Sergeant Horace Albert METCALFE

Service No: 402962
Born: Wallsend NSW, 10 August 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 11 November 1940
Unit: No. 131 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Atcham
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 131 Squadron Spitfire aircraft P7746), Shropshire, 7 December 1941, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Atcham (St Eata) Churchyard, Shropshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Albert and Edith Mabel Metcalfe, of Wallsend, New South Wales, Australia; husband of Margaret Metcalfe, of Shortland, New South Wales
Roll of Honour: Wallsend NSW
Remembered: Panel 127, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1045 hours on 7 December 1941, Spitfire P7746 flown by Sergeant Metcalfe, took off from Atcham as part of a formation of six aircraft detailed to carry out a camera gun and formation flying exercise.

In a Report on a Flying Accident it was stated: “Flight Lieutenant Doll had authorised the flight after having carried out a weather test and said it was suitable. After 45 minutes formation flying Flight Lieutenant Doll saw a snow storm rapidly approaching the aerodrome. He put all the aircraft in line astern and told them to follow him in. Four of the aircraft were safely down and he saw P7746 flown by Sergeant Metcalfe make a heavy landing and start to go round again. Shortly after a fifth aircraft landed safely and Doll informed operations that there was still one pilot airborne. Doll had received no warning from the Met Office of snow storms that morning. The storm in question lased about one quarter of an hour.” In its findings the Report found: “it was the inexperience of the Pilot in that he could have landed at his first attempt. He was flying at 300 feet in close proximity to The Wrekin.” Later the aircraft was seen to crash through some trees in a wood on the side of The Wrekin at a height of 3/400 feet. A heavy snow storm was raging and the aircraft struck the ground and caught fire Doll had received no warning from the Meteorological Office concerning snow storms that morning. The snow storm lasted about a quarter of an hour. The aircraft crashed at Rushton Cottage, The Wrekin near the town of Wellington Salop, and Sergeant Metcalfe was killed.


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, 163/143/56

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