The Airmen's Stories - AC2 R I Payne
Reginald Irving Payne was born in Treeton, Yorkshire on 17th July 1909 and educated at Treeton Council School. He went on to work at Treeton Colliery. When the war came he was exempt from military service, being in a reserved occupation, but he volunteered for the RAF and was called up on 27th June 1940. After initial training at Padgate he was sent to Wittering, it is thought for a short radar course, and joined 23 Squadron at Middle Wallop on 23rd September.
On the 25th Payne was engaged on a night patrol in Blenheim L8639, crewed with pilot P/O E Orgias and Sgt. LR Karasek. Orgias reported a rough-running engine and his intention to return to Middle Wallop. On the approach, with flaps and undercarriage lowered, the aircraft stalled and crashed at Broughton, south of the airfield. All three crew were killed.
The post-crash report said:
........ From the trail of evidence on the ground - namely a battered cylinder, then a frayed steel cable, and finally the crashed engine with these items missing - we came to the conclusion that for some reason the bolts holding the top cylinder of the radial Mercury engine had become lose. Then the pounding of the piston in the loose cylinder eventually broke the steel cable at the front of the motor allowing the huge top and bottom cowlings to open out suddenly forming an overpowering brake on one side of the aircraft, altogether beyond the control of the pilot. The cowlings of the Mercury were held on by steel cables clamped tightly around at the front and the rear of the motor.
Payne is buried in St Helen's churchyard extension, Treeton.
He was one of a number of aircrew, particulary radar operators, who flew operationally in the Battle of Britain without being promoted to the rank of Sergeant as laid down in AMO 416 of 27th June 1940.