Ernest Robert James Blezard (1919-1944)

Flight Lieutenant Ernest Robert James Blezard of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve died when his aircraft crashed into residential housing in Fartown, Huddersfield, in July 1944, killing three civilians.


He was born on 16 November 1919 at Canterbury, Kent, the son of postman Ernest Robert Blezard and his wife Christina (née Driscoll).

By 1939, the Blezard family was living at 36 Dewhurst Road, Fartown and 20-year-old Ernest was working as an assistant collector at the Inland Revenue.

He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1940 and reportedly "crash landed Oxford R5949 at Barkston Heath on 8th December 1940". He rose to the rank of Flight Lieutenant and served as a flight instructor in Canada.

He married trolleybus conductress Kathleen Mary Grogan[1] in 1944 at St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church, Longwood.

On Thursday 6 July 1944, he took off from Finmere Airfield, Oxfordshire, in RAF Mosquito DZ698 to undertake a routine training flight. Blezard instead deviated from the planned exercise and flew to Huddersfield where he carried out a series of low-level passes over the Fartown area — this was seemingly something that he had pre-arranged with his parents, as they were amongst those who watched the aircraft.

During the final pass, Blezard lost control whilst attempting aerobatic manoeuvre — said by one witness to be a loop — and the aircraft reportedly "flipped over onto its back" before crashing to the ground in an area of relatively new residential houses to the northwest of Woodhouse Hill. The aircraft completely demolished one property and badly damaged another. The occupants of both houses died:

Ernest's widow, Kathleen Mary, later remarried in 1949 to John Joseph Devlin. She died in 2000.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission


Notes and References

  1. Born 12 August 1920, daughter of Thomas Grogan and his wife Annie (née Gibson).