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a 1937 bomber crash at Miranshah

a 1937 bomber crash at Miranshah
Author: Pete Sharpe (Guest)
Time Stamp:
20:18:17 20 April 2004
Post:
Can anybody please ID the squadron, aircraft type/serial and crew for me ?

given in "Flight" of December 30th 1937, in connection with the Waziristan operations:- "For Galiantry" - P/O. G. C. N. Close, RA.F was duty pilot on the Miranshah aerodrome when an aircraft laden with bombs crashed and burst into flames. This officer, despite the explosion of a bomb and small arms ammunition, made persistent attempts to extinguish the flames and rescue the crew, until stopped by a superior officer.

thanks

Pete



RE: a 1937 bomber crash at Miranshah
Author: annsa
Time Stamp:
21:04:23 20 April 2004
Post:
Hi Pete,

At some time in the not too distant future I shall possibly get to the relevant AIR30 file that has the citation in it. I'm trawling my way slowly through them for Hugh Halliday who is building up a database of inter war awards, unfortunately I haven't got as far as AIR30/127 or 137, one of which might have details of interest to you!!

Regards,

Ann Sadler


RE: a 1937 bomber crash at Miranshah
Author: Iltis
Time Stamp:
19:22:24 21 April 2004
Post:
Thanks Ann

I have a load of material on J Coggins DFM & Bar (both interwar Palestine)later MBE gallantry 1940, if Hugh would like to get in touch

cheers

Pete


RE: a 1937 bomber crash at Miranshah
Author: Iltis
Time Stamp:
19:23:26 21 April 2004
Post:
and I think also D H Davies AFM thinking about it

Pete


RE: a 1937 bomber crash at Miranshah
Author: annsa
Time Stamp:
21:54:55 21 April 2004
Post:
Hi Pete,

He has probably got the AFM material, but might not have. You should be able to mail him direct from this site if you click on the relevant bit near his name when he has posted something. However if you have got any material from the AIR30 files concerning interwar years awards, I'm sure Hugh would be grateful for the info. Off the top of my head I believ that I have only got to the end of AIR30/62 so there's quite a few more files to go before I get to the one that might interest you!!

All the best,

Ann


RE: a 1937 bomber crash at Miranshah
Author: HughAHalliday
Time Stamp:
01:00:09 22 April 2004
Post:
I shall be contacting off-line re Coggins and Davies/Davis. Re Close (and an associated award), read on:

CLOSE, Gerald Charles Neil, P/O - Medal of the Military Division of the Order of the British Empire - awarded as per London Gazette dated 21 December 1937; associated with operations in Waziristan during the period 17th January to 15th September 1937. Serving in No.5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron when award made. This award was later exchanged for a George Cross. Squadron Leader G.C. Close, GC, No.59 Squadron, was killed in action, 9 May 1941 and is buried at Boulogne. See also award to AC1 G.S. Woodcock.

"When an aircraft, laden with bombs, crashed and burst into flames on the Miranshah aerodrome, this officer, who was duty pilot on the aerodrome, hastened to the scene of the accident and, in spite of the explosion of a bomb and small arms ammunition, made persistent attempts to extinguish the flames and to rescue the crew until ordered to withdraw by a superior officer."

Public Record Office Air 2/2516 has original recommendation drafted 20 May 1937 by S/L L.W. Cannon, Commanding Officer, No.5 Squadron.

"At Miranshah at about 0950 hours on the 13th April 1937, a Wapiti aircraft of No.27 (B) Squadron crashed about 700 yards beyond the boundary of the aerodrome shortly after leaving the ground. This aircraft was proceeding to the zone of air blockade operations and was loaded with four 112-pound Mark VI bombs, for 8 %BD-pound practice bombs and 800 rounds of small arms ammunition. One of the 112-pound bombs exploded immediately the aircraft crashed.

"Pilot Officer Close was Duty Pilot at Miranshah aerodrome at the time of the crash. He at once leapt on the fire tender taking with him AC.1 Woodcock and AC1 McKinnon and proceeded to the scene of the accident with the greatest promptitude.

"The fire tender was temporarily impeded on the way to the scene of the accident by a difficult nullah. Pilot Officer Close in company with the two airmen left the tender at this point and ran about 250 yards to the aircraft. Whilst still some 75 yards away from the scene of the accident they observed the aircraft burst into flames. Pilot Officer Close led on his airmen and approached closely to the burning aircraft.

"All three men rushed back to the fire tender which by this time had arrived near the burning aircraft. They seized fire extinguishers and approached as near as possible to the burning wreckage, sprayed the fire and did their utmost to rescue the imprisoned crew.

"Whilst they were so engaged at a distance of about eight feet from the wreckage a second 112-pound bomb exploded. Fortunately none of the would-be rescuers was injured. In spite of the explosion of this bomb and numerous small arms ammunition, they continued their attempts to extinguish the flames and rescue the crew. They did not withdraw from the immediate vicinity of the crash until ordered to do so by a senior officer who judged the risks too great owing to the grave danger of further explosions of bombs and small arms ammunition."

* * * * *

WOODCOCK, Gerald Scott, Aircraftman 1st Class and now Leading Aircraftman (515747) - British Empire Medal - awarded as per London Gazette dated 21 December 1937. "For meritorious service"; associated with operations in Waziristan during the period 17th January to 15th September 1937. See also award to P/O G.C.N. Close. Serving in No.5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron when award made. Award presented at a Station Parade, Risalpur, 7 May 1938 by G/C C.C. Darley. Public Record Office Air 2/2516 has original recommendation drafted 20 May 1937 by S/L L.W. Cannon, Commanding Officer, No.5 Squadron.

"At Miranshah at about 0950 hours on the 13th April 1937, a Wapiti aircraft of No.27 (B) Squadron crashed about 700 yards beyond the boundary of the aerodrome shortly after leaving the ground. This aircraft was proceeding to the zone of air blockade operations and was loaded with four 112-pound Mark VI bombs, for 8 %BD-pound practice bombs and 800 rounds of small arms ammunition. One of the 112-pound bombs exploded immediately the aircraft crashed.

"AC.1 Woodcock was on duty in charge of the fire tender at the time of the accident and proceeded with Pilot Officer Close to the scene of the accident with great promptitude.

"The fire tender was temporarily impeded on the way to the scene of the accident by a difficult nullah. AC.1 Woodcock in company with Pilot Officer Close and AC.1 McKinnon left the tender at this point and ran about 250 yards to the aircraft. Whilst still some 75 yards away from the scene of the accident they observed the aircraft burst into flames. All approached the aircraft, AC.1 Woodcock being particularly daring his his approach.

"All three men rushed back to the fire tender which by this time had arrived near the burning aircraft. They seized fire extinguishers and approached as near as possible to the burning wreckage, sprayed the fire and did their utmost to rescue the imprisoned crew.

"Whilst they were so engaged at a distance of about eight feet from the wreckage a second 112-pound bomb exploded. Fortunately none of the would-be rescuers was injured. In spite of the explosion of this bomb and numerous small arms ammunition, they continued their attempts to extinguish the flames and rescue the crew. They did not withdraw from the immediate vicinity of the crash until oredred to do so by a senior officer who judged the risks too great owing to the grave danger of further explosions of bombs and small arms ammunition.


RE: a 1937 bomber crash at Miranshah
Author: errol.martyn@xtra.co.nz (Guest)
Time Stamp:
02:28:56 22 April 2004
Post:
And from 'Flight' of 22 Apr 37 (p390), a report of the aircraft and crew lost:

"The Air Ministry regrets to announce that P/O. John Barrington Pascoe-Webb and L.A/C. Raymond William Gibbs lost their lives in an accident which occurred near Miranshah, on April 13, to an aircraft of 27 (Bomber) Squadron, Kohat, India. P/O. Pascoe-Webb was the pilot of the aircraft and L.A/C. Gibbs the passenger."

Errol


Westland Wapiti IIA K1301
Author: Don Clark (Guest)
Time Stamp:
06:39:51 22 April 2004
Post:
Westland Wapiti IIA K1301 was the aircraft in question.

One of a batch of 56 Wapiti IIAs K1254-K1309, delivered between Oct 30 and Mar 31 under contract 21442/30, for Army co-operation duties in India.

K1301 was delivered on 17 Mar 1931 (Packing Depot), thence to Aircraft Depot Drigh Road, Karachi 28 May 1931. With 60 Sqn Nov 1936 coded S and T. Later to 27 Sqn but date not recorded. Engine lost power on take-off, swung and blew up, Miramshah 13 Apr 1937, 2 killed.

27 Sqn soldiered on with Wapitis in India for a decade, from April 1930 to Nov 1940, latterly getting some Harts and Tiger Moths in late 1939 before converting to the Blenheim IF from Nov 1940. Earlier, 27 Sqn had taken part in the evacuation of civilians from Kabul during the 1928 Afghani tensions.

In Indian conditions, K1301 was far from the only Wapiti to suffer a violent fate, however, a number were struck off charge in the 1940-1942 period described as "deteriorated" (!), while K1277 (a 20 Sqn a/c) had managed no less than 1126.15 hrs when struck off in Feb 40!

Sources:

The K File-The RAF of the 1930s/Halley/Air Britain 1995

Profile Publications No 32 The Westland Wapiti/Andrews/Profile Pubs 1965

RAF Squadrons/Jefford/Airlife/1988

Bomber Squadrons of the RAF & Their Aircraft/Moyes/Macdonald 1964

Action Stations Overseas/Fairbairn/Patrick Stephens 1991



RE: Westland Wapiti IIA K1301
Author: Iltis
Time Stamp:
16:26:04 22 April 2004
Post:
Thanks Gents

SUPERB

Pete


RE: a 1937 bomber crash at Miranshah
Author: Iltis
Time Stamp:
14:26:28 04 May 2004
Post:
Hi Annsa

I have some stuff to fax to Hugh H, please can you let me have his fax number

cheers

Pete


RE: a 1937 bomber crash at Miranshah
Author: Paul McMillan (Guest)
Time Stamp:
13:59:01 07 May 2004
Post:
Times Report

http://web3.infotrac.galegroup.com/itw/infomark/602/590/75751356w3/purl=rc2_TTDA_2_Pascoe-Webb___1/1/1937 to 12/31/1939______________________________________________________&dyn=sig!17?sw_aep=free4_tda


RE: a 1937 bomber crash at Miranshah
Author: annsa
Time Stamp:
22:51:58 07 May 2004
Post:
Hi Paul,

Seems the Times website is still accessible.

This link works better, you got too many underscores in yours!

http://web3.infotrac.galegroup.com/itw/infomark/602/590/75751356w3/purl=rc2_TTDA_2_Pascoe-Webb_1/1/1937%20to%2012/31/1939_&dyn=sig!17?sw_aep=free4_tda

The links don't seem to work unless you have already gone onto the site. If it comes up with requiring a password typing the word trial in does the trick.

Regards,

Ann