Aircraft  Crashes at Château de Grangues :

On  the night of 5th/6th June 1944, the residents and staff of the Château were aware that an invasion was taking place soon after the first
wave of aircraft crossed the coast of Normandy. The aircraft were flying at a much lower altitude that they usually witnessed. Also on the  Château estate at this time was a German military unit charged with looking after their regiment's horses in the stables at
the Château. They had been making use of the facilities for several months. The German soldiers did not live in the Château, but camped
in slit trenches and tents near to the stables. They had use of one of the servant's quarters as their kitchen. The remaining estate servants either lived in the Château itself or in estate cottages.

In the early hours of D-day, the Château de Grangues park and neighbouring fields were hit by 6 crashing British aircraft. Two Stirlings, 3 Horsa Gliders which were identifiable and a 4th Horsa which had no chalk mark but bore the aircraft makers number B&P728. Two of the Horsas landed on top of mature fir tree woods. This accounts for the high injury statistics from shattered leg bones. Weighed down with kit, many of the troops had fallen or dropped to the ground from the tree canopy. At least one unfortunate casualty had become entangled in branches and was not recovered for some time. His remains were intered in the Château grounds as 'unidentified'.

The eye-witness accounts of events after the crashes can be read from the Grangues Index page. (CLICK)

This  page will explain which aircraft fell in which location, and the names of those known to have been onboard. It  is incomplete. Hopefully more details can be added after further research.  An inquiry report states 50 of the air crew and passengers were killed on impact, at least 38 were injured and evacuated to a German Army Hospital, [one from EF2915-J the rest from Gliders] and 8 were shot at about 6am on 6th June 1944.

The first to crash was Stirling EJ116-U:

(This illustration is based on a 1945 plan of the lanes and fields.)

It came down in a field south west of Denouville Farm. Between the farm and the D49A road.
The plane had taken off from 620 Squadron at RAF Fairford, heading from drop zone 'N', there were no survivors of that crash.
Because the cargo it carried was full of explosives, and the plane had been been ablaze detonating the shells and bullets and other explosives on board, the crash site was deemed too dangerous for any locals to get near, to recover the bodies.
It was many months before the Red Cross could be pursuaded by the Comte at the Château, to arrange a military team to come to the site to make it safe and the deceased were removed and buried in the smaller grave A.2 on the plan in September of 1944. Given the length of time that had lapsed since the crash, all the human remains from this grave were transported to Ranville War Cemetery after March 1945 and interred in a collective grave VIA-1 to 25  at Ranville War Cemetery.  The man who buried them initially in the Château grounds in September claimed in the Inquiry he had buried 18 bodies from this aircraft and he was adament it was a bi-motor plane. (Twin engined -which would indicate an Albemarle or Dakota type aircraft)
Those who perished in this crash and whose remains are interred in the collective grave at Ranville are as follows:

Air Crew
Stirling EJ116-U

NAME

SERVICE No.

OCCUPATION

UNIT

Pilot Officer

Albert Hamilton Barton

1348797 /
176884

Pilot

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves

Flight Serjeant

Henry Mark Bettiner

1550834

Navigator

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves

Serjeant

Geoffrey Crosse

1894261

Flight Engineer

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves

Serjeant

Donald Reid

1473068

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves

Serjeant

John Gillies Smith

1059520

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves

Serjeant

William Eric Wallis

1439755

Wireless Operator
/ Gunner

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves

Passengers EJ116-U
Lieutenant

Raymond Charles Belcher

258144

Paratrooper

Reconnaisance Corps , Royal Armoured Corps

Trooper

Michael Percy Done

7947393

Paratrooper

Reconnaisance Corps , Royal Armoured Corps

Corporal

Peter Thomas Earwicker

420192

Paratrooper

Reconnaisance Corps , Royal Armoured Corps

Trooper

George Wilson Lamont

7903897

Paratrooper

Reconnaisance Corps , Royal Armoured Corps

Trooper

Arthur Harry Wilson

7961412

Paratrooper

Reconnaisance Corps , Royal Armoured Corps

Craftsman

George William Hunt

4470319

Paratrooper

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

Private

Geoffrey Copson

14405006

Paratrooper

7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion

Private

Reginald Albert Edward Francis

6354955

Paratrooper

7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion

Private

Vincent Patrick Cole Frost

14420431

Paratrooper

7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion

Lance Corporal

John Gascoigne

4343281

Paratrooper

7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion

Colout Serjeant Major

John Edward Philip Hutchings

5674216

Paratrooper

7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion

Corporal

Alfred Ronald Kemp

5676360

Paratrooper

7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion

Corporal

George Henry Leamer

5675357

Paratrooper

7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion

Lance Corporal

Robert Laurence Mitchell

3066484

Paratrooper

7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion

Private

Walter Scott

3251811

Paratrooper

7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion

Private

Denis Shutt

14218485

Paratrooper

7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion

Private

Robert William Stobbart

2026577

Paratrooper

7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion

Lance Corporal

Robert Twist

3244791

Paratrooper

7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion

Corporal

Albert Van-Rynen

5676770

Paratrooper

7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion


The 2nd Aircraft down was Stirling  EF295-J


Like the previous aircraft it too came from RAF Fairford 620 Squadron. It crashed in a triangular shaped field, two fields north of the previous crash site. With the D27 road on the north of the field and the link road to D49A road running down the western side. Not that far from La Forge Ancienne or The Old Forge.
The aircraft had been hit by flak as it crossed the Normandy coast, and a piece of flak caught and ignited some of the explosives being carried by the 591 Antrim Parachute Squadron Engineers. The fire was quick to take hold, and it became a race to evacuate the burning plane before it came down. Five jumped, the first four survived the jump though three were later captured and held POW till the end of the war. Major  PA Wood, Lieutenant  AB Oliveira and Sapper  CM Bartlett. The last to Jump was Sapper  Albert E Austin, he was last seen falling with his parachute aflame. His body was recovered and is interred in Bayeaux War Cemetery. Driver  F Jacklin landed safely and then spent several weeks evading capture as he made his way back to rejoin the squadron. Four of the air crew perished in the crash and are interred in a collective grave at Ranville VA.D.3-8 along with Sapper  JJ Evans and Sapper  J R Youell, both of whom also died in the crash.
Two aircrew were injured and taken POW, 10 passengers were taken POW either uninjured or superficially injured.
Of the 10 passenger survivors, 1 Officer Lieutenant J Shinner from Head Quarters Royal Engineers was taken away for interrogation and his colleague Sapper P Guard, a clerk with the HQRE was held prisoner, and with 6 other members of 591 Parachute Squadron, and a Glider Pilot from one of the Horsas,  were executed at approximately 6 am by the German Soldier in charge of the unit based at the Château. One survivor who was seriously injured and received medical aid Sapper  CT Law, he was evacuated to a German Hospital at Pont-l'Évêque
and remained a POW till the end of the war,  Lance  Corporal J Reardon-Parker died from his crash injuries on 7th June 1944 and was interred in the large grave A1 at the Château.
The man who buried the seven deceased from this crash, stated in the Grangues Inquiry that the bodies were interred in a 3rd collective grave on the 11th June 1944 in the grounds of the Park. It is not identified on the plans used in the Inquiry and it is not possible to identify where this 3rd grave site was, likely somewhere beyond grave A2 heading away from the Château itself.
Air Crew
Stirling EF295-J

NAME

SERVICE No.

OCCUPATION

UNIT

Squadron Leader

Wilmott Reginald Pettit

J/15517 - killed in crash

Pilot

Royal Canadian Air Force

Flying Officer

Richard George Watkins

135746- killed in crash

Navigator

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves

Serjeant

Geoffrey Albert Maund

1851161-killed in crash

Flight Engineer

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves

Serjeant

Albert Ernest Pryce
(1923-2004)

1314446-injured POW

Air Gunner - Rear Gunner

Royal Air Force

Flight Serjeant

Edward Harry Frederick Atkinson 

424961-killed in crash

Bomb Aimer

Royal New Zealand AIr Force 

Flight Serjeant

Robert (Bob) Frederick Kebbell
(1921-1997)
 

1295606- injured POW

Wireless Operator 

Royal Air Force

Passengers EF295-J
Major

Philip  Andrew Wood
(1908-1990)

41207-POW

Officer in Command 591 Antrim-jumped

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Lieutenant

Anthony  Benjamin Oliveira
(1923-1983)

277794-POW

Paratrooper-jumped

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Lieutenant

John Searle Shinner
(1920-1999)

233373-POW

Paratrooper Information Officer

Head Quarters Royal Engineers

Sapper

Peter Guard

1876309-POW shot

Paratrooper Clerk

Head Quarters Royal Engineers

Lance Corporal

Kenneth  William Branston

1878189-POW shot

Paratrooper

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Lance Corporal

Thomas  Andrew Faser

882124-POW shot

Paratrooper

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Corporal

William  Alexander Kelly

1944972-POW shot

Paratrooper

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Sapper

CM Bartlett

5669776-POW

Paratrooper-jumped

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Sapper

Albert  Edwin Austin

14404888-killed in jump

Paratrooper -jumped

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Sapper

John  R Youell

1877562-killed in crash

Paratrooper

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Sapper

Frank  Wolfe

14422902-POW shot

Paratrooper

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Sapper

David  Henry Wheeler

14537569-POW shot

Paratrooper

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Sapper

C T Law

14504398-POW

Paratrooper

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Sapper

John  Reardon-Parker

14550031-POW died next day from injuries

Paratrooper

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Sapper

John  Joseph Evans

2116526-killed in crash

Paratrooper

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Sapper/Driver

George  Thomson

14283438-POW shot

Paratrooper

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron

Sapper/Driver

Frank  Jacklin
(1915-2003)

14275964-evaded

Paratrooper-jumped

591 Antrim Parachute Squadron


Of the following 4 aircraft, all were Horsa Gliders, three crashed and one landed.

Horsa Aircraft Numbers: LM 467, LM 475 and LM 494 plus 4th glider B&P478 (the maker's mark.)
It is not known which order they came down, other than they all hit the estate grounds after the two motorised aircraft.

A. Horsa (Chalk No. 74) crashed: From RAF Harwell towed by Tug Aircraft flown by Pilot Officer Peel 295 Squadron.

Pilot Serjeant Barry Powell (5184835) was killed in the crash, the other pilot Staff Serjeant Duncan Frank Wright (1509818) was taken prisoner and locked in the stables with the survivors from 591 Parachute Squadron who had been on board Stirling EF295-J.
He was shot with them in the early hours of 6th June and buried in their mass grave A1 lower level, by the Germans on 6th June 1944.
Serjeant Barry Powell and two other casualties of this glider crash were buried on the 9th June 1944 in grave A1 upper level. This is likely to be the glider that crashed behind the Ch?teau on top of trees. 

Air Crew
Horsa CN74
(3rd Wave)

NAME

SERVICE No.

OCCUPATION

UNIT

Staff Serjeant

Duncan Frank Wright

15090818- POW shot

Glider Pilot

Glider Pilot Regiment

Serjeant

Barry Powell

5184835- killed in crash

Glider Pilot

Glider Pilot Regiment

Captain

John Hornsby Max

137383- killed in crash

Airlanding 

Head Quarters Royal Engineers

Lance Corporal

W.D. Ainsley

2657749- Held POW

./.

Royal Signals
(Stalag IV-B / POW No.80955)

Signalman 

Howarth

Held POW

./.

Royal Signals?

Serjeant Major

F.W. Martin

6153792- Held POW

./.

Royal Signals
(Stalag Luft III /POW No.80975)

Corporal 

A.T  MacDonald

3305725-Held POW

./.

Royal Signals

Lance Corporal

Sydney Ellis

S/14563271- Held POW

./.

Royal Army Service Corps
(Stalag IV-B/ POW No.80922)

./.

./.

./.

./.

Glider Pilot Regiment


B. Horsa Glider (Chalk No.90) Crashed: From RAF Harwell towed by Tug Aircraft flown by Pilot Officer Houlgate of 570 Squadron.

Both Aircrew were killed in the crash. This crash is located closest to the Château.  8 onboard this aircraft were buried on the evening of the 7th June 1944 in the grave A1. Lieutenant Shinner claims that his local enquiries revealed there were no survivors of this crash, the glider having landed on top of dense woodland.

Air Crew
Horsa CN90
(3rd Wave)

NAME

SERVICE No.

OCCUPATION

UNIT

Lieutenant

John Lee Bromley

137319- killed in crash

Glider Pilot

Glider Pilot Regiment

Staff Serjeant

Samuel Roy Luff

1462774- killed in crash

Glider Pilot

Glider Pilot Regiment

Passengers CN90
Captain

Robert Arbuthnot Hunter

58911- killed in crash

AirLanding

Royal Artillery, No.3 Combined Operations Bombardment Unit

Telegraphist

Arthur Frederick Martin

D/JX453556- killed in crash

AirLanding

Royal Navy HMS Mastodon

Telegraphist

Spencer Charles Porter

C/JX572702- killed in crash

AirLanding

Head Quarters Royal Engineers


C. Horsa Glider Landed:
unmarked and unidentified Glider, occupants unknown- there might have been fatalities, casualties, POWs or evaders.

D. Horsa Glider Crashed: occupants unknown


(a reported 37 injured survivors, and may be more, from the Gliders were transferred to the German Hospital at Pont-l'Évêque. Those who survived their injuries were held Prisoners of War.)



The other identified casualties of the Horsa's, which were interred in the grounds of Château de Grangue and subsequently moved to Ranville are:

Unknown 
 Horsa A,B or C

NAME

SERVICE No.

OCCUPATION

UNIT

Lance Corporal

Wiliam Winfield

4927999- killed in crash

AirLanding

1st Airborne Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles

Lance Corporal

Sidney Alfred Davies

7685953- killed in crash

AirLanding

Corps of Military Police attached to 6th Airborne

Private 

Wiliam Piper

S/6403808- killed in crash

AirLanding

Royal Army Service Corps attached to
Head Quarters Royal Engineers

Private 

Reginald Charles John Ventham

97002810 died 7th June

AirLanding

Royal Army Medical Corps attached to
6th Airborne Division

 

 

 


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          [page last updated 20 January 2012]