The two crew of Mosquito DD750, along with two other crews, had been deployed from their home base at RAF Church Fenton near York to RAF Coltishall in Norfolk during the afternoon of the 22nd March 1943. That night they were due to carry out an operation over Western Germany. The type of sortie was broadly similar to the Luftwaffe intruder flights carried out over the UK with the Mosquito crews prowling the skies over western Germany looking for aircraft to attack and also any opportune ground targets, a “Ranger” sortie.
The sortie planned for the 22nd / 23rd March was cancelled and the three crews ordered to return to Church Fenton, Staples and Andrews flew too far west or as some reports read, that on returning to Church Fenton around 21:00 on the 22nd ( not 23rd as the plaque relates) the crew contacted Church Fenton for landing instructions, they were directed into a holding pattern over high ground and given the wrong height at which to fly. The aircraft flew into high ground to the east of Sildsen at speed and in low cloud. The aircraft appears to have hit the top of the escarpment at Windgate Nick, traveling north to south, and crashed onto the moor ahead, spreading wreckage over a wide area as the aircraft broke up and burst into flames.
Pilot and Navigator were both lost in the Crash
Pilot – Sgt John Hudson Staples RAFVR (656008), (28) of Llaniestyn, Anglesey, Wales.
Navigator / Wireless Operator – Sgt Ralph Ernest Andrews RAFVR (1576326), (20) of Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.
Crash memorial photo submitted by Mrs C Outram, Hampsthwaite.