Flight Sergeant Nicholas DOHERTY

Service No: 419461
Born: Essendon VIC, 29 August 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 14 August 1942
Unit: No. 26 Operational Training Unit (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 26 Operational Training Unit Wellington aircraft BK440), Norfolk, 11 December 1943, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Daniel and Bridget Doherty, of Essendon Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Essendon VIC
Remembered: Panel 121, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 0645 hours on 11 December 1943, Wellington BK440 took off from RAF Little Horwood detailed to carry out a navigation training sortie. The aircraft exploded at approximately 0800 hours and crashed near Park Farm, Hindolveston, eight miles east south east of Packenham in Norfolk. All the crew members were killed.

The crew members of BK440 were:

Sergeant Eric Wilfred Brown (1579075) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Nicholas Doherty (419461) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Arthur William Ellis (R/190987) (RCAF) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant William Edward Martin (R/200832) (RCAF) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Arthur Merridew (1148277) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant Stuart Wilson (1388746) (RAFVR) (Navigator)

A Court of Inquiry into the accident found that: “the aircraft impacted at a very steep angle, the wreckage caught fire and burnt. Various parts of the structure broke off shortly before impact, notably the outer sections of both main planes and both tail planes, all in the down load, also the rear part of the fuselage broke away. It was considered that loss of control occurred resulting in a high speed dive and that the undue strain imposed by an effort to recover caused the failure of the main structure. There was no evidence to prove why the loss of control had occurred, but several conditions existed which could have caused it eg. entering cloud from bright moonlight, turbulent conditions in cloud, icing, hailstorm.”


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/10/155

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