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The Mark IV Blenheim bomber,
PZ-V (L9475), which was flown by Pilot Officer Hugh Corbett,
accompanied by Navigator Kenneth Crane and Observer Sydney
Riddington. All three crew members were lost in the early
hours of the 4th August 1940, when the aircraft crashed
into the North Sea. Picture courtesy of Malcolm Barrass.
Sydney Eric Riddington, R.A.F.V.R.
Thurmaston man Sydney Eric Riddington was a member of the
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR),who served with
53 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Coastal Command.
On the evening of the 3rd August 1940, at 19:48 hours, a
Bristol Blenheim bomber, of 53 Squadron, took off from its
base at RAF Detling, Kent. Aboard the aircraft was Pilot
Hugh Christopher Corbett (RAFVR), along with Navigator Kenneth
Walter Crane (RAF), and Observer Sydney Eric Riddington
The aircraft took part in an operation over Emden Harbour,
Germany, and later failed to return home to base. Tracking
of the aircraft showed that at 00:45 hours it was flying
out at sea north of Bircham Newton, Norfolk. However, wireless
transmission from the Blenheim broke off abruptly at 01:05
hours on the 4th August 1940. All three crew members were
killed as the aircraft crashed into the sea.
Sydney Riddington's body was recovered from the sea and
returned home. He is buried in Thurmaston Cemetery. Pilot
Officer Corbett's body was carried across the sea and was
later washed ashore in Holland on the 29th of August 1940.
Hugh Corbett is buried in Schoorl General Cemetery, Holland.
The body of Sergeant Crane was lost to the sea, so his name
is among the many of the missing of the RAF whose names
are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
Ross McNeill, author of RAF Coastal Command Losses, Volume
1. See RAF
Malcolm Barrass. See Air
Steve Clements, for producing the 53 Squadron Badge.
The badge is © Crown Copyright and is reproduced with
of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office
The Crew of Bristol
Blenheim PZ-V (L9475), 53 Squadron, RAF, killed in action
on the 4th August 1940:
Christopher Hugh Corbett was born in 1918, the son of
Adrian Gray Corbett, a solicitor, and his wife Nita
(Agnita Ethel), nee McCall. Pilot Officer Christopher
Hugh Corbett was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer
on the 18th April 1940 (See The London Gazette,
25th June 1940, Page 3869). When he died he was serving
as Flying Officer, 72466, Hugh Christopher Corbett, Royal
Air Force Volunteer Reserve (R.A.F.V.R.).
Kenneth Walter Crane was born in Yorkshire in 1918, the
son of Benjamin Crane and his wife Mary, nee Mann. When
he was killed he was serving as Sergeant, 526095, Kenneth
Walter Crane, Royal Air Force.
Sydney Eric Rddington was born in Leicestershire in 1917,
the son of Albert Edward Riddington and his wife Ellen
Mary, nee Smith. Sydney Eric Riddington joined the Royal
Air Force Volunteer Reserve (R.A.F.V.R.) during May 1939,
and was posted to his squadron during June 1940. He was
a prominent racing cyclist and a member of both the Leicestershire
Road Club and the Leicester Forest Cycle Club. When he
was killed he was serving as Sergeant, 751028, Sydney
Eric Riddington, R.A.F.V.R. He is buried in Thurmaston
Cemetery - Section D, Grave 1368. He is also commemorated
on the war memorial at Thurmaston.
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