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Blitz victim
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Current record for: Ronald St. Clair Neale
Deceased Folder  Deceased Folder
Name Ronald St. Clair Neale
Born in Not Known
Resident of Not Known
Died 15/11/1941
Age 27

Cause of Death Not Known

Cemetery or memorial Newark-upon-Trent Cemetery, United Kingdom
Grave or panel reference Sec. G. Grave 304.

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World War 2
Mine laying mission - loss of aircraft at home 1941
Loss of Hampden I (Reg. P1152 VN-)

Contents submitted by contributors:
Hampden P1152 on Westerdale Moor.

This Hampden came down on 16 November 1941 on Westerdale Moor, due to icing conditions effecting the flying surfaces and the control of the aircraft. At the time, it's crew were returning early from a mine laying operation flight to the Frisian Islands.

It was one of five Hampdens tasked to lay mines and had taken off at 20.32hrs. On the return, this aircraft drifted off course and probably crossed the English coastline much further north than planned. It flew into a hilltop at 02.00hrs, less than a minute after the crew had began a successful descent to locate their position.

There is a report that the navigator had literally just worked out their position moments before the crash but had had no time to warn the pilot about the high ground they were flying towards. The area they may have flown over, for their position to have been calculated, could have been the Tees Estuary or the coastline near Whitby. The location where the aircraft came down is not 100% certain but it is thought to have been on Westerdale Moor and, more precisely, Stoney Ridge.

One of the crew was killed in the crash and three suffered injuries. Of the injured, two were able to make their own way off the moor and seek help. They arrived at Hawthorn House some time later and were made comfortable and awaited rescue. The remains of the aircraft were probably taken down to the remains of the Rosedale railway and carted away via Blakey or Ingleby Incline (speculation on my part).

As stated the location of where the aircraft crash remains open. William Chorley quotes the location, in his Bomber Command Losses book, as on "Guisborough Moor, four miles south-east of Middlesbrough"; this position and distance cannot be correct as this would put it many miles off the Moorland area. The RAF's AM1180 Crash Card simply states "Guisborough" as the crash location, which is again not entirely correct. More modern books quote 'Westerdale Moor' as the crash location, where as the wireless operator's death certificate states it occured "west of Stoney Ridge, Baysdale Moor." The Westerdale Moor location is probably correct but being the "Moor above Westerdale" rather than the actual location on the map, which is some way distant.

I have searched a wide area of moorland in search of this crash site and, to date, have found nothing in the Stoney Ridge area. One puzzling addition is that I managed to speak to a local farmer who's father saw the crashed aircraft from outside his farmhouse in Baysdale. Had the Hampden crashed on Stoney Ridge then there is pretty much no chance of him spotting it as it is some three miles off. Although I am not keen on speculating on such things there is a chance that the plane came down a lot closer to Baysdale and the term 'Stoney Ridge' may have been incorrectly used. I would love to hear from anyone who can suggest a more detailed crash location for this aircraft to clear up the matter.

Hampden P1152 was built to contract 773239/38 by Handley Page Ltd at Radlett and was delivered to the RAF in July 1939. After acceptance, it was issued to 44 Squadron at Waddington. It was later transferred to 50 Squadron at Swinderby sometime after July 1941, and sustained Cat.E2/FB damage in the incident on 16 November 1941.

Pilot - Sgt William John Young RAFVR (778478), aged c22, of Fort Jameson, Northern Rhodesia. Injured.

Navigator - Sgt Donald McGregor Symes RAFVR (1175877), aged c19, of Newton Abbott, Devon. Injured.

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner - Sgt Alexander Russell Bernard RAFVR (1004002), aged c21, of Kelty, Scotland. Injured.

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner - Sgt Ronald St.Clair Neale RAFVR (1375564), aged 27, of Lambeth, London. Buried Newark Cemetery, Nottinghamshire.

View Attachment
Relative(s)      Relative(s)
  • William Frank Neale, Father
  • Agnes Mary Neale, Mother
  • Matilda Caroline Neale
Military Information Military Information

Rank Sergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.)
Service Number 1375564
Unit 50 Squadron
Regiment Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Air (RAF Bomber Command)
Enlisted in Not Known