19.07.1943. No. 759 Squadron F.A.A. Martlet IV FN142. Midshipman (A) Charlton. Location: Cloford Common (4 miles South West of Frome, Somerset)
Mission: Training Flight.

Date: 19th December 1943.

Time: 10.05.hrs.

Unit: 759 Squadron. Fleet Air Arm.

Type: Grumman Martlet IV.

Serial: FN142

Code: ?

Base: Yeovilton. (H.M.S. Heron)

Location: Cloford Common (4 miles South West of Frome, Somerset)

Pilot: Midshipman (A) Basil John Charlton, R.N.V.R. Age 19. Killed.


Took-off from Yeovilton at 0925 hrs on a cloud flying exercise in a defined area south west of Yeovil, At approximately 1005 hrs, the aircraft was observed near Frome emerging from cloud in a high speed dive, the engine being under power and the aircraft in a left-wing-low attitude. The dive continued under power in a westerly direction from approximately 5,000 feet, down to 1,000 feet, when structural failure of both wings and tail unit occurred. Two loud bangs were heard in quick succession as the aircraft broke up. The fuselage and engine continued in the dive, and crashed to the ground 700 yards further along the line of flight. No attempt was made by the pilot to abandon the aircraft. Inspection at the scene of the accident showed that the main wreckage consisting of fuselage and engine had dived at an angle of about 45 degrees into rising ground near the North West corner of Postlebury Wood. The detached wreckage was strewn along a rough line extending to the village of Truddoxhill, a distance of one mile north east of the crash.

Martlet FN142 seen here taking-off from H.M.S. Formidable while serving with 888 Squadron F.A.A.
in the Mediterranean in preparation for Operation Torch.

002820029-a-0028new-34-kb0029cc002820029-b-0028new-42.7-kb0029 ccccccccc(left) Basil John Charlton.ccccc ccccccccccccc(right) Basil’s grave at Sheffield Abbey Lane Cemetery.

002830029-a-0028new-67.3-kb0029cc002830029-b-0028new35.4-kb0029 The Aircrew Remembrance Society investigated the crash site of FN142 in September 1998. (above left) Alex King holding propeller blade from FN142, (right) a Grumman Aircrafts makers plate with the Wildcat Mod F4 F.

888 Squadron Martlets ranged for take-off on H.M.S. Formidable.

Burial Details: Basil John Charlton. Sheffield Abbey Lane Cemetery. Sec. A. Gen. Grave 130. Son of John Garrett Charlton and Mary Maria Charlton, of Sheffield.

Researched by David King for relatives of Basil John Charlton, thanks to Mrs. J Lockwood for Basil’s photo, and Mr. R Armitt the grave photo.