Lieut Robert l Mason

Lieut Robert l Mason

Death 15 Dec 1944 (aged 21)
Burial Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, USA
Memorial ID 92370248 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Lt.Robert L. Mason was killed in England when his plane tried to land in a fog.

A report written after the crash from a crew member who bailed out reads as follows:

(page one missing).. "to our base in England as fellow crew members from a raid on Kassel, Germany. The ship had been severely damaged by flack. Our number one engine was shot out and the fuselage had been badly shot out. There was considerable doubt in all minds of the members of the crew as to our ability to make our base. We were flying in zero-zero weather and were unsure as to our exact position. On reaching the coast of England our pilot, Lieutenant Harris, felt that his ability to land our damaged airplane safely was highly in question and passed the word round to we crew members to bail out if we were so inclined. My friend, Sergeant Burry, decided to stay with the ship, whilst I elected to bail out, which I did. To the best of my knowledge, almost immediately after leaving the ship it cashed into a radar tower about six miles from our home base, located near Rushedon, England. All members of the crew, including Sergeant Burry were killed in the crash.....

Published:05:45 Friday12 June 2015

Low cloud and drizzle hung over Daventry on December15 1944 when two USAAF B-17 Bombers flew over at around 500 ft.
Seconds later one of the planes crashed killing all on board.

It is a piece of Daventry not many are familiar with.
New efforts are being made to tell the tale of that flight and the men on it, and to ensure they are not forgotten with a new Memorial to be installed in Daventry.

The B-17 Flying Fortress was a four engine heavy bomber, usually carried a crew of 10 and had a cruising speed of 182 mph.

Back in1944 the two American Bombers were returning from a successful raid on Kassel in Germany, where 334 planes had been targeting the towns railway marshaling yards and tank factory. As they dropped in height to land back at Chelveston Air Field, east of Rushden, they found their vision limited by the low clowds and were attemped to land using radio beacons.

As the passed over Borough Hill they collided with the wires of a radio mast on the northern tip of Borough Hill,close to the edge of a modern Golf course. One plane flew through the wires and aerials, landing back at base with bits of wires still attached.

The other planes wing reportedly struck the wires,and it crashed on the northern tip of Borough Hill
killing all on board- Finis Harris, John Griffin, R. L. Mason,Lavern Ridge, Herschel McCoy, Cliff Melton, Robert Burry, willy Barns and Chas Nordland.

The 500 ft mast they struck was part of the Allies Gee Network, a system of radio beacons that were used by pilots to to navigate over Germany. A System set up to save lives and aid the bombers and fighters in finding their targets.

The Gee Mast on Borough Hill was controlled from brick buildings that still stand near the Golf course.Due to its importance to the war effort, Borough Hill not only faced a blackout of its Masts warning lights but also access and other roads were camouflaged making it impossible to see the low cloud. as a result of the crash the mast was out of operation for 24 hours.

The Memorial to the airmen being worked n by Daventy Town Council and will be erected nears the towns existing war Memorial on Abbey street.

Lynn Scott from the Town Council said "it all started when Tony Jackson contacted the council. He was investigating the crash and he thought it was time to give these men a memorial in the town. Everybody here agreed that it was a good idea and important thing to do.This year is the 70th Anniversary of the end of the second world war so its quite a significant date.

" the Memorial is being worked on as we speak by a stone mason. Its going to be granite, and it will sit one tier down from the war memorial in the gardens there. Its a suitable place to put the memorial as from that site they can see Borough Hill. It also means they will be remembered along with all others on the memorial every remembrance Sunday. " a short while ago an organized dig found pieces from the plane. they were taken to Sewell Museum and are on display there."

Apparently a man from Daventry, when he was a young boy and s pupil at the grammar school' wentup Borough hill shortly after the crash.

Although it was guarded by police and military he got pretty close and could see the navigators cap0 lying in the wreckage. One of the people guarding the site said you might as well have it its owner dosen't need it any more. he kept the cap for years but the gave it to Sywell Museum.

"We're also in touch with relative of Robert Burry. he was the father of Peter Searle and grandfather of of Rebecca Saywell who now live in March in Cambridgeshire and been helping with the background information.

Peters mother was pregnant with him at the time of the crash. they have done lots of research into the crash and have been very helpful."

Once completed the new memorial will be installed, and a dedication Ceremony is being planned.

Lynn said: "the date for the unveiling will be August 23.

" We're hoping to have a service of dedication, and a bit of a ceremony at the War Memorial with a short reception at the town councils offices afterwards for the family and those involved in the planning of the memorial,"

Family Members


Sponsored by Ancestry



  • Created by: Loren Bender
  • Added: 22 Jun 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 92370248
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lieut Robert l Mason (5 Feb 1923–15 Dec 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 92370248, citing Springwell Cemetery, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, USA ; Maintained by Loren Bender (contributor 47060026) .