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Thread: 24.9.39 Boy Killed by Practice Bomb Drop - Plane and Sqn involved

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    Default 24.9.39 Boy Killed by Practice Bomb Drop - Plane and Sqn involved

    From Richard Cawsey

    http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1939a.htm


    24.9.39 ?

    Boys hit by practice bomb dropped on house, Headington, Oxford

    Trevor John Thomas (6) died 25.9.39

    David Thomas injured

    Looks like it could be a Bristol Blenheim as Embrey was Commanding Officer of No 107 Squadron flying the Bristol Blenheim bomber at the time"

    Birmingham Mail - Friday 06 October 1939
    Page 7

    EVACUATED BOY'S DEATH


    FELL INTO BED ROOM At the inquest at Oxford to-day on the boy victim of an Oxford bomb tragedy, Wing- Commander Embury, who represented the Air Ministry, told the Coroner that in his opinion the bomb fell through a mechanical defect. He could not say anything about the mechanism as it was secret, and it was impossible to examine it. The inquest was on Trevor John Thomas (aged 6), the son of Mr. T. Thomas, a provision merchant of Upper North Street, Poplar, London, who had been evacuated from London and received fatal injuries when a practice bomb fell from an R.A.F. machine on the house in Headington where he was living with his brother Sunday, September 24. Wing-Commander Embury added that the ’plane was doing bombing practice, and had every right to be where it was when the bomb fell, for it was impossible to avoid all inhabited areas, although crews were told to do so when carrying bombs.



    Saw Slates Fly Off
    Kenneth Busby, a Headington newsagent, said before the bomb dropped the ’plane had been circling round for about 10 minutes. Suddenly there was a whistling noise, a bang like a firework, and he saw the slates of the house fly off. Mr. F. W. Love, with whom the boy was staying, said that just before 8 a.m. there was terrific crash and the house was filled with smoke. He dashed into the back bed room, where two boys were sleeping, the younger of them being Trevor. He saw the other boy, but in the smoke could not see Trevor. As he went towards the bed he ran into Trevor, who was crying. He picked him up and took him downstairs. A few minutes later he found a fireman giving first-aid and so learned that the boy had been injured. Dr. Robb-Smith, Assistant Director of Pathology at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, said that an operation performed on the boy bad prolonged his life, and had therefore been justified. The boy died the next day.
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 26th April 2022 at 10:03.

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    Default Re: 24.9.39 Boy Killed by Practice Bomb Drop - Plane and Sqn involved

    Otmoor Range (GE 51.807037 -1.195590), nr Headington? PNK will know. Canberras from Wittering also had a problem there!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Re: 24.9.39 Boy Killed by Practice Bomb Drop - Plane and Sqn involved

    A little bit more information from other newspapers:

    Cambridge Daily News, October 6th 1939:

    At the inquet at Oxford to-day on a London boy who was killed on September 24th by the falling of a practice bomb from an aeroplane on to a house, the Oxford Coroner declined an offer from a wing commander of the Royal Air Force to have the fragments of the pratice bomb brought by air from his home station in a distant part of the country.

    Wasn't 107 Squadron at Wattisham in September 1939?

    And to confirm Peter's suggestion:

    Bradford Observer, October 7th 1939:

    The pilot said that he flew over the bombing ranges first. He then went round the outskirts for the speed and direction of the wind to be found. He then flew straight to the bombing ground to see whether the all-clear signal for bombing was showing. As it was he flew round again and then approaching the bombing ground and his observer released a bomb.
    He knew the area and was particular not to fly over the town. He was unaware until he returned that the bomb had accidentally dropped from the machine.


    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: 24.9.39 Boy Killed by Practice Bomb Drop - Plane and Sqn involved

    107 were at Wattisham in 1939 - I think it may have been a 107 Bristol Blenheim - why would Embury be at inquest otherwise he was CO and Wattisham not near Oxford - 107 were previously at Andover though - i wonder if there is an accident report for this one ?


    This fits as "He knew the area and was particular not to fly over the town." as Andover would be OK for Oxford

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    Default Re: 24.9.39 Boy Killed by Practice Bomb Drop - Plane and Sqn involved

    Almost certainly Otmoor was the practice target, although I don't recall finding it mentioned specifically in the 107Sqn ORB - not unusual by any means. Otmoor was one of the few inland bombing ranges that were not on home airfields, the others were Porton and Berners Heath. Not sure why Berners Heath wasn't used but if it was fully booked a squadron would use an airfield local to the range to bomb up and practice and fly back in the evening or possibly the next day. This may explain it flying over Headington is it was temporarily based at an airfield south of Oxford.

    I can't recall when restrictions were put on training off the east coast but if it was in place in October 1939 this would mean the east coast ranges could not be used as the area would be a hunting ground for the fighter boys and even with IFF installed in most operational aircraft the radar plots needed to be kept as clean as possible.

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