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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 22148
Last updated: 26 April 2019
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Date:07-JUN-1940
Time:21:15 LT
Type:Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk V
Owner/operator:77 Squadron Royal Air Force (77 Sqn RAF)
Registration: N1476
C/n / msn: KN-P
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:RAF Finningley, South Yorkshire, England. -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Driffield, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:RAF Finningley, South Yorkshire
Narrative:
On the night of 5th/6th June 1940 a parachute flare ignited in this 77 Squadron aircraft thirty five minutes after the crew had taken off (at 20:40 hours BST) for Ops to Bapume in the Pas de Calais, to attack troops and transport links. The crew attempted to extinguish the fire as the pilot turned the aircraft for home, but being unable to out out the fire, the pilot ordered his crew to bail out. They landed near Bawtry and the pilot then made a forced-landing at Finningley airfield where the fire was put out. The aircraft was not written off as previously written (as claimed in some sources) but was repaired and flown back to Driffield.

Whitley N1476 was built to contract 75147/38 by Armstrong Whitworth Ltd. at Baginton and was awaiting collection on 3rd January 1940. After a period in MU storage the aircraft was allocated to the re-forming 97 Squadron at Driffield on 1st May 1940, although when it arrived at Driffield some time after this date the unit never operated the aircraft and then they disbanded on 20th May 1940.

It was transferred on that date to 77 Squadron also at Driffield. Cat.M/FB damage was recorded after the incident on 6th June 1940 (recorded above) and temporary repairs were carried out at Finningley so the aircraft could be ferried back to Driffield where it was repaired on site and was back on ops by 20th June 1940 when it ditched in English Channel. The crew involved on 6th June 1940 were:

Pilot - P/O Andrew Woodrow Dunn RAF (41685).
Second Pilot - P/O Charles James Drogo Montagu RAF (41863), of Manningford, Wiltshire.
Observer - Sgt I M Lucas.
Wireless Operator - Sgt Alan Leigh Kennedy RAF (552595), of Ardwick, Manchester. Sustained back injury.
Air Gunner - Sgt A Martin.

Whitley N1476 was - as stated above - repaired and returned to service. It was finally written off not long after, on 20th June 1940 when it ran out of fuel returning from a raid on Schwerte and ditched off Hastings Pier, East Sussex (see links #4, #5 & #6)

Whitley N1476 was on ops to Wanna-Eickel when attacked by enemy aircraft. The crew returned fire but the port engine caught fire disabling the aircraft. They nursed the aircraft back to England but were forced to ditch off Hastings. All five crew survived and were picked up, and subsequently all were decorated for this incident.

The joint citation, states that the aircraft was hit by repeated flak then directly attacked by an Me109, which was destroyed by the Whitley's return fire. However, the engine was disabled in this action. The target was successfully bombed, after which the crew set their return course for England, losing height as they went and crossing the North Sea at 400 feet but kept going despite their own personal injuries. The crew prepared to abandon the aircraft and did so off the south coast.

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000 - N9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983 Page 121)
2. http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/yorkshire/york40/n1476.html
3. https://www.baaa-acro.com/crash/crash-armstrong-whitworth-aw38-whitley-raf-finningley
4. http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1328627&sort=4&search=all&criteria=hastings%20pier%20&rational=q&recordsperpage=10&p=1&move=n&nor=13&recfc=0
5. https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/blog/2013/08/22/brought-up-from-the-deep-part-of-rare-wwii-bomber-found-near-hastings-pier
6. Air Ministry File Air 81/958: http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?23493-AIR81-File-Listings/page2


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
04-Aug-2008 09:55 Anon. Added
30-Dec-2011 15:40 Uli Elch Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
06-Jan-2013 13:52 Nepa Updated [Operator, Location, Narrative]
29-Sep-2018 00:20 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
11-Nov-2018 14:05 Nepa Updated [Operator, Location, Operator]

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