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Thread: F/O Leslie Charles Bicknell 65 Sqn Accidents/Incidents Pre-War

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    Default F/O Leslie Charles Bicknell 65 Sqn Accidents/Incidents Pre-War

    OK - I am trying to match up my data on F/O Leslie Charles Bicknell at 65 Sqn Pre-War and hope somone can clear up my different infomation

    Incident 1) February 11, 1938 From 65 Sqn ORB: North Weald 11.2.38 Three Gladiator aircraft from this squadron were flying information at approximately 3,000 ft near North Weald. Two of these aircraft collided after the formation had broken up. The pilots involved were Acting Flight Lieutenant L. C. Bicknell who escaped by parachute sustaining no injuries, P/O P. R. Austin-Sparks who was killed instantaneously. The third pilot was P/O A. H. Boyd who was not involved in the collision.
    Acting F/L Leslie Charles Bicknell K7942, P/O Philip Ralph Austin-Sparks RAF killed on K8002.

    Incident 2) April 11, 1938 - Not in ORB! "Gladiator RAF 65 Sqn. Hit by K7939 during formation landing and abandoned at Hornchurch; F/O Leslie Bicknell safe. Note: K7939 Collided with K8029 during formation loop, landed OK; P/O R. Stanford-Tuck safe. ROS."

    From MoBoB by Wynn. "In April 1938 Bicknell collided with Pilot Officer R R S Tuck whilst they were practising aerobatics and althouh his tail unit was sheared off, he managed to land safely!"

    Query 1. Did he bail ou a second time or is Wynn correct? I can't see how anyone can land a Gladiator with its tail missing unless they were coming in to land already - not doing aerobatics!

    Incident 3) Not in my verson of ORB pages missing? - but 99.99 % sure we have a 11/4/1938 4/11/1938 incident going on here November 4, 1938 65 (East India) Sqn RAF. Hit by Gladiator K7939 during formation landing & abandoned ?

    So I know 2 and 3 are saem incident but when did it actually occur? also did Bicknell bale out? of this incident

    Many thanks

    Paul

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    Ok I now know only 1 collision between Tiuck and Bicknell all evidence points to April 1938 and Bicknell defiantely baled out as confirmed by Fly for your life: the story of R.R. Stanford Tuck by Larry Forrester. The reference in Wynn is incorrect

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    On 17 January 1938, three Gladiators of the 65 Squadron Aerobatic Flight flown by Fg Off Adrian Hope-Boyd, Fg Off Robert Stanford Tuck (K7940) and Flt Sgt Geoffrey Gaskell (K8014) were practising formation flying at 6,000 feet over Sussex when the aircraft were hit by severe turbulence. Gaskell's aircraft bucked, veered left, was caught by Hope-Boyd's slipstream and thrown into a steep right bank. Tuck slammed his stick forward to avoid a collision with Gaskell's aircraft, as it reared up in front of him, but his propellor unfortunately sliced through Gaskell's cockpit, with fatal results. Tuck's wing crumpled and aircraft plunged into ground near Uckfield before he was able to bale out; his right cheek was slashed, leaving a permanent scar. In hospital for six days, Tuck was subsequently absolved of all blame and was back flying nine days later.

    The following month, on 11 February 1938, tragedy struck again when a further two Gladiators (K7942 and K8002) of the Squadron Aerobatic Flight were involved in a mid-air collision near North Weald. The leader of the formation, Acting Flt Lt Leslie Bicknell was able to bale out, but Plt Off Phillip Austin-Sparks was unfortunately killed. The third member, Plt Off Adrian Hope-Boyd, landed safely at Hornchurch.

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    Default Granddaughter of LC Bicknell

    Hi
    I am Group Captain Leslie Charles Bicknell's granddaughter.
    I would love anymore information you have on him.


    thank you
    Tammie Howard




    Quote Originally Posted by Vampiredave View Post
    On 17 January 1938, three Gladiators of the 65 Squadron Aerobatic Flight flown by Fg Off Adrian Hope-Boyd, Fg Off Robert Stanford Tuck (K7940) and Flt Sgt Geoffrey Gaskell (K8014) were practising formation flying at 6,000 feet over Sussex when the aircraft were hit by severe turbulence. Gaskell's aircraft bucked, veered left, was caught by Hope-Boyd's slipstream and thrown into a steep right bank. Tuck slammed his stick forward to avoid a collision with Gaskell's aircraft, as it reared up in front of him, but his propellor unfortunately sliced through Gaskell's cockpit, with fatal results. Tuck's wing crumpled and aircraft plunged into ground near Uckfield before he was able to bale out; his right cheek was slashed, leaving a permanent scar. In hospital for six days, Tuck was subsequently absolved of all blame and was back flying nine days later.

    The following month, on 11 February 1938, tragedy struck again when a further two Gladiators (K7942 and K8002) of the Squadron Aerobatic Flight were involved in a mid-air collision near North Weald. The leader of the formation, Acting Flt Lt Leslie Bicknell was able to bale out, but Plt Off Phillip Austin-Sparks was unfortunately killed. The third member, Plt Off Adrian Hope-Boyd, landed safely at Hornchurch.

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    Tammie

    I will send you an email on what I have, but would love to know if the family still have his medals, log books etc

    He is one of 4 of my "pre-war RAF double parachute' incidents and I have managed to now make contact with the family of two of the 4

    This is remarkable as of the other 350 or so other incidents I have probably made contact with less than 5%

    Paul
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 1st September 2014 at 09:10.

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    Hi Tammi
    I am your grandfathers nephew, Edwin, I have some photos and newspaper clippings of his crashes and his time at Cranwell.

    regards
    Edwin Charles Bicknell

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