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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 158217
Last updated: 5 June 2020
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Date:23-NOV-1939
Time:day
Type:Bristol Blenheim Mk I
Owner/operator:57 Squadron Royal Air Force (57 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L1129
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Rosieres-en-Santerre, Somme -   France
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Rosieres-en-Santerre airfield (F)
Destination airport:
Narrative:
On 23 November 1939 the Blenheim I L1129 of 57 Squadron RAF took off from Rosieres-en-Santerre aerodrome for a training sortie. It then flew into tented accommodation near the aerodrome on while making a low fly past. The pilot, P/O Hume, managed to keep control and climbed so his two crew could bale out, which they did successfully, but he was still at the controls when the Blenheim stalled and crashed near the aerodrome. He did not survive.
Crew:
P/O (40394) Oliver Carlisle HUME (pilot) RAF - KIFA (Killed In Flying Accident)
Buried at Le Quesnel Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France
Sgt (565544) George Frederick COUZENS (obs.) - uninjured
LAC Charles French STEVENS (Wop/AG) - injured

According to the following report of the accident, posted on line by the grandson of LAC Charles Stevens:

"LAC Charles French Stevens is my Grandad. He passed away in 1985, but had written about the day he bailed out of the L1129 Bristol Blenheim in France. He spoke of the bravery of the Pilot, Oliver Carlisle Hume #40394 , who had told my Grandad and Sgt. George Frederick Couzens #565544 to bail, Hume stayed in the plane which was heading to crash in a nearby village, Grandad saw him divert the plane away, into a field, where it crashed..."

"...They were undertaking a shooting practise that day when the starboard wing had caught a bell tent at about 4 feet. When they got to about 6,000 feet, Grandad saw bits of tent and aileron coming off the wing. Hume did port wing turns, then after a number of checks told Grandad and Couzens to bale...Grandad had to cut along the hatch hinge to make a hole big enough to get out, then he jumped. He saw the Blenheim coming down in a shallow dive towards the village, but then it turned away towards the 'drome where it crashed into flames. It was only when Grandad saw the plane turn that he realised that Hume had stayed in it to turn the plane to the 'drome instead of the village! He describes Hume as a 'bloody good bloke'!"

It is notable that the official Air Ministry file on the accident (File AIR 81/1678) is "closed", and thus unavailable to public scrutiny for 82 years, until 1 January 2023. It was decided in 2014 to keep the file closed due to "Exemption 1: Personal information where the applicant is a 3rd party" and "Exemption 2: Information provided in confidence".

Sources:

1. "The Bristol Blenheim: A Complete History", by Graham Warner. ISBN 0-85979-101-7
2. "Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War, vol 1: Aircraft and Crew lost during 1939-1940", by W R Chorley. ISBN 0-904597-85-7
3. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/1678: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C16359509
4. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2953017/hume,-oliver-carlisle/
4. http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?13757-Spitfire-I-K9886-54-Sqn-08-11-39
5. http://francecrashes39-45.net/page_fiche_av.php?id=996
6. http://39-45.auzeau.fr/?page=le-quesnel
7. http://www.southafricawargraves.org/search/print.php?id=10508
8. http://www.anciens-aerodromes.com/?p=4294
9. http://wikimapia.org/#lang=fr&lat=49.803095&lon=2.744694&z=13&m=b


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
13-Aug-2013 06:43 JINX Added
15-Dec-2014 10:59 Jixon Updated [Operator, Location, Narrative]
23-Nov-2015 19:35 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
06-Oct-2018 15:24 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
25-Jun-2019 01:31 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
15-Mar-2020 08:43 DB Updated [Departure airport, Narrative, Operator]

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