Squadron Leader Hugh Horsley  -  61 Squadron  


Squadron Leader Hugh Wilkinson Horsley AFC, - RAFVR 


 Squadron Leader Hugh Horsley was piloting Lancaster Mk.I NF 912 QR-C on the 1st of February 1945,when it left Skellingthorpe at 1542hrs for an op to Siegen. As the Lancaster became airborne, the port outer engine cut out. Squadron Leader Horsley succeeded in flying a very tight circuit with great skill and force landed on the airfield. As the Lancaster touched down its bomb load exploded and the aircraft caught fire. The rear gunner, Sergeant Hoskisson was the only survivor of the accident.

The crew consisted of:

Name Service Trade Hometown Age
S/L Hugh Horsley  - AFC RAFVR Pilot York 28
W/O Henry Pyke  RAFVR Flight Engineer Beckenham -
F/Sgt Samuel Fleet  RAFVR Navigator Greatham 22
F/Sgt Victor Merrow  RAFVR Bomb Aimer Preston -
F/Sgt Leslie Chapman  RAFVR W/Op/AG Moulton Washway 23
F/Sgt Arthur Sherriff - DFM RAFVR Air Gunner Bolton 35
Sgt R.T.Hoskisson  RAFVR Air Gunner -

 Squadron Leader Hugh Wilkinson Horsley was the son of Edgar and Renee Horsley and husband of Mildred Elsie of York. Hugh Horsley had passed all his exams to become a lawyer and was hoping to train as a barrister, his ambition was to become a High Court judge. Previously, on the 23rd of September 1944 Squadron Leader Horsley had survived a crash over Deurne, Holland which killed two of his crew and had resumed operational flying prior to this last, fatal crash at Skellingthorpe.

 His brother, who was serving in 617 squadron, based at Woodhall Spa was returning from a Daylight raid over Germany, when as he got near to base, saw smoke rising from Skellingthorpe. On landing, he asked his ground crew what had happened, he was told that a Flight Commander (his brother Hugh) from 61 squadron had had an engine failure after take off and had done an emergency belly landing with full bomb and petrol load and that it had blown up. His brother attended Hugh’s funeral in Leeds a few days later with his parents.

The crew rest in the cemeteries of their home towns in England.

Photo courtesy of Cheryl Horsley & Adrian Van Zanvoort, research by Linda Ibrom.