‚ÄčRoyton Roll of Honour

photo courtesy of Richard Etchells

Herbert Buckley was born in Oldham in 1922, the eldest child of Samuel and Florence. His younger siblings were Dorothy, Clifford & George.
In 1944 Herbert found himself with 1660 HCU. A HCU was a 'Heavy Conversion Unit' which as the name suggests was a place where men were trained up as crew for the RAF's Heavy Bomber fleet. The trainee crew would have flown twin-engined Wellingtons at Operational Training Units but at HCU they flew four-engined heavies for the first time. Instructors at both types of establishment were screened airmen who had finished a tour of operations. The length of training at an HCU varied but typically it was around 2 months.
On 24th July 1944 at 00:40 Stirling EH978, with Buckley onboard, took off from RAF Swinderby in Nottinghamshire. It immediately hit an oak tree and lost the port tail plane and elevator. With the Stirling perilously unstable the pilot, Flying Officer John Josling, made a desperate effort to land straight ahead at the nearby satellite station of RAF Winthorpe only to be forced to abort at the last moment by an aircraft on the runway. Seconds later he lost his last remaining vestige of control and crashed near the airfield. All nine men on board were killed instantly. The other eight were:

John Josling Flying Officer DFC 21 from Brentwood.Married & lived in Lydiard Millicent,Wilts
Arthur Ray RNZAF Flight Lieutenant 25 from Auckland,New Zealand
Adolphus Johnson Sergeant 20 from Lagos,Nigeria
Norman Fox Sergeant 19 from Hemsworth,Yorks
George Holford Sergeant 20 from Brentford
Harry Bennett Flying Officer  
John Mitchison Sergeant 20 from Old Penshaw,Co.Durham
Raymond Parker Sergeant 19 from Andover


HERBERT SAMUEL BUCKLEY
Age:21
Rank:Sergeant(navigator)
Service:Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Date of Death:24/07/1944
Service No:1685014
Cemetery:
Greenacres Cemetery
Grave Ref:Sec.O.Row 9.Grave 217

this page is still under construction. If you have any information on Herbert or photographs of him please get in touch at roytonrollofhonour@gmail.com