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Thread: Flying Boat Accident 1941

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    Default Flying Boat Accident 1941

    I am conducting some research for a friend, whose uncle Wilfrid Harry Such died in a plane crash near Helensburgh on Oct 21 1941. Harry was the only civilian employee in a crew of 7, the other 6 RAF personnel included Fl. Lt. John Collison and Pil.Off. Charles Mills. The death certs. give the site of death as Shandon, Gareloch, cause of death 'Due to War Operations (Flying Accident)'. It was thought the plane was a Lerwick flying boat and that Wilfred Such worked for Shorts, though the Lerwick was of course Saro. In fact on the death cert. Harry was classified as a Civilian Employee Ministry of Aircraft Production attached Marine Experimental Establishment, Helensburgh (Instrument Repairer).

    Does anyone have any more information about this particular crash - e.g. was it on land or water, the type of plane, newspaper reports or indeed what the nature of the research they were engaged on might have been? Thank you.

    Norman Hood

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    Was a Lerwick its serial was L7248

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    Default Lerwick L7248

    Hi Norman,

    According to Air Britain RAF Serials L1000 to N9999.

    L7248 of MAEE (Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment) Engine cut and aircraft dived into a hill at Faslane,Argyll. 21/10/41.

    Sorry no crew details found as yet.


    Regards.
    Dave.

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    Full details of this appear in UK Flight Testing Accidents 1940 to 1971 from Air Britain

    It was the Prototype Lerwick serial L7248 on 21st October 1941

    6 RAF Crew were

    Flt Lt J. C. Alexander
    Plt Off Mills
    LAC Ginaella
    LAC McLaughlin
    AC2 Hunter
    AC1 Bullocke

    Mr Such (Civilian)

    The aircraft was on a Calibration Test from MAEE Helensburgh.

    The detail says the the pilot was inexperienced on type. The starboard engine failed in flight, the aircraft was unable to maintain height on one engine and flew into a hill at Faslane, Shandon. Both engines were sent to Bristol for strip examination but nothing was found to account for the failure. It was therefore assumed that exactor control trouble may have been experienced. It was noted by both the AIB and the OC that the handling characteristcs of the Lerwick had never been satisfactory when flying with one engine fearthered and there is little doubt that with failure of either power plant under smiliar circumstances the pilot would be in a most difficult situation.

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    Thanks Paul sharing this info with us. Crew were:
    F/Lt (Pilot) John C. ALEXANDER - 33456;
    P/O (Pilot) Charles H. MILLS - 100096;
    LAC William S.E. GIANELLA - 630560;
    LAC William D.J. McLAUGHLIN - 1007719;
    AC2 Peter B. HUNTER - 1017642, and
    AC1 Raymond T.M. BULLOCKE - 93216.
    P/O Mills buried Radcliffe (Stand Lane) New Church Burial Ground; Alexander, Gianella, McLaughlin and Bullocke all buried Helensburgh Cem., Rhu, Dunbartonshire.
    AC2 Hunter is commemorated on Panel 290 of the Runnymede Memorial; this high panel number means that something went wrong with the remains (the grave) of the said airman (grave lost ?).
    Regards and good weekend,
    Henk.

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    Default Lerwick L7248

    Thanks Paul & Henk

    For the crew details etc, being a high ground crash this is of interest in my researches, prior to the first post question I didn`t actually have this on file anywhere, other than an asterix in the Air Britain book to say it was a hill crash.

    Regs.
    Dave.

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    Default Lerwick L7248

    Please could someone advise me where I could find out the following information about the crash of Lerwick L7248:

    1) What was the purpose of L7248s flight ?
    2) What was the duration and length of the flight ?
    3) Was the flight in daylight or at night?
    4) Was the flight-route in shore or off shore?
    5) Were there any rescue attempts?
    6) What exactly did the aircrafts unit M.A.E.E. do?
    7) Was the German PoW camp near to the crash site involved in any rescue?

    Thank you
    Norman

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    Gentlemen,

    Don't forget there was a civilian killed too. His name was Wilfred Harry Such, attached to 34 MAEE.

    Regards,

    Leendert

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    Norman


    Access to this report at the National Archives should tell you all you need to know


    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATID=-893896&CATLN=7&Highlight=%2CLERWICK&accessmethod=0 &Summary=True

    Paul

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    I've now concluded all my research into the crash of Flying Boat Lerwick L7248 in 1941. Thank you all for your kind help. The information has been passed to the Helensburgh Heritage Trust, Dunbartonshire who requested the information originally. Thank you.

    Before finishing I thought I would add a little more information gathered elsewhere about the incident.

    From the RAF Commands forum I found out:
    Saunders-Roe (Saro) Lerwick L7248 was the prototype, L 7249 the second and were both flight tested by the MAEE at Helensburgh along with other Lerwicks assigned to 209 Squadron RAF Oban. Altogether, 21 Lerwicks were manufactured. During the fatal flight on 21 October 1941, eyewitnesses saw the staboard wing dip and the seaplane fly straight into a hill at Shandon near Faslane. the court of inquiry/accident investigation board suggested that the staboard engine failed in some way and the handling characteristics had never been satisfactory with the Lerwick when flying on only one engine.

    From elsewhere:
    The MAEE were surrounded in secrecy, soon after the accident L 7248 was officially declared Category E and struck off charge while on 29 Oct 1941 Lerwick L7265 was listed as crashing on 21 Oct 1941 because it was assigned to 209 Squadron and therefore looked to be like the Lerwick involved (Lerwick L7248) Prototype L7248 was shrouded in mystery it only had 9 windows on each side of the fuselage and was fitted with a dummy tail turret. A copy of the aircraft picture can be obtained from the Imperial War Museum. and comes up on the "Wikepedia" when searching Lerwick. Clearly, dangerous work was carried out by the mysterious MAEE at Helensburgh. Thank you all for your help

    Norman Hood
    .

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