West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Milford Haven (Wellington N2749) Memorial

At 23.15 on the night of 18 July 1942, a Vickers Wellington IC, Serial N2749, of 27 Operational training Unit at R.A.F. Lichfield, took off on a cross country training run towards the Irish Sea. At 03.08 hours on the following morning, Milford Haven Coastguard reported an aircraft firing three red Verey lights, and was obviously in distress, with only one engine running. The aircraft attempted a forced landing at Milford Haven, but crashed into the Fish Docks, killing all six members of her crew. Five of the crew were members of the Royal Australian Air Force, and one was an Englishman, a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

 

The five Australians were buried with full military honours at Pembroke Dock Military Cemetery, while the other man was returned home for burial at New Bradwell, Buckinghamshire.

 

In order to commemorate the lives of these six men, the Milford Haven branch of the Royal British Legion donated a bronze plaque, which was erected by Preseli District Council in July 1986, on behalf of the Pembrokeshire Aviation Group, at Hamilton Crescent, Milford Haven.

The plaque reads;

 

This plaque overlooks the site where Wellington IC, N2749, of 27 OTU, RAF Lichfield, crashed in the early hours of the 19th July 1942. There were no survivors.

 

Memorial donated by the Royal British Legion, Milford Haven Branch. Erected by Preseli District Council for the Pembrokeshire Aviation Group, July 1986. Lest We Forget.

 

Thanks are due to Bob Kettle for the photograph of the memorial, and to Les Nixon for the photos of the graves of the four Australian Aircrew.

 

The crewmen of Wellington N2749 were;

 

Keith James Bradley, Sergeant, 411117, Royal Australian Air Force. Keith was born at Brisbane, Queensland on 20 November 1924, the son of James Albert and Alice Maud Bradley, of Five Dock, New South Wales, Australia. He worked as an electric welder, before enlisting at Bonevilla, Victoria into the Royal Australian Air Force, and was posted to 27 OUT in England. Keith was 25 years old when he died in the crash of N2749, and is buried at Pembroke Dock Military Cemetery, Grave Ref. Sec. C. Grave 21.

William Harry Condon, Sergeant, 408131, Royal Australian Air Force. William was born at Melbourne, Victoria on 1 August 1919, the son of James Benedict Condon and Lillian Norris Condon, of Laverton, Victoria, Australia. William was in his fourth year at University, studying Metallurgy, when he enlisted at Hobart into the Royal Australian Air Force, and was posted to England to join 27 OTU. William was 22 years old when he died in the crash of N2749, and is buried at Pembroke Dock Military Cemetery, Grave Ref. Sec. C. Grave 22.

Maurice Cooke, Sergeant (Air Gunner), 1170027, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Maurice was the son of Frederick John and Marguerite E. Cooke, of New Bradwell. He was the only British member of the crew of N2749, and was 20 years old when he died in the crash. He is buried at Wolverton (New Bradwell) Cemetery, Buckinghamshire, Grave Ref. Sec. 9. Grave 10.

Edward Douglas Reginald Jennings, Sergeant, 411145, Royal Australian Air Force. Edward was born at Mosman, New South Wales on 14 August 1915, the son of Reginald Webb Jennings and Madeline Lucy Jennings, of Strathfield, New South Wales, Australia. He worked on the Sydney Tramways before enlisting into the Royal Australian Air Force, and being posted to 27 OTU in England. Edward was 26 years old when he died in the crash of N2746, and is buried at Pembroke Dock Military Cemetery, Grave Ref. Sec. E. Grave 17.

Kenneth Henry Charles Steinbach, Sergeant, 404856, Royal Australian Air Force. Kenneth was born at Kimberley, South Africa on 31 December 1912, the son of Henry Walter and Mercy Steinbach. He had emigrated to Australia before the war, and lived with his wife Daphne Alberta Steinbach, at Woodgate Street, Churchill, Ipswich, Queensland, where he worked as a Dairy Farmer. Kenneth enlisted at Brisbane into the Royal Australian Air Force, and trained as a Pilot before being posted to 27 OTU in England. He was 29 years old when he died in the crash of N2749, and is buried at Pembroke Dock Military Cemetery, Grave Ref. Sec. E. Grave 18.

George Ernest Warburton, Sergeant, 411206, Royal Australian Air Force. George was born at Turramurra, New South Wales on 5 August 1918, the son of Ernest Alfred and Elizabeth Iolet Warburton, of New South Wales, Australia. He worked as an Audit Clerk before joining the Royal Australian Air Force, and was posted to 27 OTU in England. George was 23 years old when he died in the crash of N2749, and is buried at Pembroke Dock Military Cemetery, Grave Ref. Sec. G. Grave 11.

Website News

8 March 2017. Some more good news today. Another un-commemorated Welsh sailor, Samuel Arthur Griffiths, of Tredegar, has today been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

8 February 2017. Some more good news today. Another un-commemorated soldier, Llewelyn Owen Roberts, of Penmaenmawr, has today been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

7 February 2017. Some more good news today. Another un-commemorated soldier, Isaac Owen, of Seven Sisters, has today been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

20 December 2016. Some good news today that another uncommemorated soldier, Private Thomas Owen Davies, of Machynlleth, has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC following my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

30 November 2016. At long last my latest book has been published: Welsh Yeomanry at War. Please see the Steve’s Books page of the website for details.

23 November 2016. Some good news today with the acceptance of another Welsh soldier, Percy Griffin Williams, of the Welsh Horse Yeomanry, for commemoration by the CWGC following my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for details.

 

15 November 2016. I would like to thank the people of Laugharne, especially the members of the Laugharne and District Historical Society, for their welcome during their recent History Event on Saturday when I visited to make a talk about how researching the Laugharne War Memorial inspired me to create this website and to begin my writing career. It was a very interesting day and was well attended by the locals.

26 Sep 2016. After a lot of hard work I have finally managed to identify a soldier from Gwaun-cae-Gurwen, Morgan Price James, who since the early 1920’s has been commemorated by the CWGC under the wrong name, James Morgan. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for details.

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