World War 2 (1939 - 1945)


Image reproduced by permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Henry Ernest Herbert

Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit: No.5 Lancaster Finishing School
Rank: Sergeant Flight Engineer
Service Number: 1822275

Henry Ernest Herbert was born in Ballantrae, Ayrshire, in 1924, son of Tom Joseph Herbert and Maggie Jessie Herbert née McKnight. He was known as Ernest. His father was born in Almondsbury Gloucestershire and was employed in 1911 as a footman at Lackham House, Lacock, Chippenham, Wiltshire and from 1915 to 1919, served in the 6th Dorset Regiment in France in WW1 reaching the rank of corporal. In 1923 when he married Maggie McKnight in Girvan, he was butler at Laggan House, Ayrshire. In 1943 the family moved to Newton Mearns and lived at 'The Lodge' Capelrig. Tom and Ernest were employed by Lord Weir.

Ernest joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve very soon after his family moved to Newton Mearns and was posted to No.5 Lancaster Finishing School at RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire.

On 14 April 1944 he was a member of the crew of flight W4103, an Avro Lancaster Mk 1, which had taken off at 15:50 from RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire for general flying practice. At 16:30 when flying at approximately 1000 feet over the village of Screveton, one and a half miles South of Syerston Airfield, it was in collision with an Airspeed Oxford from 1521 Flight at Wymeswold. Both aircraft were badly damaged and crashed. Eyewitnesses reported that the pilots steered their damaged aircraft away from the village. There were no survivors.

Ernest was 19 years old when he was killed and is buried in Oxford (Botley) Cemetery - Plot I/2 Grave 211 alongside two other members of the crew. He is also commemorated on the Newton Mearns Parish Church and Ballantrae War Memorials.

A lady who knew Ernest at that time recalled that he was a very good dancer and was her sister's dance partner at the local dances.

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