The 29th Victim

Being near to wartime airfields at Honiley and Baginton, and with others not far afield, it is perhaps no surprise that there were a number of accidents locally involving allied aircraft. Two came down near Stoneleigh, another at Mere End, but one was close enough to the town to be considered as a war-time Kenilworth fatality.

On 7th March 1944, a Hurricane W9209 from 63 Operational Training Unit at Honiley was being flown by Sgt J W Bell when it crashed on farmland alongside Rouncil Lane, the pilot was killed.

Sgt Joseph William Bell was in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, and was just 20 years old when he died. He is buried in Darlington North Cemetery.

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In early 1943 there was another incident that could have proved disastrous. Two P-38 Lightnings are thought to have collided over Kenilworth and although both pilots survived, and one aircraft landed safely at Honiley, wreckage, possibly a wing part, is reported to have fallen onto Kenilworth Cricket ground. Where the second aircraft crashed is uncertain.

Any further information to add to the sketchy details of these accidents will be most welcome.

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 With thanks to Mark Evans; I can recommend his website and his attempts to record every similar incident in the West Midlands.

www.aviationarchaeology.org.uk/marg/