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Mission: Training/Night Cross Country.

Date: 6
th May 1942

Unit: No. 16 O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit).

Type: Handley Page Hampden I

Serial: AD826

Coded: XG-

Base: R.A.F. Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England.

Location: Bourne End Farm, Wootton, 4 miles SW of Bedford, Bedfordshire, England.

Pilot: F/Sgt. Arnold Grant Maxwell. R95390 R.C.A.F. Age: 20. – Killed. Maxwell Island in Sasaginnigak Lake, Manitoba is named after F/Sgt Maxwell.

Obs: F/Sgt. John Patrick Hancock. R76975 R.C.A.F. Age: 20. – Killed.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/Sgt. Donald Kempton O'Brien. R76409 R.C.A.F. Age: 32. – Killed.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Lloyd Brown. R70880 R.C.A.F. Age: 24. – Killed. Brown Falls in Saskatchewan is named after Sgt Brown.


This aircraft took off from its base at Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, on a night-cross country and bombing exercise. After completing the first part of their task over the bombing range it would appear that a fire started somewhere on the aircraft. At a height of only 500 feet the Hampden suddenly dived to the ground at 02.57 hrs. killing the Canadian crew instantly.

Mr. William Cook of Bourne End Farm was 18 years old at the time and was the second person to arrive at the crash site. Although he did not see the aircraft crash it was reported locally that the aircraft was on fire before the fatal crash. The aircrafts cockpit canopy was found by William lying in a field about a mile away from the crash site a few weeks after the incident.

(1) Handley Page Hampden Mark I, AE148 'XG-Y', of No, 16 OTU
Handley Page Hampden Mark I, AE148 'XG-Y', of No, 16 O.T.U. based at Upper Heyford, in flight,
piloted by the unit's chief instructor, Wing Commander W. C. Sheen (A.R.S. archive)

(2) Maxwell 1cc(3) Maxwell 2
Trainee pilot; Arnold Maxwell (via D. Maxwell)
ccccccccccccccccccArnold pictured receiving his “wings” (Maxwell)

Melvin Brownless in conversation with Mr. William Cook of Bourne End Farm. (King)

David King erects the flags of remembrance near to the crash site (Brownless)

Crash site area pictured in the foreground (King)

A considerable amount of corroded wreckage was found littered in the field (King)

Some parts after cleaning, A bomb steady (Brownless)

Amperes gauge when found and after careful cleaning (King)

Some small twisted fragments of Hampden I AD826 (King)

After leaving the crash site we travelled to pay our respects at the crews graves at Kempston.
Melvin seen here by the graveside of Arnold (King).


Crew graves together at Kempston (A.R.S. archives)

Irene Maxwell mother of Arnold,prior to laying a wreath during
the Remembrance Day Ceremony at Yellowquill School (D. Maxwell)

Burial details:

F/Sgt Arnold Grant Maxwell Kempston Cemetery, Kempston, Bedfordshire. Block J, Graves 77 Son of Thomas Edward and Mary Irene Maxwell, of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada.

F/Sgt John Patrick Hancock Kempston Cemetery, Kempston, Bedfordshire. Block J, Graves 89 Son of Charles F. Hancock and Esther A. Hancock, of Strome, Alberta, Canada.

F/Sgt Donald Kempton O'Brien Kempston Cemetery, Kempston, Bedfordshire. Block J, Graves 100.

Sgt Thomas Lloyd Brown Kempston Cemetery, Kempston, Bedfordshire. Block J, Graves 101 Son of John S. Brown and Eliza J. Brown, of Wolseley, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Research by David King, Melvin Brownless and Alex King, with special thanks to Douglas G. Maxwell, Canada. Page updated February 2014.
The British Library is preserving this site for the future in the UK Web Archive at All Aircrew Remembered on our Remembrance pages, are therefor not just remembered here, but also subsequently remembered and recorded as part of our nation’s history
and heritage at The British Library.