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Thread: Wellesley K7734

  1. #1
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    Default Wellesley K7734

    Hi All,

    Could anyone please provide crew detail of the Long Range Development Unit Wellesley K7734 that went missing in the North Sea 24th Feb 1938.

    Also were any of the crew ever found?

    Any help as always greatly appreciated.

    Regards
    Dave.

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    Hi Dave

    The crew were: -

    Flt Lt GARDNER, FRANK STEIGHT
    Sgt HIGGS, GEORGE
    Fg Off THOMSON, GEORGE JAMES DOUGLAS

    as far as I'm aware no trace was ever found.

    Malcolm

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    Default Wellesley K7734

    Hi Malcolm,

    Never expected a reply so quick, that`s great, thanks.

    Regards
    Dave.

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    Hello Dave,

    here are some brief biographical notes on Gardner.

    Frank Steight GARDNER, was born on 29-6-1908, in Newcastle, NSW., the son of W S Gardner, an architect. He was educated at Fort Street High School and Sydney University.

    Gardner held a commission in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve, but retired to join the Air Force (date undetermined). He was trained at Point Cook, Victoria and later Richmond, NSW. He later took up commercial flying with Australian National Airways (he held 'A' and 'B' class licences),flying between Melbourne and Sydney as a second pilot.

    In 1931, he resigned from the RAAF to take up a Short-Service Commission with the RAF. Promoted to Flying Officer in 1932, and granted a permanent commission as a Flight Lieutenant in 1936. He served in the Mediterranean and on the China Station, in the Far East, returning to the UK in 1936. Gardner was categorised as a "B' Class instructor at CFS, Upavon, in March 1936.

    He served as a flying instructor at various training establishments prior to going missing in LRDU Wellesley K7734, on 24-2-1938.

    Would anyone know Gardner's RAF service number?

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 22nd March 2010 at 09:38.

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    Default Wellesley

    Hi Col,

    Thanks for all this great information, is this from the LG? I did find a mention of the missing Wellesley on the Flight Global archive which says about a wheel being found off Norway and Identified as coming from that Wellesley.

    I went on the Aus NA site after seeing your posting but see that there is just one file on him from 1931-1948 which is not digitised,oddly there is no service number for him though.

    We estimate the aircraft went down somewhere east of Orkney and according to local press searches were made off Longhope but nothing was found.

    An odd looking aircraft the Wellesley, looks like it was made up of all bits left over from other aircraft designs,strange to think it was the fore runner to the Wellington and Warwick.

    Regards
    Dave.

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    Default Wellesley K7734 24 Feb 1938

    'The Scotsman' newspaper of 4 August 1938 refers to a statement from the Air Ministry 'last night', regarding the above loss. Investigations indicate that it crashed in Scottish waters, wreckage being washed up in Norway on 24 March, having drifted across the North Sea. "The aircraft appears to have hit the water with force". Apparently, the last W/T message was at 08:00 on 24 Feb, in position 50 mls E of Wick, heading for Shetland.

    The a/c was on a 'round GB' flight at the time. I believe the unit was based at Upper Heyford.

    Keith

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    Col, From the LG:
    6th May 1931
    Maurice HARE.
    Arthur Jackson Hicks. (32036)
    Eric Stanley MACPHERSON.
    Thomas Henry Lee NICHOLLS (32038)
    James RAMSDEN. (Trans RN)
    George Granville SHARP-BOLSTER.
    David SLOAN (32031)
    Stanley William Frederick SMYTH.
    Alfred THREAPLETON (32033)
    Geoffrey Flindell WOOD. (32034)
    12th May 1931.
    Frank Steight GARDNER.
    Robert Henning PRELLER. (Trans SAAF)
    13th May 1931.
    William Joseph HICKEY. (32035)
    Edgar Bowman WADDY. (32039
    15th May 1931.
    Derek Gerald Wentworth SOMERVILLE.
    Regards, Terry

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    Hi Terry,

    I had the information on Hickey (32035) and Waddy (32039), both being Australians. I'm still not sure of Gardner's service number. I tried to locate Preller's service number - no joy. He resigned his SSC on 10-8-1933, and turns up as a Major (DFC), in the SAAF (OC 11[B] Sqn SAAF)in 1940.

    My head is starting to spin on this one!

    Col.

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