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Thread: Halifax KB146 crash

  1. #1
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    Default Halifax KB146 crash

    I'm looking into an incident that occurred at 12.30am on the 27th of April 1944. Handley Page Halifax KB146 of No. 1667 Heavy Conversion Unit was flying south from Yorkshire and was at 25,000 feet when the port outer engine'd fuel line ruptured. This caused engine trouble and vibration, and as they lost height the aircraft began to spin at 16,000 feet. The captain ordered the crew to bail out at 12,000 feet, but only half those aboard survived. Those killed were:

    Pilot officer Clifford Douglas McIvor (RCAF) - J/29531 - Pilot
    Sgt John Irons - (RAF) - 1361132 - W/OpAG
    Sgt Robert Davidson Jack (RAF, Scottish) - 1553039 - Air Bomber

    Those who escaped were:

    F/Sgt Donald James Mackie (RNZAF) - NZ404080 - Air Gunner
    F/Sgt Tappa - 1433903
    Sgt King - 1264829

    All three above were reported to be slightly injured in the initial report but Don Mackie, who is my main focus here as he was from my home town of Cambridge, New Zealand, landed in his parachute in a tree, hitched in the branches and the harness was strangling him so he released the QRF and dropped around 40 feet to the ground, breaking his back and a knee and suffered lung damage. The tree where he got hooked up was apparently at Colerne in Wiltshire according to the 1980's article, and by the 1980's when he returned there and found the tree, it was part of a British Army property, however previous to the crash he'd actually earlier been based at Colerne when it was an RAF station, which is co-incidental that he landed on his old station after bailing out.

    However the official Minute from the date of the crash states it was at Marshfields, Gloucestershire, but also mentions Colerne. Do these places lie adjacent to each other, or is Marshfields where the HCU was based?

    He recounted in a 1980's newspaper article from when he returend to the site and found that same tree that this was the third crash he'd been in during the past two weeks. However this one meant he was eventually repatriated home to New Zealand and released eventually after much treatment for his crushed vertabrae.

    I am trying to piece the rest together as Don died in the 1980's, his logbook is missing and his daughter and I are both curious.

    Does anyone here know:
    - The full names of the other two survivors of this incident? And their roles? And did their 'slight' injuries also turn out to be as bad as Don's?
    - Why would an experienced Flight Sergeant like Don be aboard a 1667 HCU Halifax? Was he an instructor perhaps? He had been flying in heavies in Coastal Command for a couple of years, including with No. 200 Squadron with Lloyd Trigg VC in Africa. So why was he sent to an HCU now? I can only deduce he was instructing, but his service records mention nothing about him being posted at 1667 HCU at the time, they list him as posted to something called 11 Borse in that period, which I've never heard of.
    - Does anyone know what the mission was for this night, was it a night cross-country training flight?
    - Can anyone find record of two other crashes he was in during April 1944, I assume with 1667 HCU?

  2. #2
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    It won;t help you in a hurry but you ought to order if not done already, a copy of

    Pilot officer Clifford Douglas McIvor (RCAF) - J/29531 - Pilot

    Service record from
    Personnel Records Unit,

    Library and Archives Canada,
    395 Wellington Street,
    Ottawa,
    ON K1A 0N3

    Fax (613) 947 8456

    http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogie/022-913.001.03-e.html

    Also, and I might be wrong, you should eb able to get a copy of macKie's service files? I'm sure you've these already.

    They is a 50/50 chance that in McIvors Canadian files you might turn up a copy of a Form 765 or better again 412. All crew will be listed therein. Will take weeks or months to get the files from Canada due current process, but worth the wait.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Dave,
    It was a night cross country excersise, 1667 were based at Sandtoft at the time.
    Marshfield and Colerne are approx 2.5 miles apart, the pilot, C.D McIvor was involved in another accident on 13th April 44 when he force landed Halifax DG351 of 1667 HCU, no other crew details known.
    Details courtesy of Chorley and Google maps, with a slip of the finger thrown in.
    Last edited by AlanW; 29th April 2010 at 14:30.

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    Dave

    I am sure that Alan meant to say that Marshfield and Colerne Airfield are 2.5 miles apart.

    The a/c came down at Harcombe Farm, between Marshfield and Tormarton, OS ref ST779759

    regards.

    DaveW
    Last edited by davew; 29th April 2010 at 14:16. Reason: Added more

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    Ooops!! thanks Dave, have ammended.

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    If (and this is a big "if") there was N to S drift while yr man was "under the canopy" then he must have exited the a/c (at 12,000 ft) somewhere on the line between Badminton and Colerne? Somewhere, on that line, lies the track from Harcombe Farm (where the a/c impacted) to where yr man left the a/c - give or take a bit!
    Now the dropping of 'supplies' (be they inert stores, or human paras!) from 'Medium Levels' exercised some considerably expert brains - and not a little time/effort in WW2 - to try to get the despatch of supplies (ditto above) such that the despatching a/c were not subject to the random gunfire of ground-based troops (let alone properly directed AA fire!). It proved to be non-effective.
    Which is why modern paras (should they ever be used for real - which the deity forbid!) are chucked out very close to the ground! The Met Persons cannot get the Mean Equivalent Drop Wind (MEDW) right if the MEDW is above, about, 2000 ft. There was some VERY CONSIDERABLE effort BEFORE Arnhem (Op MARKET GARDEN) in trying to solve this problem. Failure - which accounted for the appalling losses of (a) the delivering a/c, and (b) the re-supply a/c.
    If anyone should be interested (and I doubt it!) I have pages of Peruvian Nose-Flute Music in the 38 Group (Met) After Action Report to prove/disprove the point. PMs only please - after all we don't want to send the entire Forum into total somnolence.
    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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    Serial of the aircraft was EB146 (not KB146). Refer further to my remarks on same thread in TOCH forum.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Thank you very much everyone, I am pleased that lots of information is flooding in on this matter, both here and on the FlyPast Forum here
    http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showthread.php?p=1573371#post1573371

    The serial number problem arose because all i had was a photocopy of an original Minute sheet which has a few smudged letters and it looked like a K. Sorry. Also, despite Mackie himself saying in the 1980's article that four had jumped out that Minute sheet had only listed three survivors.

    So does anyone here know the full names of Sgt J.A. Tarrant (the Navigator), Sgt A.H. King, (the Reargunner) or Sgt G.A.F. Hearn (the Flight Engineer)?

  9. #9
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    Don Mackie's daughter Mary-Jean Paterson, who has been helping me piece together his Air Force story, wants to thank everyone who has helped so far on this research project. I have just finished scanning Don's wartime photos taken in NZ, Canada, the UK and Africa, and these will eventually be added to his webpage on my site, along with a much more detailed account of his service than what is there now. I'll let you know when the page is updated. Thanks everyone.

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