Buried in Cambridge City Cemetery rest the bodies of four airmen who died when a mid-air collision between two Lancaster Bombers resulted in the loss of fourteen souls altogether.
A Lancaster Mk 1 bomber, serial number R5674, of Number 3 Lancaster Finishing School was airborne from its base at Feltwell in Norfolk on a Night Bullseye training sortie on the 18th Dec 1944.
On its return to base and while in the circuit to land, the aircraft collided with another Lancaster, serial number R5846, of the same unit at around 21:51hrs. Both aircraft crashed near the village of Hockwold cum Wilton near Thetford in Norfolk. Both crews stated the cause of the crash as a faulty lookout.
Pilot Officer Horace William Harler, Royal Australian Air Force, was the Pilot of R5674. Horace was the son of Horace Jones Harler and Edith Maud Harler (nee Andrews) of South Perth, Western Australia. He was born on the 31st Mar 1924, in Randwick, New South Wales, Australia and was buried in Cambridge on the 23rd Dec 1944. Horace enlisted at Number 4 Reception Centre on the 5th Dec 1942.
He was Commissioned on the 21st Nov 1944 with the rank of Flight Sergeant. He was processed in the UK at Number 11 Personnel Dispatch and Reception Unit at Brighton on 9th Nov 1943. He was posted to Number 3 Lancaster Finishing School at Feltwell in Norfolk on the 15th Sep 1944 after passing through Number 15 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit and Number 84 Operational Training Unit.
Flight Sergeant Percy Alfred Ewins, Royal Australian Air Force, was the Wireless Operator on R5674. Percy was the Son of Albert Percival and Emily Ewins, husband of Ivy Lorraine Ewins (nee Melbourne) of Hampton, Victoria, Australia. He was born on the 16th Mar 1921 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and was buried in Cambridge on the 23rd Dec 1944.
Flight Sergeant Thomas George Jacobs, Royal New Zealand Air Force, was the Pilot R5846. Thomas was the Son of Thomas George and Margaret Agnes Jacobs of Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand. He was born on the 1st Dec 1922 in Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand and was buried in Cambridge on the 23rd Dec 1944.
Sergeant Leslie Arthur Raymond Potter, RAFVR, was the Flight Engineer on R5846. Leslie was the Son of John D. Potter and Violet Potter (nee Sullivan) of South Norwood, Surrey. His birth was registered in Croydon, Greater London, in Q3 of 1925. He was buried in Cambridge on the 23rd Dec 1944.
Buried elsewhere in the UK are the following:
Sergeant Cyril Frank Farley, RAFVR. Cyril was an Air Gunner on R5674. He was the Son of Edward George Frank and Laura Mabel Farley (nee Donaldson), of Harrogate. His birth was registered in Q3 of 1925 in Knaresborough, Yorkshire. He is buried in Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery.
Sergeant James Foster, RAFVR. James was an Air Gunner on R5674 and was the Son of James and Theresa Foster of Southwick. Sunderland. He is buried in Sunderland (Southwick) Cemetery.
Sergeant Peter Aspinall Gledhill, RAFVR. Peter was the Flight Engineer on R5674 and was the Son of Marshall and Annie Kathleen Gledhill (nee Aspinall) of Elland. He was born on the 23rd Sep 1923, his birth registered in Halifax and living at 68 Langdale Street, Elland, in 1939; his occupation was listed as an Apprentice Draughtsman. He was buried in Elland Cemetery, Halifax, on the 23rd Dec 1944.
Flight Sergeant Dennis William Harris, RAFVR. Dennis was the Navigator on R5674 and was the Son of William Clarance and Gertrude Agnes Harris of King’s Heath, Birmingham. He is buried in Olton Franciscan Cemetery, Solihull.
Flying Officer Douglas Edwin Parsons, RAFVR. Douglas was the Air Bomber on R5674 and was the Son of Frederick John and Victoria Louisa Alice Parsons (nee Roberts), husband of Edith Parsons (nee Rigby), of 11 Ashley Lane, Moston, Manchester. His birth was registered in Q2 of 1922 in Sturminster, Dorset. He is buried in Manchester Southern Cemetery.
Sergeant James Duffin, RAFVR. James was the Air Bomber on R5846 and was the Son of James and Mary Breslin Duffin, nephew of Elizabeth Kelly of Bannockburn. He was born in 1923 in Stirlingshire, Scotland and is buried in St. Ninians (Bannockburn) Parish Burial Ground.
Sergeant John Watson Hutton, RAFVR. John was the Wireless Operator/Air Gunner on R5846. He was the Son of William John, and Janet Howden Hutton (nee Watson) of Gorebridge, Midlothian, Scotland and is buried in Harvieston Cemetery.
Sergeant Frank Albert Oxlade, RAFVR. Frank was the Son of Fred and Edith Ada Oxlade (nee Deane) of Hambleden, Oxfordshire. His birth was registered in Q3 of 1925 in Henley, Oxfordshire, and he is buried in Hambleden (St. Mary) New Churchyard.
Sergeant Cyril Symonds, RAFVR. Cyril was one of the Air Gunners on R5846 and was the Son of Thomas Wells and May Lilian Ivy Symonds of Highmoor, Oxfordshire. He has buried in Highmore (St. Paul) Churchyard.
Sergeant George Ridley Telford Taylor, RAFVR. George was the Navigator on R5846 and was the Son of William and Mary Taylor, husband of Harriett Jane Welburn Taylor (nee Crawford) of Vine Lea, Viners Close, Merrington Road, Spennymoor, County Durham. He has been buried in Kirk Merrington (St. John) Churchyard.