Accident Vickers Wellington Mk IC T2577,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 16278
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Date:Tuesday 17 December 1940
Type:Silhouette image of generic well model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Vickers Wellington Mk IC
Owner/operator:311 Sqn RAF
Registration: T2577
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:1 km of RAF East Wretham, Norfolk, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF East Wretham Norfolk
Destination airport:
Issued to 311 Squadron, RAF coded 'KX-G'. Lost on operations on night of 16/17.10.1940 when crashed on take off from RAF East Wretham, Norfolk for mission to Mannheim.
Sgt Jan Křivda, - KIA
Sgt Pavelka, Josef - injured
P / O Nedved, Vladimir
P / O Doubrava, Joseph - injured
Sgt Janousek, Jiri - KIA
P / O Toul, Jaromír - KIA

Per contemporary eyewitness report: "16th December 1940 we started at 18.00 from East Wretham in Wellington KX- G, serial number T2577. Target was Mannheim. The crew consisted of the first pilot/captain John Křivda,, Josef Pavelka co-pilot, navigator Vladimir Nedved, W/T Op Josef Doubrava, leading bomb aimer Jiri Janousek and rear gunner Jaromir Toul.

Started with a full tank of gasoline and bombs was a normal load, the aircraft climbed to 30 meters, but also Speed ​​reached 95 knots, which is about 170 km/h, but then began to slowly fall to 85-80 or less. I sat at the table with navigation speedometer and altimeter ahead. When the rate began to slowly decline below 80 knots., I said to myself, how is it possible that they still hold in the air? I quickly got up from the navigation table and went to the back of the plane - the fuselage was very spacious - the middle of the aircraft above was astro couple from which you could see in all directions around and is also the focus of a sextant for astro navigation. I saw clearly that both engines that still ran flawlessly "on full power". Peaks of some trees were already higher than our plane and I saw clearly before us light our airport runway about 1.5 km away. Pilot Jan Wrongs tried a slight bend in the track and return to land. We were only about 1 km from the runway threshold when the left half of the wing caught a tree, the machine turned left, drove into the ground and immediately caught fire. Everything was extremely hot ...

Shortly after that, I managed to open the astro couple and jumped right onto the wing, left engine and fuselage were already in flames. When I finally stood on solid ground, I saw under the right engine Sergeant Josef Pavelka. I immediately dragged him about 50 meters from the plane and there he hid in a ditch safety. On the way back to the plane, I met Joseph Doubrava, who was not injured and rested in a nearby forest. The plane was already between the anterior part of the whole in flames, which leaped up to 20 meters. It burned metal, the heat was simply unimaginable.

Ammunition in front of the tower began to explode from the heat. When I came back to the tower, the door was closed. I opened it and found Jarda Toula unconscious or shock. I immediately woke him up and said, "the plane is burning, you have to get out quickly." But he could not lift himself as his legs were wedged under the seat, into which he was crushed on impact. Bombs began exploding about four meters from us, and the flames spread to us. Jarda asked me: "please do not leave me," I told him, "do not worry I'll stay with you." (When I write these words again, give me tears from their eyes ... that decision and the situation is just incredible ... I know that only God gave me the courage, strength and protection ...) I tried in vain to get Jarda removed from the turret. He was trapped there and it was not in my human power to free him. The flames were approaching and more bombs exploded.

While this drama was going on, the rescue service from the airfield was waiting at a safe distance, the aircraft blows up all six bombs, each with 120 kg of dynamite and stop shooting ammunition into guns. Jarda and I, we were in the middle of it all. Still fully conscious and quite uninjured (except for legs trapped under the seat) told me: "In my overalls pocket revolver, pull it out and shoot me."

He just did not want to die in a fire alive, that we as pilots always feared. There was a moment of decision: what to do? A friend who you want to save, or do I shoot?

Fate decided it alone when the last and closest 250 lb bomb expolded. The shock wave threw me about five meters through the air and landed on all fours, still miraculously unharmed - but I knew that it is physically impossible to get off the plane. Toula and I decided not to return to the machine

Once all the explosions ended, rescue crews came to the aircraft, extinguished the fire, and when about 20 men lifted the rear of Wellington - Jaromir was pulled from the turret. Last bomb blast, which threw me aside, Jarda had to face into the back of the machine guns and suffered fatal injuries. On the way by ambulance to hospital, Doubravou died and thus ended all his sufferings.

Pavelka was in the hospital 18 months before he put himself back "together". Jarda, like everyone else at 311th Squadron, was a good friend of mine - I honor his memory."


Revision history:

23-Mar-2008 07:47 Nepa Added
23-Mar-2008 11:07 Nepa Updated
10-Nov-2011 11:57 Nepa Updated [Time, Operator, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
09-Mar-2013 21:53 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
23-Nov-2020 18:57 Anon. Updated [Cn, Location, Narrative, Operator]

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