Dilley, Dennis Arthur

Dennis Arthur 


1920 - 1944
Rank Sergeant
Service no.1583059
Born February 20, 1920
DiedNovember 20, 1944


Dennis Arthur

Gateway School 1931-35

Son of Mr. A.S. Dilley

Sergeant Dilley was one of the crew of Halifax BB254 that took off from RAF Lindholme at 20:51 hours on the 20th November 1944. The aircraft, on a night training flight, failed to gain sufficient height and hit the roof of a house in Hatfield before crashing near Dale Pit Farm and catching fire. Among those who died was Sergeant Dilley. He is buried in St Peter’s Churchyard, Braunstone, Leicester. Halifax BB254 near Dunscroft, Doncaster.

At 20.51hrs on 20th November 1944 the crew of this 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit aircraft took off from Lindholme airfield to undertake a night training flight. As the aircraft left the ground it failed to climb away properly and struck the gable end of a house in Coppice Avenue, Hatfield, the aircraft then crashed at or close to Dalepit Farm. The wreckage caught fire and sadly five of the crew were killed. Two other members of the crew survived and two girls asleep in the bedroom of the house the aircraft struck were injured by falling debris. It was thought that the aircraft had lost what height it had gained after taking off because the flaps were raised instead of undercarriage allowing aircraft to sink towards the ground, the levers were next to each other in the cockpit. The crash site may have been built over in the years after the war. The crew of the second aircraft, Halifax HR794, escaped with their lives but six of the crew of the third, Halifax W7875 were killed when the aircraft struck Lings Farm, Dunsville which was around half a mile nearer the airfield. Built to contract B.124357/40 by the London Passenger Transport Board Ltd. at Leavesden and was awaiting collection on 27th May 1942. The date it was taken on charge by 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit at Lindholme is not yet known. As a result of an unspecified mishap at Lindholme on 27th February 1943 minor Cat.A(c)/FA damage was the damage assessment and it was repaired on site. It remained at 1656 H.C.U. until crashing at Dunscroft on 20th November 1944. Cat.E2/FA Burnt damage was the damage assessment after this incident and it was written off.

  • Pilot – F/O Michael Arnold Gleason RCAF (J/27667), aged 26, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Buried Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire (H/C/2).

  • Flight Engineer – Sgt Dennis Arthur Dilley RAFVR (1583059), aged 24. Buried Braunstone Churchyard, Leicestershire.

  • Navigator- F/O Derek John Povey RAFVR (164204), aged 31. Buried Hatfield Woodhouse Cemetery, Yorkshire.

  • Wireless Operator / Air Gunner – Sgt Ronald Thompson RAFVR (1866655), aged 19, of Watford. Buried Watford North Cemetery, Hertfordshire.

  • Air Gunner – Sgt Horace Samuel Emery RAFVR (3040593), aged 19, of South Hetton. Buried South Hetton Churchyard, Durham.

  • Bomb Aimer – F/O Peter Donald Rowland Senn RAFVR (164821). Slightly injured.

  • Air Gunner – Sgt A Blanchard. Seriously injured.

  • 2 Civilians – Names unknown. Slightly injured.