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Thread: Belgian in the R.A.F., Charles Erasme De Wever

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    Default Belgian in the R.A.F., Charles Erasme De Wever

    Leading Aircraftman Charles Erasme De Wever, R.A.F., a Belgian undergoing pilot training was killed in the crash of a 32 SFTS Harvard in Alberta on 26 August 1944.

    Can anyone provide further details of this accident? I am particularly interested to know if there was another fatal casualty, a possible being 1802123 Sgt. (Pilot) Gordon Richard BENNETT, RAFVR.
    Last edited by Ken MacLean; 12th April 2008 at 08:29.

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    hello

    I'm wondering if he is related to Roger Louis De Wever, 87692, No. 350 Squadron, shot down and captured between Calais and Dunkirk on 29th June 1942 ? We have already discussed about Roger in this board.

    There's no mention of Charles in the page about Roger in Serge Bonge's website about the Belgians in the R.A.F.

    Sure our Belgian forumites will come trumps up.

    Joss

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    Hello Ken,

    In Appendix I (RAF casualties in and near Canada) of "They Shall Grow Not Old" (Allison) is mentioned that both BENNETT and DE WEVER were killed on Cornell 14488.
    Perhaps our friend Bill Walker from Canada has more info on what caused this accident.
    Both airmen are buried at Innisfail, Alberta.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Ken and Henk;

    I'm still sorting through my Cornell data, but 14488 survived the war, and was returned to the US in 1946. I'm not aware of any accident history for this aircraft. It served with 15 EFTS at Regina, and maybe at other schools.

    I have these RCAF accidents on 26 August 1944:
    Ventura 2156 at Torbay, EAC, Category B, no injuries reported
    Harvard FE582 at Dunnville, 6 SFTS, LAC N.H. Wood, RNZAF, killed

    In August 1944 No. 32 SFTS was at Regina, and was mainly (maybe completely) equipped with Oxfords - another one still on my "to do" list.

    Dakota - over to you!

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    Bill, Ken and Henk,
    The aircraft involved will be Cornell 14498 which crashed at No.32 EFTS., Bowden Alberta on 26th August 1944.

    From No.32 EFTS Diary:
    26 Aug 44
    "There was an accident today at 08.45 hours 1 1/2 miles south and approximately 9 miles east of the town of Bowden to Cornell Mk.II 14498 piloted by 1802123 Sgt. Bennett, G.R. with his pupil 1899831 L.A.C. de Wever, C.E., in which both occupants lost their lives. As far as can be at present ascertained from civilian witnesses a report sounded from the aircraft which appeared to be flying straight and level, which was followed by the falling off of one wing and then the aircraft diving vertically into the ground with the engine full on."

    The funerals took place place on August 26th and that of Lac de Wever was attended by the Belgian Attache, F/Lt Goethals.

    The aircraft card for Cornell 14498 confirms the aircraft was involved in a Category "A" accident on 26.8.44.

    Though I do not have a copy of the accident report this appears to be a classic case of a Cornell wing or centre section failure. These were investigated and initially thought to have resulted from overstressing the airframe in aerobatics or heavy landing. The Cornell had very light control forces that may have allow pilots overstress the aircraft. Investigations by the NRC revealed some cracks in the wooden spar webs and modifications the spars and control forces were authorised.

    Hope this helps, Tony Broadhurst

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    Thanks very much Tony. I just dug out my photocopy of the History Card for 14498, and the reported accident location is hand written, and could be read as either 32 EFTS or 32 SFTS. This may have introduced some confusion over the years.

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    Default De Wever

    Hello,


    Charles De Wever is no relative of Roger of 350 (Belgian) Sqn

    Charles De Wever was born on 02.08.1922 and was accepted to the 99th Promotion where he died in a flying accident.


    Best regards,


    Serge

    www.350sqn.be

  8. #8
    Alexander Guest

    Default Belgian in the R.A.F., Charles De Wever

    Hello,

    Very interesting information about Charles De Wever.
    Very strange that he's still listed as buried in Canada...I've seen his grave at the Tirlemont cemetry not so long ago.
    I've received the information that his body was transfered to Belgium in November 1956.
    Serge was right, Charles was born in Wilsele (not fare away from Louvain), Belgium on the 02.08.1922
    Can anyone help me to find out where I can get a copy of the accident report? RAF archives or RCAF archives?
    Greetings from Belgium

    Alexander

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    Default Cornell Crash

    G'day Chaps

    Here's a bit of gen I transcribed from the aircraft accident card.

    Cornell MK. II s/n 14498

    Crash Location - 12 miles southeast of main aerodrome

    Time - 08:45 Hours

    1802623 Sgt. G R Bennet - Instructor Pilot - Killed

    1899831 LAC C E De Wever - Student Pilot - Killed

    The Accident Investigation Board concluded that there was structural failure of the port wing commencing at the leading edge which resulted in the complete breakup. It is thought that perhaps the aircraft was overstressed after completing aerobatics.

    Cheers...Chris

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    Thank you for the informative replies!

    For Alexander, I will PM you regarding the CWGC's criteria for making an ammendment to their records.

    Regards, Ken

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