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  #1  
Old 09-08-2018, 11:22 AM
DHoward DHoward is offline
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Default Cliff House Farm Aircraft Crash

I haven't seen any threads about this subject on here, but during WW2 on the 1st of December 1943 an RAF Bomber crashed into Cliff House Farm owned by the Robson family, killing their five children and 6 crew members. I've always been interested of learning more about this as i used to live in Robsons Way, where all the streets are named after the children killed. Is the farm still there? Is that the same farm which is still on Gloster Hill? Any information or pictures would be appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 09-08-2018, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DHoward View Post
I haven't seen any threads about this subject on here, but during WW2 on the 1st of December 1943 an RAF Bomber crashed into Cliff House Farm owned by the Robson family, killing their five children and 6 crew members. I've always been interested of learning more about this as i used to live in Robsons Way, where all the streets are named after the children killed. Is the farm still there? Is that the same farm which is still on Gloster Hill? Any information or pictures would be appreciated.
Welcome to the forum, the 5 Robson kids were my mother's cousins. The subject has been extensively covered in other threads but you are right it doesn't have one to itself. Yes the streets are the children, they are buried in the West cemetery, no the farm is long gone, demolished by opencast mining up by Togston bends. It has been covered on fb in Amble in Old photos as well. Plenty on the net if you google it,

Last edited by hollydog; 09-08-2018 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 09-08-2018, 09:52 PM
DHoward DHoward is offline
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Welcome to the forum, the 5 Robson kids were my mother's cousins. The subject has been extensively covered in other threads but you are right it doesn't have one to itself. Yes the streets are the children, they are buried in the West cemetery, no the farm is long gone, demolished by opencast mining up by Togston bends. It has been covered on fb in Amble in Old photos as well. Plenty on the net if you google it,
Thank you for the info, i will have a search for old photos now
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:08 PM
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Our page was here:

https://www.fusilier.co.uk/boats_pla...rm_togston.htm

I do have copies of the Acklington record book for WW2 but the accident report for that incident is incomplete, only a couple of pages remaining. (the rest removed? ) - but multiple copies of the report were sent to various RAF bodies at the time so the full report will exist somewhere I expect. If not transcribed and already online it will require a trip to the National Archives. It might of course be on 'facebook' I do not know.
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:40 PM
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here's a couple of photos of original documents you might find of interest:
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File Type: jpg sterling 1.jpg (38.2 KB, 27 views)
File Type: jpg sterling 2.jpg (40.5 KB, 20 views)
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:43 PM
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I see the surviving aircrew member felt like the aircraft 'Jarred violently', possibly they had hit the slipstream of another aircraft - then ...he recalls nothing.
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:50 PM
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Without having to trawl back though other records does anyone recall the bombers' mission and why they ended up at a fighter base in the north east?

My now worthless memory says the mission was sowing sea mines off the coast of the Netherlands ? correct?
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:03 PM
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I've actually exchanged a few emails with th son of the surviving air crew member. Nothing recent so I assume he's also a facebook drone now.
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:14 PM
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point '13' in the original document suggests that there may have been - possibly - a gallantry award recommendation in the civilian field - - anyone aware of this award?
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coquet View Post
Without having to trawl back though other records does anyone recall the bombers' mission and why they ended up at a fighter base in the north east?

My now worthless memory says the mission was sowing sea mines off the coast of the Netherlands ? correct?
Thanks for responding with some really interesting info, and yes i have also read that was their mission as well
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Old 12-08-2018, 04:28 AM
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I see visibility was 2,500 feet at the time and probably 13 bombers in the group?- 3 in the 'circuit' at the time of the crash. I assume 'circuit' means those getting ready to land.
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Old 12-08-2018, 10:27 AM
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I would imagine that's what that means, and would make sense if that's how they got caught up in a slipstream.
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Old 12-08-2018, 06:20 PM
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I think the remark by the survivor regarding slipstream is his last thought before being rendered unconscious - that is he momentarily though the collision with the farmhouse was hitting slipstream, then he was knocked out?

It would be great to get the full report rather that just a few bullet points from the last page. So if anyone is in London soon looking for something to do There might be a full copy with the squadron records for this aircraft.
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Old 12-08-2018, 06:43 PM
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I've just remembered that someone was after Hollydog's photo of the Robson children a while back for some publication. Oops. forgot to reply.
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Old 12-08-2018, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coquet View Post
Without having to trawl back though other records does anyone recall the bombers' mission and why they ended up at a fighter base in the north east?

My now worthless memory says the mission was sowing sea mines off the coast of the Netherlands ? correct?
19 Stirlings and 12 Halifax’s had been detailed to “sow” their mines off Denmark and the Frisian Islands. On this particular night, Warrant Officer Kerr and his crew where detailed to drop off the Danish coast in Stirling EH880.
Stirling EH880 was one of a batch produced by the Austin Motor Company, Birmingham, to contract B982939/39, and was initially delivered to 75 (New Zealand) Squadron on the 17th May 1943. The Squadron had been operational with the type from November 1942 when Stirlings replaced the Wellingtons it had been flying since April 1940. It would appear, from the movement card, that EH880 suffered some damage in the June, however it was returned to the Squadron on the 24th July, and on the 30th of July it took part on the large Bomber Command raid on Hamburg. It continued to participate in bombing raids, including the large scale attack on the Peenemunde V-2 rocket testing site on the Baltic coast on the 17th/18th August, and on the 18th/19th of November it was one of 18 aircraft put up by the Squadron to attack Mannheim, in the last raid to involve over 100 Stirling’s.
Fog at their home base of RAF Mepal in Cambridgeshire caused the ill-fated diversion to RAF Acklington

Last edited by hollydog; 12-08-2018 at 07:01 PM.
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  #16  
Old 12-08-2018, 07:08 PM
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The only survivor, the mid upper gunner
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File Type: jpg Dad after being at Buckingham Palace.jpg (99.0 KB, 15 views)
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Old 12-08-2018, 07:19 PM
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I was just looking at a photo of his aircraft type wondering if he was in the tail or the upper gun behind the wings. Now answered!
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Old 12-08-2018, 07:19 PM
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Lucky man anyway.
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Old 12-08-2018, 07:22 PM
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I also had e-mail contact with the son of the surviving crew member, I'm sure he won't mind me posting part of the e-mail conversation I had with him, very interesting, tragic , a different world to now that should never be forgotten.

Quote "Only at the end of last year I spoke to the pilot who was next to land behind dads plane and saw the crash. He stated that the weather was fine and not as previous thought weather conditions although they were diverted from Mepal in Cambridgeshire. It appears the crash was due to the plane being shot up with damage to the fuselage.

As you know the crew all died alongside the children and were very close in fact the night before they were out in Cambridge.
My father received burns to side of the face and the ear had to be reconstructed, but was back flying again. You will recall he was awarded the DFM as a result of the crash. During his rehabilitation all the crews family either visited or wrote to him.
He never talked about the crash - both his parents were killed in the blitz as well as two brothers killed at Arnhem. He was a a very unassuming man - high achiever at school - goalkeeper for guildford city and on the books at Arsenal.
Dad continued flying in 1944 again crashing.
He had met my mother prior to the crash who was an RAF intelligence officer. Dad was later commissioned and stayed in the RAF until he retired. I recall back in the fifties while instructing he lent a parachute to his best friend so he could get a flight home for the weekend in Scotland while Dad was out shopping there was a knock at the door with two RAF officers telling my mother he had died in an air crash in North East! of couse it was not dad the shute had his name on it !
Anyway after he retired they moved to Devon unfortunately he died at 66 resulting from injuries from the crash ( loss of kidney) On his final night in the cottage hospital the staff recalled that he relived that night talking with crew and then crashing shouting to George we are going to hit the building later he begged forgiveness for he children loosing their lives.
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Old 12-08-2018, 08:28 PM
Al88c Al88c is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coquet View Post
point '13' in the original document suggests that there may have been - possibly - a gallantry award recommendation in the civilian field - - anyone aware of this award?
There was an award to Jim Rowell. Jim and Evelyn were downstairs when the tragedy happened and he dragged the upper gunner to safety. Don't know what the award was or where it went but Evelyn was my Great Aunt - a real character as I remember.
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