N.A. Mitchell Mk.II FV986 13 O.T.U. Crashed 24:07:44

The aircraft, belonging to 13 Operational Training Unit based at Finmere had taken off from base at 0125 for a cross-country training exercise. At 0230, the aircraft dived into the ground and exploded off Hallams Lane, Chilwell.
Such was the destruction of the aircraft, it was not possible to determine the exact reason for the accident, or initially how many persons were on board.
It was later revealed that the pilot had been suffering from a grumbling appendix and this was cited as being a "contributory" cause, with structural failure of the airframe being "most likely".

The crew were:

430040 Flying Officer A M MONTGOMERY RAAF Pilot Aged 23

423264 Flying Officer R F STEPHENS RAAF Navigator Aged 25

414907 Warrant Officer A A COOK RAAF Wireless Operator Aged 22

224413 Sergeant N A HARTRICK RCAF Air Gunner Aged 20

Flying Officers Montgomery and Stephens were taken for burial at Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, while Sergeant Hartrick is at rest in Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery.
Warrant Officer Cook is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

The aircraft was originally serialled 42-87140.

FV986 Montgomery
FV986 Stephens

Grave of Flying Officer Alan Martin Montgomery at Oxford (Botley) Cemetery.

Image Copyright: Alan L Clark

Flying Officer Ronald Frederick Stephens' grave at Oxford (Botley) Cemetery.

Image Copyright: Alan L Clark

Unfortunately, due to post-war housing development, it is no longer possible to positively identify the actual crash site.

Thanks to Alan L Clark and Tony Glover for the additional information on this incident.

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