578 (Burn) Squadron memorial - Carpenters Wood (Maidenhead, Berkshire)
Early on the morning of 18 July 1944, 21 Halifax bombers of 578 Squadron took off from Burn to attack fortified villages near Caen in France. On the outward flight, LK-Q developed a fire which the crew were unable to control. In his anxiety to avoid the heavily populated areas of Reading, Maidenhead and Windsor, the Pilot steered into open country before the fully fuelled and armed aircraft lost altitude and exploded in mid air over the dense wood near Pinkney’s Green. Miraculously, the Canadian rear gunner Flt.Sgt. Hugh Sloan, was blown upwards out of his turret and managed to parachute to safety but the rest of his crew perished without trace. Their names are recorded on panels of the Air Forces Memorial to the Missing at Runnymede.Sergeant Hugh Sloan, the rear gunner, was the sole survivor of this tragedy. The remaining crew who lost their lives were:
Flying Officer Victor Starkoff DFC (Australian Pilot) 33
Pilot Officer Jan Frederick Fink (Navigator) 26
Flight Sergeant Ivor Morgan (Bomb Aimer) 20
Pilot Officer Lloyde Hinson Hopper (Canadian Wireless Operator) 24
Sergeant Gerald Thomas Nicholson (Flight Engineer) 20
Flight Sergeant John Edward Clague (Mid-upper Gunner)
Hugh Cawdren with the assistance of 587 Burn Association managed to trace the crash site in the spring of 1988.
There are still three large craters, the largest being 15 feet deep and 100 feet across in the heavy wooded land
owned by the Woodland Trust. A memorial to those who perished onboard “Q for Queenie” was unveiled on 18th
July 1998, conducted by the Chaplain in Chief of the Royal Air Force and the Maidenhead Rabbi. Also in attendance were 578 Sqn veterans, Air Force representatives, the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and members of 155 (Maidenhead) Squadron Air Training Corps.
Some 10 years after the original memorial was unveiled, 155 (Maidenhead) Squadron ATC have worked to remove the old wooden memorial and place a more substantial permanent memorial next to the main crater in Carpenters Wood. This was unveiled in October 2008.
155 (Maidenhead) Squadron ATC has now become the custodian of the memorial and will continue to work onsite
at the woods and maintain the area in fitting with the memorial to honour those who lost their lives.