Fern, Walter Edward (No. 1434201)

Fern, Walter Edward


No. 1434201, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed in an aircraft accident on Thursday 18 November 1943 (aged 20)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England (Panel 149)


Walter Edward Fern’s birth was registered in the first quarter of 1923 in Doncaster, Yorkshire.  He was a son of Walter and Nora Fern (nee Jackson) whose marriage was registered in the third quarter of 1914 in Doncaster.  They had at least three children:

George R. (birth registered in 1915)

Nora (birth registered in 1917)

Walter Edward (birth registered in 1923).

During the Second World War Sergeant Walter Edward Fern (No. 1434201) served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and he died on 18 November 1943 along with the other three crew members when their Lockheed Hudson Mark V aircraft (AE653) of No. 5 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit based at RAF Long Kesh, crashed into Strangford Lough just south of Chapel Island (off Greyabbey).  Sergeant Fern was the pilot and they were on a rocket-firing exercise using the submarine target at South Island in Strangford Lough.

The other three men who died in the crash were Flight Sergeant William Barraclough (RAFVR); Flight Sergeant Raymond Farquhar Simpson (RNZAF) and Flight Sergeant Andrew Greenwell Gibbison (RNZAF).

Sergeant Walter Edward Fern’s body was never recovered, and he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey.  He was 20 when he died.