Aviation > Military Aircraft Incidents (wartime)

Mosquito (NS880), Margate railway station, 26th June 1944


Monkton Malc:
On June 26th 1944, a De Haviland Mosquito from 605 Squadron serial number NS880, crashed onto the railway line just to the West of the railway station at 3:45pm.

The pilot Flight Lieutenant John Reid, 23, was buried in Hemel Hempstead (Heath Lane) Cemetery. He left behind a wife, Lillian Joan who he had married at St Mary's church, Hemel Hempstead in March of 1942.

The navigator was Pilot Officer Roy Edgar Phillips, 21, son of Charles Edwin and Mary Ethel Phillips, of Chiswick. He was buried in Chiswick New Cemetery.

The aircraft and crew involved in this crash had been on Ops over Europe the previous day.  The mosquito had been shot up by flak. The aircraft crashed the next day on a test flight to see if the aircraft was OK.

I have been looking into this crash and this reply is composed from a number of sites - all of which give the same basic info and reference to those sources is at the bottom of the post.  

On 25th June 1944 Mosquito NS880 was flown by F/Lt Reid and P/O Phillips on an offensive sortie over France attacking German ground positions.  During the sortie the aircraft sustained damage caused by anti-aircraft fire. F/Lt Reid got the aircraft back to RAF Manston safely.  The damage was such that repairs were carried out in the night and the next day it was taken for a test flight to see if it was OK to return to Ops.  The crew were the same - F/Lt Reid and P/O Phillips.

Having flown the aircraft for a while F/Lt Reid started to return to RAF Manston.  When it was close to Margate at about 1000 feet it started to break up in mid-air and fell to the ground in flames near to Margate Railway Station. It is believed that one of the oxygen cylinders had been damaged the previous day and this hadn't been noticed in the repairs / inspection.  It was the oxygen cylinder that exploded and caused catastrophic damage to the aircraft and it crashed.

With thanks to the following other internet Forums and sites for this information

pigeonwatch .co.uk -  this is predominantly a sports / shooting forum but they have an "off forum" thread - this includes more information about F/Lt Reid by his nephew.

605 Squadron . co.uk

aviation-safety .net

hemel at war .org  - which has a picture of F/Lt Reid's headstone

There are a number of other sites which have similar information about this crash and all are accessible using a simple internet search for "mosquito NS880".  I can't, however, find any newspaper articles about this - probably because it was so close following D-Day which packs the newspapers for this time.


From the Operations Record Book of 605 Squadron (AIR 27/2091/11 at the National Archives)

In a flying accident on 26th June we lost the services of a very popular and excellent crew - F/O.J.REID & P/O.R.E.PHILLIPS, who were killed when their machine crashed in flames in Margate. P/O.PHILLIPS had been commissioned only a few days previously. Their loss will be felt deeply by all concerned.


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