Articles, Day Ride, Get Inspired, Suggested Start Points

The Husborne Crawley – Bomber Moon Training Ride

I decided to do this month's Bomber's Moon Training ride a little early whilst staying with a cycling buddy in Bedfordshire.

I used the map of Bomber Command Memorials on this site to select a location not too far away. The ride was to be a gravel route, so distance was not a significant objective.

Located on a footpath sign in the Parish of HUSBORNE CRAWLEY is a memorial to a Handley Page Hampden that crashed whilst returning from an op due to lack of fuel in September 1941.

We started our ride with a route that took us west from our base in Ampthill, over towards Woburn. So we decided to aim for the Parish Church in HUSBORNE CRAWLEY, thinking that would be an excellent point to stop and organise our search for the memorial. Little did we know that our route took us right past the memorial, and we didn't even notice!
Husborne Crawley Memorial Inscription

As you walk along this path, you will pass a point on your left some 200 yeards further on, where during WW2, in the early hours of 9th September 1941, a British Bomber crashed in flames killing Sgt Ford Rowney aged 23 & Flight Sgt Tony Barker aged 20. The other two members of the crew, Sgt L Morgan & Sgt J Mitchell survived by bailing-out and landed close to this spot. As you pass by, please remember these two young airmen, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country and our future.

Squadron records show that AD 854, crewed by Sgt's Ford Rowney, Morgan, Barker and Mitchell, took off at 19:00 on Operation KASSEL, completing their mission. There was no cloud, and identification of the primary target was made; bombs were dropped for 18,000ft and seen to burst over the target area. The operation log reads:

On the return journey, the aircraft crashed near BEDFORD owing to lack of fuel.

Image Caption

50 Squadron

Operational Records

The pilot ROWNEY and Wireless operation BARKER were both killed, Morgan and Mitchel survived by parachuting to safety.
We continued our ride, stopping for coffee in Woburn and then continuing our journey back to Ampthill via Steppingley.
All of the information on this incident was found using the IBCC digital archive. 
British Pathé"LATEST TYPE BOMBER CHRISTENED".Radlett Aerodrome.
Inside an aircraft hangar we see Viscountess Hampden christening a new bomber 'Hampden' (natural sound). She stands on a platform and smashes a bottle against the front of the unveiled plane; crowds of men in the hangar applaud. Outside the hangar we see the aircraft taxiing for takeoff. Several mute shots of the Hampden in flight.
 FILM ID:1658.28 - ©1938 British Pathé