The Crew of Liberator KK241

This page is an appendix to the story of James Gordon Hammond listed on the Banstead War Memorial. James' story forms part of Banstead's history but this page has been set up to commemorate all eleven members of the crew of KK241 which crashed in Canada on

1 June 1945.

If you have  more information about a crew member or would like to
correct or remove any of the information please mail the Webmaster.

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Gordon Hammond    

NOTE: This page will be updated over time however the full story of Gordon Hammond and details of the search for the aircraft, burial, and memorials can be found here. Gordon's story includes many photographs from the set sent to the bereaved families by the Anglican padre who conducted the burial service in the mountains.

Lewis N Wood
Last updated 17 February 2019


KK241 was a Liberator. Although sometimes referred to as VY241, KK241 is the only official RCAF designation for this Liberator. It is the proper RCAF serial number that was assigned to the aircraft, and it replaced the original USAAF serial numbers when the RCAF took possession. Prior to being diverted to the RCAF, it was known by the USAAF as 44-44312.

Delivered to Western Air Command, (WAC) on 23 Nov, 1944 it was placed in storage for almost six months before it was transferred to 5 OTU. The VY code would have only been applied once it reached the training unit. Under normal circumstances this code would have been changed as all the other 5 OTU Liberators had, but KK241 was only on strength at 5 OTU for a total of 14 days. The code VY was only for 5 OTU Unit purposes, and the only time it would have been used officially, most likely on paper, it would follow the serial number ie the correct format would have been KK241 VY241. There are some cases in the unit diary of this mix and match but these are few in number. On the Unit level it would coincide with the "Big Board", or the aircraft serviceability chart. For purposes of simplicity they would have just noted the code rather than the serial number followed by the code.


At 09:00 Pacific Time on Friday 1st June 1945 the crew of Liberator KK241 were preparing to take off on a navigational training exercise from RCAF Base, Abbotsford, British Columbia. They were part of No.5 Operational Training Unit which was tasked with supplying Commonwealth crews to the existing RAF Liberator Squadrons in S.E. Asia and Burma - mostly Squadrons 99, 159, 355, 356, 357 and 358.

Flying Officer Hill was the Captain and Pilot Officer Gilbert E. E. Long was the second pilot. Sergeant Graham Murray was the navigator; Sergeants William T. Swatton and David R. Langlands were the WAG (Wireless Air Gunners). Air Bomber Sergeant James L. G. Hammond and the aircraft’s air gunners Sergeants William P. Drummond, Stanley Aldridge, John R. Dale, Isaac Gibbons and Albert E Broadbent made up the eleven-man crew.

After take off Sgt William Swatton advised Abbotsford Tower he was setting his course and requested permission to change frequency. This was granted and he was heard contacting the DF operator by RCAF Boundary Bay but another aircraft on the same frequency smeared the message. Nothing further was heard from the crew of Liberator KK241.

Despite intensive efforts to locate the aircraft, not helped by the presense of dense low clouds, it was not until the 16th of June that the wreckage was sighted. The hazardous climb to the wreckage site took until the 20 June when it was confirmed as the missing Liberator.


On 25th June a burial party returned to the site accompanied by Flight Lieutenant Gilbert, an Anglican Padre. The remains of all eleven crew members were recovered from the wreckage and placed in a common grave beneath a rock cairn, at an altitude of 6,600 feet. A wooden cross was erected bearing the names of the airmen, and wild mountain flowers the group had gathered, were made into a wreath. Flight Lieutenant Gilbert the Anglican Padre conducted a simple but impressive service and later wrote to all the bereaved families enclosing photographs of the grave and the service.


The following is reproduced from the investigating officer's report a copy of which can be found here.

Cause: Cannot be stated definately but three possible causes which appeared as most probable to the Investigating Officer were as follows:

(1) failure of pilot to climb at a rate which would assure adequate clearance over the mountains.

(2) inability of pilot to climb over the mountains due to some mechanical failure in aircraft which cannot be determined at this time.

(3) that the briefing instructions which required the crew to set course at 4000 feet, and climb on track through cloud and over the mountains, did not allow a sufficient safety margin.


Name Rank Service No. Age
Stanley ALDRIDGE Sergeant 1892574 20
Albert Eric BROADBENT Sergeant 1591260 19
John Randall DALE Sergeant 1895153 32
William Peter Watt DRUMMOND Sergeant 1565226 23 or 24 *
Isaac GIBBONS Sergeant 1591213 19
James Leonard Gordon HAMMOND Sergeant 1865865 20
Arthur William David HILL Flying Officer 164394 21
David Robertson LANGLANDS Sergeant 1564813
Gilbert Ewart Ellis LONG Pilot Officer 167802 21
Graham MURRAY Sergeant 1811515 20
William Thomas SWATTON Sergeant 1169175 34
*Age 24 indicated by CWGC. Age 23 indicated by BC Vital Stats Index.

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission records indicated that all of these men were commemorated by "the Ottawa Memorial", Ottawa Ontario Canada. This Memorial commemorates those of the Air Forces of the British Commonwealth who lost their lives while serving in units operating from bases in Canada, the British West Indies and the United Sates, or while training in Canada and the U.S.A., and who have no known graves.


Air Gunner
Aged 20

Latest news (18 April 2012): We are now in touch with Stanley's family who will let us have more information in due course.

We would like to thank Mr. G Cross who came across Sgt Aldridge's medals and has now reunited them with Stanley's family. It is believed that they may have been given to Stanley's sweetheart after he was killed.

Albert Eric BROADBENT (AIR GUNNER) Albert Eric Broadbent 5 OTU KK241

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Aged 19

Panel 4. Column 1.

Son of John and Alice Broadbent, of Leeds in Yorkshire, England

Steve Hewitt says " This is the photograph of Eric Broadbent. My mum always kept the picture and when she died in 2016 I collected all her photographs.

She remembered Eric well as they were similar ages and were cousins growing up in the 20s and 30s in Leeds. She always referred to him as Eric rather than Albert .


The picture was very familiar to me as was the knowledge of his loss in a training accident in Canada. I remember Eric's Dad (Uncle Jonnie) very well as in the 1960s he had a fishmongers in Leeds market.

My interest in military aviation together with a recent investigation into my family tree led me to find out a lot more about the crash including the information on your website. I have not been able so far to identify any of Eric's other living relatives so I hope I would have their blessing in sharing the picture with you. I do so in the hope that his memory and that of the other crew of KK241 will continue to be honoured and respected.

Steve Hewitt

John Randall DALE (AIR GUNNER)
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Aged 32

Panel 4. Column 2.

William Peter Watt DRUMMOND (AIR GUNNER)
23 or 24 *

Panel 4. Column 2.

Son of William and Mabel Drummond; husband of Agnes Drummond, of Cupar, Fife, Scotland



Panel 4. Column 2.

Son of Isaac and Charlotte Gibbons, of Haswell, Co. Durham, England.

James Leonard Gordon HAMMOND (AIR BOMBER)James Leonard Gordon HAMMOND 5 OTU KK241

These Men of Banstead – Stories from the War Memorial Liberator KK241
This publication includes
thirteen pages on
and the crash of KK241
Aged 20

Gordon Hammond is listed on the Banstead War Memorial and his full story including details of the crash can be found here and in more detail in the book published by the Banstead History Research Group.

Arthur William David HILL (CAPTAIN)
Flying Officer
Aged 21

Panel 4. Column 1

Son of William Bucknell Hill and Frances Irene Hill, of Falmouth, Cornwall, England


The following message was left on an RAF info site some 13 years ago and we are now trying to make contact. LNW 17 April 2012.

UPDATE: the email address supplied has rejected.

LANGLANDS, David Robertson: Sgt: 1564813

Units unknown: died Canada 1st Jun 1945

Message logged 3rd May 1999: Derek Watson of 800 Pacific Wing writes: I wish to contact anyone that served in the same units as Sgt David Langlands. We know that he died in Canada June 1st 1945. His name appears on the Ottawa memorial for those with no known grave. He was a wireless operator and later he was made an Instructor. He was from Aberdeen Scotland, married to Ina Langlands, there were no children.

I would like to know the unit and base he last served with also any former crew members that are perhaps here in Canada and remember David. As we were never privy to any information regarding his death we only can assume that the aircraft went missing and was never located.

Derek Watson

Gilbert Ewart Ellis LONG (SECOND PILOT)
Family headstone for Gilbert Ewart Ellis LongPilot Officer
Aged 22

Source: Photo of family grave headstone supplied by Steve Fell who has collated The Shirehampton Book of Remembrance.

Aged 20

Panel 4. Column 2

Son of John George and Doris Murray, of Isleworth, Middlesex, England.

Aged 34

Panel 4. Column 2

Son of Albert Tom and Louise Swatton; husband of Evelyn Beryl Swatton, of Marlborough, Wiltshire, England.

25 April 2012 - we are trying to contact Rob Lawrence, grandson of Sergeant Swatton. Rob left the following comment on a photograph of airplane Creek

October 31, 2010:

Thank you for the photograph. My grandfather Sgt William Thomas Swatton RAF was one of the men killed in the Liberator crash on Mount Welch in May 1945 the remains of which are in this creek. the photo can be viewed here.

KK241 Abbotsford Cenotaph plaque 2011

The whole crew are commemorated on a plaque added to the Abbotsford Cenotaph in 2011.

Michael DesMazes, Official RCAF Historian of Boundary Bay and Abbotsford, organised the addition of the plaque as well as the a CF-18 from Cold Lake Alberta to do a fly over during the two minute silence. An RAF exchange officer, (also from Cold Lake), read out some of the RAF names. The Abbotsford Air Cadets Cenotaph guard attended in WWII RCAF uniforms with Lee Enfield mk IIIs.

KK241 Abbotsford Cenotaph rededication


Michael DesMazes, Offical RCAF Historian of Boundary Bay and Abbotsford has kindly provided information on the aircraft and images of the rededication of the Cenotaph.

The summary description of events leading to the crash is,in part, based on an extract from the TWGPP newsletter of Spring 2010.

The investigating Officer's report is included on the website of The University of Fraser Valley

Details of crew members:
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission for summary information.
see sources included in each crew member's section for personal photos and stories.