In the early hours of the morning of Sunday 31s1 May 1942, a Whitley V medium bomber, number BD 371 of 297 Squadron RAF, Netheravon was on a routine night flying training flight. It had taken off from Netheravon and overshot while attempting to land at Boscombe Down. Whether this landing was a planned part of the flight is not known. It appears that the pilot was on a circuit to try another landing when, again it is not known why, it crashed near Manor Farm, Porton at 0211 hours. The aircraft was completely destroyed by fire and written off.
297 Squadron was formed at Netheravon on 22nd January 1942 and began to receive Whitleys in February for training paratroops. There is some reason to believe that it may have flown from Netheravon to RAF Boscombe to work to the orders of the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment based there.
Sadly one member of the crew died in the accident, he was:
1310801 Sergeant (Wireless Op/Air Gunner) Donald George Green RAFVR. Aged 21. He was the son of Frederick Edward and Lilian Gertrude Green of Kettering. He is buried in Kettering (London Road) Cemetery Row 00 Grave 14.
The survivors were:
108165 Pilot Officer (Pilot) Brierley A
1377877 Sergeant (Observer) Pipe BD
1116773 Sergeant (Air Gunner) Greenan
1108136 Sergeant (Wireless Op) name unknown
Pilot Officer A Brierley survived; he was killed just under a year later on 9* April 1943 on operations in North Africa.
His details are as follows:
108615 Flying Officer (Pilot) Alan BRIERLEY RAFVR. Aged 28. 13 Squadron RAF. The son of Joseph H and Kate Green of Bramshall, Staffordshire. He is buried near Algiers in La Reunion War Cemetery, grave reference 2.B.2.
Returning from a mission to bomb German road transport the aircraft crashed when landing. Pilot Officer Brierley was, according to 13 Squadron records, “dangerously injured”; he was taken to the 31st General Hospital but died two days later.