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Thread: Mid-air crash of Mustangs over Stokes Park April 17, 1943

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    Default Mid-air crash of Mustangs over Stokes Park April 17, 1943

    For years my father has told me in great detail about this accident yet he was never able to find out the details such as the squadron or the nationality of the pilots. He was led to believe that they were Canadians and so our search seemed futile. He has both his diary notations and a great sense of recall and wondered if there was any way that his story of what he saw and heard would of interest of any to historians. If anyone is interested please let me know. Thank you
    Last edited by cathy nebel; 1st October 2011 at 00:24. Reason: grammatics

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    Hi there, can you confirm where is Stoke Park, is it in the UK? Only finding it in America. What was witnessed in the crash? Cheers.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    The craft don't appear to have been American, according to this:

    http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbadate.asp?thedate=430417&Submit2=Go&offset=25

    Assuming there was at least one casualty from the crash, you could trawl the the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database using "Geoff"s (Wonderful) Search Engine" here:

    http://www.hut-six.co.uk/cgi-bin/search39-47.php

    Be warned, for that date there are 176 listings for (Regiment/Corps = Royal Air Force), and another 50-odd for Royal Canadian Air Force. You might want to keep track of which squadron was on which aircraft at the time (I believe most of the losses are from Bomber Command), and bear in mind that casualties listed on the Runnymede Memorial were generally lost at sea, not over land. Training losses tend not to have a squadron listed. The root directory for Ross' site here (i.e. www.rafcommands.com , not the forum part) has squadron listings (via the links to the various commands), which describe the equipment used by date by unit, though not I think for training command.

    Process of elimination, but there you are. If you come up with a short list of names which you can"t elminiate (i.e. unit unknown, buried in the U.K.) post it here, folks may be able to help you whittle it down further.

    The RCAF used Mustangs on 400, 414 and 430 Squadrons at the time I believe, however your men may have been Canadians under training, or with RAF Squadrons (sorry, don't know squadron numbers for RAF Mustang units), or indeed not Canadian at all.

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    Just a GUESS, mind you, but 239 Squadron was equipped with Mustang I aircraft at the time, and they appear to have had two casualties that day, both of whom appear to have been lost over the UK.

    PRICE PC 122236 239 SQDN 17/04/1943 ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE
    http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2762402

    DE KRETSER DB 123104 239 SQDN 17/04/1943 ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE
    http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2403759

    The first man seems to have been cremated in Manchester, second rests in the Brookwood Military Cemetery, not far from London.

    Anyway, next logical step might be to track down a researcher at Kew to pull up the relevant page from the squadron records for you. Should be a simple search, last I heard the going rate was 20 quid an hour.

    Like I say though, just a guess.
    Last edited by mhuxt; 1st October 2011 at 03:31.

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    Default Mustangs mid-air

    Hi all

    This is Stoke Park, Guildford, just on the edge of town (where the Surrey County Show is held nowadays), and I too heard about the incident from my dad who lived in Guildford at the time. There's a short chapter about it in the book "Guildford - The War Years 1939-1945" which came out a few years ago. At the time, it says, much of the park was being used for allotments.

    The book says it happened on Saturday 17/4/1943. The Mustangs were from 239 Sqn based at RAF Gatwick and both pilots were killed. F/O P C Price and F/O D B De Kretser. The engine of one went through the roof of a house at 117 Stoke Road and ended up in the basement while the second a/c's engine missed another house by about 18" and buried itself in its front garden. The other a/c seems to have hit a tree in the park. One local paper reporting the incident at the time added that the a/c had been flying at about 2,000 ft, and that one of the pilots was alive on reaching the ground but died after about 7 minutes.

    Ian

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    This crash discussed on forum before.
    rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?2679-Mustang-239-Squadron
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    In addition to the info on the old thread.

    The two pilots were engaged in dummy attacks on a third a/c and apparently collided when trying the get the target in their sights. At the Court of Inquiry the cause was found to be "careless handling of aircraft" by de Kretser in AG614.

    Steve

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