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Thread: What does "XHG" mean on Accident Card AM1180?

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    Default What does "XHG" mean on Accident Card AM1180?

    Ross and all

    I came across a Flying Accident Card which has "XHG" written at the top and wondered what it meant?

    Mark

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    X is Miscellaneous causes
    H is usually heavy but may also be hit
    G is usually ground

    So possibly Secondary cause, heavy or hit, ground.

    Which aircraft/date?

    Regards
    Ross
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    Hello Ross

    Thanks for that explanation.

    The 242 Squadron Hurricane Accident Card is dated 20th August 1940, Patrol & Interception Op for P J Patterson, at the top is EI with a space then XHG.

    Nature of accident:- Lost leader in cloud, dived into sea where clouds at sea level. Weather conditions unsuitable for flt + bad vis & ice conditions contrib to break up of section.

    Category was FB changed to AO.

    765c No. 4D 4/9

    Place:- Sea 5 miles NE Winterton.

    Accident was reported to AIB as it has a "U" numbered reference "U610".

    Regards Mark

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    Hi Mark.

    My copy of reel MF 16-15 is away for digitising for the next month, but the description on the card sounds vague enough for one where no real evidence was recovered or witnessed eg Engine or Instrument, then hit ground (or sea in this case).

    I've seen a couple of U references in the F1180s and they seem to relate to where no final report was produced.

    W610 would have been in the prewar sequence and to fit with the date the AIB file reference should be in the 850 to 880 sequence. W810 relates to an accident on 7th July 1940 hence my belief that it was a seperate file system.

    I have the following noted against P2976

    "The section comprised P/O Neil Campbell, P/O Denis Crowley-Milling and Midshipman R J Patterson. One of the P/O's reported seeing another of the section diving out of control from the cloud and crash into the sea 5 miles NE of Winterton-on-Sea, Norfolk, at 15:30 hours. It was young Patterson. Killled, presumed shot down."
    (Source: Bader, The Man and His Men, M G Burns, ISBN 0 304 35052 4)

    "August 20th - Great Yarmouth and Gorleston, Norfolk.
    An aeroplane had been reported down in the sea five miles NE of Winterton. The lifeboat was launched at 13:54 and reached the position given at 15:10. There she saw and spoke to a naval trawler and a drifter. The master of the trawler said that he had seen the aeroplane come straight out of the clouds and dive into the sea where it 'exploded like a depth charge'. It was he who had sent the message which had called out the lifeboat. He was on the spot himself in ten minutes, but found no sign of the airmen, all he picked up was two oxygen bottles. The master of the drifter said he had been searching ever since the aeroplane fell, but he had only found small wreckage. Several trawlers and a sloop arrived, and they too searched but found nothing. The lifeboat then went towards Winterton, still keeping a good look out.
    Rewards: 4 15s 6d."
    (Source: Supplement to Annual Reports of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution 1939-46)

    Regards
    Ross
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    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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    Default AIB "U" Index Reports

    Hello Ross

    1). I have had an interest in the AIB "U" serial numbered reports for some time, as my Grandfather's Whitley P5044 has one (U.606) and had been seen to lose height from 10,000 feet and crashing into the Eastleigh Balloon Barrage, failing to level out at the mandatory height of 5,000 feet. Locals were led to believe that the Whitley was hit by enemy fire hence "FB" on the initial Casualty paperwork, but the Whitley Accident Card finally indicates AO. I have discovered that "cables" per AHB file and "F6" being "Obstacles" on the AM1180 were changed to "F9" being Obscure. Therefore "cables" were ruled out and that only one cable was struck immediately before crashing. The Southampton 930 Sqn Balloon ORB confirms that after investigation only one cable was struck at Eastleigh and locals tell me this cable impact was in the last seconds (less than a quarter of a mile from the crash site and the balloon site location is also confirmed by an Air Ministry map of numbered Eastleigh balloon sites) before hitting the ground and the cable impact occurred only after the Whitley had been seen to veer.

    However, the wing (claimed to be cut off initially) was found Two miles from the cable!

    Two theories they were either circling to land, or there was some failure on the Whitley elevator (I have evidence of other cases) and in the last seconds failure of the wing causing the Whitley to veer. However the failure of the wing occurred two miles away from the cable. I am told by another resident further down Allington Lane, that parts of the Whitley were found in Allington Lane.

    2. Regarding the "U" Reports I have found that all of the four 1940 AIB serial "U" Reports I have found official information about in TNA, Kew, are structural failure of the Spitfire aircraft and one Whitley elevator assembly.

    I have a fifth aircraft force landing with an AIB "U" accident number which the RAF were blaming on engine failure according to a Bomber Group Appendice.

    3. Back to the Hurricane near Winterton (which according to the AM1180 has U610 in the AIB box) under discussion this was given as "FB" overwritten "AO" on the AM1180 and I was interested to note you say the "X" in "XHG" meant "Miscellaneous", because in 1940 "F8" on an AM1180 meant "Miscellaneous" and "F8A" on late 1940 Cards was where structural failure was confirmed.

    The reference to "X" being "miscellaneous" and also the referral to the AIB (per AM1180) suggests they really suspected structural failure for the sudden loss in height and not a Flying Battle or icing, which is borne out by your additional description ... "One of the P/O's reported seeing another of the section diving out of control from the cloud and crash into the sea 5 miles NE of Winterton-on-Sea".

    4. The AIB were running two file indexes and you are absolutely correct that W610 would have been earlier chronologically.

    Regards Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 31st August 2012 at 12:40. Reason: U.606 and Point 4 agreeing that the AIB 'W' index number sequence was earlier

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    Default "U" Index of Crashes and Accidents - Not AIB

    Hello Ross

    Regarding the "U" Index of accidents and crashes, I have got some official 1940 summaries confirming that all of the U Indexed crashes were where the aircraft was descending from height and either:-

    i) failed to level out before striking the ground
    ii) levelled out okay, but then dived again and struck the ground

    Some aircraft came out of cloud during the descent and struck the ground (as though some type of icing, or some natural upward/downward force within the cloud caused the crash).

    The "U" Index number reference have various causes from fire, airframe structural failure, wing failure, certain types of engine failure, icing, carbon monoxide poisoning, lack of oxygen, blacking out, with the aircraft diving (unable to pull out) until striking the ground.

    The "U" Indexed crashes were referred to / requested by a specialist Branch and the Branch with the U Index cannot be AIB as one of the U Report Summaries states that there was "no AIB" report.

    The Branch holding the "U" Index also states regarding some:- "A.M. file requisitioned" and that in some files they had obtained, there was "no AIB", or "no 765c", or "no 412" (or a combination of), with sometimes only a Casualty Signal for them to start from.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 12th June 2013 at 20:18.

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    Default "U" Index is an AIB Reference

    I have found another document confirming that the "U" numbered Accident Index was an AIB (Accidents Investigation Branch) reference.

    I am sorry for the misleading information in the previous post, but cannot amend it. A Specialist R & D Branch did access the U files in WW 2, for a copy of the Air Ministry report.

    Mark

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