Short Stirling Mk 1 W7628 OJ-B of No. 149 Squadron RAF based at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk.
On returning from a raid on Genoa, Italy, the Stirling, short on fuel, circled over Hoo. Sensing that they were in trouble, a local searchlight crew switched on its beams and attempted to guide the aircraft onto the local marshes.
At 03.00hrs the Stirling crashed into a row of cottages and a farmhouse at Cliffe-at-Hoo, killing all seven crew members. "Marks indicate that the plane first touched ground in a field beside the farm. From there it apparently rose, struck the farmhouse and cottages and landed in a field on the opposite side of the road, a complete wreck".
Mrs Lilian May McPherson, the mother of a baby girl, was taken from the wreckage of No. 3 Rye Street and was pronounced dead at the scene. Her ten-week old baby girl was found unharmed in her crib in an alcove.
Lilian May McPherson. Age 21. Civilian war dead.
Buried Strood Rural District Cemetery.
The Stirling's crew.
Adolph A Siwak. Flight Sergeant, pilot. RCAF. Age 22.
Buried Brookwood Military Cemetery Surrey.
Frank K Randall. Flying Officer. RAFVR. Age 33.
Buried Guildford Cemetery.
Reginald A Blake. Sergeant. RAFVR. Age 27.
Leonard J Barnard. Sergeant. RCAF.
Douglas J Bowden. Sergeant. RAFVR. Age 22.
Buried Bournemouth (Wimborne Road) Cemetery.
Sidney F Taylor. Sergeant. RAFVR.
Buried East London Cemetery, Plaistow.
Ernest E C Holmes. Sergeant. RAFVR.
Buried Hinxhill (St Mary) Churchyard, Kent.
There are three photos of the crash damage @ http://kentmessenger.newsprints.co.uk/search/scu/p/u/110454/1/cliffe
Cliffe History. Stirling bomber crash Rye Street. http://www.cliffehistory.co.uk/stirling_bomber_crash.html
A memorial to those killed was unveiled in 2008 close to the south wall of St Helen's Churchyard Cliffe.
Diana, the baby girl who survived, was one of those who attended the unveiling.
Photo © Marathon
and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.