Author Topic: Imber, Wiltshire: 13th April 1942-Friendly fire tragedy multiple deaths  (Read 214 times)

Offline Copper1

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Imber, Wiltshire: 13th April 1942-Friendly fire tragedy multiple deaths
« on: Wednesday 06 January 21 00:38 GMT (UK) »
I'd like to know if anyone has researched the names of those killed as a result of the incident. Apparently sources state a Hawker Hurricane was being flown in a demo of its firepower, when the pilot (who was killed on a sortie months later), mis-directed? his aim on spectators. Unproven data suggests 25 dead and 71 injured.
I presume they were all armed forces personnel but where were they buried? Where is the memorial and does anyone have an image of it?
Yes by the way, I am aware the village is still an MOD training ground.

Offline barryd

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Re: Imber, Wiltshire: 13th April 1942-Friendly fire tragedy multiple deaths
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 06 January 21 01:16 GMT (UK) »
https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/152452

The above is a site for modern aircraft crashes worldwide. I did not realize it went back to 1942. Probably all of the deaths are registered in the relevant Registration District.

Offline maddys52

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Re: Imber, Wiltshire: 13th April 1942-Friendly fire tragedy multiple deaths
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 06 January 21 01:23 GMT (UK) »
As to be expected there are a number of newspaper reports of the tragedy. Whilst early reports say 23 dead and about 60 wounded, in answering questions in the House of Commons it was stated as 25 dead and 71 wounded. No general list of names, the ones mentioned are Major G B DAVIES and Lieut HAWKES, with Robert E P CECIL wounded.

Modified to add:
Appears that Lt John Christoper HAWKS (who died at Imber Down) wife gave birth to a son 3 days after the tragedy.


Offline maddys52

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Re: Imber, Wiltshire: 13th April 1942-Friendly fire tragedy multiple deaths
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 06 January 21 01:32 GMT (UK) »
Some death notices for those killed at Imber Down:

Lt John Christopher HAWKS
Lt Ronald B LIPMAN
James Rowland WEST
(Friday,  Apr. 17, 1942  The Daily Telegraph)

Perhaps a search of death notices around the time may reveal some more names?

Offline barryd

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Re: Imber, Wiltshire: 13th April 1942-Friendly fire tragedy multiple deaths
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 06 January 21 01:57 GMT (UK) »
The death of Ronald B. Lipman was registered in Sturminster.

Offline maddys52

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Re: Imber, Wiltshire: 13th April 1942-Friendly fire tragedy multiple deaths
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 06 January 21 03:06 GMT (UK) »
"LIPMAN, Killed at Imber Down, Lt RONALD B LIPMAN, R.A.S.C., beloved and younger son of Mr. and Mrs. A H Lipman. Funeral Willesden Cemetery, Pound-lane, 12 o'clock to-day (Friday). Prayers Sunday evening only, 8 p.m., at 38 West Heath-Drive, N.W.11"

"WEST. - On April 13, 1942, JAMES ROWLAND, of 654 Dorchester-road, Upwey, killed during Army exercises at Imber, Salisbury. Funeral service Holy Trinity Church, Dorchester to-day (Friday), 12.15 p.m. Cremation private. No flowers, please."

"HAWKS - on April 13, 1942, JOHN CHRISTOPHER HAWKS, Lt. R.A.M.C., attached London Scottish, dearly loved husband of Sara Rosamund and son of Dr. and Mrs. F. Swanson Hawks, of 45, Rodney-street, Liverpool."

Offline maddys52

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Re: Imber, Wiltshire: 13th April 1942-Friendly fire tragedy multiple deaths
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 06 January 21 03:12 GMT (UK) »
Memorial at Warminster Garrison Church
https://www.wiltshire-opc.org.uk/Items/Imber/Imber%20-%2070th%20Anniversary%20plaque%20of%20friendly%20fire.pdf

There is a photo of the memorial plaque with the names of those killed, though it is hard to read.

Offline barryd

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Re: Imber, Wiltshire: 13th April 1942-Friendly fire tragedy multiple deaths
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 06 January 21 04:26 GMT (UK) »

There was a lot of different information as to nationality of the pilot.

"Despite the statement from the coroner McLachlan was an American who had joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and officially a "Canadian".

Normally if a serviceman is killed/died in Great Britain the remains would be returned to his family and buried at a cemetery near his home at Government expense. Some would not be found or identified.   

Offline Copper1

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Re: Imber, Wiltshire: 13th April 1942-Friendly fire tragedy multiple deaths
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 06 January 21 15:11 GMT (UK) »
Thank you all for the current contributions. It gets me a little further ahead. How sad that any representation of the actual memorial is obscured by 'posed' pictures, rather than the essential epitaph to the victims by a clear vision of their names. At least the Chaplain for the Garrison Church has contact details available so I will endeavour to ask about an image more worthy of researching the incident from that source.