Read Here: Story of two crewmates from Avro Lancaster who were killed on training sortie in 1944


Buried in Cambridge City Cemetery rest the bodies of two crewmates from an Avro Lancaster that was killed on a training sortie in 1944.

They were on a Lancaster Mk1, serial number PB749, of Number 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), from Woolfox Lodge airfield in Rutland. The aircraft was airborne on the 7th Dec 1944 when it was suspected that the port elevator detached during a high-speed manoeuvre, causing the aircraft to break up mid-air.


The wreckage was scattered over a 2 square mile area around the village of Langtoft in Lincolnshire. All on board were killed in the accident.

Sergeant Philip Eric Costin, RAFVR, was one of two Air Bombers identified on board the aircraft. Only a single Air Gunner was identified as opposed to the usual two. Two Air Bombers were on board, and one was under instruction or assessment.

It could also be possible that the sources are in error, and one of the Air Bombers was an Air Gunner. Eric was the Son of Henry John and Annie Elizabeth Costin of 103 Canterbury Road, Harrow, Middlesex. His birth was registered in Q4 of 1922 in Hammersmith, London. He was buried in Cambridge on the 12th Dec 1944.

Sergeant Frederick Ronald Smith, RAFVR, was the aircraft’s Wireless Operator/Air Gunner. Frederick was the Son of Albert and Kate Smith (nee Capewell), stepson of Mr C. W. Penney of Hunnington, Worcestershire. He was also buried in Cambridge on the 12th Dec 1944 at just 20 years old.

Buried elsewhere in the UK are:

Pilot Officer Albert Yoxon, RAFVR. Albert was the other Air Bomber. He was the Son of John and Amy Yoxon of 36 Lauriston Road, Liverpool. His birth was registered in Q2 of 1923 in Woolwich, London, and he was buried on the 14th Dec 1944 in Anfield Cemetery, Liverpool.


Flight Sergeant James Hall, RAFVR, was the Pilot of the aircraft. James was the Son of William Samuel Stoward Hall and Marion Grainger Porter Hall of Glasgow. He is buried in Glasgow Western Necropolis Cemetery and was just 23 when he died.

Sergeant Martin Carty, RAFVR, was the Flight Engineer on the aircraft. Martin was the Son of Michael and Ann Carty of Birmingham and husband of Phyllis Ada Carty of Billesley, Birmingham. His birth was registered in Q2 of 1908 in Kings Norton, Worcestershire. He is buried in Olton Franciscan Cemetery, Solihull.

Sergeant David Geddes Mackenzie, RAFVR, was an Air Gunner. David was the Son of William and Jessie Mackenzie of Castletown. He was 26 when he died and is buried in Berriedale Parish Churchyard, Caithness, Scotland.

Sergeant Donald James Taylor, RAFVR, was the Navigator on the aircraft. Donald was the Son of Alfred James Taylor and Dorothy Mahala Taylor, of 107 Bowes Road, Palmers Green, London. His birth was registered in Q2 of 1923 in Woolwich, London, and he is buried in Southgate Cemetery, Enfield. His father was a Bus Conductor.

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