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Beaufort W6473, 32 OTU - 27/3/42.

Beaufort W6473, 32 OTU - 27/3/42.
Author: Tony Broadhurst (Guest)
Time Stamp:
23:02:36 Sunday, October 21, 2007
Post:
Hello all,

During the afternoon of March 27, 1942 a Bristol Beaufort crashed near Rodeo or Lordsburg in New Mexico during a flight from Sky Harbor Municipal Airport, Phoenix, AZ to Abilene, TX. F/Lt. Kimpton was killed and three other RAF officers were injured. (AZ Daily Star, 28 Mar 1942).

Another US news report reads:

"Tucson, Ariz., March 28. A British Beaufort medium twin engined bomber crashed in flames near Lordsburg, N.M. late yesterday, injuring four Royal Air Force men, one fatally, the Tucson Army Bomber Base announced.

Flight Lieutenant N.K. Lloyd of Kelowna, B.C., died of burns. The injured men are R. West, Newcastle-on-the-Tyne, England, severe shock; Corporal J.R. BerthJones, London, shock, and Flight Officer P.A. Kimpton, London; bruises and shock."

Roger Hayward's 'The Beaufort File' identifies the aircraft as a Mk.I, W6473, of No.36 OTU., RAF Sidney, Patricia Bay, British Columbia -- "Crashed and DBF at Rodeo, New Mexico, 27.3.42".

The CWGC site carries a dedication to Flight Lieutenant Peter Adrian Kimpton, RAF, 33429, who died 27/03/42 and is buried in the El Paso (Fort Bliss) National Cemetery.

'They Shall Grow not Old' confirms F/L Kimpton PA, RAF was killed 27/03/42 in a flying accident involving Beaufort W6473, of 32 OTU, Patricia Bay, B.C.

Neither the CWGC or TSGNO list a F/Lt. N.K. Lloyd.

A further complication is that the RCAF record card on Beaufort W6473, gives location as Rodeo, Mexico and the pilot as S/Ldr. L.N. Kestrvse. There seems no doubt the accident occurred in New Mexico, Rodeo and Lordsburg being not many miles apart and not far of a course from Phoenix to Abilene -- but the identity of the injured crew members remains confused.

Perhaps fifteen or so Beauforts were assigned to No.32 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit, Patricia Bay, and flew operational patrols over the Eastern Pacific during the period following the the attack on Pearl Harbour. Twelve surviving Beauforts were turned to No.149 Squadron when formed at Patricia Bay later in 1942. Some of the US news reports suggested the Beaufort was on a War Bonds promotion tour.

Apparently, Sky Harbor is no more than about 50 miles from Mesa, AZ where No.4 British Flying Training School was located from 1941 to 45 and I am wondering whether the itinery had included a morale boasting visit to this RAF flying school. Unfortunately, the detailed records of No.4 BFTS begin in January 1943 and so are no help.

Can anyone with the AM Form 1180 for W6473, or the ORB for 32 OTU; establish the members of the crew involved in this accident and perhaps the intended route for the tour?

Many thanks for any advice, Tony Broadhurst


RE: Beaufort W6473, 32 OTU - 27/3/42.
Author: Dakota
Time Stamp:
02:36:18 Monday, October 22, 2007
Post:
G'day Tony

The accident involving Bristol Beaufort s/n W6473 of No. 32 O.T.U. occurred at 13:15 Hours in Rodeo, Mexico. The crew was on a specially authorized cross-country flight.

After one hour and ten minutes of flying, the port engine developed a violent vibration. It broke completely away from the aircraft. The pilot was forced to make a landing on rock strewn land. The aircraft was totally consumed by the ensuing fire.

The conclusion of the A.I.B. was: "The accident was due to mechanical breakdown in the port engine which resulted in the engine falling free and setting fire to the a/c in flight. This mechanical failure was due to breaking of the crank shaft. Sqn. Ldr. Loyd should be officially commended for his coolness and skill in landing the a/c, after the engine had fallen from it in the air and thereby reducing his chance of regaining control."

Pilot - 39387 S/L N.K. Loyd - Slightly Injured

Navigator - 33429 - F/L P.A. Kimpton - Killed

Rigger - 569280 Corporal J.R. Berth-Jones - Slightly Injured

Fitter - 1010798 A.C.1 R. West - Slightly Injured

Cheers...Chris



RE: Beaufort W6473, 32 OTU - 27/3/42.
Author: Tony Broadhurst (Guest)
Time Stamp:
06:13:02 Monday, October 22, 2007
Post:
Chris,

Thank you, that is just the sort of details I was hoping for.

Tony