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Aviation Archaeology - Halifax II HR796


2010 Excavation of Handley Page Halifax II Serial Number HR796
Crash Location: Private Land near, Chailey East Sussex.

Squadron: 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit
Operational Details: Lost during night training flight
Date of loss: ?11th November 1944
Aircraft Type: ?Handley Page Halifax II
Aircraft Serial No: HR796
Operational History of Halifax HR796

HR796 originally served with No. 405 RCAF and flew many operational raids, during one particular raid over Duisberg in June 1943, HR796 was hit by flack and sustained substantial damage to the airframe and instruments, but despite the damage the pilot managed to limp back to base safely. After a lengthy repair HR796 was handed over to 1667 then 1662 and finally 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit for crew training.

The last Flight of HR796

On the night of 11th November 1944, HR796 was on a night training exercise flying South from their base at RAF Lindhom in Yorkshire. On that cold night in November 1944 Pilot Flt. Lt. Eva was taking evasive action to familiarise the rookie crew with the manoeuvre, when at 18,000 the aircraft went into a "rudder" stall, from which it would not recover. Battling to regain control of his aircraft Flt Lt. Eva ordered the bale out of the rest of the crew, at 10,000 feet Eva himself finally gave up the battle and baled. All 7 crew members survived the bale out leaving HR796 to crash near Chailey in East Sussex. Over the years it is believed the crash site had been visited by various individuals but even so a vast array of important finds were left behind and subsequently recovered during the Wings Museum investigation during the summer of 2010 with MOD License Number 1664.

The Crew of Halifax II HR796:

F/L B.L. Eva – Baled out survived

Sgt. J. Bromley – Baled out survived

Sgt. B.E. Skinner – Baled out survived

Sgt. E.W. Meyer – Baled out survived
Sgt. C.R. Tervit – Baled out survived
Sgt. N. Woollard – Baled out survived
Sgt. K.E. Sandercock – Baled out survived
Items recovered during the dig:

© Wings Museum