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Thread: Info on RCAF training accident Castle Kennedy 3/7/1944, J W Staples J85988

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    Default Info on RCAF training accident Castle Kennedy 3/7/1944, J W Staples J85988

    I'm interested in researching the accident on 3rd July 1944 from the training base at Castle Kennedy, Stranraer. I understand the whole crew perished, including P/O John Willard Staples, J85988. I would be grateful if anyone reading this who has a copy of 'They Shall Grow Not Old' by Les Allison could look this up for me. I wonder if Mr Allison's other work 'Canadians in the Royal Air Force' will shed any light. Any other advice on how to find out more would be gratefully received.
    John - or Jack as he was known to his friends - Staples was my late mother's first husband, they had been married just weeks before his tragic death. I have a fascinating archive of letters and documents from this period (she threw nothing away) if this is of interest to other historians. Thank you in anticipation.

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    See my reply in this thread http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...irmen-3-7-1944 about this incident. In addition to that entry in the No.3 AGS Operations Record Book there is a second entry by the Station Medical Officer.

    July 3rd 1944, J:85988 P/O Staples J.W. (R.C.A.F.) A.G.I., 1339133 Sgt Roberts R.W. Pilot, 1572267 AC2 Cowie A.G., 1827498 AC2 Graham H., and 1828430 AC2 Ellis J.F. (Three aircrew cadets) all of this unit were all killed when their Anson crashed in the village of Knockneen, 3 miles N.W. of Kirkcolm and 3 miles S.W. of Milleur Point, Wigtownshire. Time of Accident 16.50hrs. Bodies collected and brought to the S.S.Q. Diagnosis Multiple Injuries (F.A)
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    LesleyMJ

    Welcome to the forum; I for one would be interested in seeing the letters and documents that you have as it helps bring the past to life. If you want to widely publish them then I would suggest that you add them to the image gallery (see instructions in "sticky" thread). If not, please contact me by PM or e-mail (by clicking on my name in the left hand top corner) and we can discuss privately.

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteT View Post
    LesleyMJ

    Welcome to the forum; I for one would be interested in seeing the letters and documents that you have as it helps bring the past to life. If you want to widely publish them then I would suggest that you add them to the image gallery (see instructions in "sticky" thread). If not, please contact me by PM or e-mail (by clicking on my name in the left hand top corner) and we can discuss privately.

    Regards

    Pete
    Thank you Pete T and Alan both, for your prompt responses. I have been a little slow to come back as I've been searching for items which might be suitable to put on the gallery. All sorts of ephemera, for example a pamphlet entitled 'Proper method of addressing mail for members of the RCAF Overseas', another called 'The P/O steps out' which offers advice on etiquette in the bar, saluting, and so on! Also Jack Staples' travel permit to the USA, and the hand written letter to my mother from Group Captain G Bearne. If you think any of this is of interest then I will certainly organise that.

    Alan, your link to the previous thread was interesting, but leaves so much unanswered! Is it possible to learn what was the cause of the accident - was it structural failure, pilot error, and was the weather a factor? Also can you tell me if it is possible to find out the result of the official enquiry?

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    Have you obtained J W Staples service file from the LAC in Canada?

    http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discove...-war-dead.aspx

    It ought to contain crash reports etc
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Thank you Dennis for that link. Unfortunately J W Staples' records have not been digitized so it's not as easy as click and read, but at least I now know where they are!
    The Avro Anson seems to have had a reputation as a 'safe' aircraft. I would be interested to hear some informed views on whether this view was justified.

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    Simply contact them at the postal address on that link and request a paper copy. Snail mail does still work after all.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Thank you :) Took a few minutes but a copy of his service file is now ordered.

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    LesleyMJ,
    I think it can be taken as gospel that the Anson, as a type, was generally regarded as a very safe aircraft, probably one of the safest in the Commonwealth air forces on WW2 - but it was still an aircraft! Aircraft can get lost and fly into mountains in cloud, they can be stalled and spun in at low altitude, and people can run them out of fuel and have to land in the dark in unknown terrain. Just as we are now used to the fact that hundreds of thousands of people every year get killed in motor accidents all around the world for a million reasons, we accept that somebody dear to us can easily be included in these statistics at any time, but hope they never will.
    David D

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    David, I think your point about car accident deaths is valid and I agree. I hope that when I receive Jack Staples' service records I will be more enlightened; this is simply conjecture at this stage. One reason why I raised the question was that reading the Wikipedia entry on the Avro Anson, there was a similar accident over Anglesey in Feb 1944, where on a training exercise part of a wing ripped off at 5000ft killing all five on board.
    Here is an extract from Jack's penultimate letter to my mother. He had been stationed at Bridgnorth, Shropshire, prior to his transfer to Castle Kennedy. "This is a more advanced training station ... than B'north, and here they do their first flying, and air firing. The a/c are Ansons (very safe) ask anyone who knows. The bods do (sic) to inexperience need a hand in the air to get over any snags which my crop up. That is what I do when I fly with them, help them over difficulties. "
    I guess he was trying to allay his new bride's anxiety. With tragic irony, his comments confirm the general consensus of the Anson's reliability.

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