View Full Version : possible Vickers Virginia crash March 1927, Thames Estuary

3rd January 2018, 19:28
Can anyone identify the aircraft, and full names of the crew, which crashed in the Thames Estuary in March 1927? It was operating from RAF Manston and the crew were picked up by the steamer Pickmere after spending 6 hours clinging to the wreckage, the crew were:

Pilot: F/O Barlow
Pilot: P/O Winn
Wireless Op: Baker
Air Gunner: Royal

I suspect the aircraft is a Vickers Virginia as they were being operated from Manston at the time. The aircraft was badly damaged and towed ashore at Sheerness.

Many thanks,


3rd January 2018, 20:06

The Nottingham Evening Post of 23 March records the serial No as J4785 which is part of a 500 block allocated to aircraft repaired in France. The crew names are not given in the report.


Just found it in ABS, the correct serial is J7425 of 9 Squadron. Date of incident 21st but the newspaper article puts it as 22nd.

3rd January 2018, 20:28
Serial actually J7425

3rd January 2018, 20:34
Forced landed at night crew spent 6 hours clinging to wreckage so I reckon night of 21/22nd March 1927

3rd January 2018, 20:36
Another newspaper says crashed Monday night (21st) rescued early Tuesday (22nd) morning

3rd January 2018, 21:43
Great stuff. Thanks for the prompt replies. Just need to identify the full crew names. Winn was Richard Horry Winn, later killed with the ATA during WW2. He was also known as William Berger Horry Winn.

4th January 2018, 00:43

Pilot of No.9 Squadron Virginia J7425, probably: 16141 F/O Richard Hugh BARLOW RAF (later S/L.[ret.], AFC).

In March (1927) Flg Off Barlow force-landed in the Thames at 9 p.m. Despite every effort to attract attention by firing Verey lights and shouting, it was not until six hours later that a passing trawler picked up the crew and took the aircraft in tow. The aircraft was returned to Vickers and issued to the Squadron again in June, 1926 [sic]. Because of lack of radio in the trawler no news of the crews safety was received on the Squadron until noon the following day.

Squadron Aircraft.

Virginia VII (May 1926 to June 1930)

J7425 To Sqn 1/27 - Crashed 21/3/27

The History of 9 Squadron Royal Air Force.
Mason,T. (Comp.)


4th January 2018, 07:01
Col yes pilot was Richard Hugh BARLOW. (16141) (he was a baronet)

4th January 2018, 10:25

Barlow was killed in an aircraft accident in Ecuador on 3 December, 1946.

The take-over by Airwork at the beginning of 1947 was prefaced by a deplorable acciident involving one of the Grummans. It is strange what ill luck beset this, the most versatile small amphibian ever built, during Shell's Ecuador concession. Already the score was two damaged, through over-running the Arajono strip, and near-catastrophe in the same month for one of these when mountain turbulence sent it tumbling from 17,000 feet over Cordilleras.

Just prior to the transfer of management from Shell one of Airwork's top men, Sir Richard Barlow, came out to make a survey of the operation. His task complete, Sir Richard left Shell Mera for Quito, the capital in a Grumman Goose flown by Gene Gates, the Chief Pilot, with two sick men accompanied by a male nurse. Visibility was poor. After gaining height over the Oriente the Goose turned back for its run westward through the Banos Pass, up which rain-clouds are perpetually funnelled towards the Altiplano. Evidently while still on instruments it struck a mountain bordering the pass, a couple of hundred feet from the summit. After three days of searches the wreckage was spotted from the air on a small ridge 14,000 feet up in the Llanganate, one of the bleakest and most forbidding ranges in the world.

Register of Shell Aircraft, 1927-1987.

Shell Company of Ecuador Ltd.

Type: Grumman Goose G. 21A.
Registration: HC-SBL
Con. No. 1106

Winged Shell Oil Company Aviators 1927-1987.
Penzance:Alison Hodge,1987.
pp.125 & 227.

See aslo: http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=89566


4th January 2018, 18:47
That's great Col, adds more to the story.

Many thanks.