission in 1941 – was attached to 49 Squadron. On March 10th 1942 he was pilot of a Hampden Bomber in a raid over Essen and reported missing. Later the plane was found at the little village of Selm, 13 miles north of Dortmund, Germany. All four members of the crew were buried by the church of Selm.

Lance Corporal Albert Brooks, 2nd. Bn. The Hampshire Regiment
Son of Mr. and Mrs. A.H.Brooks of Widmere Cottage, Tyler’s Green; educated at Penn Church School. Aged 23 years.
Enlisted on April 16th 1942 and went abroad on November 18th 1942. He served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, taking part in the battles of Tunis, Salerno and the Gothic Line where he was wounded in August 1944, and was buried in Montecchio British Cemetery, Italy.

Driver Ernest Busby, Royal Army Service Corps.
Husband of Agnes Busby of The Lodge, Stampwell House, Penn, educated at Penn Church School. Aged 30 years.
Enlisted on November 28th, 1940 and went overseas in July 1941. He served in the Middle East, attached to 22nd Armoured Brigade and was captured in the Western Desert. Officially presumed lost at sea on November 14th, 1942 whilst being transported to Italy in th S.S.Scillon.

Sergeant Thomas Dilworth, Air Gunner, Royal Air Force
Son of Mr. and Mrs. M.T.Dilworth of Beauchamp Cottage, Penn; educated at Penn Church School. Aged 19 years.
Enlisted in May 1941 and went overseas on March 11th 1943 and served as an air Gunner in 150 Squadron B.N.A.F. Whilst returning from operations on April 13th 1943 in conditions of low cloud and poor visibility the aircraft crashed. The whole crew were buried at Al Alea outside Algiers.

Captain Edmund Grove, Royal Army Service Corps
Husband of Mrs. Grove of Stone House, Penn; educated at Harrow School. Aged 50 years.
Enlisted on September 3rd 1939 and was commissioned in April 1940. He died on June 18th 1940 of illness caused by extreme exposure on duties connected with campaign in Norway, and is buried at Aberdeen.

Sergeant Merrick Hine, Pilot, Royal Air Force
Only son of Mr. and Mrs. H.Hine, of Forty Green; educated at Penn Church School and the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe. Aged 24 years.
Enlisted immediately on the outbreak of war in September 1939. Soon qualified as a fighter pilot and eventually served in 65 Squadron. He was killed in action in a single seater fighter over the English Channel, on December 12th 1940, having previously fought in the epic Battle of Britain.

Pilot Officer Basil Holland, Navigator, Royal Air Force
Elder son of Sir Alfred and Lady Holland, formerly of Nightingales, Penn; educated at Lancing College. Aged 24 years.
Enlisted in 1939 while a law student. Commissioned as a Pilot Officer in Coastal Command 233 Squadron. He was killed in action over the English Channel on March 15th 1942. later his body was found on the beach at St. Mawes and he was buried in the family grave at Seaford.

Flight Officer Ian MClean D.F.C., Navigator, Royal Air Force
Son of Sir Donald and Lady Mclean of Beacon Hill, Penn, and husband of Mrs. Mclean of Cruckton hall, Shrewsbury. Educated at Gresham’s School, Holt and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Aged 34 years.
Enlisted on July 23rd 1940 and was Commissioned April 26th 1941. Distinguished Fly Cross on October 15th 1943, having lost his life as a result of air operations on the night of September 14th/15th 1943, when the aircraft in which he was Navigator crashed over Denmark. Buried at Esbjerg, Denmark.

Note: Ian Mclean was the elder brother of Donald Mclean, British diplomat and member of the Cambridge Five who acted as spies for the Soviet Union.  Donald Mclean’s ashes are buried in his parents’ grave in Penn churchyard.

Captain John Hedworth McCulloch, Seaforth Highlanders
Only son of Mr. and Mrs. J.W.McCulloch of The Crest, Penn; educated at Eton College. Aged 26 years.
Entered Sandhurst in 1935 and two years later was Commissioned in the Seaforth Highlanders. In 1942, his Battalion, which formed part of the 51st Highland Division, joined the Eighth Army in Egypt, and fought at the crucial battle of Al Alamein, where he was killed in action November 2nd 1942, and buried in the British Military Cemetery there.

Major David Iltid Nicholl Royal Artillery,
London Scottish Anti Aircraft Regiment,
General Staff, War Office
Only son of Lieutenant H. Iltid Nichol D.S.O. and Mrs. Nicholl of Little Orchard, Knotty Green; educated at Eton and New College, Oxford. Aged 36 years.Enlisted May 1939 in the London Scottish Regiment and after several months gained his Commission from the ranks. Soon afterwards he served on the General Staff at the War Office as G.S.O.3 and later, as a liaison officer; he was torpedoed at sea in the SS “Ceramic”. Officially reported as presumed killed in action at sea, 7th December 1942.
He is commemorated on his parents’ grave stone in the new cemetery at Penn.

2nd Lieutenant Martin Sansome Preston,
Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Son of Judge and Mrs. A.S.Preston of Cairo Egypt, and nephew of Mr. and Mrs. C.S.Preston of Knotty Green; educated at Marlborough College. Aged 21 years.
Enlisted on July 1st 1939 and Commissioned at once. During the retreat upon Dunkirk he was killed in action on the night of May 27th 1940 in the town of Hazebrouk, France. Whilst covering the withdrawal of other troops he ordered an N.C.O. to go back with the rest of the covering party and himself manned the machine gun post. When last seen he was rapidly being surrounded. Subsequently reported buried at Hazebrouck.

Flying Officer Charles Gordon Richards, Pilot, Royal Air Force
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Richards of Penbury Haven, Penn; educated at Marlborough College, Aged 23 years.
Enlisted in December 1939 and was soon Commissioned. Served in 182 Squadron in France as a pilot. Killed in action December 15th 1943 flying a single seater Typhoon. His mission was to bomb V2 sites situated in the neighbourhood of Dieppe. He did not return.

The window above the plaque is dedicated as a memorial to F/O Charles Gordon Richards.

Sergeant, 1333459, Ronald James Roberts, Air Gunner,
Royal Air Force

Only son of Mr. and Mrs. E.J.Roberts of Stampwell Cottage, Penn; educated at Penn School. Aged 19 years. Son of Elijah James Roberts and Ethel Mary Roberts, of Penn.
Enlisted on July 17th 1942 and served with the No.10 Operational Training Unit as an Air Gunner. He was killed as a result of an aircraft accident on March 27th 1943 near West Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire, and is buried in Penn Churchyard.

Flight Lieutenant Hugh Langdon Webb, Pilot, Royal Air Force
Son of Mr. and Mrs. F.J.Webb formerly of Hutchins Barn, Knotty Green; educated at Malvern College and Clare College, Cambridge. Aged 23 years.
Enlisted on October 2nd 1940 and was Commissioned on July 19th 1941. As pilot of a Lancaster bomber on March 31st,1944, he was engaged in an important Pathfinding mission over Nuremberg, and on his way back was shot down near Coblenz. All seven of the crew were killed – and later buried in the British Military cemetery at Rheinberg.

In the churchyard, there is a headstone to:
Warrant Officer 336376 Thomas Church, Royal Air Force
Died 18th June 1942, aged 44.
Also his wife Violet May, 29th May 1983, aged 79.
“Son of Frederick and Louisa Church;
husband of Violet May Church, of Louth, Lincolnshire.”


Tomahawk Warrior – B17 bomber disaster over Penn – 12 August 1944

At about 7am on Saturday, 12 August 1944, a number of High Wycombe residents became aware of an aircraft overhead that was obviously in trouble – the more knowledgeable recognised it as a B17 bomber. Heading south, one of the four engines was clearly on fire and as the Flying Fortress turned 180 degrees to the east, flames started in another one.

Along the valley, at Lude Farm, Penn, the farmer watched the unfolding horror as the B17 skimmed over his farmhouse and crashed into open farmland beyond. In the massive explosion and fire that followed, the crew of nine all died instantly. The farmer’s son Ron Setter, who was then aged 12, later recounted how the force of the blast brought the ceiling down on him as he was getting out of bed and also broke every pane of glass in the farmhouse except one.

The B17, attached to 398 Bomb Group, had been named ‘Tomahawk Warrior’ by the pilot Charles Searl after the small town in Wisconsin where he lived. On the fateful morning, they had taken off from their airbase near Royston in Hertfordshire on a mission to Versailles and Caen – their 25th assignment over France and Germany since arriving in England in March.

It is generally accepted that the pilot deliberately turned his aircraft away from High Wycombe to avoid hitting the populated area, almost certainly saving many British lives in the process. The nine men, from Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Michigan, Washington, Virginia, Arkansas, New York and Ohio, aged between 20 and 27, were buried in Cambridge American Cemetery, but after the war, in accordance with the wishes of their relatives, eight were reinterred in Arlington Military Cemetery in Washington DC. The ninth, at his parents wishes, remains in England.
Back Row (viewer’s left to right):

  1. 2nd Lt. Leo C. Walsh, Bombardier
  2. 2nd Lt. Albert L. Dion, Co-Pilot
  3. 2nd Lt. Charles J. Searl, Pilot
  4. 2nd Lt. Saul J. Kempner, Navigator

Front Row (viewer’s left to right):

  1. Sgt. Orville M Wilson, Waist Gunner
  2. S/Sgt. James A Beaty, Engineer
  3. Sgt. Alfred Bueffel, Ball Turret
  4. Sgt. Albert W. Knight, Waist Gunner
  5. Sgt.  Cecil E. Kennedy,  Radio

The short entry in official records of their air base reads ‘Take off 06.18 hours. 07.20 no return.’ Such a brief epitaph, but now they are remembered both at Penn and Tomahawk as heroes ‘who laid down their lives’. Jesus said ‘greater love has no man than this’.

Postscript

Farmer’s son, Ron Setter, said that the events made a deep impression on him and after the war he kept in touch with the airmen’s relatives and, with the help of the Revd Oscar Muspratt, entertained them on visits here including, in 1990, a visit by the 398 Bomb Group Memorial Association when Remembrance Services were held in Penn Church and on the field at Lude Farm where the men had died.

December 2011

Remembrance Sunday, 10th November, 2019

The heroic sacrifice the nine men made has this week been officially recognised, more than 75 years after the died.

At a ceremony at Penn House on Remembrance Sunday, Bucks County Council chairman Brian Roberts presented three ceremonial scrolls, one to the nieces of one of the fallen crew, one to Penn Parish Council and one to David Huntley, who personally witnessed the horrifying crash and was the inspiration behind the ceremony.

Cllr Roberts said: “We are here today to pay tribute on behalf of the residents of Buckinghamshire and to give our heartfelt thanks to the crew of the Tomahawk Warrior who all lost their lives when their B17 Flying Fortress crashed at Lude Farm in August 1944.

“Their actions, which ended so tragically for them, ensured that many more lives were not lost. As a result of their ultimate sacrifice in finding a safe place to crash, the nine young crew are remembered in the history of Penn forever.”

Bucks Free Press, 15th November 2019


Their photograph stands by the WW2 war memorial in Penn church and they are remembered every year on Remembrance Sunday.

The following are the names of those that died that morning —

Pilot. Charles Searl from Wisconsin
Co-Pilot. Albert Dion from Massachusetts
Navigator. Saul Kempner from Michigan
Bombadier. Leo Walsh from Washington DC
Radio/Gunner. Cecil Kennedy from Virginia
Engineer/Top Turret Gunner. James Beatty from Arkansas
Ball Turret Gunner. Alfred Bueffel from New York
Right Waist Gunner. Albert Knight from Ohio
Left Waist Gunner. Orville Wilson from Washington DC

The event is documented in more detail on the American Air Museum in Britain web site, and on the 389 Bomb Group Memorial Association web site.

Official Accident Report

 

Official Accident Report
View as PDF in new window

No official investigation into the causes of the crash was ever carried out. Information disclosed several years later suggests that there may have been a mid-air collision with a Liberator bomber which crashed at about the same time just 28 miles away near Cheshunt.The massive explosion on impact killed all nine crew but there were no casualties on the ground. Ironically the whole event would have been tracked from the 8th Air Force HQ at Daws Hill in High Wycombe and later that afternoon Commander-in- Chief General James Doolittle came to survey the wreckage.

None of the crew had attempted to bale out and no distress signal had been sent.

John Gurney, Bucks Free Press, 15th November 2019