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PC Tom Cumpston Shropshire 1942

The story is told of a Spitfire Mk Vb - BL391 in which Sgt. Pilot L.G.R. Donaldson R.N.Z.F. was flying above the R.A.F.Station at High Ercall in Shropshire. By the 3rd of February the snow had melted to slush and the weather was suitable for flying. Shortly after lunch Sgt Pilot `Ray` Donaldson of 131 Squadron took off in his Spitfire and followed a north easterly course. It was a flight that was to end in tragedy shortly afterwards at Weston Coyney.

 One of the first people to arrive at the site of the crash was Tom Cumpston the Police Constable from Caverswall. Tom recalls that aircraft had come to rest after scraping out a 30 yard gash across the surface of the field and the pilot had been killed instantly. Within a couple of hours soldiers arrived and placed a guard around the site until the wreckage was removed. Tom Cumpston attended an inquest a few days later at the nearby Meir Aerodrome. Sgt Pilot Donaldson was laid to rest with service honours on the 7th of February 1942 in the churchyard at Atcham in Shropshire.

Due to the veil of wartime secrecy the incident was not reported in the local press. The approximate position is marked today by the eastern end of Fitzgerald Close.

From http://www.caverswall.org.uk/spitfire-vb-sgt-pilot-donaldson.html

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