newspaper reports


There have been a number of newspaper reports over the years, concerning the loss of JP137.

The first of these appeared in the local press on the day of the crash. The latest (so far!) has been in 2012.

At first reading, the reports from the time appear almost callous, by modern standards. But we have to remember that a nation that had already been at war for almost 5 years was, sadly, becoming used to reports of death, and the matter of fact style of reporting was typical of the time.

There are also small details in these reports which have helped to answer some of the unknown questions about that night, but also, as you can imagine, have created even more questions on certain points.

The first 2 pieces shown here are from the Bournemoth Echo in March 1944.  The first appeared on the same day as the crash. The second, some 3 days later, was a report of the inquests held for the 2 civilian deaths.
(click on the reports for a higher resolution version - use your back button to return here)
For obvious wartime security reasons there is very little detail about the specifics of the aircraft and its crew, in the newspaper reports from the time. 
Some of the anecdotal evidence from that time is also likely to be incomplete - or even just plain wrong!
The military authorities would only pass on the minimum of information to the local civilian police, on a 'need to know basis', and they in turn would have passed on as little as possible to nosey locals - especially inquisitive small boys, I suspect!

It is thus understandable that much myth and legend surrounded the loss of JP137. Now that more is known about the actual details of that fatal flight, we have discovered that some of the stories about 'secret missions,' and 'important spies' onboard turned out to be wrong.
Although the evidence does suggest that JP137 was most likely due to be assigned to 'special duties', so some of the 'secret' legend was probably true!

In the intervening years, there have been a number of letters and articles in the local press.

The letter to the Echo shown below is from December 1984, and includes some of the 'myths' about that night.  The aircraft has often been described as a Lancaster, and I remember hearing the story of the 'swastikas' myself, during the 1950's.
Both those 'myths' were, of course, wrong!
The reply shown below (sorry about the quality!), from a few weeks later, in January 1985, was much more accurate. The damaged house described, in Malvern Rd, was in fact number 13.
This exchange of letters itself generated a further item in the 'Echo,' this time by 'Richmond' as part of his 'Echoes' series of articles from that time. A copy of his article from Jan 29th 1985 is shown below.
This article re-tells the history of that night, as recalled by Russ Barnes, who, as a youngster of 14 at the time, was living very close to the crash site. The article describes Russ as being a policeman at the time, but this was not so. Russ did in fact become a policeman, but not at the age of 14!
The details in this article are much more accurate than most versions of the story circulating by the time, but even so there are, as you might expect, some inaccuracies.

It was Russ Barnes' much more recent account of the event, published on the Winton Forum:

that was one of the main contributory factors in the formation of the Moordown 2010 Committee.

Much of the initiative for the Moordown Halifax Memorial has come from local people, like Russ Barnes, who have kept the history 'alive' over the years, so that today's generation can be better informed about their past.