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Thread: August 1940 Accident Category FA to FB, then FA in 1951

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    Default August 1940 Accident Category FA to FB, then FA in 1951

    Hello

    I wondered if anyone has come across these changes before for an RAF aircraft on Operational duties.

    The sound plots of an "unknown plane" [identified as a Whitley later] were plotted for the last 16 miles of its flight. The height given the Observer Corps was 10,000 feet and the plane lost height, to ground level on the edge of the Eastleigh Balloon barrage.

    FA on the Day
    On the afternoon of the crash, which occurred earlier at 0335 hours, RANAS (Rear Admiral Naval Air Service) responsible for the Aerodrome has prefixed their Signal to the Air Ministry FA, with Cause unknown, a location and naming one of only two airman found, copied to 43 Group, A.I.B., etc.

    FB the Day After
    The day following the crash a second Signal from the Squadron is prefixed FB claiming no A.I.B. neccesary, claiming an Eastleigh balloon cable 400 yards away from crash site, despite the dive from height some way off.

    Fire in Air has been reported at some point unknown.

    Three Days After the Crash
    The Accidents Branch were in control of the wreckage for at least 3 days, because the local Police have enquired if the wreckage can be moved to check for 3 missing members of the crew and the Air Ministry Casualty Branch have referred the Police to the Accidents Investigation Branch.

    No 765(c) or C of I
    Unfortunately, for the family, it seems no 765(c) was ever issued because these are usually issued when classed F.A. (Flying Accident).

    Reporting of Casualties in War
    The report which couldn't establish all the facts, nor the exact time, claims the report was under A.P. 1301 largely about reporting Casualties in War.

    So no Court of Inquiry was triggered, despite official plots and heights suggesting it was a Forced Landing or an unexplained dive from 10,000 feet until they crashed on the ground.

    On the file is a note the following month about the 2nd Pilot being FA, obviously reported in the very first Signal by RANAS and a Mr Sampson wanting to see the report. The only report on file is a report under the reporting of Casualties in War procedure and three Casualty Signals.

    Back to FA in 1951
    On the 19th February 1951 the Air Ministry ask to amend the Category of this Accident in respect of the RAF personnel being Category FA as first reported by Signal 1A from RANAS back in 1940, when they said the cause was obscure.

    This change back to FA was agreed on 20th February 1951.

    Identity Discs
    The aircraft was a complete burn out and fire raged til morning, only one Airman could be identified and he was the one who got out and died (information from eyewitness opposite crash site), only two bodies found and so the others were presumed / believed killed, but now I learn all five Identity Discs were claimed to be found.

    Would 1940 I.D. dics survive when only ashes of a person survive?

    My Feelings
    It seems to me the RAF have changed the accident Category to FB the day after the crash and thereby excluded due process of issuing a 765(c) and suggested the AIB butt out several days after and we will blame a nearby balloon site about 400 yards away, despite the aircraft in a dive for quite some considerable distance.

    Information survived which indicated the A.I.B. never established a Cause, they left their "Cause of Accident" box blank, not surprising as it seemed they were halted.

    Interesting five years after WW 2 was over, the Casualty Branch wanted to revert the Category back to FA (from FB) for all crew, which should have triggered a 765(c) back in 1940 and any further Investigation required.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 7th October 2018 at 20:49.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Hello

    Been looking at the Casualty Lists published by the Air Ministry in The Times newspaper and P/O R. B. Macgregor was deemed to have lost his life as "Killed on Active Service (While Engaged on Non-Operational Flying Duties Or On The Ground Through Enemy Action)" The Times 31st August 1940. The first Signal was prefixed FA.

    The day following the crash all the crew were named in a Signal prefixed FB.

    The Times 21st September 1940 for the other crew says ... "Killed in Action (While Flying in Operations Against The Enemy)".

    Although the file suggests the Police wanted to find the others, a lady living opposite the crash scene told me that the Balloon Crew were adamant that there were only two of the crew flying the Whitley when it crashed.

    My Grandmother was told my Grandfather and some crew were missing. Official letters indicate my Great Uncle got the Air Ministry and IWGC to add two names to the crosses, although the RAF later claim the five were buried. That claim I'm never going to find out!

    Bit odd really, the only action against any 4 Group aircraft that morning was that one had been fired at by a friendly aircraft, but no damage [well none that could be proven perhaps], as the aircraft was completely burnt out.

    From the plots of the Whitley (last 16 miles of flight), reference to Fire in Air and loss of height, I am left with the distinct impression that a Balloon Cable close to the crash site was just the last event, in a much longer sequence of events in the early hours of that fateful morning.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 9th October 2018 at 07:49.

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