The Mosquito Crash & Wing Commander 'Bok' Hull
In 2017, a chance comment by a Goadby resident was to set our colleagues from The Field Detectives on a huge-scale research project that would involve extensive field work as well as hundreds of hours of wartime and family history research, and would end in an emotional memorial ceremony two years later.
The Field Detectives began working on an historic landscape study at Goadby Marwood in the spring of 2017, with the aim of understanding more about the known Romano-British site located on the edge of the village, close to Goadby Hall. Whilst the detectives were surveying one of the large fields on Hall Farm, farm manager, Charlie Iddeson, happened to mention the De Havilland Mosquito that had crashed nearby just after World War II. Several years earlier, Charlie had retrieved part of the tail section from the wooded area bordering the field and stored it in his barn for safekeeping, but the exact location of the crash site was unknown. Unable to resist such a fascinating puzzle, in 2018 The Field Detectives began the mammoth task of finding the crash site and identifying the unfortunate pilot.
The crash occurred on the night of Friday, May 17th, 1946, at around 10.55pm, and the details, as disclosed at the subsequent inquest, were reported in the Nottingham Evening Post on May 20th:
FLASH IN THE SKY
R.A.F. Officer’s Fatal Crash
It was stated at an inquest at Melton today on Wing-Comdr. George L. Bazett Hull, D.F.C., who was killed when his plane crashed at Goadby Marwood, near Melton on Friday night, that Lord Daresbury was first on the scene and saw the pilot lying dead between the wreckage.
A verdict of “Accidental death from multiple injuries,” was recorded.
Wing-Comdr. Hull, who was flying solo in a Mosquito from Cottesmore aerodrome, was a south African who had served throughout the war.
Wing-Comdr. Jefferson told the Coroner (Mr. A. P. Marsh) that Hull was a very experienced pilot, who was converting to Mosquitos.
On Friday he had already flown with an instructor. He then did three solo landings, and then took off for the fourth time at 10.42 p.m. Shortly afterwards he was spoken to and replied that everything was all right.
THE LAST CALL
About 10.55 the R.A.F. station saw a light in the sky in the direction of Melton, and a voice came out “Cottesmore.” Then there was silence. At 11.25 it was reported that a Mosquito had crashed at Goadby Marwood.
W/O Dixon, in charge of inspection at Cottesmore, said he had made some preliminary tests but could not yet state the cause of the crash.
Capt. Gerald Desmond Simpson, of Waltham, said he saw the aircraft overhead and heard the engines cut out. He watched it circle and lose height. Then there was a flash in the sky. As soon as this happened he and Lord Daresbury went to the scene and found wreckage burning. They searched for survivors and saw the officer between two parts of the wreckage. He was dead. His parachute was lying on the ground open.
George Hull, known to his family by his middle name, Laurence, and to his friends and comrades as ‘Bok’, was born in Cape Province, South Africa, and came to the UK in the mid-1930s to join the R.A.F. During their research The Field Detectives unearthed the dramatic story of an exceptional pilot, his exploits during World War II, including imprisonment in the infamous German prison camp, Stalag Luft III, (made famous by the 1963 film ‘The Great Escape’), and the subsequent, horrendous ‘Long March’ across Germany. Their booklet, ‘The Flying Hulls & Bok’s Crew of 1942’, tells the stories of Bok, his cousin Caesar Hull, who also flew with the R.A.F. during WWII, and Bok’s Bristol Blenheim crew, who were shot down and captured with him in 1942.
The culmination of The Field Detectives' research was an emotional memorial ceremony held at the crash site in Goadby Marwood. The ceremony was attended by members of Bok and Caesar’s family, and a permanent memorial plaque was unveiled near the site.
Wing Commander George Laurence Bazett Hull D.F.C.
Charlie Iddeson with part of the Mosquito tailplane.
A De Havilland DH98 Mosquito T MkIII similar to the one flown by Wing Commander Hull.
(Image BAE Systems)
Read the full story of Wing Commander Bok Hull and the remarkable research carried out by The Field Detectives in their booklet: