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Thread: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    ETH, a number of people are doing their best to help so there is a lot to take in.

    So may I please politely suggest that you need to read each post very much more patiently and carefully, also please follow any links offered.
    Only after that, first think through what you next wish say.
    Then re-check against the existing posts. Only then post more questions.
    Those in your last post have (all but one) been answered already.

    You did not and do not need an FOI request.
    Anyone who suggested you did has misadvised you.
    The AHB staff are doing their absolute level best to help you.

    78: Air Ministry Form 78: Aircraft movements card
    Held by RAF Museum Hendon

    1180: Air Ministry Form 1180 Accident Record Card
    Held by RAF Museum Hendon

    Both already described (see Joss post #6, and Ross above).
    Both are publicly available on request. NO FOI needed or relevant.
    From Ross 1180 comment plainly you need a copy of the AM Form 1180 for Whitley BD213.

    For access advice see : https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/researc...enquiries.aspx
    and see also https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/researc...t-records.aspx

    For examples only see
    https://www.lancasterbombers.net/for...-record-cards/

    AiB Accident Investigation Branch/report. Not all aircraft losses were investigated. Resist the temptation to read anything into that.

    AOC Air Officer Commanding: that is a senior (Air rank) Officer, above the Station Commander in the chain of command.

    TNA: The National Archives of the UK at Kew.
    Repository of many but not all RAF historical documents.
    Identified by class/item, in Discovery catalogue. See eg links previously provided.
    Many are Open to the public either for inspection by personal visit, or (for Squadron,s eg) online. No FOI needed .
    See my post above re access.
    An OTU Operations Record Book may well be sparse, it may likely record the accident briefly, and may mention Sgt Hatch only v briefly. What it will give is some picture of 19 OTU's work.

    You may be aware of the historical website: http://www.19otu.org.uk/

    Flight Sergeant Moses Charton R96359 RCAF
    Following Joss' post re Charton checked the Library & Archives Canada page for
    RCAF war dead https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discov...-war-dead.aspx and
    Ancestry RCAF War Dead page https://www.ancestry.ca/search/collections/9145/)
    to find F/Sgt Charton's poignant RCAF record. No FOI required.

    In short, includes a copy of the RAF Form 551 (Officer/Airman Report...on death...) for loss of Charton in 19 Operational Training Unit Whitley Mk V BD213 + crew on 6 Oct 1942
    Confirmed and with brief simplicity (summarising):
    Due to own fault? No
    Anyone to blame? No
    Court of inquiry? No (As Ross noted above)
    Investigating officer? No
    There is no further record of crash details in his RCAF file.
    Whatever else there is will be, as suggested in previous posts, on the Air Ministry Form 1180 Accident Record card and or the Casualty file.

    As for the notion that
    "actual service record details were non- existent for some strange reason"
    the RAF Form 543 Record of Airman's Service is the bare remaining RAF summary record of every airman's service: ranks, postings, dates of entry, qualifications, conduct, health.
    No, it won't record the accident. Yes, they are brief, sometimes very brief. Yes, it's no substitute for the man's RAF Flying Logbook.
    However, very few of those are kept by family or in private hands and fewer still in the various collections (RAF Museum, Imperial War Museum, elsewhere).
    The Record of Service is the official summary of a man's war service and, with help on abbreviations, can offer a fuller, more accurate picture of that service than patchy family recall years later.
    What a waste to lose it.

    Publicly accessible means just that: does not necessarily mean either on-line nor free of charge.

    Lastly, memory is well-known to be a very tricky source indeed, especially so for vivid events. How much you choose to rely on any eyewitness report, either at the time let alone 60+ years after the event, is up to you.

    Short summary
    You need at least the AM Form 1180 for Whitley BD213 and very desirably a summary of (or a copy of) the Casualty File as available.
    Take the AHB advice and ask them in the first place.
    Then (if still needed) ask the RAF Museum for the Form 1180.
    Perhaps then, for interest, the 19 OTU Operations Record Book of the time at National Archive.


    Wishing you well in your project
    Last edited by Don Clark; 7th September 2020 at 05:21.
    Toujours propos

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    Ernest Tiger Hatch (7th September 2020)

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Ok,

    I'll cover issues here bitesize but first some basics.

    You have sent me copies of what you have already.

    The short letter from the AHB gave crew list, said no evidence of bale out and included a copy of the two sided F1180 for your information.

    The other page you sent is a compiled list of basic casualty information for the crew from various sources - I suspect this was not from the AHB because of the autocorrect from OTU to OUT but it is correct in every other aspect.

    So in the initial response the AHB has given F1180 for you to work from and taken an initial look at either the full casualty file or a summary document they have access to that is still classified to give the full crew list.

    As Don has said these are the basic starting points for your research to find more information.

    The MoD publication scheme has nothing to do with how you will eventually use the information you have been given - it is a list of what and where certain types of information can be obtained outside the classified document registry eg previous classified documents de-classified and transferred to other repositories.

    Discounting information/sources without establishing the content will lead you down incorrect routes/blind alleys.

    "The MOD FOI Publication Scheme Guide to Information lists the information that the MOD makes routinely available to the public, how it can be accessed and whether there is a charge for the information. All information that is published on the website can be accessed free of charge."

    https://www.gov.uk/government/public...to-information

    If the information you request under an FOI is listed here then the response will be "no further action - as per Publication scheme". So for "Royal Air Force Genealogical Enquiries Relating to Former RAF Personnel" it lists website and this trail goes to:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/collec...ervice-records

    It gives the departments the ability to close FOI without using resource or apparently using RTFM (read the f***ing manual).

    In your case the AHB did not go down this route but gave primary source information you could have obtained from RAF Museum and The National Archives. In response to this you have hit MoD with seemingly two FOI and still AHB have responded suggesting a dialogue to guide you through what you should be asking for them to help you. This is why I have praised their response.

    Hobby horse taken for a trot round track below:
    RAF are not sitting on vast archives containing every piece of paper created since April 1918 - most have been destroyed in accordance with published Parliament policy documents.

    Those designated as historic interest by Parliament were retained as instructed - then most were declassified, again according to dictated schedule, and transferred from the RAF archive to public sources. What remains for 1939 to 1945 is meagre pickings compared to what has been released.
    Hobby horse mode off.

    Next post - a primer on the Form 1180 you have and what it contains.

    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 7th September 2020 at 07:27.
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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Very well put Ross.

    Though you're probably already drafting, Form 1180 meanings also shown here, FWIW
    https://www.lancasterbombers.net/abbreviations-form-78/
    Toujours propos

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Lately I've noticed a trend in the type of requests made for details on RAF losses/personnel here and on other sites that has prompted a fresh type of response - partly due to new record releases and sources - sorry Jason bit you are the lab rat for this trial.

    Background.
    RAF split flying accidents into two types FA Flying Accident and FB Flying Battle - FB was considered cause enemy action - immediate or very shortly before. FA everything else.

    As the war progressed the same two category were used but cause and suspected cause could move and incident from one category to another as desired.

    The reporting of an accident was done from various sources on various official forms and was then further annotated by other sources and re-circulated.

    The image in this post from Mark Hood shows the path of three such forms.
    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...s-Diagram-Date

    The purpose of this routing was to capture immediate data that needed action - eg training local/general, deficiency of equipment, deficiency of ground procedures etc...etc..etc

    So there was a vast paperwork trail that started to amass on any accident.

    Units/key admin personnel would keep their own correspondence files but all documents were copied to Air Ministry for filing in the RAF Registry.

    To track actions/documents/stage of an accident, if left as individual documents in the registry, would need Clerks with superhuman powers especially as each document was live and being amended/commented on a near daily basis by different sources.

    This was where the Form 1180 came in - it was a small two sided card that acted as both index to remote related documents and as a summary of what these contained - updated as remote documents were revised.

    It was this summary function that led to Form 1180 being kept for historical record and making the retention of remote related documents unnecessary as dictated by Parliment retain/destroy by dates.

    Detailed look at your F1180.
    This is a general mid war revision of the card (rear bottom left of internal info box gives publication info - early ones give month and year) a few extra standard boxes have appeared but the main difference was the use of edge perforation codes to formalize internal content for "machine" methods of information retrieval. There are still additions that are adhoc eg rear three letter cause codes that were inuse but not a formal section of the F1180 yet.

    Moving back to the front internal sections
    Date - as the flight spanned over mid-night the date is given as 5-6 10 42. Later F1180s would use the date when the recorded crash took place but if the cause was obscure sometimes take off date was also recorded to allow changed ground details/procedures to be captured.

    Signal - this was the serial number of the initial signal reporting accident. At the time of card creation this then allowed the clerk to go to the signals log and pull up the actual copy. As the F1180 was filled out the meagre detail this contained made needing a paper copy of the actual signal irrelevant.

    765c - This was the serial number and entry in the monthly return of equipment from the unit eg signal 326D, 14th entry and related Form 1080. You can trace the route a Form 765c goes on Mark's posted chart (blue line) and I and others have posted quite a bit of information about these Forms on this site - your first homework part of better discussions with AHB
    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...Returns-in-War

    CofI - This entry of No shows that it was not thought necessary to have a Court of Inquiry. Again of a CofI was created then Form 412 on Mark's chart as an action path. My detail on Form412 is here for further reading
    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...urt-of-Inquiry

    PR and FI boxes blank as no CoI and hance these possible additional file references not created.

    AiB - This box is blank showing AiB (Air Investigation Branch) investigation not requested. This was a stop check as an AiB could have been triggered at any point despite previous requirements not to have one. The AiB was a civilian branch off the Air Ministry that still operates today as the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

    Rep No. - Again no AiB so no Report Number generated.

    File - this is the File Registry number for the copies of all important documents for the accident. If it survives it is still classified and needs a security cleared Mod staff member or serving personnel to examine and give suitable declassified information from. Again the caveat of transfer/destroy dates has changed what this now contains if it still exists.

    Drome - Early record keeping pre war used this to capture local conditions that caused a spate of accidents - eg terrain, procedure etc. If the accident occurred elsewhere as in your example early cards listed Not on - modern family viewers have taken this to be Noton, Isle of Wight in a few cases.

    Place - I cannot readily read the handwriting for this but see you have an entry elsewhere to show where you understand the crash to have happened.

    County - Caithness

    Fire - this box is ticked but the specific of ground has been added.

    Unit - 19 OTU with the number 4 to the right - The 4 was a "machine" readable category to show it was an OTU accident (see unit class edge code where 4 has been opened up)

    A/c Type and Mark - Whitley 5 again 175 to right repeated as readable category on Aircraft Type edge code. Further to right is aircraft serial and E for Damage Category E

    Engines Type and Mark - Merlin 10 serials 128012, 153322 both shown as Damage Category E. You have questioned else where gap - Merlins were made by a number of sub contractors each with a block of serials to use. This is the usual reason for new aircraft not having sequential serials - stores had stock from different suppliers and used what was first to hand.

    Name - This was usually the pilot in command for a multi-crew aircraft but different Clerks would transcribe more or less crew. As long as pilot in command was listed then that was all required in this box.

    Group - 92 for No.92 Group

    Comm - B for Bomber Command 2 to the right for the machine readable mirrored in edge code.

    A.O - N for no to active operations as duty

    Air Coll - blank for no air collision

    FIN - F for Fatal as opposed to Injury or No Injury

    K - 5 for 5 Fatalities
    I - blank for no injury survivors.

    Ok enough for one response on F1180 - front completed back to follow.

    Ross
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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Back of your F1180

    Solo Night Inst Link - recording pilot in command experience a point of take off for flight eg 113 hrs solo total, 17hrs solo on Whitley, 7hrs total night, 7 hrs total night on Whitley, 37 hrs instrument flying (both solo and dual) 50 hrs on Link trainer. Totals do not add up but usually initial report only refined as accident investigation moves on.

    Duration of flight - 4hrs 2(2?) mins

    Time - 00.58hrs hence the 5-6 annotation for date on front.

    Duty and History - X Country eg cross county authorised flight.

    below this in the history box is the live summary of accident history
    A/c (aircraft) crashed and burst into flames. On last leg of trip, on track and no signs of distress. - this is the first entry. You can read that the aircraft was not unsure of position, no reported defects had occurred prior to the crash and there was no report or sign of fire in the air.

    Next is the comment from O.C. (Officer Commanding)
    QDM given 5 minutes before crash, trip had been successful to this point with good W/T (wireless telegraphy) contacts throughout. - QDM Magnetic bearing to a station so the crew was aware of position and were using wireless just before crash (confirmation of first sentence) it implies that they were aware of position and ground heights in vicinity and had no defects engine or otherwise five minutes before.

    Station commander adds No evidence as to cause of crash. - this entry gives confirmation of Harry Staish (OC Station) to the details before and the opinion of the OC.

    AOC- Obscure - this is the view of the Air Officer Commanding that the details and views of other officers is correct and that the cause was obscure. It seems that the contact and course of the aircraft raised no concerns as to other factors being a contributing cause and hence no CoI or AiB.

    HFN Drome - N for Not On as opposed to Home or Foreign repeat of front boxes

    Dawn:Dusk - Dark Night - so note that moonlight illumination was not of help.

    Un titled box - F9 analysis code for Flight phase - unknown or not yet determined.
    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...p?14211-F-1180

    The elephant in the room
    ILCG ACF PNK EOK UOK AOK XOK WOK

    These annotations are results of "tests/examinations/impressions" that were done to try to narrow down the cause

    EOK,UOK,AOK,XOK,WOK - Engine, Undercarriage, Airframe, External Influences, Weather all OK and defects not found/considered relevant.

    PNK - Pilot not known eg unknown if pilot action/inaction was a factor

    ACF - accident c? cause? crash? fatal

    ILCG - Instrument phase, loss of control, collision with ground

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...al-Cards/page4

    Further info/confirmation can be found comparing the opened up edge codes.

    So although the text was brief other notes answer your questions on was the engine at fault - what was found when the wreck was investigated etc.

    One thing to consider was that recovery of wreckage was not a priority generally all that was done was to cover it up and prevent confusion with later losses. Some bits might be recovered but unless CoI AiB this was mainly for recovery of produce/metal salvage.

    Ok F1180 done - I hope you can now understand how much information this small index card gave you on one event in 1942. I may have stolen some of the AHB's thunder as the detail in my two posts could have been what they are trying to get the chance to explain in email dialog form as here.

    Next why you should get the AM78 from RAF Museum Hendon.

    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 7th September 2020 at 11:02.
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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    I will be as brief as possible!
    Firstly, i will just thank you all for the wealth of information and links you have supplied me and I will now go away and study these posts. Obviously, i will glady accept the 'wrist slap' from Don and I apologise for doubling up on any questions or information etc!����
    To be honest i was slightly overwhelmed with the help and assistance from everyone on here and im still a bit puzzled how/why I never found this forum in the early stages of my research! ����*♂️

    The only reason i carried out FOI requests, was because i had come to a dead end on internet research (so I believed!) however I just felt there was still 'some more' information available, so believed a FOI was my only option available. Anyway after almost 15 years of on/off searching i then stopped a couple of years back, just after I sadly lost my mother.....

    Also just before the loss of my mother, our family experienced a major split due to some historic issues with my parents relationship, which ended up with my mother leaving my father after 60yrs of marriage!. Everything was generally going okay after this, until sadly my mothers heart problem raised its head ��, she then passed away suddenly which was then a shock to everyone. This obviously caused some finger pointing, regret, anger & guilt from many of the close family and even now we still live as a 'split family' because of all this hurt.

    Anyway just before all this sad & bitter turmoil, I had actually presented some of my research to my family, however, a slightly 'embellished' & very different story had always been passed down through the generations!!
    i.e. "Your late uncle was flying Lancasters and was KIA, his plane crash was over Scotland and he was on secret mission, possibly DamBusters etc etc" .......!!???
    We believe this embellished story was only told, so it would help my uncles younger siblings & family cope better with their loss and help them during the bereavement period, which was totally understandable back in 1942. ... Plus my uncles body was released from the MOD my grandparents actually opened the coffin (against the advice on the 'Strictly do not open' label) so this caused my grandfather to turn to alcohol for the rest of his days as he couldn't himself get overbthe loss. My family were from the slums in Norwich so having a son who became a professional boxer, plus also in the RAF was rare.

    My late uncle was also a professional boxer when he went into the RAFRV, and was well known locally so I can totally understand why my grand parents shared/started this embellished story. Lack of available information from the MOD in 1942 may have also fueled this story. Therefore my research which was pretty factual actually caused more stress back then!!!

    So because of the stress, lack of any further progress and the 'disagreements' about my research, I then decided to pause everything for w while. This is why I heading straight into a FOI request.

    Unfortunately, the crash research that i had been doing is/was mainly for my father anyway (he is 87yrs old), once I had the history, I was then hoping to get my father to the crash site and organise a memorial service (i had been intouch with Freemasonry Lodge close by and a dear friend was going to help make the arrangements with land owners etc)

    Hopefully this helps to explain my questions & project to date.

    Just a more positive story to mention - whilst i was researching i looked at the crash site area and looked at who was living close by, and where were the local shops, pubs & schools etc.
    I guessed that if a Whitley Bomber crashed close by, then maybe families who lived in that same area may stiill remember some details, i.e. A young child in 1942 would be 80/90yrs now and may remember etc.
    Finally after looking at the area I noticed a Freemasonry Lodge that opened in 1920, so as a FM myself i knew they would be some elderly members !!!etc. So i contacted the secretary of the lodge, andvafter my letter was kindly passed from person to person, a kind gentleman contacted me and said he can remember a man who always 'told a story of a seeing a plane crash on the way to school...!!'.... In fact it affected the guy so much during his life, especially as he witnessed bodies being carried out of the wreck etc, he just felt guilty for not finding out more details after the war. After 62 YEARS (2004) this thoughtful gentleman, amazingly contacted the MOD to find out the names of the men involved and the full details of the crash, so he could put his mind at rest. Amazing really, since that date which was 2015 when i found out i have spoken to several people in the area.
    (The response from the MOD in 2004 was the letter that i sent via pM to Ross/joss as I couldn't post on thread)

    Anyway we will catch up again soon and hope you didnt mind the long story !!!
    Regards
    jason
    Last edited by Ernest Tiger Hatch; 7th September 2020 at 12:21. Reason: addition about letter

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Now AM 78 or RAF Form 78 the name is interchangable - just depends on era - Air Ministry or RAF

    This was a single sided card (sometimes double sided) that like the F1180 was used as a Registry Index card. Like the F1180 it has survived while the referenced documents have mostly been destroyed.

    Originally held by the AHB these were de-classified and transferred to the holding of the RAF Museum. Usually these are free on request for single numbers but when you ask for multiples a charge is usually requested. All depends on numbers and department loading.

    The caution on this document is that there were numerous different types used and the content recorded varied immensely.

    The contract number and manufacturer is always given and the date the airframe was Taken on Service (ToS)/Taken on Charge(ToC) along with unit and Authority. Authority was the file reference or Form Number of the remote document - a bit like you saying re your letter of the 3rd.

    Engine type was usually listed but it is pot luck if the card lists the serials of engines at TOS/TOC. Subsequent engine changes or specific maintenance work will not be recorded.

    The ideal procedure for transfer was for the date, SOC (Struck off Charge) and authority to be recorded for unit giving up and for a new entry made of date, TOC and authority recorded for the receiving unit.

    Usually this procedure was reduced to recording the receiving unit date and details only - implication of SOC understood.

    Sometimes an airframe was initially sent to an MU for fitting war service equipment sometimes delivered straight to first unit where this was done if needed. If small damage occurred then an entry may be made ROS (Repaired on Site) by either the unit or a contractor maintenance party. Larger damage or rework to upgrade may show as a transfer to a MU.

    At end of service the airframe was accounted for as destroyed/reduced to parts/reduced to produce/sold and this would be recorded on the AM78.

    So for BD213 and the rest of the batch I do not think that you will find much additional information to suit your aim but for completeness of bundle I would get a copy for BD213 from Hendon.

    At the moment with Covid restrictions it may take a bit longer but to give an idea of what is recorded - A series of Books from Air Britain gave listings of contract number and headlines from the AM78 (no intermediate dates) including eventual end of service.

    http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/members/IMG_0012

    You can see that BD213 was only really on the charge of No.19 OTU and no other transfers (they did usually omit any initial MU and ROS/repair if it returned to unit)

    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 7th September 2020 at 15:00.
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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Hello

    Another tiny track that I've suggested to Jason is to contact Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust about the two Merlin X engines fitted on BD213 at the time of her loss. With a little bit of luck, they may still hold some paperworks for these two engines. Who knows ? Anyway they may tell in which factory they were built, when they got out of the production line and were sent to Armstrong Whitworth, etc...

    Regards

    Joss

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    As others of us took time to offer what we could in this rather puzzling thread, Ross McNeill has given freely of his time and knowledge to draft a master-class in RAF record access and use.
    That has prompted me to draft some broader notes on UK & other national collections and the guides they offer to all on their holdings and public access.
    See the Archives & Original Material subforum: http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...891#post153891
    Whether these further thoughts and links may be of the slightest current or future use, who can say.
    However, you could see this post of mine as a further acknowledgement of the worth of Ross's work .
    We were all beginners once.
    Last edited by Don Clark; 9th September 2020 at 01:43.
    Toujours propos

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    Default Re: Whitley Bomber Mk V - Merlin X engine Serial no BD189 to BD228

    Once again I would just like to say thank you to everyone concerned with the help, advice and information you have all provided me. I will now research & contact the relevant authorities for more information (if available). I will post again in a few months hopefully!!!

    At this moment however and being 100% honest, there is 'ONE' piece of the crash data that worries me??? This is the assessment of the MOD official(s) who reviewed the crash, which I guess was carried out on the 6/7th Oct ??.
    I totally understand that 1942 was a very different time , so I mustn't read too much into this data.... but again putting a 'question mark' on a extremely young crew who were all still training just seems unfair... (in my opinion)

    (The following Information kindly supplied by Ross).

    ILCG ACF PNK EOK UOK AOK XOK WOK
    These annotations are results of "tests/examinations/impressions" that were done to try to narrow down the cause

    EOK,UOK,AOK,XOK,WOK - Engine, Undercarriage, Airframe, External Influences, Weather all OK and defects not found/considered relevant.

    PNK - Pilot not known eg unknown if pilot action/inaction was a factor

    The highlighted part is the section that worries me!!
    Its basically an answer to the question "Did the crash involve 'Pilot error ????" PNK ??

    Everything 'mechanical' was classed as 'OK' ....and it doesn't seem to make total sense with the data / information upto the
    last 5 mins before crash.
    They also statevthat the navigation flight was perfect, upto the LAST pre-arranged contact with the QMD? ..... This is where the crew replied to the last radio call "i will call you back in 5mins..... This information alone seems to imply to me, that the crew knew they had a possible problem???

    If i was a family member of the pilot (Sgt John Alwyn Williamson) and had seen this assessment back in 1942, I may have asked for more information ....

    Anyway once again thank you and catch up again soon

    👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻Cheers

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