Sloss, Francis Neville (No. 1544915)

Sloss, Francis Neville (Frank)

Corporal

No. 1544915, 83 (Pathfinder) Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed in an aircraft accident on Friday 18 June 1943 (aged 19)

Buried:

Bangor Cemetery, Co. Down (Section 1. D. Grave 17)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Bangor and District War Memorial

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)

Bangor Abbey Church

St. Andrew’s Church, Scredington, Lincolnshire

BIOGRAPHY

Francis Neville (Frank) Sloss was born on 15 July 1923 and he was the elder son of Francis Alexander Sloss and Alice Mary Frances Violet Sloss (nee Patchell) who lived at 50 Central Avenue, Bangor.  They were married on 25 November 1918 in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) and they had three children:

Alice Violet (born 7 May 1922)

Francis Neville (born 15 July 1923)

Joseph William Alexander (born 16 November 1926)

Frank’s father, Francis Alexander Sloss, was a solicitor and Frank’s late paternal grandfather, Joseph Sloss MD, was a staff surgeon in the Royal Navy.  In the First World War, Frank’s uncle, William Neville Patchell, served as a Private in the Royal Fusiliers and was killed in action on 16 July 1916.

Francis Neville Sloss was baptised on 6 January 1924 in Bangor Parish Church (St. Comgall’s).  He was educated at Sligo Grammar School where he was Honorary Secretary of the Debating Society.  Frank was a member of Second Bangor Scout Troop and a chorister in the choir of Bangor Abbey.

Frank Sloss joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1941 and, after training as a Wireless Mechanic, he was promoted to the rank of Corporal and appointed as a Wireless Instructor.  After Corporal Frank Sloss was killed in an aircraft accident on 18 June 1943 his Commanding Officer wrote, ‘He will be greatly missed as an instructor as he was very popular with both trainees and his colleagues.’

Corporal Frank Sloss (No. 1544915) was killed along with eight other men when their Avro Lancaster aircraft (ED439) crashed at Highgate Farm, Scredington, Nr Sleaford, Lincolnshire during a training (practice bombing) flight.  They had taken off at 10.10 am from RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire.  The other men who died in the crash were:

  • Pilot Officer Max Keiran Cummings (aged 30), Royal Australian Air Force
  • Sergeant Henry Whitfield Luker (aged 24), Royal Australian Air Force
  • Sergeant John Roughley (aged 21) from Lathom, Lancashire
  • Sergeant Harry William Cheshire (aged 22)
  • Sergeant Francis William Wilcox (aged 24) from Gorton, Manchester
  • Sergeant Norman Woodcock (aged 19) from Whitchurch, Shropshire
  • Flight Sergeant Robert Allan Taylor (aged 25), Royal Canadian Air Force
  • Corporal Thomas John Bond (aged 30) from Blaenavon, Monmouthshire

In the absence of a crash report, it is not known why the aircraft crashed but it may have been due to airframe failure.  It is known that, prior to the crash, this aircraft had been out of action for a time following damage sustained in a previous raid.  Both Corporals on board were wireless mechanics/instructors.

Frank Sloss’s funeral on Wednesday 23 June 1943 to Bangor Cemetery was preceded by a service in Bangor Abbey at which the Rev James Hamilton officiated.  There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

AT THE GOING DOWN

OF THE SUN

AND IN THE MORNING

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM

The Rector’s Prayer Desk in Bangor Abbey was donated in memory of Frank Sloss by his mother.  The desk has a plaque with the following inscription:

In memory of Francis Neville Sloss, Corporal Royal Air Force (V.R.)

A chorister of this Church

Killed on Active Service 18 June 1943, aged 19 years.

Corporal Francis Neville Sloss (No. 1544915) is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial; in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) and in St. Andrew’s Church, Scredington, Lincolnshire.

Frank’s sister, Alice Violet Sloss, served with the WRNS and she married Captain William Henry Crosson of Dorchester, New Jersey who served with the US Army.

Frank’s brother, Joseph Sloss, served with the Royal Navy and he married Ann Elizabeth Oldfield Havers (later Baroness and DBE).

Frank’s father died on 14 January 1952 (aged 86) and his mother died on 26 May 1981.