Sergeant John Charles Davidson (984107) served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War Two. Born on 4th November 1920, he was the son of Joseph Davidson and Martha Davidson (née Shields) of Belfast, Co. Antrim.
John had married in Edgware, Middlesex before the fatal incident that claimed his life. At his time of death, Davidson flew with RAF 90 Squadron in Bomber Command. He was an air gunner on board Short Stirling III EH900 WP-Y on a mission to Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
Stirling EH900 Crash
The crew took off at 2359hrs on Friday 25th June 1943 from RAF Wratting Common, Cambridgeshire. Their mission was to bomb Gelsenkirchen along with 217 Lancasters, 190 Halifaxes, and 10 Mosquitoes. The raid did not go well owing to heavy cloud cover hindering moonlight until around 0300hrs.
Equipment failure affected half the Mosquitoes and others dropped their target markers up to 10 miles off course. Bombers aimed for the misplaced markers and were so far out, Nazi authorities supposed the attack was on the town Bochum near Dortmund. Some industrial targets in Gelsenkirchen suffered damage.
The plane came down over Legden, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on Saturday 26th June 1943. Austin Motors Ltd. delivered Stirling EH900 WP-Y to RAF 90 Squadron on 9th June 1943 so this would have been one of its first missions with the squadron.
All crew on board died in the incident.
Remembering the Crew
|Last Name||First Name(s)||Rank||Role||Information|
|McKenzie||Frederick Charles||Flight Lieutenant||Pilot||RAAF 415087. Killed aged 27 years old.|
|Wilson||Ernest||Sergeant||Flight Engineer||RAFVR 995196. Killed aged 30 years old.|
|Ibbetson||Alec Victor||Flying Officer||Navigator||RAFVR 130588. Killed aged 20 years old.|
|Walter||William Edward||Sergeant||Air Bomber||RAFVR 1385752. Killed aged 22 years old.|
|Campbell||Colin Desmond Harry||Sergeant||Wireless Operator/Air Gunner||RAFVR 1333017. Killed aged 21 years old.|
|Ealden||Frederick William||Sergeant||Air Gunner||RAFVR 1397129. Killed aged 21 years old.|
|Davidson||John Charles||Sergeant||Air Gunner||RAFVR 984107. Killed aged 22 years old.|
Between 1943 and 1945, 260 personnel from RAF Wratting Common died in service. Wratting Common was also referred to as RAF West Wickham, its original name before August 1943.
John Charles Davidson’s grave is in Section 23, Row E, Grave 9 of Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. He was first buried alongside the crew in Legden close to the crash site before re-interrment after the war.