Vickers Varsity Mk. I

WF327  'T'

201 AFS

Crashed 13:03:54


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



WF327 - 1 Varsity WL626

Crash site of  WF327.

A Vickers Varsity.  This is WL626 at East Midlands Airport Aeropark.


WF327 - Leach WF327 - Herbert WF327 - Clarke

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.