Local historian believes the relatives of those killed when a WWII bomber crashed in Leytonstone may still live in the area

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: The scene of the crash at Harrow Green School in 1942. The scene of the crash at Harrow Green School in 1942.

Relatives of 11 people who died when a bomber crashed in a Leytonstone street during World War II may still live nearby, an amateur historian believes.

The Vickers Wellington MK1C aircraft came down on February 10, 1942, when its electrical generator failed in bad weather and radio contact was lost, forcing it to fly lower to identify its position, but the engines stalled.

All six crew died, as well as five Civil Defence volunteers working as air raid precautions (ARP) wardens on the ground.

A plaque dedicated to their memory now stands in Corn Way, where the plane crashed into what was formerly Harrow Green School.

Local historian and researcher John Turner believes bomber X9905, which was based along with its crew at Bassingbourn in Cambridgeshire, was attempting to carry out an emergency landing on Wanstead Flats during a night flying exercise when it nose dived.

“I feel there’s quite a possibility, although it’s 70-odd years ago, there are descendents of those who died still alive nearby,” the 58-year-old Langthorne Road, Leytonstone, resident said.

“The ARP wardens who sadly died on that day in 1942 all lived in the Crownfield Road area, except for one who lived in Wanstead.”

He said it would be fascinating to make contact with any relatives.

Four of the ARP wardens killed, Henry Arthur Edwards, Joseph G Smith, James Edward Gorham and Walter G Black, lived in Leytonstone, Mr Turner said, while Albert Edward Stanlon came from Wanstead.

Four of them were given a joint funeral, attended by the mayor of the Borough of Leyton, as it was known then.

The crew consisted of two pilots, William Mance and John Taylor, an observer Harold Jowett, two wireless operators and air gunners Allen Rogers and Arthur Ford, and a third air gunner Arthur Foote.

The final crew member and second pilot Jack Taylor came from Whelley, near Wigan.

One grave in Manor Park Cemetery unites the dead, Mr Turner said.


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