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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 192676
Last updated: 8 December 2020
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Type:Vickers Vildebeest Mark III
Owner/operator:273 Squadron Royal Air Force (273 Sqn RAF)
Registration: K4156
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:18 miles off Colombo -   Sri Lanka
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
On 9 January 1940 the Vildebeest III K4156 of 273 Sqn RAF took off from China Bay airfield, near Trincomalee, Ceylon, at 0555 hrs for a routine patrol off Colombo to control shipping. It crashed 18 miles off Colombo at 0620 hrs while circling an unidentified ship at 50 to 100 feet. K4156’s starboard wing apparently stalled, causing the Vildebeest to spin into the sea and sink. The pilot, Sgt D B Ross, survived, injured, but the other two crew, Plt Off John Denys Williams and AC2 Verdun Bishop, were unable to struggle free of the wreckage before it sank and are commemorated on the Singapore Memorial. The vessel was the cargo ship ’Demodocus’, whose lifeboat rescued the slightly injured Ross.

Williams was a New Zealander serving in the RAF on a short service commission. Although a pilot, he was acting as observer on this flight.


Revision history:

09-Jan-2017 10:28 Laurent Rizzotti Added

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