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Thread: Warwick Crash on Take-Off from Langham 30/9/44

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    Default Warwick Crash on Take-Off from Langham 30/9/44

    As part of my on-going research into operations and losses involving RAF Langham Iíve come across reports in two locally (Norfolk / Suffolk) published booklets of the crash on take-off from Langham of a Warwick ASR1 on 30th September 1944. I suspect that the information originated in one publication and was copied by the other but both have the aircraft as BV308 of 280 squadron. One report has the captain as Wg Cdr R.G.Knott.

    I have reviewed the 280 Sqn ORB and although they were indeed operating from Langham there is no mention of them losing an aircraft on 30th September 44. I can also find no reference to the squadron operating aircraft BV308 in September 44. I think BV308 may actually have been operated by 281 squadron ?

    Wg Cdr Knott was the C/O of 524 Squadron which was, at the time, operating Wellingtons from Docking and were about to move to Langham. There is a mention in the 524 ORB for 27th Sept 44 to the effect that Knott had visited Langham and qualified as first pilot on Warwick aircraft. This in itself seems a little strange as there was no intention for 524 to re-equip, Langham wasnít a Warwick training base and Knott had not at that time been posted Ė at least not as far as I can tell.

    So with all the above confusion can anyone confirm that a Warwick (or any other aircraft) was lost on take-off from Langham on 30th September 1944? If so what was the serial number, what unit was it from and who was flying it ?

    As always any information most gratefully received.

    Many thanks, J.

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    Try BV308 of 280 Sqn a Warwick Mk 1. No further details from me I'm afraid.

    This info from Chris Campbell of Duffus via his accumulated research database.

    Colin Cummings

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    Details as you have: 30/9/44, BV308, No.280 Sqn, pilot W/C Knott.

    Took off, 16:30 hrs for practice on type, 2 onboard, starboard engine failed, feathered but prop windmilled so could not maintain height, belly landed on mud 4.5 miles from the aerodrome, no injuries.

    Subsequent Court of Inquiry found NCO and fitters negligent of duty when a modification was carried out.

    Ross
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    Ross,

    Not much more in the CC Accident Summary for September 1944:

    No.280 Squadron.

    An unavoidable accident was caused by starboard engine failure immediately after take-off. The pilot did not have time to jettison any fuel and he carried out a good emergency landing straight ahead without injury to himself or crew. The failure was due to the florator pipe joint between the pump and carburettor not being correctly fitted when the aircraft was inspected at R.A.F. Thornaby on the 16th June, 1944. An investigation to determine who was responsible for this bad maintenance has been ordered.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 4th June 2015 at 23:18.

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    Location Stiffkey marshes. The crew had to 'do a runner' as the marshes are tidal and the water was approaching! After various equipment had been salvaged the wreck was set on fire. AA practice camp gunners subsequently used the wreck for target practice. In the 70s there were still quite a few sections of wreckage on site, but I believe almost all of it has now gone. The undercarriage oleos went to Flixton but have since been scrapped.
    I have further info and pictures I can eMail if required.
    BC

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    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 4th June 2015 at 23:18.

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    Many thanks to everyone for all the information on this incident. The identity of the aircraft and its pilot are now beyond any doubt. This said I do still find this a slightly strange incident and I can't see any operational reason for Wg Cdr Knott to have been flying a Warwick, so I do wonder if his conversion to the Wellington's bigger brother was perhaps being done somewhat unofficially.

    I've looked again at the 280 Sqn ORB and can find no operational use of BV308 during August or September 1944 so I wonder if was effectively the squadron "hack" aircraft. I believe it was a fairly early Warwick - one of the 20 ASR Stage B aircraft - which might explain it not being regularly used for operational flying.

    Thanks once again for all the info - if anyone has any further thoughts or comments on this incident I'd be interested in their views.

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    There could be many reasons why Wg Cdr Knott was flying this aircraft and the Form 541 might reveal the reason.

    He could have been doing a type conversion because of a planned posting, he might have been evaluating a piece of kit, it could have been an authorised air experience/general handling test, he might have been about to move to a new role where an appreciation of the Warwick was required or it might have been as you suggest. At that stage, all sorts of things went on and people did not get too excited about it.

    Colin Cummings

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