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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 195569
Last updated: 17 November 2021
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Time:05:30 LT
Type:Handley Page Hampden Mk I
Owner/operator:61 Squadron Royal Air Force (61 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L4111
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:RAF Digby, Scopwick Heath, Lincolnshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:RAF Hemswell, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:RAF Digby, Scopwick Heath, Lincolnshire
At 20:18 hrs on 7 March 1940 the Hampden Mk.1 L4111 of 61 Squadron RAF went on an ’offensive patrol’ to attack the Luftwaffe base at Sylt, one of the German Frisian Islands. The plane suffered severe damage during the raid and the crew struggled to bring it home. At 02:00 hrs on the 8th they were plotted as just off the English coast, however no requests for bearings were made until 3 hours later. Mist and enemy action held them on the coastline. They managed to get as far as R.A.F. Digby, near Lincoln. The usual method of landing is to perform a left hand turn but, due to difficult conditions, they had to attempt a right hand turn and crashed in the darkness at 05:30 hrs. They were the first aircrew of 61 Sqadron to be lost in the war.

Crew (all killed):
Flying Officer Derek Charles Gray Clinkard (pilot, Service Number 39855, aged 24)
Sergeant Charles Carlile Hobbs (Service Number 740516)
Sergeant Ronald Philips Gibson (aged 19)
Leading Aircraftman Winston Kitchener Wood (W/Op Air Gunner, Service Number 550803, aged 20)

The pilot was the son of Cecil Henry and Margaret Tessier of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand where he attended Wellington High School. After finishing his education he worked in the engine room aboard ship to get his passage to England. He later joined the Royal Air Force on a short service commission. He was based at R.A.F. Hemswell and married Zillah Marris whose family ran the butchers shop on Messingham Road. They rented a bungalow at the very north of the village on Gainsborough Road. He was promoted from Pilot Officer to Flying Officer on 10 January 1940. The medals he received for active service were: 1939-1945 Star, Aircrew Europe Star, War Medal 1939-1945, New Zealand War Medal. He was buried Scotter Cemetery, Lincolnshire. After the war his mother visited his resting place.


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 23)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/187:

Revision history:

22-May-2017 17:24 Laurent Rizzotti Added
25-Jun-2018 19:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Jun-2019 23:16 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Source, Narrative]

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