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Thread: Blenheim L8368 Crash July 20 1939 Crew 3 or 2?

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    Default Blenheim L8368 Crash July 20 1939 Crew 3 or 2?

    Blenheim L8368 of 23 Sqn crashed at Wansford, Cambridgeshire on July 20, 1939. The pilot Sgt. Jack Arnold Bullard lost his life as a result of delaying his escape while helping 16 year old Oundle Schoolboy Dennis Effrain Nahum who was making a flight under the public schools air liaison scheme to get clear first. The Blenheim had been involved in a collision and lost its tail.

    A number of newspaper reports state that there were 3 crew (not 2) and the other unnamed crewman (an aircraftman) escaped by parachute, who landed near by the tail

    Can anyone confirm if it was 2 or 3 people on the aircraft and if so who was the third crew member?
    Thanks
    Paul
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 3rd June 2013 at 09:31.

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    Paul,
    looks like 2 occupants only:
    Flight - July 27, 1939 "Sgt. Jack Arnold Bullard lost his life in an accident which occurred on July 21 near East Wittering to an aircraft of No. 23 Squadron. Sgt. Bullard was the pilot of the aircraft; Mr. Denis Nahun, the only other occupant, was uninjured."

    ORB 23 Sqdn - AIR27 287 "Sergeant J. A. Bullard killed in a flying accident. Saved Oundle Schoolboy by pushing him out - special letter from Station Commander to No. 12 Group requesting consideration for posthumous award."

    Sean.

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    Sean

    Thanks - My only concern is that numerous newspaper reports say 3 including specifically Aircraftsman. I was hoping that someone has Blenheim L8368 accident log and can confirm

    I would have thought it a bit irresponsible if only the pilot and schoolboy on bomber for air experience flight especially on a complex multi crewed bomber


    Paul

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    Paul,

    There's quite a lengthy account about this accident in The Times (21 July edition), which also refers to three occupants. Apologies if this is one of the reports to which you refer, but I can copy it should you wish.

    Brian

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    Brian

    I have the Times report thanks, this is just one of multiple different contemporary newspaper reports I was looking at to solve this mystery. Other than all reports taking it from the first (erroneous) agency report I can't solve the difference unless the F1180 has any other info

    Or I find a local report with more detail


    Paul

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    Sorry to hark back to this re: L8368 However, I have found a report from a Australian Newspaper in November 1939 that reports on the Inquest of Bullard (who incidentally bailed out of Demon K5730 on November 3, 1938) which provides Dennis Effrain Nahum' full first name and surname (correctly) with correct middle Initial and article still says an unnamed 'aircraftsman' also bailed out. Can't find date of Inquest but it does seem there may be a third crew member or maybe some baled out of Blenheim L1448

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    I have found a more detailed report in a Australian newspaper - The Pilot of L1448 was P/O Williams who also had a cadet with him...

    Will post here when I clean it up.. However, looks like only 2 persons per Blenheim mentioned

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    Pilot Officer Williams is P/O Alvin Thomas Williams

    The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954)
    Saturday 18 November 1939
    CADET'S LEAP FOR LIFE
    Behaves Like Veteran After
    Collision In Sky
    As a holder of a senior Officers' Training Corps certificate. Dennis Nahum, a 17yr.-old English lad, went with
    a squad of other boys from Oundle to spend a'week in camp with the Royal Air Force at Wittering, Northamptonshire.
    It is part of their training to become "air-minded." On the Thursday a number of the boys were taken up in
    Blenheim bombers In each bomber there was one pilot and one boy.
    Each pilot wore his ordinary service parachute, but the boys, having a different variety ot parachute, wore
    only the parachute harness. The parachutes themselves lay on ledges behind their seats. The squadron went
    off in formation. The machines rose to 3,000ft., threading in and out of the clouds, always in formation.
    Dennis Nahum's pilot was 25yr.-old Sgt. Jack Bullard. Side by side with them was the aeroplane of
    Pilot Officer Williams, leader of the flight. Beside him also sat an Oundle boy.

    DUG IN RIBS

    Suddenly out of a bank of cloud they came, and something was wrong with Bullard's position in the formation.
    The boy sitting with Pilot-Officer Williams dug him in the ribs. The officer looked round. There, close beside
    him, he saw the other aeroplane. He swooped to clear, but it was hopeless. His whirring propeller sliced clean
    through the tall of Sgt. Bullard's machine.
    Out of the clear sky had come almost certain death. Sgt. Bullard's machine, losing the stabilising effect of
    its tail, began to plunge and fall like a leaf in a gale.
    The sergeant and his boy passenger were flung from side to side, and from floor to the roof of the enclosed
    cockpit, stunned almost into unconsciousness. With their faces cut and their bodies bruised they held the sides
    of the cockpit to steady themselves.
    All this time the shattered aeroplane was dropping swiftly to earth. Thre thousand feet is not very high up.
    The end wns a matter of seconds. Dennis Nahum, stunned as he was by the buffeting, saw the pilot pull back
    the roof of the cockpit, and realised that it was a jump for life.
    He calmly turned round for his parachute and began to clip it on. As he stood there trying to keep his feet
    for just an instant the pilot gave him a push and out he went, to life or death, as fate decided.
    "I cannot remember going out," he says now, "but as I fell a sudden severe shock woke me up thoroughly."
    It was the parachute opening and breaking his fall.
    Dennis still cannot remember leaving the aeroplane, but as soon as he fell through the air his mind was
    clear enough, and his nerve so controlled that he remembered to pull the rip-cord of the parachute at the
    right moment. As the speed of his fall eased, Dennis realised that in the hurry' he had only clipped on
    one,side of his parachute. This meant that he must touch the ground sideways instead of fdee first.
    His mind was cool and clear enough to realise that as he foll whirling and jolting.
    He-saw some high tension wires. He realised what they were, but, passing them, by, the narrowest, margin,
    hit the ground heavily and fainted,
    Meanwhile the lender of the flight, Pilot-Officer Williams, had swooped to earth. He raced two miles
    from the airfield to the spot where Dennis landed. Just, as he reached there Dennis was recovering from his
    faint..
    "And-then I saw a thing I'll always remember," said the pilot, "As I came up, the boy got to his feet, stood
    at attention, and smnrtly saluted me"
    And what of the sergeant whose swiftness, allied with the boy's coolness, resulted in so 'miraculous an escape?
    He died. He came down near the place where the boy landed, but fell like a stone and was killed instantly. When
    they examined his parachute it had a great tear in it. The propeller had ripped it as he jumped.
    Dennis Nahum becomes the first English schoolboy to qualify for the Gold, Caterpillar, the badge of the
    Caterpillar Club, open only to those who have saved their lives from a crashing aircraft by a parachute jump.

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