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Old 11-02-21, 12:25 PM
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gurkharifles gurkharifles is offline
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Default SGT J R KEITH - 87 SQN RCAF - 1942

Can anyone tell me anything more about this officer? I came across this small memorial in a field not far from my home - it was really strange as I'd stumbled (almost literally) across it on the anniversary of the crash ( 8 Feb ). I'd never seen it before or knew of its existence - I've since discovered that he's buried at Colerne ( Nr Bath) - I assume he was stationed at RAF Colerne? His full name was John Rainsford Keith - I'd like to know more about the crash itself - was it an accident or combat related? Tim
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Old 11-02-21, 01:14 PM
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Found this:

"87 Sqn.Hurricane II BD 941 crashed out of fuel in England on a night exercise , Sgt.J.R.Keith killed."

https://www.bombercommandmuseumarchi...airwar1942.pdf

Go to page 29.

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Old 11-02-21, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gurkharifles View Post
I assume he was stationed at RAF Colerne?
Possibly stationed at RAF Charmy Down :

"RAF Charmy Down is a former Royal Air Force (RAF) station in Somerset, England, approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) north-northeast of Bath and 96 miles (154 km) west of London. Opened in 1941, it was used initially by the RAF and from 1943 by the United States Army Air Forces, primarily as a night fighter interceptor airfield. It was closed in 1946. Today the remains of the airfield are on private property and are used as agricultural fields"

"The first occupant of Charmy Down was No. 87 Squadron RAF, with night-fighting Hawker Hurricanes. In the summer of 1941 Boulton Paul Defiants appeared, and Westland Whirlwinds and Turbinlite Havocs of 125 and 263 squadrons respectively were to be seen the following year. 137 Squadron replaced No 263 Squadron in September 1941. In November 1941, 417 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force was formed here."

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Old 11-02-21, 02:22 PM
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Many thanks Mike - I've done some more research myself and you are right it was RAF Charmy Down that he was based at. I found an old newspaper article that says " Sgt Keith, aged 23, had been conducting a tactical exercise with searchlight sites near Salisbury, flying from RAF Charmy Down.
On his return journey he strayed off course due to poor visibility and communications and low fuel and he crashed in an orchard in Naish Farm" Tim
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Old 11-02-21, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gurkharifles View Post
On his return journey he strayed off course due to poor visibility and communications and low fuel and he crashed in an orchard in Naish Farm
The plaque and circumstances reminded me of a thread from last year.

"A few minutes later , among all the Firefly chatter , a Seafire called running short of fuel and contemplating a forced landing somewhere in Donegal , over beyond Eglinton in the Irish Free State . Shortly afterwards , he said he was down OK in a potato field , unhurt".

https://www.britishbadgeforum.com/fo...ad.php?t=79678


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Old 12-02-21, 02:22 AM
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Hi Tim

Sergeant R-76075 John Rainsford Keith.

He was from Havelock NB. About 80km from me, as the crow flies.

From the Canadian Virtual War memorial entry:



https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remem...nsford%20Keith

His Book of Remembrance entry:
https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remem...2&sort=pageAsc

And from They Shall Grow Not Old:
"...killed when his Hurricane aircraft #BD 941 ran out of fuel and crashed at Nash Farm, Nash Hill, Flax Morton, Clapton, Wiltshire..."

and you could order his service file if you wanted:

https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discov...-war-dead.aspx

regards
Darrell
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