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Tempsford Mosquito HX972

Location: Tempsford (Tetworth Hill) 28th May 1944

F/Lt Keith Newman COOLING (pilot) RAAF
F/O Kenneth Alfred HOWES (navigator) RAF

De Havilland Mosquito.

It seems this aeroplane HX972 was on a low-level, cross-country training flight when it struck the top of an elm tree which resulted in the loss of the starboard tail plane near Tempsford, causing the plane to crash.

It is reported that the plane spun into some cottages on Tetworth Hill, and the crash killed the crew and a civilian, Mr. Fred Gore, on the ground. Other sources identify the plane involved as Halifax LK743 (see this web page Bernard O'Connor and do a "find" for "Gore") or Mustang 42-106448. It was my opinion that the most likely craft to hit the cottage is this Mosquito. See this web page for some more details and sources (but see the box below). I am almost certain it was NOT the Mustang.

The Australian web-site records the aircraft designation as HX723, note you have to enter "Keith Newman Cooling" in the search field.

I contacted Bernard O'Connor about the details of which plane actually crashed into the cottages, and he very kindly replied. His source was a book by Freddie Clark "Agents by Moonlight". I checked the listed sources of the Mosquito record shown above, and have to admit that they don't seem to be anything "official" and am becoming more doubtful of their accuracy. I think I have to leave it as "undecided" just yet, but in reality, perhaps I should lean more towards it being Halifax LK743 as Bernard states. I wonder if any chance visitor might have any data to support one theory or the other? If so, please share it!
UPDATE 7th May, 2018! I recieved an e-mail from a guy called Ross who has provided some more details about this incident, and confirms it was Mosquito "FB.VI, HX972". He says it was operating from No. 2 GSU (Group Support Unit) out of RAF Swanton Morley, located near Norwich, Norfolk, England and now operated by the British Army as "Robertson Barracks".

Ross is Director of Engineering and Airframe Compliance involved in a project entitled "The People's Mosquito", intending to restore/build Mosquito "RL249" to flight-worthy status. The link to his site will display some stunning images of a de Havilland Mosquito and I strongly urge anyone with the slightest interest in this incredible aircraft to visit it. You may even be tempted to join and support it! www.peoplesmosquito.org.uk/