Thame Remembers Pilot Officer Peter Milton Jennings
Peter Milton Jennings was born in Little Milton, Oxfordshire in late 1915 to parents John Thomas and Eva Hannah Milton (nee Cooke). John Thomas Jennings was a grocer in Little Milton. Later Peter attended Lord William’s School in Thame from 1927 to 1932.
Peter joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve as NCO Aircrew (905938) in September 1939 and served as a Sergeant pilot with 158 Sqn based at RAF Lissett in East Yorkshire where he flew Halifax bombers. He was commissioned to Pilot Officer on 31st August 1943 from Flight Sergeant.
He was an experienced pilot who had already flown 23 operational sorties with 158 Sqn. At least 20 of those missions were with the same crew that took off in Halifax Mk III HX351 just after midnight on 20th February 1944 for a mission to bomb Leipzig.
Nine minutes later the bomber crashed into a field just off a minor road connecting the villages of Atwick and Bewholme near the coast of East Yorkshire killing all the crew instantly.
The accident was investigated but the cause was inconclusive. It appears that the pilot may have lost control after entering cloud as a result of which a tail plane failure occurred but this could not be proved beyond doubt. The crew were returned to their family homes for burial and Peter’s was returned to Little Milton where he was buried on 26th February 1944.
157100 Pilot Officer Peter Milton Jennings RAF (VR) is buried in St James’s churchyard in Little Milton, Oxon. He is remembered in Thame on Lord Williams’s school memorial board. There is also a memorial to the crew at the crash site, put there by the navigator’s brother.
The Thame Remembers Cross was delivered to St James Churchyard, Little Milton on 15th October 2015 by Sheila Wyse