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Saturday 8 November 1941 – Francis Wheeler and Doris Haynes rescue man from burning plane

Category Badsey and Aldington
Gloucestershire Echo
Transcription of article


The bravery of a Badsey, near Evesham, market gardener and his 26 years old daughter in rescuing an airman from a blazing ‘plane, which crashed in adjoining ground, has been officially recognised by the King.

His Majesty has been pleased to give orders for the publication in The London Gazette of the names of Francis Robert Wheeler of 33 Synehurst, Badsey, and his daughter, Mrs Doris May Haynes of 17 Council Houses, Cow Honeybourne, as having received an expression of commendation for their brave conduct.


On August 14, Mrs Haynes, her husband in the Forces, was helping her father on his land.  They stopped work to eat their midday meal in a shed.  The rural quiet was shattered when a ‘plane crashed in a plum orchard nearby.

Rushing out of the shed, father and daughter saw the machine in flames.  They dashed to the spot.  Two men, the pilot and navigator, had been thrown clear, abut another, the wireless operator, was beside the blazing machine.

Heedless of the flames and the explosions of small arms ammunition, the two shielded themselves as best they could, and dragged the man from certain death.  No sooner had they got to a safe distance than the petrol tanks burst.

There was loss of life in the crash, and at the inquest Mr Wheeler and Mrs Haynes were commended for the heroic part that they played.