10.1.31 Wapiti IIA J9380, 39 Sqn, Risalpur
Hit by eagle, wing collapsed and crashed, Risalpur, India
Sgt James Edward Wren (28) killed #345850
Cpl Thomas William Penny Jeffrey AFM (29) killed #344812
1st March 1929.
ROYAL AIR FORCE.
The KING has been graciously pleased to
approve of the following awards to the under
mentioned offcers and airmen of the Royal Air
Awarded the Air Force Medal.
344812 Corporal Thomas William Penny Jeffrey
Civil & Military Gazette (Lahore) - Wednesday 21 January 1931
EAGLE CAUSES AIR CRASH
Two Killed at Risalpur
BIRD FLIES INTO R.A.F. MACHINE
Flight-Sergeant Wren and Corporal T. W. Jeffreys (sic Thomas William Penny Jeffrey), A.F.M., were killed recently at Risalpur as the result of a crash brought about by a rock eagle's flying into the machine and breaking a strut.
Sergeant Wren was piloting a Westland-Wapiti machine of No. 39 (Bomber) Squadron, which is stationed at Risalpur. It was one of 36 machines engaged in practising formation flying for the forthcoming aerial pageant at Delhi.
When the order to land was signalled, Sergeant Wren's flight began to descend, and the 'planes were at approximately 800 feet when spectators saw an eagle with immense spread of wing fly into the machine. One of the wings collapsed and the machine fell to the ground. Corporal Jeffrey was seem to jump, out of the rear
cockpit of the falling 'plane, but his parachute became entangled in the fuselage and he crashed to death.
WING SPAN OF 8 FEET
At the subsequent inquiry it was revealed that the eagle had a wing spread of eight feet and that it belonged to a species which is fairly common in the Risalpur district. This is the first fatal accident experienced by No. 39 Squadron during the last seven years. The Squadron which is under the command of Squadron-Leader S. B. Harris, D.F.C., A.F.C (Stafford Berkeley Harris) , played an active part in the recent operations on the North West Frontier.
Flight-Sergeant Wren was experienced pilot and gained his certificate five years ago. Corporal Jeffrey had also considerable flying experience and four years (sic 2 years) ago was awarded the Air Force Medal for distinguished conduct.