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Thread: "Flying Fortress" crash, August 5th 1943, Berwick-upon-Tweed

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    Default "Flying Fortress" crash, August 5th 1943, Berwick-upon-Tweed

    Hello everyone

    The Berwickshire News and General Advertiser of May 15th 1945 had a feature called "Review of the War," a year-by-year account of local events during WW2. One entry which caught my eye is for August 5th 1943:

    "Flying Fortress Crashes into Sea
    On August 5, a Flying Fortress, believed to have flown from America, came over Berwick flying very low and crashed into the sea off Spittal. The weather was the worst. Berwick lifeboat and an R.A.F. rescue boat immediately put out to the scene of the crash, but no bodies were found. On August 10, Captain Hartshorn, author of "Twenty Years a Diver," arrived at Berwick with his team of divers to endeavour to salve the plane and recover the bodies. After three days' unsuccessful attempts to locate the Fortress, Captain Hartshorn and his men left Berwick."


    I'd though the newspaper may have mixed up this event with the loss of B-17F 42-30030 "Old Ironsides" on September 16th 1943, which ditched off the Farne Islands:

    http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/3986

    However, the article continues:

    "He had previously been to Berwick in July, 1942, when he attempted to recover the R.A.F. target machine which had been accidentally shot down into the sea. In September, 1943, he was at Seahouses engaged in the salvage of a Beaufighter and a Flying Fortress which had crashed into the sea. Two bodies were recovered. Eight others had been rescued."

    The Beaufighter would be V8217 of 54 O.T.U., which crashed south of the Farnes on September 15th 1943, and this Flying Fortress surely 42-30030.

    So, what was the aircraft that crashed off Spittal on August 5th 1943?

    And as a supplementary question (no bonus points, sorry!), what is the ID of the 'R.A.F. target machine' accidentally shot down in July 1942?

    Many thanks

    Simon
    Last edited by wwrsimon; 28th October 2016 at 15:54.

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    It was brought down by gravity aided by equipment failure, training procedure failures and weather.

    I pulled the MACR for this some time ago.

    ATC (Atlantic Transport Command) was the assigned unit, crew was new replacements for UK being used as one time ferry.

    Suffered radio aids failure beyond point of no return and crew was unable to recognise/remedy/repair the common fault.

    All northern UK (except Prestwick as usual) was socked in with low cloud and fog.

    Crew were being tracked but would not answer radio calls for diversion after they overflew west coast. No aircraft could be scrambled from closer bases to intercept due to weather and Prestwick aircraft tasked elsewhere.

    When fuel ran low the crew partly abandoned.

    You are correct to guess that this is not the same crash as Old Ironside.

    Ross
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    Many thanks for that Ross, much appreciated.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Got into the old file

    Aircraft on 5th Aug was #42-30468

    Ross
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    Cheers Ross, that's very helpful indeed.

    A quick Google brings up the crew list here:

    http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/4467

    Sounds like a perfect storm of events conspired against them.

    Regards

    Simon

    PS - I did pick up this article from February this year whilst Googling the crash:

    http://www.berwick-advertiser.co.uk/news/us-research-team-visits-town-1-4026702

    PPS - and a photo of the crew here:

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg...PIpi=122436850
    Last edited by wwrsimon; 28th October 2016 at 16:26.

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