This page records the actual sites of aircraft which crashed north of the airfield in the Wootton and Boars Hill area. The high ground of Boars Hill claimed a number of aircraft as it was right in the path of the flight practice circuit. Two aircraft crashed in the same excact spot in Stockwells field which is in Sandy lane Boars Hill.


10th February 1940       Whitley K7255      Sandy Lane, Boars Hill.

This aircraft took off at 21.45 from RAF Abingdon on a circuits and landings exercise. The pilot requested permission to land on a low circuit and having been granted and acknowledged the aircraft struck trees at the top of Sandy Lane on Boars Hill and crashed into Stockwell Field and burst into flames. It is thought that the pilot P/O Orley Whitney Bligh was the first Canadian to be killed in WW2 and is buried in Abingdon cemetery in Spring Road.. The other pilot Sergeant Frederick Dupe was also killed but another crew member AC2 R T Casson survived the crash.


 29th April 1941             Whitley P4939       Sandleigh Road, Wootton.

 Taking off at 1.15 in the morning on circuits and landings exercise. The aircraft got into a nose down position after take off and then pulled up sharply, stalled and dived into the Sandleigh Road playing fields. The playing fields are quite small and completely surrounded by houses as they are today. The pilot P/O Leonard Bradburn and the other three crew were all killed.


28th JULY 1941            Whitley T4323       Wootton Village

 The Whitley took off at 2.15 in the morning on bombing practice. From the accident record card it seems that the aircraft overshot the airfield turned to the right and hit trees in the Boars Hill area then crashed in to the rear gardens of the white council houses in Wootton. In 2006 PJM interviewed Mrs Hensridge and her mother (nearly 100 years old) who were living there at the time of the crash. Mrs Hensridge pointed out just where the bomber crashed through her back garden killing her pet rabbits. All five crew died including two Canadians.


19th September 1941         Whitley T4132        Boars Hill

On a routine training flight this aircraft crashed on to the Oxford side of Boars Hill and burst into flames. The exact location of the crash is at the time of writing unknown.  As a result of this crash red lights were erected on the two extremities of the Boars Hill ridge.


25th September 1941        Wellington Z8354    Sandy Lane, Boars Hill

In the early hours of the morning the above aircraft crashed into Stockwells Field, Sandy Lane. There were a crew of six, all were killed in the crash. This crash has been perhaps the better known of all incidents in this area during WW2. Firstly the aircraft crashed in almost the same place as Whitley K7255 did in 1940. This aircraft was not from this area but from the overseas delivery unit at RAF Hampstead Norris near Newbury. The plane was on its way to Malta.  It is not clear why the aircraft was in this area as it would seem that it was not on that route. The accident report states that they had lost an engine and were circling to land at Abingdon. The crash crater can still be seen to this day just in side the field in Sandy Lane. The crash made the national press when a young German man who was living nearby filmed the wreckage and was arrested for allegedly for spying and was deported.  A detailed eyewitness report is in the book ` A BOARS HILL ANTHOLOGY` by Margeret Aldis and Patricia Sims. The writer visited the crash site in 2006 and found two parts of the wreckage. 


11th February 1942          Whitley  N1439         Upwood  Park

This Aircraft took off at 21.29 for night circuit training only to crash a minute later, coming down in Upwood Park , Besselsleigh on the A420. The aircraft burst into flames and three of the crew died. The record card states that the cause of the crash was an error of judgement on the part of the trainee pilot.   The fourth member of the crew Sgt D E Hughes was taken to the Oxford Radcliffe Infirmary recovered and survived the rest of the war.



26th March 1942    Hampden AE139      Wootton Church

At 4.30 pm this aircraft crashed into the wall of the church.. Three of the four crew died.  The aircraft took off the day before from its base at RAF Balderton in Nottinghamshire for an operational Nickel sortie( dropping of leaflets) over Rennes in France. Details of the mission are unknown but on its return the aircraft landed at RAF Stoke Orchard near Cheltenham. The next day the aircraft took off to return to base. From the Accident record card it states the aircraft had a faulty fuel gauge and ran low on fuel. It seems the aircraft was attempting to land at Abingdon. From information gained  from the late Mr Denis Betterton from Sunningwell who actually witnessed the crashed plane he confirmed the following. The plane was coming from an easterly direction towards the church, its engines cut and hit the then high trees on the east side of the cricket field slid across the ground , turned turtle and smashed in to the wall. The repair can still be seen today just to the right of the church gate.  Mr Betterton as a young boy recovered some of the leaflets from the plane of which he had kept for over 65 years and presented the PJM with one. The writers mother Christine Minns who is buried in the same churchyard was actually pushing his brother  in a pram to see her mother in law in Wootton Village when she had to turn back due to the aircraft lying across the road. The writer also interviewed a lady who was playing on the swings when the plane crashed right next to her. 


14th March 1944      Whitley T4337      Besselsleigh

The aircraft took off on circuits and landings practice and crashed in flames almost immediately on what was the firing range on Great Park Farm. The pilot lost control of the aircraft when changing from the flair path to instruments. All the crew of three died. A interesting report of this crash is attached to the RAF Abingdon record book. It was subject to a heroic rescue attempt by two American soldiers and Mr Ronald Amey who lived nearby. The soldiers would have been billeted in Besselsleigh Park prior to the D-Day invasion. The pilot a Canadian Sgt D C Adamson is buried in Botley (Oxford) Cemetery.


18th May 1945         Wellington      NC686


This was the last accident in the Wootton area during WW2  although there were two more Wellington incidents on the airfield during 1946 before the unit was disbanded on 10th September 1946.

The aircraft lost power on the port engine after take off and found it impossible to gain height  coming down in a field in Lambororugh Hill next to the Waterworks by the Cornerhouse Garage. There was only one crew on board a  23 year old  F/O R J Angell who was unhurt in the  crash but the plane was a write off.

Interesting final note, the crash site was 1/2 mile from the authors bungalow and it happened on his 2nd birthday.