Wellington Bomber Crashes in Creswell, Derbyshire, UK 5 August 1944

12.jpgThis is a short report on the fate of the crew of a Vickers Wellington X bomber that crashed on the 5th of August 1944. The pilot of the airplane was Willis Don Murdie, uncle of my two half brothers, brother-in-law of my late mother from her first marriage during WWII.

This story came about due to research into the crash by local historians. The crash was witnessed by Gerald Plant, at the time a 15 year-old schoolboy. The memory stayed in his mind but he wasn't able to do anything about it until a conversation with his elder brother Arthur provided the means. Arthur didn't see the crash, he learned of it from Gerald.

Arthur's best friend was killed in the RAF in WW2 and after talking with Gerald he realised that having no heirs himself, it would be very appropriate to bequeath a sum of money to pay for a memorial to the Wellington crew and to his best friend. Arthur passed away about 2 years ago and so the funds became available for the project. In May 2011 an unveiling ceremony is planned to unveil the memorial.

Follow the links below to learn more about the crash and the brave crew.

Approximate Location of the Monument
View Larger Map

Recent Media Coverage

About the Crew

From No.86 Operational Training Unit RAF Gamston

All the crew are buried at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery (see map below)

Willis Don Murdie, WO1 (Pilot)
R/116943, Royal Canadian Air Force
Born 8 Feb 1918 London, Ontario  
Died 5 Aug 1944 Creswell, Derbyshire, England
Age 26
Son of Percival Clarence Willis Murdie and Gladys Irene Parks of London, Ontario, Canada
Husband of Betty Lucille Thurman of London Ontario, Canada 

Walter William Cooper, Flying Officer (Air Bomber)
J/40083, Royal Canadian Air Force
Died 5 Aug 1944 Creswell, Derbyshire, England
Age 32
Son of William Henry Cooper and Louisa Harriet Cooper;
Husband of Edith Cooper, of Trail, British Columbia, Canada.

John Joseph Lee, Sergeant (Air Bomber)
R/259992, Royal Canadian Air Force
Born 11th September 1924  London, Ontario, Canada.
Died 5th August 1944 Creswell Derbyshire, England
Age 19
Son of Thomas Henry Lee and Mary Jane Jocelyn, of London, Ontario, Canada.

Lowell Milton Brehaut,  Pilot Officer (Navigator)
J/41540, Royal Canadian Air Force
Born   3rd February 1923  Canada 
Died    5th August  1944   Creswell, Derbyshire, England
Age 21
Son of Thomas Milton Brehaut and Mildred Olive Brehaut;
Husband of Shirlee Marion Brehaut, of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

James Robb Clarke, Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
R/207295, Royal Canadian Air Force
Born  17th September 1923  Canada
Died 5 Aug 1944 Creswell, Derbyshire, England
Age 21
Son of Charles Clarke

Wartime propaganda film featuring the Wellington.