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Thread: One for the books

  1. #1
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    Default One for the books

    You will all be greatly relieved to hear I have finally made it down to the reference library and gone through Allison to clear up a number of my unaccounted for Malvern boys. Of course there are still several topics that need investigating, so here's the first one.

    Flt. Lt. John Wilson Frizelle (J11273), RCAF, was killed on 20 Jun 1945 when he was flying Harvard 2869 in an army cooperation exercise at No. 14 SFTS in Aylmer, Ontario. He flew so low that he clipped Capt. Hardy in the head with his propeller, killing him. (Hardy was standing on top of a transport at the time). Frizelle's prop must have come off since he crashed six miles further on and was killed near Sherwood Springs. He is buried down the street from me, here in Toronto.

    It sounds like he was awfully low. What kind of army cooperation exercise would call for that low an approach and has anyone heard of such a thing before?
    David

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    I seem to remember that a Huricane on an army co-op exercise, killed a soldier near Carlisle in similar fashion. Must have happened quite a lot. And there was the Polish pilot who hit a civilian truck and killed the driver in a mock attack near Chester. Youthful exuberence and misjudgment. a lethal combination!

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    Hi David,

    the question is why he was flying so low? It also can be also only lack of discipline. There was a similar case of Czech pilot flying a Spitrife back in Czechoslovakia in December 1945. When on normal training flight he flew so low over the river Elbe that he killed two young boys on a boat and then make a belly landing.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    It happens even in this day and age:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/htmlContent.jhtml?html=/archive/1996/07/03/nju03.html

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    I was hoping there was a military reason for this accident and not tomfoolery, which I suspect is the story behind some of the incidents on my casualty list. There's a report of one death by "falling from the window of his billet" and, as a news story said here the other night, "alcohol is suspected as a factor".

    The pilot in the Frizelle incident was 27 years old so I got the impression he'd been around long enough that it was some kind of manoeuvre.

    The army captain involved was Cpt. Robert Walton Hardy, 32, a member of the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, so he should have been old enough to know better too.

    Can anyone describe for me what an army cooperation exercise involved?
    David

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    Army cooperation training evolved during the war. By this time, several distinct tasks or exercises would be carried out. Some were meant to train the pilots, and some to train the Army. The intent was to duplicate the actual use of aircraft in Army operations, plus simply exposing the troops to the sound and sight of low flying aircraft. There were several examples of bored and/or frustrated BCATP instructors getting carried away during the low flying phases of the training.

    If F/L Frizelle was a 27 year old instructor in June 1945, and had never been overseas, he may have fallen into the bored/frustrated category.

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    Default Army Co-op Low Flying

    In the heady (post WW2) days of the Army 3 Div and RAF 38 Grp playing 'war games' on Salisbury Plain (and elsewhere) IIRC the Recce Jaguars had the ability to eject a cassette of undeveloped recce film to the Forward Force HQ. Here it would be developed and printed in ATREL(?) [Air Transportable Recce E? Laboratory(?)]. The Jaguar pilots would frequently fly low enough - when ejecting these cassettes - so as to come almost into contact with my HF radio aerials!!! And they were only on SPM30, or SPM48, foot masts!!!!!!!!!!!!! If, subsequently, they were hauled up before The Boss (AVM 'Mickey' Martin, for most of my tour(s) in 38 Grp) for low flying infringements they would - with a straight face - simply say that they were just trying to get the delivery absolutely exact!!!!!!!!!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 3rd January 2009 at 15:21.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Unnecessary Accidents

    The hope that somebody was killed in the course of duty and not through "tom foolery" is understandable, but unhappily a very substantial number of people were killed through either their own stupidity or that of others. The following are a few notes I took years ago from RCAF records:

    14 August 41 - 3 SFTS - F/O I.M. Brown (Pilot) with pupil pilots LACs F.W. Grenfield (killed) and A.M.R. McGruther (severely injured), all RCAF. 1700 hours, 45 miles west of Calgary. On instrument flying instruction, but conducted unauthorized low flying. Attempting to turn, hit tree on upper slope, wiped out starboard side tail plane, and then crashed in timber on a mountain. Court of Inquiry recommended "Supplying of all twin-engined schools with one or more single engine aircraft of a suitable type to enable instructors to 'let off steam'." NOT CONCURRED IN BY A.F.M.O.

    2 January 1942 - 2 SFTS - Harvard 3237 crashed, two killed on the outskirts of Kingston. It was last seen flying low in the vicinity of home NOK, LAC GFJ Clarke. Stalled in a turn, spun, crashed, burned. "The court recommends that action be taken through the public press to solicit the assistance of parents, wives or sweethearts to prevent 'visits to home' in aircraft. It is known that a fatal accident occurred under identical circumstances at the same school on the same day, both accidents through 'visits to home'."

    14 October 1942 - Sergeant K.R. Goodhew, RAF, piloting Battle 1601, No.3 BGS, with two passengers doing unauthorized low flying, crashed through high tension wires, 15 miles west of Portage la Prairie. The three airmen were not injured, but wires fell on a fence and eloctructed two female civilians, Pearl and Alice Gibbs.

    8 November 1942 - Crash of Finch 4722, No.13 EFTS, three miles SW of St.Benoit, Quebec. Sgt L.L. Taylor killed, LAC J.M. Yost severely injured. 1545 hours. Instrument instruction flight. Two aircraft flying in formation flew very low for several minutes - Taylor hit a cow, did a semi-circle to right, crashed, burned. Court wrote, "Low flying among pupils cannot be cut down until low flying by instructors with pupils is completely stamped out." Recommended that such instructors be discharged or remustered to general duties for a year, that punishment be publicised, and that if discharged it should be made impossible for them to get a flying job for duration of war. Further recommended such steps be taken against Sgt. H.J. Burke, the other instructor.

    26 April 1943 - One of the dumbest and most ironic accidents. Tiger Moth 1255, No.35 EFTS crashed 1.5 miles NE of Eden, Manitoba. Instructor on dual control made several low passes at a crash truck of the unit, truck picking up crashed aircraft in area. On one pass he hit the truck and crashed in flames. The RAF instructor died four days later. One civilian seriously hurt, one slightly hurt, five others unhurt.

    13 July 1943 - Cornell 14449 - 31 EFTS - two killed - Had been doing low flying and aerobatics, buzzing a tractor and farmer from 100 and 200 feet. Starboard wing struck ground. Pilot, Sergeant J. Fleming, had 517 flying hours, including 352 on type. His passenger was a FS Armourer.

    27 July 1943 - crash at No.7 BGS, Paulson, 12 miles north of field. Four killed. Aircraft went from level flight into dive at 3,000 feet and crashed, tanks exploding. Aircraft went in vertical. The pilot's log book showed five endorsments for breaches of flying regulations. From positions of bodies and behaviour of aircraft, there was strong circumstantial evidence that the pilot and bombing instructor were changing seats in mid-air and that aircraft went out of control during change-over. The bombing instructor, P/O Esselmont, was a washed-out pilot trainee who had 167 hours in air and was anxious to fly. He also had personal problems before accident.

    8 August 1944 - Harvard 2579 of No.13 SFTS crashed seven miles south of main field, killing pilot and a WD passenger. Aircraft was supposedly on a transport flight, North Battleford to R.1, Hamlin, and was seen to come down in a spin, leveling off too late. "The fact that the rear control stick was put into its socket after the aircraft left the ground and that the aircraft crashed well off its course is almost conclusive proof the pilot was giving unauthorized dual instruction to his LAW passenger." Pilot had a total of 160 hours dual and 560 hours solo, including 115 and 527 hours respectively on Harvards.

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    Very interesting, and sad, info Hugh. Can you please check the serial number of the Tiger Moth on 26 April 1943? My notes show serial number 1255 surviving the war, and being on the civil register until at least 1951.

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    Thanks Hugh, my journalist's instinct was telling me as much and you have proved it.

    I must make one amendment to my original post... it was Frizelle's wing that hit Capt. Hardy, not his propeller. I was confusing it with another incident where the LAC was accidentally killed by his own propeller in a night flying exercise.

    I assume there was an investigation into the Frizelle incident so I will look for it in the SFTS records. Can anyone tell me what group of records they will be found in?
    David

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