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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 209632
Last updated: 24 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic well model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Vickers Wellington Mk 1c
Owner/operator:9 Sqn Royal Air Force (9 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L4320
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Elevden, Berners Heath range, 4 miles SW of Thetford, Norfolk -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Honington, Suffolk
Destination airport:RAF Honington, Suffolk
Vickers Wellington Mk.Ic L4320 (KA-B), 9 Squadron, RAF Honington: Written off (destroyed) 8/9/39 when hit trees while low flying near Elveden, Berners Heath Bombing range, four miles South West of Thetford, Norfolk. All five crew killed:

Pilot Officer Harold Rosofsky (South African, aged 26) killed
Pilot Officer Bruce Innes Clifford-Jones (New Zealander, aged 22) killed
AC.1 Hugh McGreevy (aged 23) killed
AC.1 Thomas Purdie (aged 24) killed
AC.2 William Charles Hilsdon (aged 20) killed

On the 21/8/37 Acting Pilot Officer Rosofsky was posted to the No. 8 Flying School, Montrose. While at Montrose he was involved in a flying accident while trying to land Hawker Audax Mk1 K5131, the wing hit the ground causing the aircraft to swing and tip up (see link #7)

He was posted to 9 Squadron at Honington on the 13/6/38 after completing a short Navigation course. On the 31/5/38 he was confirmed in his appointment as Pilot Officer (as per London Gazette 14/6/38).

On 10/7/39 he was returning to Honington after a flight to Marseilles, France, when he had to make a forced landing at Lyons, France owing to a opened pilot hatch. He returned to base the following day.

P/O Harold Rosofsky was the first South African casualty of the war. Buried in Honington and with no response to official communications, given the conventional CWGC headstone with a cross, it was not until 2012 when the Jewish community and Harold's family realised this fact and requested a change of headstone. This caused some controversy as no non Christian devices are allowed in Anglican graveyards.

In 2017 David Etherington, Q.C, Chancellor of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, said that an exception should be made to the general rule that non-Christian images on monuments should not be allowed in churchyards. It was not known how much it would have meant to P/O Rosofsky to have had the Star of David on his monument. But the Chancellor accepted that he was of the clearest Jewish descent, and, doubtless, had been brought up in the Jewish faith, and that the placing of the Star of David on his monument mattered to his family.

Another way of looking at it, the Chancellor said, was that if anyone were to ask why one monument in this particular churchyard bore the Star of David, he or she could be told PO Rosofsky's story: how he was one of the first Jewish airmen in the RAF, and might even be the first to have died in the Second World War, and how he came to be buried there. The listener would, no doubt, understand why that exception had been made.

He is also commemorated on the roll of honour of King Edward VII School, Johannesburg and the South African War Memorial, Ditsong, Pretoria.


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-N9999 (Jaames J. Halley, Air Britain, 1983)
7. Previous accident 21/8/37:


Revision history:

20-Apr-2018 20:33 Dr. John Smith Added
30-Oct-2018 08:20 Nepa Updated [Operator, Embed code, Operator]

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