On the night of March 5th 1944, a four-engine Stirling Bomber returned to RAF Tempsford after an operational sortie over occupied Europe. As the aircraft approached the airfield it suffered an engine malfunction and lost power from the outer port engine.

From Squadron Records

Airborne 2114 4Mar44 from Tempsford. On return to base at 0217 the port outer engine failed while approaching the runway on short finals, having descended to 150 feet, the port wing dropped. The pilot (P/O E.H. Edwards) opened the throttles in an attempt to go round again, but was unable to prevent the Stirling from side slipping into the ground.

Stirling Aircraft

Stirling Aircraft


Sgt Douglas Davies

Sgt Douglas Davies

The resulting crash claimed the lives of six of the eight aircrew who were on board aircraft EE944 HA-A.

The two crew members who were injured but survived:- Sgt D. Meredith & Sgt H. Porter.

The rest of the crew KIA were:-     P/O E.H. Edwards,  Sgt Ernest Vamplough,  Fg.Off Bernard Denness & Sgt Douglas Graham Davies.


Sergeant Davies was buried at Welsh St Donats church, South Wales on what would have been his 21st Birthday.

From this small community, three other lives were also lost in the Second World War,

Irfon Griffith
David McCarthy
John Thompson

In fact, all of these had been pupils of the Maendy Primary School in Wales.


On Remembrance Day, 1949, four years after the war had ended, the school unveiled a memorial plaque to the memory of those ex-pupils who gave their lives in the conflict.

Memorial Plaque 3_980

The archive holds an original of the order of service donated by the Davies family

Order of Service Maendy Memorial
For over forty years the plaque remained at Maendy School as a constant reminder to successive generations of the ultimate sacrifice that is the cost of conflict.

Memorial Plaque 2_760

In 1994, Maendy School could not continue to house the memorial and discussions were held as to its future, eventually resulting in it being re-located and re-dedicated at Welsh St Donats church, where in fact Sergeant Davies is buried. The re-dedication took place 45 years and two days after the original service and, as details of that were still available, exactly the same order of service was used.

Memorial Plaque 4_1020

South Wales is not the only place where Sergeant Davies is remembered. There is also a memorial at the former RAF station where he unfortunately lost his life

RAF Tempsford was a key part of the secret activities organised by the Special Operations Executive, (SOE) during the war as the home of the aircraft tasked with taking agents and equipment to resistance groups across Europe. Elements of Sergeant Davies own 218 Squadron were rotated to help meet the increasingly heavy workloads in advance of D Day.

Order of Service Memorial 2003
A memorial to all those un-named agents and the aircrew that risked their lives in getting them to their destinations, was unveiled in 2003 at Gibraltar Farm, on the old Tempsford aerodrome.

Members of the Davies family were able to attend and Sergeant Davies and his crew mates were specifically named in the order of service.

Again, the Centre has been presented with original material about the service by the family and which is also kept in the archive.

Not all casualties arose from Operations, losses occurred even when not at risk from enemy engagement.


Sgt Davies is not the only aircrew personnel to be remembered in this corner of South Wales. In February of 1943, a young Australian pilot, half a world away from his native Queensland, tragically lost his life on a routine training mission.

F/O Neville Fleming was only 19 when he crashed in his Spitfire Fighter in a local field and is buried in the War Graves Cemetery in Llantwit Major. Local residents made contact with Neville’s family in Australia and through this obtained a number of personal artifacts which are now displayed at Pendoylan Church


Memorial for Pilot Officer Fleming

Memorial for Pilot Officer Fleming


Although over 70 years have passed since those days in February 1943 and March 1944, physical and ephemeral reminders and emotions keep the memory of the sacrifices made and the costs endured, alive and not forgotten.


Researched and Edited by SWWEC Volunteer – Chris Makin