View Full Version : Sgt Charles Edward Slee #364176 baleout "August 24 1935 " Colnbrook"

9th October 2012, 13:02
OK this is all I have

Sgt Charles Edward Slee #364176 parachuted from an aircraft on 'August 24 1935" - Date not confirmed at 'Colnbrook' England - Which is in Berkshire

I have NO other info other than that - Can anyone ID an aircraft incident that could be involved? I do not even have a Sqn - He was commissioned in May 1936 as #36061 and then posted to 7 Bomber Sqn Worthy Down which had Handley Page Heyfords at the time which indicates he may have been on a Bomber Sqn previously

Many Thanks


22nd October 2012, 17:09
Still no likely incident for this one - Though I suspect it may have something to do with Martlesham Heath/A&AEE or testing an aircraft - Later Group Captain with MVO and AFC

MVO below

Aeronautics - Volumes 9-10 - Page 62
The Royal machine took off on its outward trip at night, the plans having been made with great secrecy. Another machine accompanied it with the Air Minister, Sir Archibald Sinclair, and the Secretary for War, Sir James Grigg, aboard. Slee is well known in the Service as a test pilot, having served at Martlesham and other establishments of the kind for a number of years in the past. He has carried out Service test work for about nine years and has been in the R.A.F. since 1924. On the 30th of June it was announced that the King had conferred the insignia of Commander of the Royal Victorian Order on Group Captain Captain E. H. Fielden, D.F.C., A.F.C., who flew with him, and that Collins and Slee had been made Members of the Order.

Born 12/1/08. First Comm 21/5/36 GC 1/1/52 Ret 12/1/58

AFC Jan 1 1941

13th March 2014, 09:15
Update AIR 10/1582 Report on Flying accidents during July-Dec 1935 Page20 "In addition to the incidents noted above, in all of which the aircraft concerned were completely wrecked, there was one incident in which the aircraft was landed successfully by the pilot, who had lost control in bad weather, after his passenger who landed unhurt had jumped as ordered by the pilot." By process of elimination this has to be the incident in which Charles Edward Slee baled out at Colnbrook, Slough (confirmed by reference to a later Irvin list held by Seattle museum of flight). Still looking for full details of flight and confirmation of date and Sqn

13th March 2014, 11:05

Post # 2: One of W/C Slee's Royal flights:

The King's North African Flight, 11-6-1943 to 25-6-1943. Avro York LV633 'Ascalon'.

Crew and Passengers:

Pilot: W/C H B Collins DFC
Second Pilot: F/L E G Fraser
Navigational Officer: S/L J L Mitchell DFC
Signals Officer: F/L W Gallagher
Flight Engineer: F/L S S Payne DFM
Relief Pilot: W/C C E Slee AFC
Additional Engineer: F/L T Jenkins
CATCO Transport Command HQ: W/C J Jeffs
Steward: Cpl H Sheppard.

Passengers, Outward Journey:

His Majesty King George VI
Private Secretary: Major the Right Honourable Sir Alexander Hardinge GCVO, KCB, MC
Master of the Royal Household: Sir Piers Legh KCVO, CMG, CIE, OBE
Air Equerry: G/C Edward H Fielden MVO, AFC
Deputy C-in-C, North Africa General the Honourable Sir Harold Alexander GCB, CSI, DSO, MC
Secretary of State for Air Sir Archibald Sinclair Bt, KT, CMG, MP
Royal Army Medical Corps Officer Lt-Col Richardson
Lt-Col Gault
Metropolitan Police Officers: Staff Sergeants H Cameron, R J Evitts and T L Jerrons.

Passengers, Homeward Journey:

The passenger list was exactly as on the outward journey except that it did not include General Alexander, his place being occupied by: Crown Equerry Colonel D McM Kavanagh CVO.


Flight Royal:The Queen's Flight & Royal flying in five reigns.
Cooksley,Peter G
Cambridge:Patrick Stephens Limited,1981


13th March 2014, 14:31
Col thanks for more background on this airman Paul

14th March 2017, 15:00
Charles Edward Slee was my grandfather. I searched for his name and found this interesting thread which prompted me to create an account. He passed away around 25 years ago and his son (my father) has also passed away unfortunately with many stories left untold. Charles' nickname was "Silent Slee" so perhaps many tales were destined to be untold. One memorable story was when he was sent to occupied France to meet with the Resistance and steal a Messerschmitt from a German airfield. I was telling a friend this story who then recommended Eric Brown's book "Wings on my Sleeve". It arrived today so I'll see how similar the tales are.

We still have his flight logbooks so the next time I visit my mum I'll get them out and see what info I can find. We also have the silkworm pin badge he received after making the jump.

Guillaume Slee

14th March 2017, 17:46
Guillaume Slee

You have made my day with this post as I have no idea why he is on the Irvin Caterpillar List - as Next Of Kin you can apply to Airborne Systems for a copy of his Caterpillar Club File - If his log books do NOT provide an answer


4th April 2017, 09:12
Thanks to Charles Slee's grandson Guillaume I can now report a little more about this incident. It is this incident

"AIR 10/1582 Report on Flying accidents during July-Dec 1935 Page20 ? In addition to the incidents noted above, in all of which the aircraft concerned were completely wrecked, there was one incident in which the aircraft was landed successfully by the pilot, who had lost control in bad weather, after his passenger who landed unhurt had jumped as ordered by the pilot."

The pilot was Flt Lt. Reginald Vere Massey Odbert #17030 and Slee was on A Flight of the "A T Section" (Aircraft Test or Armament testing?) Section of A&AEE Martlesham Heath at the time.

The incident is described by Slee thus

"On August 24th I was returning to this Unit from Heath Row with Flight Lieutenant R. V. M ODBERT as pilot in a Hart aircraft.
After leaving Heath Row we climbed in cloud to about 7,000 feet when the aircraft got out of control. As we were still in cloud and still out of control at a height of 1,500 feet the Pilot told me to jump.
This I did and came out of the rain and cloud at about 300 feet and landed without injury in a field at Colnhrook, Bucks. "

The only outstanding query is what Hart was involved. These were the known ones at Martlesham Heath in 1934 and 1935

From The Royal Air Force - Volume 2: An Encyclopedia of the Inter-War Years 1930-1939 by Ian Philpott


Hawker Hart
K2434 Dec 1934 Test-bed Napier Dagger I motor
K2969 Jul 1934 Vickers-built aircraft for testing
K2967 Jul 1934 Ballistic test aircraft

Hawker Hart Trainer (Interim)
K2475 Feb 1934 Dual-control for trials
K3146 Jul 1934 Production aircraft for trials


Hawker Hart I
K2434 Feb 1935 Trials aircraft. Dagger II motor.
K2466 Jan 1935 Dive-bombing trials

Hawker Hart (Swedish)

1301 Jan 1935 Export aircraft with Pegasus radial motor

Hawker Hart Trainer

K3743 Jul 1935 Trials aircraft
K3012 Apr 1935 Trials aircraft. To Canada
K3153 Sep 1935 Trainer aircraft trials <-- Can be discounted to late

My gut feeling is it may have been K2466 Jan 1935 Dive-bombing trials as Fairey were based at Heath Row at the time

Firstly Can anyone confirm what "A Flight" at Marlesham Heath were responsible for I assume Bombers... As both Slee and Odbert were long term 'Bomber' men



4th April 2017, 09:18
Oh ODBERT was killed as Group Captain on 18-7-1943 in Wellington III BK325 along with


Group Captain Reginald Vere Massey 'Oddy' Odbert 18th July 1943 Royal Air Force 17030

He was a pre-war Irish International Rugby Player and Captain RAF Rugby team in 1928 and 1932

S/L PHILIP BRANDON-TRYE is also on my Caterpillar List for September 25, 1939 in DH82A Tiger Moth N6850 while a Pupil Pilot (collision with N6855)

5th April 2017, 07:38

W/O J. W. Heard was killed, along with the others, in 1485 Flt Wellington III BK235, not BK325. See: BCL8/205.


5th April 2017, 18:31
Col thanks for correction paul

30th April 2017, 10:41
Guillaume Slee kindly supplied me with a copy of his grandfathers log book for the day. The Hart was K2968