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In 1944 there was an aeroplane crash in Foxton on the slope of West Hill.

Cliff  Schultz, the radio operator on the aeroplane was kind enough to reply when asked about the event in 2003. His reply is exactly reproduced below, although I suspect that Mr Debbin could be Mr Dobbin and there might be some other minor inaccuracies in the post war references.

"Thank you for asking to hear more of the crash in Foxton. Telling you this story just helps to keep the 'Memory Alive'.  The whole story would fill a book.  I have the whole story from my memory and that of my crew members and official records copied from micro film.  The following is a small portion of my records and memory.

On Christmas Eve 24 December 1944 the bitterly coldest day in 54 years with dense fog less than 100 yards visibility and ice crystals covering every tree and bush the 91st BG prepared to attack the air field at Kirch-Gons to support the troops in the Battle of the Bulge.  We took off at 1038 hours from runway 07 and crashed just east of the town of Foxton which was 5 miles from the end of runway 07.  The crash was on West Hill Farm on the newly ploughed field of Mr. B. Debbin.  The AC 43-38946 (No Name) DF-H was a total wreck.  After exiting the AC all members of the crew except the Navigator, Elmer Gettis  (broken leg) and Harold Burts, Bombardier (ear cut off) OK except for minor cuts and bruises. Mr. Debbin and another man (unknown) was seen approaching the crash with shotgun in hand; he thought we were a German crew shot down by a Spitfire.  The Bombardiers ear was retrieved by the Ball Turret gunner and later replaced by surgeons at hospital. A Mr. Lowe was the driver of the Foxton Village ambulance that transported the  Navigator and Bombardier to hospital.  The rest of the crew taken by military truck to base hospital.  After the crash the pilot J C Bowlan went to the village to phone the base that he had crashed, a young man (name unknown) directed him to a phone box and lit a cigarette for him.  Mr. Debbin had 2 daughters, one lives in the UK, the other in the USA (name or address unknown). Also thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Black who ran the village of Foxton shop and post office who shared information to Richard Payne who shared his find with me.  Should you want any additional information  please e-mail me. I apologize for rambling it's not much of a topic of archaeology but a part of your village and my life.

My thanks to Vince Hemmings who sent me information on the crash site and to Richard Payne who has recovered parts of the aircraft and has mailed me a few pieces, Richard lives in Royston Herts.

Hope this helps,
Cliff M Schultz"

Other descriptions of that particular night are on the 91st Bomber Group web page, intriguingly including instructions on emergency de icing of windscreens

Sent from Olivia Bukosky Feb 08:-

Very interesting site.  My grandparents, Raymond R. Dobbin and Marjorie Webb Dobbin lived at West Hill Farm from I believe 1907 (or before) until the 1980's.  It appears that the info about the plane crash lists the owner of West Hill Farm as B. Debbin.  It should be R. Dobbin. 

 

Last modified:22 May, 2014

Copyright 2004 Foxton Village, Cambridgeshire, UK