Curtiss-Wright Helldiver JW121 - 06/10/1944
On the 6th October 1944 Curtiss-Wright Helldiver No JW121 of No 1820 squadron was carrying out practice dive bombing at the Preesall sands bombing range near Fleetwood, the aircraft was flown by a Sub Lieutenant (A) Alan Edgar Neville of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve aged 21, he also had a Naval rating passenger on board, a Steward Frank Thomas Turner C/LX 613540, H.M.S. Ringtail, Royal Navy aged 20.
The aircraft dived at 40 degrees to carry out an attack on the floating wickerwork target moored off Pilling Lane, the aircraft dived into the sea close to the target due to insufficient height to recover killing both of the crewmen.
Sub Lieutenant (A) Neville
Sub Lieutenant (A) Neville was the son of Edgar and Mabel Neville, of Hornchurch, Essex, and was buried in Burscough Bridge (St. John the Baptist) Churchyard, Burscough, section E, grave No 2567 with full military honours.
Sub Lieutenant (A) Neville's grave
Sub Lieutenant (A) Neville was a pupil of the Royal Liberty School, Romford for six years and was employed by a firm of charted accountants until he enlisted under the "Y" scheme in September 1942. He was sent to Canada for training as a Fleet Air Arm Pilot, then went onto Pensacola, Florida, where he gained his commission and wings, he finally arrived in Jacksonville. In his letters home he told of the fine time he was having in America and how he once hitch hiked 600 miles in two days whilst on leave.
He returned to the UK in July 1942 and spent a fortnight at home on leave, that was the last his parents saw of him, they were expecting him home on a second leave when they received news he had been killed in an accident. Mr Neville commented that his son was known as one of the safest pilots in the squadron, and was believed to have been one of the first two Dive Bomber pilots in the Royal Navy.
Before joining the Fleet Air Arm Sub Lieutenant (A) Neville was a popular member of the Romford Red Triangle Club. He was a keen cricketer, and was one of the Old Libertians' most valued fast Bowlers. He was also a keen pianist, chess player and photographer.
Steward Turner's grave
Steward Turner was the Son of James and Rose Ellen Turner, of South Norwood, Surrey, and is buried in Burscough Bridge (St. John the Baptist) Churchyard, Burscough, section E, grave No 2593.
No 1820 squadron formed in the USA and arrived at Burscough on the 25th July 1944 and stayed until early November 1944 when it transferred to RNAS Hatson in the Orkneys, a few weeks later the Squadron returned to Burscough and disbanded on the 15th December 1944 with out seeing operational service.
Curtiss-Wright Helldiver No JW121
Curtiss-Wright Helldiver No JW121 was one of a batch of 26 Curtiss-Wright Helldiver SBW-1B's allocated to the Royal Navy under lend lease arrangements and built by the Canadian Car and Foundry Company, only 10 were eventually exported to the UK.
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