Blackburn Ernest Pte 3452334

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Personnel Entry

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Name Blackburn Ernest
Army number 3452334
Rank Pte
Date of birth 1919/20.
Age 24
Unit Enlisted in the Lancashire Fusiliers 1/12/39, Sent to 310th I.T.C. Trf to The Durham Light Infantry 12/4/1940, Posted 11th Bn DLI. Served ? BEF. Served Iceland. Trf to the Army Air Corps 25/10/1942, Posted Glider Pilot Regiment, 2nd Bn, Posted "C" Flight at RAF Booker, Posted "D" Squadron. KILLED in an accident 13/5/1944.
Platoon or other sub-unit
Task or role
Joined Brigade 12/4/1940
Promotions Sgt
Prisoner of War
Died/Killed in action 13/5/1944
Home address Son of Harry and Edith Blackburn, of Leeds. Buried Grave 237, Section Y, Leeds (Harehills) Cemetery.
Source table 11DLI

Thanks to the Archivist of the Glider Pilot Regiment we know that....Ernest Blackburn took part in the successful record-breaking attempt to tow a Horsa glider to the highest possible ceiling; Staff Sergeant Bill Higgs was first pilot to Ernest Blackburn, and they were towed to 14,880 feet in Horsa BT 114 by a Short Stirling bomber flown by Flying Officer Allen from RAF Keevil on 25 April 1944. At 14,880 feet Flg Offr Allen said that was the highest they could climb on tow , but released the glider in such a way for it to pull up to a stall position to 15,000 feet, the new record. This was done at the behest of the Sqn. C.O. Captain Ogilvie, and witnessed by him and Captain Barrie Murdoch.

Sgt Blackburn took part in a night training exercise on 13 May 1944 at RAF Tarrant Rushton. At 02:15 a.m., the Horsa he was co-piloting with his first pilot, Staff Sergeant J. Halford, Horsa LH 520, overshot the landing and hit a Halifax (LL 334) of 298 Squadron RAF, which was parked on dispersal with red obstruction light. Staff Sergeant Halford was injured, and Ernest was killed, aged 24.