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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 17475
Last updated: 24 November 2019
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Date:22-APR-1947
Time:day
Type:Gloster Meteor F.4
Owner/operator:Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd
Registration: RA394
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:RAF Moreton Valence, Gloucestershire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Test
Departure airport:RAF Moreton Valence, Gloucestershire
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Gloster Meteor F.4 RA394, Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd: Written off (destroyed) in a fatal flying accident 22/04/1947. One engine failed in a steep dive, and the pilot had great difficulty in handling the landing approach, finally stalling whilst climbing to avoid a tree. He was on the third and final test flight, when he had a starboard engine failure (always a critical situation in the Meteor). He tried to land in a very gusty crosswind condition and just did not make it. Aircraft yawed on overshoot and dived into the ground. Pilot killed. The "Straits Times" newspaper report (see link #10) adds that "Lt Bridge was pinned beneath the wreckage, He was dead when freed. The plane did not catch fire"

Pilot:
Lt James Bridge (Gloster's Development Test Pilot) RNVR aged 26 - killed

Although the pilot was ex-Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, he was a civilian test pilot at the time of death, Hence records as to the exact date of death and where he was buried are lacking or contradictory. (He is not listed in the CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) database). However, there is a grave for one "James Edward Bridge" at the Southern Cemetery, Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, Manchester. The date given (24 May 1947) was the date of the burial, not the date of death. It is not certain if this was the same person as the pilot of Meteor RA394.

The National Probate Calendar records that he died on April 22nd 1947 at Moreton Valence, Gloucestershire. His death was reported in several newspapers at the time, including the Western Morning News of April 23rd, which reported:

"Jet Test Pilot Killed
Mr. James Bridge, a test pilot, was killed yesterday while flying a Gloster Meteor jet plane at Moreton Valence aerodrome, near Gloucester."

Flight magazine (1 May 1947 issue, page 389) reported the incident thus:

"Gloster's Loss
LT. JAMES BRIDGE, a Gloster test pilot, was killed on April 22nd near Moreton Valence while testing a Meteor. Lt. Bridge served with the Fleet Air Arm during the war. Before demobilization, he attended the Empire Test Pilots' School. He leaves a wife but no children."

Sources:

1. Halley, James (1999). Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents. Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.61. ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. https://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/memorial/entry.php?id=177
3. http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?24109-470422-Unaccounted-Airmen-22-04-1947
4. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 5/29/W2375: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C6578221
5. http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=52733
6. http://www.planetrace.co.uk/1940-1949_28.html
7. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/155216859/james-edward-bridge
8. Flight Magazine 1 May 1947 page 389: https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1947/1947%20-%200663.PDF
9. "Test Pilot Killed" The Straits Times, 24 April 1947, Page 3: https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/straitstimes19470424-1.2.25.4


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
20-Apr-2008 09:58 Nepa Added
09-Apr-2010 11:42 Nepa Updated [Registration, Narrative]
02-Dec-2011 10:03 Nepa Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]
03-Dec-2011 12:10 Nepa Updated [Location, Departure airport]
21-Aug-2013 20:29 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
09-Oct-2013 12:50 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
22-May-2014 09:03 Nepa Updated [Narrative]
02-Sep-2014 14:10 Siczak Updated [Location]
30-Jul-2015 18:53 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Narrative]
25-Dec-2015 15:47 Gloug Updated [Date, Aircraft type, Registration, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
10-Feb-2018 11:13 TigerTimon Updated [Aircraft type]
26-Jan-2019 14:18 Gloug Updated [Date, Operator, Source, Narrative]
16-Jul-2019 06:30 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
20-Nov-2019 01:40 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Source, Narrative]
20-Nov-2019 21:15 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
24-Nov-2019 01:03 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]

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