Preparation
  Sergeant Alfred Wood - 1653 Heavy Conversion Unit  
 

 

Sergeant Alfred John Wood - RAFVR 

 

 Sergeant Alfred Wood was serving as an Air Gunner on board Stirling Mk. III LJ455 coded H4-C when it took off from Chedburgh, Suffolk for a night cross country training exercise on January 20, 1944. They left Chedburgh on a route via Lands End, Dulverton, Reading and Goole before planning to return to base. Upon reaching Chedburgh, the crew acknowledged their landing instructions. They lost height in a diving turn and after hitting trees, crashed and caught fire at Hargrave Hall, a few miles NW of Chedburgh at 2326hrs. It is believed that the pupil pilot had inadvertently entered the diving turn, momentarily permitting himself to be distracted from his instruments by the airfield lighting. Flight Sergeant Bartington and Sergeant Spibey were injured in the crash and were to die a few days later all others were killed instantly.

The crew consisted of:

Name Service Trade Hometown  Age
P/O Samuel Johnson - DFC  RNZAF Pilot Hamilton, Auckland, New Zealand 22
F/Sgt John Bartington  RAFVR 2nd Pilot Stroud Green, Middlesex 22
Sgt Reginald Hallam  RAFVR Flight Engineer Louth 26
Sgt Richard Teague  RAFVR Flight Engineer Erdington,Birmingham 19
W/O2 Robert Poe  RCAF Navigator Prestatyn, Flintshire 25
F/Sgt John Callow  RAAF Bomb Aimer Teneriffe, Queensland, Australia 32
Sgt William Spibey  RAFVR W/Op/AG Radford, Nottingham 20
Sgt Alfred Wood  RAFVR Air Gunner Shepton Mallett, Somerset 27
Sgt Frank Tempan  RAFVR Air Gunner Halstead, Essex 34

 Sergeant Hallam is buried in Louth Cemetery, Sergeant Teague in Erdington (St.Barnabus) Cemetery, Sergeant Wood in Binegar Cemetery and Sergeant Tempan in Halstead Cemetery. P/O Johnson and other crew members rest in Cambridge Cemetery.

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Group photo

 

 Sergeant Alfred John Wood RAFVR was the son of Harold and Mabel Wood  of Gurney Slade and husband of Vera of Shepton Mallett, Somerset. He was the father  of Graham, who was two years old when his father was killed. Sergeant Wood and his wife rented premises at Weston Super Mare when he was training at RAF Locking and when on leave stayed with relations at Wellsand Shepton Mallett. Sergeant Wood worked at the Mendip Golf Club prior to enlisting in the RAFVR.

 

 
 Photos courtesy of the Graham Wood (son of Sgt Wood), research by Linda Ibrom.
Special thanks to Errol Martyn.