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Harvard IIb  FE965 [Royal Air Force Aircraft Serial and Image Database]

 Harvard IIb  FE965

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Aircraft Accident / Loss Entry

Date of Crash  05 Dec 45 Aircraft Name  Harvard IIB Serial Number  FE965
Unit  1340 SD Flt Operating Airfield  Kannur Country  
Aircrew details Wg Cdr Morgan Rice EDMONDES(22190)
Details Colitatlu Malabar caught fire BL in paddy field. On 5th December, W/Cdr Edmondes took off solo in his Harvard FE965 to do a reconnaissance round the Porkal area. I'm not clear as to the purpose, perhaps to look for additional areas which might be suitable for the CDRE. He went off about 8.30, and we expected him back in two hours at the outside. (Of course, he would be out of R/T range as soon as he was out of sight). Two hours passed, then three, then four, with no sign of him. By this time he must be out of fuel. Things were looking serious. We signalled Porkal: they had neither seen nor heard him. I signalled Group to report what had happened, asking them to stand by until I'd decided what help I might need from Yelahanka (200 miles away). Curiously enough, I can still remember the little place we thought might be a good spot to start looking - it was called Golitattu. A search had now to be mounted, and by good fortune I still had with me the F/O navigator I've mentioned before. Now he could make himself useful. Searches are a Navigator's business, and part of his training, and now he could put it to good use. I put him in charge of the search planning. We had to make some assumptions. There was no reason to suppose that the W/Cdr would have flown out to sea, but he might have force-landed on a beach or in the shallows. In which case he would be easy to find, the Harvard was still in its all-yellow training plumage. The W/Cdr had been found, his engine had failed, he was unhurt after a successful forced landing about 10 miles inland. The local Police had picked him up and driven him back to Porkal: he'd simply walked in there. Porkal had signalled the CDRE, they rushed over to tell us just as Alex was climbing in. Search cancelled, all go home. I signalled Group to stand down.

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