An Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Bomber (Z1958 NF-V) of 138 Squadron RAF took off from Tempsford, near St Neots in Cambridgeshire and dropped leaflets in the region of St-Étienne. St-Étienne was heavily occupied by Germans and the leaflets urged surrender. The orders were that on return the aircraft was to land at Tangmere but, on the approach to Tangmere, the crew encountered a very thick mist and were ordered to divert to RAF Boscombe Down. While descending to land at Boscombe Down the aircraft crashed on Porton Down experimental ranges, a little under two miles from the runway. Of the crew of five, four died and the fifth was injured.
Those who died were:
J/15213 Pilot Officer (Pilot) Ivan Anderson MILLER RCAF. Aged 29.
The son of Archie Cleveland Miller and Annie Maud Miller of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
He is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Grave 36.1.3.
R/72363 Flight Sergeant (Air Observer) Walter John Edward LINES RCAF.
He is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Grave 36.1.4.
1313191 Sergeant (Pilot) Raymond Fred SHADDICK RAFVR. Aged 19.
The son of Faithful and Florrie Shaddick of Westford.
He is buried in Wellington Cemetery, Somerset, Div 1, Grave 2913.
1304727 Sergeant (Wireless Op/Air Gunner) Sydney William Francis LEIGH RAFVR. The son of Sydney William and Laura Gertrude Leigh of Poplar.
He is buried in the City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery, London and is commemorated on the Screen Wall.
The surviving crew member was:
927630 Sergeant (Wireless Op/Air Gunner) Kenneth HUBBARD RAFVR. Aged 23. (Sadly Sergeant Hubbard died a little over a year later still serving with 138 Squadron RAF. He was in Halifax (BB328 NF-U) which crashed in France during operations. The son of Cecil John and Nellie Gertrude Hubbard of Norwich. He is buried in Pont-Audemer Communal Cemetery, Row A Coll.Grave 2-7.)