LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Charles Figsby Colville STEELE

Service No: 400496
Born: Melbourne VIC, 5 February 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 14 September 1940
Unit: No. 2 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 2 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit Blenheim aircraft Z5955), near Catfoss, 17 August 1941, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Brandesburton (St Mary) Churchyard, Yorkshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Walter Colville Steele and Isla Margaret Steele; stepson of Ruth Steele, of Leslie Manor, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Camperdown VIC
Remembered: Panel 130, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 17 August 1941, Blenheim Z5955 flown solo by Sergeant Steele was detailed by the Flight Commander to carry out circuits and landings. The aircraft crashed on Hall Farm, Catfoss, and the Pilot was killed.

In a statement by Sergeant Triggs to the Court of Inquiry he said: “I am a pupil of No. 8 Beaufighter course. During night flying practice on the morning of 17 August/1941, I was assisting the Control Pilot on the flare path. At approximately 0300 hours I saw Z5955 take off flown by Steele. The aircraft having climbed to about 500 feet it then started a left hand turn across wind, and I then saw the port navigation light which I immediately realized to be losing height, slowly at first and then more rapidly. About one second after the port light disappeared below the horizon, and I heard a crash.” A Court of Inquiry found: “the aircraft was flying parallel to the ground at the time of the first impact. The aircraft struck a tree and then a rooftop and chimney continuing across the roof through a brick building into a cornfield. The Court was of the opinion that the port wing was down at the time of impact.”

References:

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, 163/163/213