The Varsity, belonging to 201 Advanced Flying School, had taken-off from its home base at Swinderby for a night navigation exercise. Due to deteriorating weather at the home base, the aircraft was diverted to Syerston. Before reaching Syerston, rough running was encountered on the Port (left) engine which was stopped and the propellor feathered.
The pilot made two controlled descents, the first one was aborted. At the end of the second descent, the aircraft was seen to overfly the base with its undercarriage down, and slowly turning to Port. It then dropped steeply, and crashed into a small plantation some 2 miles from the airfield, bursting into flames.
Sadly, all 4 crew were killed.
The crew were:
1806489 Sergeant G E CHEESLEY Pilot Aged 29
3509233 Sergeant P C LEACH 2nd Pilot Aged 20
480768 Pilot Officer M W CLARKE Navigator Aged 20
4115141 Sergeant L J HERBERT Signaller Aged 20
Crash site of WF327.
A Vickers Varsity. This is WL626 at East Midlands Airport Aeropark.
The pilot, George Edward Cheesley, was buried at Landian Cemetery, Birkenhead .
The others were taken to Thurlby (St. Germain) for burial, below are photographs of their graves.
Sergeant Peter Charles Leach.
Sergeant Louis Joseph Leonard Herbert.
Pilot Officer Michael William Clarke.