View Full Version : 5 Sqn India Crash Around "November 1937" - P/O Gerald Charles Neil Close

9th October 2012, 15:58

Another of my mystery bale outs involves P/O Gerald Charles Neil Close

I know it the incident was in 1937 and I believe it to be between November 12th 1937 and November 24th 1937 - But this is going on the assumption of a cronological list I have.

He won the GC well EGM for Gallentry in this period and was in India with 5 Sqn from 16 March 1937 . He was born: 2Feb 1914 and died: 9 May 1941

I am looking for an aircraft incident that would cause him to bale out - I only have 5 Sqn ORB form 1938 and it is not mentioned from then onwards

His citation was as follows

"The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the Award of the Medal of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire to the undermentioned for valuable services rendered in connection with the operations in Waziristan during the period 17th January to 15th September, 1937:

For Gallantry

Pilot Officer Gerald Charles Neil Close, Royal Air Force.

When an aircraft, laden with bombs, crashed and burst into flames on the Miranshah aerodrome, this officer, who was duty pilot on the aerodrome, hastened to the scene of the accident and, in spite of the explosion of a bomb and small arms ammunition, made persistent attempts to extinguish the flames and to rescue the crew until ordered to withdraw by a superior officer."

(London Gazette - 21 December 1937)

Many thanks

9th October 2012, 17:05

The incident in which Close was awarded his EGM, took place on 13-4-1937 when Wapiti IIA K1301 (of No.27 Sqn.), crashed on take-off at Miranshah.


A possibility for Close's bale-out, could be Wapiti IIA K1302 of No.5 Sqn., which crashed near Dosalli on 20-10-1937.

Needs confirmation.

For Close's death:

See: Coastal Command Losses. Vol.1. p.121. 9-5-1941 No.59 Sqn Blenheim IV T1874 - Failed to return from Boulogne.


9th October 2012, 17:58

Thanks for that will add to my 'to be confirmed' list but the date kind of 'fits'


9th October 2012, 21:25
Col I think you have a typo K File says it K1302 that crashed at Dosalli on 20.10.37 with 1 killed

Can anyone get a name for the casuality it may help me id the pilot thanks Paul

9th October 2012, 22:26

Yes, l mean't K1302, not K1303.

Have amended entry (typo).

Humblest apologies!


11th October 2012, 12:56
I cannot help you with your original question but I would like to add that there were 2 Aircraftsmen 1st Class also involved in the attempted rescue, Woodstock and McKinnon. G.S. Woodstcock was awarded the British Empire Medal for his efforts in the incident.

Close is buried at Boulogne.

The original recommendations, drafted 20 May 1937, (Public Reciord Office Air 2/2516), were made by OC 5 Squadron - Sqn Ldr L.W. Cannon.

Sqn Ldr Cannon (Later AVM) was my wife's uncle.


12th October 2012, 10:23

Thnaks for your contribution it adds to back story!


17th October 2012, 12:19
Confirmed baleout was 21-10-1937 from ORB so has to be Wapiti K1302 of 5 Sqn

Aircraft was based at Wana - Last seen at Dosaili (sic) when returning at 18.05 hours on 20.10.37 . Pilot P/O G C N Cross walked into Miranshah unhurt 21.10.37 at 1230 hours. Aircraft had crashed in square. Body of air gunner LAC E W Joisce was discovered by the side of the crashed aircraft. Cross had parachuted out.

Confirmed: Edward Walter Joisce


17th October 2012, 16:13
Paul, there has been considerable information in two books written by Indian airmen of that time. both write a bit about Joyce's refusal to bale out.. (I think this is the same incident - both books talk about an RAF pilot baling out and the RAF airman refusing/not baling out and killed)

The gist of one of the accounts was that after Joisce's death, there was a lot of disgruntlement among the enlisted as the impression was that the pilot baled out. It was later established that the gunner didnt receive the order to bale out or he was hesitant..

I am currently travelling, but give me a weeks time to get back to my books and I can post the scans