The aircraft belonging to 5 Lancaster Finishing School took off from Syerston at 00:01 for a cross-country exercise, and practice bombing. Having completed the cross-country, Flt Sgt Rathbone called base at 02:14 for permission to carry out the practice bombing part of the exercise. This was refused as the bombing range was covered by cloud and he was instructed to rejoin the circuit.
Approximately two minutes later, eyewitnesses saw the aircraft, with both Port engines ablaze and diving at great speed. At 02:16 it crashed and exploded near the village of Hoveringham, close to where Lancaster JB125 had crashed, seventeen days earlier.
Sadly, there were no survivors.
The crew were:
R/168095 Flight Sergeant R B RATHBONE RCAF Pupil Pilot Aged 28
2218573 Sergeant A MERCER Flight Engineer Aged 23
R/203166 Flight Sergeant H M MACKENZIE RCAF Navigator Aged 21
R/189328 Flight Sergeant J A EMMERSON RCAF Air Bomber Aged 30
R/190328 Flight Sergeant J READ RCAF Wireless Operator Aged 20
R/264756 Sergeant J F FITZGIBBON RCAF Mid-Upper Gunner Aged 20
1395581 Sergeant J MARTIN Rear Gunner Aged 20
The five RCAF crew members were taken for burial at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery.
Sergeants Albert Mercer and Jasper Martin rest in Southport (Duke Street) Cemetery and Castleford (Whitwood) Cemetery respectively.