1939 Incident Logs

DateTypeSerialUnitLocationNotes
05/09/1939OxfordL9496RAFCCranwellThis aircraft was damaged after landing when the pilot Flight cadet T P Seymour operated the undercarriage retraction lever instead of the flap retraction lever whilst being distracted by a question from his observer.
05/09/1939HurricaneL1942504sqnDigbyThis aircraft was on a cross country flight for the pilot F/Lt J B Parnell to learn a new sector. On return, the engine failed as the pilot opened the throttle to go around again. The aircraft hit a hollow on the airfield and overturned, injuring F/Lt Parnell.
08/09/1939HampdenL409750sqnCranwellAirborne from RAF Waddington for the pilot's first night solo on type, the aircraft landed safely at RAF Cranwell but whilst taxying collided with Oxford L4582 which was parked on the airfield. Pilot P/O Cockerell was uninjured but the aircraft was damaged sufficiently to require dismantling and repairing off site.
08/09/1939OxfordL4582RAFCCranwellThis aircraft was written off in an accident at night on this date, no further details on the accident record card.
08/09/1939HartK3743RAFCNear CranwellWhilst on a solo cross-country flight, the pilot made a precautionary landing in a small field. The aircraft overran the landing area and ran through a hedge. Pilot LAC P F Blackford was uninjured.
09/09/1939AnsonL916012SFTSSpitalgateThis aircraft was airborne on a solo training sortie when it overshot on landing and the pilot, Acting P/O N R Selkirk failed to apply enough power to go around. The aircraft crashed into Anson N5125 which was parked on the north side on the airfield.
09/09/1939AnsonN512512SFTSSpitalgateThis aircraft was parked northside at Spitalgate when Anson L9160 crashed into it following an unsuccessful overshoot attempt.
14/09/1939AudaxK5150RAFCCranwellThis aircraft was airborne from Cranwell on a routine training sorties. On return, the aircraft touched down on one wheel and bounced. The pilot, LAC A F Delamore was adjudged to have overcorrected the resultant swing and the aircraft came to rest tipped on its nose. Sufficient damage was sustained in this accident for the aircraft to be written off.
15/09/1939AudaxK5603RAFCCranwellWhilst taxying out for a training sortie, this aircraft was taxied too fast downwind, and as the aircraft was turned into the wind, one wingtip struck the ground tipping the aircraft on its nose. It was sent away for repair though the pilot F/O R E la F Wyatt was uninjured
19/09/1939HurricaneL1954504sqnMetheringhamThis aircraft crashed and was written off on a night-flying practice sortie. It was the pilot's first experience of flying in blackout conditions on a very dark night. There are two possible explanations for the crash: either the aircraft stalled and the pilot tried to use the engine to recover from it, or he lost sight of the flarepath and lost height rapidly without realising. The aircraft was destroyed in the crash and the pilot, F/O J M G Browne was killed.
20/09/1939AudaxK5592RAFCCranwellThis aircraft was airborne on a night-flying training sortie when it undershot the landing area and flew into the ground on return. The cause was the pilot misjudging his distance from the floodlight used as a night-landing aid. The aircraft sustained sufficient damage to be declared a write-off though pilot LAC A R Wright was uninjured.
20/09/1939HartK5791RAFCCranwellAirborne on a dual instruction sortie, the aircraft stalled in level flight due to lack of forward speed and struck the ground before the instructor, F/Lt P de C Festing-Smith was able to recover the situation. The aircraft was written off, both instructor and pupil survived.
24/09/1939HarvardN7076Grantham SFNewton, nr FolkinghamWhilst on an instrument flying training sortie, the aircraft spun in after the pupil pilot lost control in cloud at too low a height for the instructor to recover. The aircraft was destroyed on impact, and both the instructor F/O W S Pryde and his pupil LAC AB Hayes were killed.
28/09/1939HartK501512SFTSGranthamWhilst taxying out to take off on a night solo flight, pilot Acting P/O P B Legge was concentrating on pre-takeoff actions and did not see a floodlight on the airfield until the aircraft struck it. The pilot was uninjured and the aircraft was repaired on site.
28/09/1939HartK6445RAFCUnknown, LincsPilot LAC R H Cross was landing at a different airfield whilst on a solo flight when one wing dropped, the aircraft swung and nosed over. LAC Cross was uninjured, but the aircraft was written off.
30/09/1939HindK5373HQ 'B' Flt, Abingdonnr CranwellThis aircraft was destroyed on a cross-country flight from Catfoss to Abingdon. It was seen flying at low level, observed to strike the ground, then a hedge after which it flew for a further mile and dived into a field 2 miles north of Cranwell where it caught fire. Pilot Acting P/O G J Habgood and his passenger P/O J Ralph were both killed in the crash.
03/10/1939TutorK3212RAFCnr CranwellThis aircraft was written off when it ran through a hedge whilst the pilot S/Ldr N Keeble was attempting a forced landing on a cross-country flight
04/10/1939WallaceK6051Signals Sqn, 1ETWSCranwellWhilst rolling out of a dive at 1500 feet on a wireless operator test, the aircraft shook violently and the controls became unresponsive. The pilot, F/O L H McFarlane managed to force-land the aircraft. The problem was ascribed to aileron flutter in a high-speed dive.
06/10/1939AudaxK513012SFTSGranthamThis aircraft was airborne from Spitalgate on a night flying sortie. On return, the pilot Acting P/O R E S Brown made a heavy landing and the aircraft came to rest on its nose. The damage was repaired on site and P/O Brown was uninjured.
08/10/1939BlenheimL142423SqnDigbyThis aircraft landed wheels-up at Digby on return from a formation flight. One of the undercarriage lights was faulty, and the warning horn did not sound until it was too late for the pilot to go around again. The aircraft was written off in the accident but was used for spares recovery. The pilot F/O M ffrench Beytagh was uninjured.
10/10/1939OxfordL4627RAFCCranwellThis aircraft was written off after the pilot LAC P A C Sibley held off too high whilst landing. The starboard wing dropped and hit the ground, damaging the aircraft beyond repair. All onboard were uninjured.
10/10/1939AudaxK748912SFTSGranthamThis aircraft had just taken off on a night-flying sortie from Spitalgate. After climbing to approximately 500 feet, the pilot Acting P/O R E S Brown began a turn to the left, during which he dived into the ground. The accident happened under blackout conditions and before the airfield began using visual aids for night-flying. The accident card suggests that P/O Brown failed to rely on his instruments and became disorientated. The aircraft was destroyed in the crash and P/O Brown was killed.
10/10/1939BattleK75981AASManbyThis aircraft landed wheels-up on the airfield after the engine failed in flight. The aircraft was written off in the landing, but the pilot Sqn Ldr E C Ingham was unhurt.
12/10/1939BattleK76601AASManbyThis aircraft was airborne from Manby on a gunnery exercise. On returning to the airfield in low cloud, the aircraft's windscreen was obscured by fine mist. The pilot touched down a long way along the runway and realised too late that despite opening the throttles he did not have sufficient runway left to get airborne again. The aircraft went through the airfield perimeter hedge and came to rest in a ditch. The aircraft was sent away for repairs, the pilot Sgt E Tyrer was injured in the crash.
13/10/1939BattleK75931AASTheddlethorpeThis aircraft was airborne from Manby on a gunnery exercise over the Theddlethorpe weapons range. At low level after passing the targets, the engine failed and the aircraft stalled, hitting the ground before the pilot Sgt W E Levitt could recover it. The aircraft was written off and all 3 on board, Sgt W E Levitt, AC2 H S Melvin and AC2 J Warry were killed. Melvin & Warry were 604sqn aircrew and K7593 may have been a 604sqn aircraft in use at 1AAS.
14/10/1939FuryK82451AASManbyAircraft written off, no further details on accident record card.
17/10/1939HampdenL408050sqnWaddingtonWhilst taxying from dispersal to the squadron's hangar, the aircraft's brakes were applied but failed to operate. The aircraft was written off in the subsequent crash, though pilot P/O R Lloyd was uninjured.
18/10/1939AudaxK733912SFTSSpitalgateThis aircraft was airborne from Spitalgate on a formation training flight. On return to base, the aircraft landed awkwardly with the tailwheel high, and came to rest on its nose. The aircraft was written off in the crash and the pilot, Acting P/O F B Basset was injured due to being flung into the windscreen on impact as he had neglected to tighten his harness straps prior to landing.
21/10/1939He115BS4+DH1/KG406In the WashThis aircraft was destroyed when it crashed into the sea and sank after combat with 46sqn Hurricanes at 1300hrs. Oblt zur See Peinemann and two unnamed NCOs were killed in the crash, their bodies were not recovered.
21/10/1939He115BS4+GH1/KG406In the WashThis aircraft was destroyed when it crashed into the sea and sank after combat with 46sqn Hurricanes at 1300hrs. Oblt zur See G Reymann, Uffz H Schultze and Fw R Findersen (injured) survived the crash and were taken prisoner.
24/10/1939HindK6760RAFCCranwellThis aircraft was written off following a landing accident. The pupil landed badly, causing the instructor F/O E H Thomas to take over the controls. However, the pupil kept his feet on the aircraft's brakes until it was too late for the instructor to recover the situation. The aircraft overturned, but neither F/O Thomas nor his pupil were injured.
24/10/1939SpitfireK9984611sqnDigbyThis aircraft was damaged whilst parked when it was struck by taxying Spitfire L1265 after its brakes failed.
24/10/1939SpitfireL1053611sqnDigbyThis aircraft was damaged whilst parked when it was struck by taxying Spitfire L1265 after its brakes failed.
24/10/1939BlenheimL126523sqnDigbyWhilst taxying out from dispersal the brakes on this aircraft failed and it hit parked Spitfires K9984 & L1053 of 611Sqn in turn. All 3 aircraft were repairable, pilot J E M Collins was uninjured in the accident.
25/10/1939AnsonL704812SFTSSpitalgateThis aircraft was parked at Spitalgate when Anson N5326 swung into it whilst taxying in strong winds.
25/10/1939AnsonN532612SFTSSpitalgateWhilst taxying out in strong winds to take off on this date, this aircraft swung and hit parked Anson L7048. Pilot Acting P/O Lothian was unhurt and the aircraft was repaired and returned to service.
26/10/1939HindK8634RAFCCranwellTaxying out for a training flight, the aircraft struck a notice board on the airfield end-on. The pilot, P/O J S Georgeson, was new to the airfield and was taxying the aircraft from the back seat, which limited his forward visibility. The pilot was uninjured and the aircraft was repaired on site.
27/10/1939AnsonN5204608sqnnr Humber lightshipShot down by a Hurricane, P/O AD Baird killed, F/Lt GW Garnett killed, Cpl RA Wilson killed. Only Cpl Wilson's body was recovered.
30/10/1939AudaxK7424RAFCCranwellWhilst taxying out to take off for a training sortie, the pilot F/O A D Livingstone thought that he was about to taxy into the path of a landing aircraft. He applied the brakes sharply and the aircraft tipped on to its nose. The aircraft was repaired on site and F/O Livingstone was uninjured.
30/10/1939HampdenL407183sqnScamptonThis aircraft was severely damaged when the undercarriage was retracted prematurely during the take-off run, and was written off as a result. Pilot P/O M G Lewis was uninjured.
31/10/1939HampdenL409650sqnBranstonAirborne from RAF Waddington for the pilot's first night flight on type, and his first since November 1938, the aircraft lost height rapidly from around 5-700 feet shortly after takeoff, and was destroyed on impact with the ground. The pilot lost control of the aircraft due to disorientation caused by flying in a dark, moonless night under blackout conditions when he was inexperienced on the type and the conditions. Pilot, Sgt R.S.W. Cordle, and passengers AC1 J.F. Burge and AC2 L.J. Pentney were killed in the crash. One of the two passengers was not authorised to be on the flight.
03/11/1939FuryK82441AASTheddlethorpeAirborne from Manby on an air to ground gunnery practice sortie, the pilot failed to pull out of a dive in sufficient time due to misjudging the aircraft's altitude at the start of the dive. The aircraft was destroyed on impact with the ground and the pilot, F/Lt E H Jago was killed in the crash.
05/11/1939HampdenL4129144sqnHemswellOn landing from a practice formation flying sortie, the aircraft's port undercarriage leg extended but failed to lock and the starboard leg retracted on touchdown. The aircraft was repaired on site, the pilot, Sgt W T J Southey was uninjured in the accident.
06/11/1939OxfordP1838RAFCCranwellThis aircraft was damaged in a taxying accident. The pilot, P/O I D H Gibbons turned rapidly in very windy conditions, braked sharply and the aircraft tipped onto its nose.
06/11/1939SpitfireK9999611sqnDigbyThis aircraft was slightly damaged when the pilot Sgt J R Mather taxied into Blenheim L8722 which had been parked since the pilot last saw the part of the airfield he was taxying in across on return from a night sortie.
06/11/1939BlenheimL872223SqnDigbyThis aircraft was damaged whilst parked when Spitfire K9999 of 611sqn taxied into it at night.
06/11/1939HindK671312SFTSGranthamTaxying accident at the airfield, no further details recorded. Pilot Sgt L C Huggard was uninjured.
07/11/1939HartK5884RAFCCranwell SouthWhilst approaching the south airfield on return from a night solo flight on a very dark night the aircraft struck a cottage on the approach and was written off. The pilot, LAC C T Davies was injured in the crash.
08/11/1939HindK573212SFTSBourneThis aircraft was damaged during a forced landing caused by the pilot becoming lost. Pilot Sgt L C Huggard was uninjured.
10/11/1939HindL720112SFTSGranthamThis aircraft was damaged and required off-site repair following an incident where the pilot, Sgt B W Jobling, undershot the airfield whilst approaching to land at night.
11/11/1939HampdenL4186106sqnHaxeyCoded ZN-T, this aircraft was flying a practice low-level bombing sortie on the Misson bombing range when it stalled whilst turning at 200 feet at a speed of 140mph - an illustration of how easily a fully-loaded aircraft could be stalled in a turn. One engine caught fire on impact and the aircraft was destroyed. Pilot P/O D B Lowe was injured and subsequently returned to duty.
13/11/1939BlenheimL1249104SqnCranwellOn landing at Cranwell after a local night-flight, this aircraft turned left at the end of the flarepath and taxied into a ploughed field, coming to rest on its nose. The pilot P/O D G Belyea had become confused by the use of flares for ground marshalling. he was uninjured in the accident and the aircraft was repaired on site.
14/11/1939HartK646912SFTSGranthamThis aircraft was damaged in a landing accident when the pilot, Acting P/O E J Coleman landed downwind. One wing dropped, the aircraft struck the ground heavily and was damaged to a degree that required offsite repair.
15/11/1939HurricaneL180746sqnDigbyThis aircraft was damaged requiring off-site repair during a night-flying sortie. On approach, the pilot misjudged his height, failed to check his rate of descent and struck the ground heavily. The aircraft's undercarriage collapsed and the aircraft tipped onto its nose. Pilot Sgt B L Taylor was uninjured.
15/11/1939AnsonN498212SFTSSpitalgateThis aircraft was airborne on a night training sortie when it undershot the airfield on approach to land. Sufficient damage was sustained to write the aircraft off. Pilot Acting P/O S G Whiting was uninjured.
17/11/1939AudaxK732812SFTSNr SpitalgateThis aircraft was airborne from Spitalgate on a training flight when the pilot, Cpl K N Townsend made a forced landing in bad visibility. The aircraft was repaired and returned to service.
19/11/1939AudaxK4383RAFCCranwellThis aircraft sustained repairable damage in a take-off accident at Cranwell when the pilot LAC A Singh allowed the tail to rise too far, causing the propeller blades to strike the runway and break off.
23/11/1939HampdenL403449sqnWaddingtonCoded EA-? The aircraft flew into a hangar whilst trying to avoid the control tower during a landing attempt in poor visibility. 8 people were killed in the accident, including some working in the hangar who were crushed when one of the engines fell through the roof. S/Ldr P. McG Watt killed, Cpl T.A. Keating killed, AC1 S. Taylor killed, AC2 F.L. Talbot killed, AC1 L. McGarvie killed, LAC W.G. Kelly killed, Cpl A. Cooke injured, Cpl A. McD. Henderson killed, AC2 M. Bastow injured.
29/11/1939HartK3153RAFCWellingoreWhilst airborne for practice forced landings, the aircraft bounced on landing. The instructor, P/O J R M Stewart, took the controls, but discovered the flying controls were jammed and unmovable. The aircraft overturned during the crash and was written off. P/O Stewart and his pupil were uninjured.
30/11/1939BlenheimL145223sqnBlytonThis aircraft was airborne from Digby on a searchlight cooperation sortie in the Gainsborough area. The aircraft dived in to the ground from a skidding right hand turn following engine failure and impacted at Owlet Plantation near Belton's farm, Redhill between Laughton and Blyton. Of the 3 aircrew, only the gunner LAC C Chrystal(l) baled out. The pilot F/Lt P D Walker and engineer AC2 B France were killed in the crash. This pilot and aircraft appear to have been loaned from 23sqn to 229Sqn to assist in re-forming 229Sqn.
30/11/1939BattleK76841AASNr ManbyThis aircraft departed Manby for a practice bombing sortie. The engine failed shortly after take-off and the pilot, Lt W C A Church, RN made a forced landing in a nearby field. The aircraft was sent away for repairs, Lt Church was uninjured.
01/12/1939TutorK3433219sqnnr GranthamThis aircraft was written off following an engine failure in flight on a cross-country sortie from Catterick to Grantham. The pilot, Sgt F S Nightingale, attempted to force-land, but had to pull up and try to extend his glide to the next field when he saw a ridge across his chosen one. The aircraft stalled, dropped a wing and struck the ground 1 mile west of Grantham.
01/12/1939BlenheimN6186107SqnSutton BridgeThis aircraft was returning after a night sortie in windy weather. On final approach to land, the pilot Sgt E R Sarll held off too high and stalled the aircraft in the gusty wind at the time. The aircraft fell onto the runway damaging the port engine. The aircraft was sent away for repair. Sgt Sarll was unhurt in the incident.
09/12/1939BlenheimL8678229sqnDigbyCrashed on landing, no accident record card or further details.
09/12/1939BattleL5350266sqnSutton BridgeOn returning from a training flight, this aircraft landed wheels-up as the pilot F/Lt J B Coward had not allowed sufficient time for the wheels to fully extend and lock into position before touching down after a low, fast approach. F/Lt Coward was unhurt in the incident, the aircraft was sent away for repair.
12/12/1939HampdenL410661sqnHemswellThis aircraft was taxying in after a formation practice flight when it struck an unmarked set of wing jacks on the way back to the squadron's dispersal area. The obstruction was later flagged, the aircraft was dismantled and repaired off-site. Pilot P/O S B Morley and crew were uninjured.
13/12/1939AudaxK7423RAFC SFTSCranwellThis aircraft was airborne from Cranwell for a night sortie practising circuits and landings. The pilot, LAC W A Smith had completed 3 dual circuits with his instructor before being sent off for a series of solo circuits and landings. The first was uneventful, but on the second FC Smith lost height whilst in a left turn at circuit height (500 - 1000 feet) and flew into the ground on the edge of Cranwell North airfield whilst preparing to land. The aircraft was destroyed in the crash and LAC Smith was killed.
16/12/1939AnsonL796012SFTSSpitalgateThis aircraft was involved in a taxying accident at Spitalgate on this date. The aircraft was repaired on site and pilot Acting P/O J N Wescott was uninjured.
18/12/1939HartK501512SFTSGranthamAirborne for a sortie of dual-instruction night circuits and landings, the aircraft approached the airfield low and wide of the flarepath, and touched down with power applied. The undercarriage collapsed in the subsequent heavy landing and the aircraft was written off. Pilot F/Sgt F W le Seur (VR) and his pupil were uninjured.
19/12/1939BattleK76581AASSouth Cockerington GrangeLanded wheels-up following engine failure whilst airborne on a practice dive-bombing exercise. Pilot P/O G D Firmin was uninjured.
20/12/1939HindL720112SFTSGranthamThis aircraft was damaged when a tyre burst on landing. The damage was repaired on site, pilot Sgt N F Lowey was uninjured.
20/12/1939AudaxK514312SFTSSpitalgateThis aircraft was airborne from Spitalgate on a routine training flight. On return, the aircraft landed heavily due to engine failure ascribed to the pilot's mishandling of the engine. The pilot, A/P/O B P Legge was uninjured.
31/12/1939BattleK76751AASManbyThis aircraft returned to Manby from a training flight on the type involving circuits and landings. The undercarriage indicator lights both showed green, indicating the undercarriage was down and locked correctly. The aircraft landed down with both mainwheels extended, but these collapsed on touchdown. The aircraft was repaired on site, the pilot P/O B J Hooper was unhurt. The Form 1178 shows a query on the serial of this aircraft, K7576 is pencilled in above the entry.