Sergeant Ian Clark Brough was serving with RAF 1660 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit) when he was killed on 10 November 1943 in an aircraft accident. Avro Lancaster III ED812 was reported to have dived into a field near RAF Dunholme Lodge. The mainplanes (wings) falling before it impacted.
Avro Lancaster III ED812 was on a daylight training ‘Bullseye’ exercise from RAF Swinderby. The crew were training to navigate to a target, usually a large UK town or city, to get realistic experience of being on an operational sortie, without being fired upon. Additionally, they sometimes would experience evading being located and coned in by searchlights. The target was indicated in many cases by upward shining infra-red lights. Crews were expected to return with a ‘bombing photo’ of the target. It also provided experience for the targets defence forces.
At 1850pm on Wednesday, 10 November 1943, Avro Lancaster Mk III ED812 (YW-Y) of No 1660 Heavy Conversion Unit took off from RAF Swinderby, near Newark, on a Bullseye cross-country flying exercise, which was planned to last around four hours. Sometime around 21.30pm, Lancaster ED812 suffered an in-flight fire while flying close to RAF Dunholme Lodge, north of Lincoln. Parts of the wings broke away from the aircraft and it fell to earth in fields between the villages of Dunholme and Scothern. The fuselage of the aircraft landed on the Servants’ Quarters of the RAF Dunholme Lodge Officers’ Mess and burned so fiercely that the aircraft wreckage and the building were destroyed. Fire appliances from Welton village and nearby RAF Faldingworth attended the scene to assist RAF Dunholme Lodge’s own crash tender.
Analysis of the wreckage suggested an on-board fire might have caused the crash. The Air Ministry’s subsequent crash investigation could not determine whether the in-flight fire had caused the crash, or whether the fire had resulted from some other airborne catastrophe.
The crew of Lancaster ED812:
- Sergeant Clifford Water Henry Baughen RAFVR 1398938, Flight Engineer, age 21
- Sergeant Ian Clark Brough RAFVR 1561520, Navigator, age 19
- Sergeant Frederick Douglas Grant, RAFVR 1365657, Wireless Operator, age unknown
- Sergeant William Halliwell, RAFVR 2209228, Air Gunner, age 19 Flying Officer John Kidston Law Paterson, RAFVR 151636, Air Bomber, age 21
- Sergeant Eric William Plowman, RAFVR 1850602, Air Gunner, age 19
- Pilot Officer Sydney George Scutt, RAFVR 159569, Pilot, age 20
- Aircraftman 1st Class Neville Wade, RAFVR 1236350, position unknown, age 21
Sergeant Ian Clark Brough was the grandson of John A. Brough, 6 Priory Place, Perth and is buried in Wellshill Cemetery, Perth.
Research by Ken Bruce
Bullseye was a navigational exercise and test. It was a simulated operation for bomber crew training, with searchlights, anti-aircraft guns and night fighters co-operating to make the exercise as realistic as possible and gaining useful experience themselves. It involved navigator grading training involving astro fixes, sun shots, and directional finder loop fixes.
Heavy Conversion Units converted trainee bomber crews from the twin-engine bombers they had so far experienced to the four-engine heavy bombers they would fly operationally. The conversion course usually lasted around five weeks and represented the final stage of heavy bomber crew training. BULLSEYE exercises had been introduced in 1942 to simulate operational bombing missions and were also used as training for elements of the national air defence organization, including searchlights, artillery, and fighters. The first daylight BULLSEYE took place on 17 July 1942, with London as the target, and the first night BULLSEYE took place on 4/5 August 1942, when London was again ‘attacked’.
Avro Lancaster ED812 was built by A V Roe & Co Ltd in Newton Heath, Manchester. An average of twenty-five aircraft per week were being completed with deliveries to the RAF taking place between November 1942 and June 1943. Lancaster ED812’s total flying time amounted to 465 hours, and it had not undergone any major repairs during its time in service.