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Thread: 'Hair-raising Whitley Flight' in Dec 1978 Aeroplane

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    Default 'Hair-raising Whitley Flight' in Dec 1978 Aeroplane

    Hello All

    I wondered if anyone has a copy of the 'Hair-raising Whitley Flight' article, please?

    Thanks
    Mark

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    Hi Mark,

    I have a copy, what would you like to know?

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 7th January 2012 at 07:59.

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    Thanks
    Does the article give aircraft serial, date and what was 'hair-raising' about the flight, such as structural failure, engine fire, or other fire, or other problem, or incident, please?
    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 7th January 2012 at 08:15. Reason: spelling

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    Hello,

    Firstly, the article is entitled - Routine training trip?, by G/C Peter Heath*. The unit involved was No.24 OTU, Honeybourne. There is no precise date mentioned in the article, just a vague, "One night in 1942". No aircraft serial is mentioned. The problem is described as; "The port engine gave a loud bang, the oil pressure fell to nothing and all power went with it." The pilot attempted to jettison the load of dummy bombs, but they hung-up, he then decided to bale-out the crew. All did so, with the exception of one of the crew, who had some problems with his chute. The aircraft was eventually crash-landed, presumably at Long Marston. The Whitley was classified as Cat. 'B'. The pilot is named only as, "F/O Robarts", and the author mentions - The identity of the Staff Pilot involved in this incident is fictitious, although the account is factual.

    The pilot was put up for an immediate AFC., and "Robarts", did, in fact get an AFC in the next Honours List.

    I will have to fetch Glyn Warren's, Worcestershire At War from the shelves and check to see if there is a mention of this incident.

    *A certain W/C Heath, is mentioned by Glyn Warren as CFI at Honeybourne from March 1942 onwards.

    Mark, Can't locate this specific incident on my first sweep through Warren's, Worcester At War. Maybe others can have a go.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 7th January 2012 at 23:47. Reason: Edited rear gunner, replaced with - one of the crew

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    Quote Originally Posted by COL BRUGGY View Post
    Hello,

    Firstly, the article is entitled - Routine training trip?, by G/C Peter Heath*. The unit involved was No.24 OTU, Honeybourne. There is no precise date mentioned in the article, just a vague, "One night in 1942". No aircraft serial is mentioned. The problem is described as; "The port engine gave a loud bang, the oil pressure fell to nothing and all power went with it." The pilot attempted to jettison the load of dummy bombs, but they hung-up, he then decided to bale-out the crew. All did so, with the exception of the pupil rear gunner, who had some problems with his chute. The aircraft was eventually crash-landed, presumably at Long Marston. The Whitley was classified as Cat. 'B'. The pilot is named only as, "F/O Robarts", and the author mentions - The identity of the Staff Pilot involved in this incident is fictitious, although the account is factual.

    The pilot was put up for an immediate AFC., and "Robarts", did, in fact get an AFC in the next Honours List.

    I will have to fetch Glyn Warren's, Worcestershire At War from the shelves and check to see if there is a mention of this incident.

    *A certain W/C Heath, is mentioned by Glyn Warren as CFI at Honeybourne from March 1942 onwards.

    Mark, Can't locate this specific incident on my first sweep through Warren's, Worcester At War. Maybe others can have a go.

    Col.
    Col,

    Not sure if the same Peter Heath, W/Cdr Peter Heath joined No.218 Squadron for operational experience in September 1941 cutting his teeth over the next few weeks. He went on to command 156 Squadron, he FTR from Hamburg 28/29th 1942. At the time he was a Wing Comander.

    Regards
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Have gone through Chorley's OTU's for 1942 twice, and can only find these, which do not match the crash landing information in the story.

    Sept 10th, 24 OTU Whitley BD279. Took off from Honeybourne on night/nav exercise. About two hours into flight, the starboard engine emitted a shower of sparks, and sheets of flame quickly followed. SOS transmitted, Hemswell responded, sending out 3 QDM's which, although helpful in giving the crew a course to steer, were nullified by the flare path remaining unlit. Unable to pick out the airfield, the crew baled out, leaving their aircraft to crash 2 to 3 miles SW of Hemswell.
    Only two names in Chorley,
    Sgt D.V. Childers, RCAF.
    Sgt Adams, inj.

    Aug 28th, 24 OTU Whitley BD380, Took off for Command Bullseye over Aintree racecourse. Abandoned when Camshaft bearing caps failed on starboard engine. Prior to baling out, the crew attempted to secure ground assistance by putting out Darky and Mayday calls. Whitley crashed 500yds North of Ledsham Hill, Little Sutton. None of the names mention in story, match the crew of this aircraft though.

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    Hi Alan,

    As explained, the Whitley was classified Cat."B' ie repairable, so no Chorley. The incident might rate a mention in Nicholas Robert's, Aircraft Crash Log No.4:Armstrong Whitworth Whitley.

    Col.

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    Cat "B" Repairable, really must make an appointment to have my eye's tested!!!

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    Hi,
    My grandad was at 24 OTU from 12th May to 17th July '42 and his logbook is signed by P Heath W/C on 2 occasions if that helps.
    Also, and I may be sending you down the wrong path here, if "Robarts" is fictitious do you think that the "F/O" part could be fictitious too and it was an AFM instead of an AFC?
    The reason being that, going through the names of pilots in the logbook there is a Sgt Affleck and checking his name on Flight Global it appears he was awarded the AFM in the Birthday honours of June 1943

    John Robert Affleck 141865

    His name is mentioned here

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?1058-Awards-2-June-1943

    Regards

    Pete

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    Perhaps there are a number of questions that should be asked:

    1. Why is/was there so much apparent secrecy about this incident which was published over 35 years after it occurred?

    2. The account refers to 'pilot' until the last sentence when 'Staff Pilot' is introduced, so who was the pilot - a u/t pilot or supervisor (the Staff Pilot)?

    3. Why withold the pilot's name - if the incident occurred as described no blame could be attached to him and surely he should have been recognised for a remarkable piece of airmanship?

    4. If the pilot was put up for an 'Immediate AFC' and if Affleck was the pilot, why was it not awarded until the following summer in the Birthday Honours of June 1943?

    Too many questions of an account that seems very vague and fictional.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 7th January 2012 at 21:42. Reason: Removed one query - misunderstanding by me.

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