ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 202381
Last updated: 23 July 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Type:Vickers Wellington Mk IC
Owner/operator:214 Squadron Royal Air Force (214 Sqn RAF)
Registration: T2893
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Poplar Farm, Elmdon, Essex, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Stradishall
Destination airport:Luqa, Malta
During the night of 29-30 November 1940, the Wellington IC T2893 of the Reserve Flight, 214 Sqn RAF, took off at 0051 hrs from Stradishall for a delivery flight to Luqa, Malta. The pilot, Sqn Ldr B J McGinn, a highly experienced pilot with more than 4200 hours to his credit, was from 70 Sqn based in Egypt and was one of the pilots of this squadron who went to Britain to collect the first Wellingtons with which the squadron was re-equipping. He had flown one operation with 214 Sqn on the 14th, a raid to Schiphol airfield.

The Wellington experienced an engine failure shortly after taking off and the pilot turned back. Flaps failed and he could not maintain height. Landing flares also failed. These were carried by most multi-engined RAF aircraft during night flying from about mid-1930s, the theory being that as they descended following engine failure, they could release one or both of these flares to try and establish what type of country lay below so as to enable the pilot to choose the best landing site available, which sometimes was far from ideal. However at least you might avoid flying into a hill or perhaps into trees or a stone wall. These were a type of parachute flare and were probably a considerable advance on the earlier type of fixed flare caried under the wingtips of most single-engine aircraft of the time.

Between 0100 hrs and 0110 hrs depending on sources, the most recent giving 0102 hrs, T2893 struck trees, crashed and caught fire near Poplar Farm, Elmdon, Essex. Two of the six crew were killed and three wounded.

This is described by Duncan Wood who remembers:
"I was only 6 at the time and I slept through the crash itself, even though I was sleeping on that side of the house. My mother woke me and I remember the room being filled with light and the yard was filled with an assortment of folk - firemen, RAF personnel etc.
According to the Pilot of T2893 who spoke to my parents they were on a "secret mission to Cairo". He thought "the plane had been sabotaged as he couldn’t gain height". The Navigator said he thought "they were running into cloud", but realized that could not be possible and "that they were actually crashing into trees".

Sqn Ldr B J McGinn (pilot) WIFA
Plt Off J A Parker WIFA
Plt Off A D Brisbane WIFA
Sgt R D F Clarke unhurt
Sgt John Raggenbass (wireless operator/air gunner) KIFA
Sgt Claude Horace Bain RNZAF (air gunner) KIFA

John Raggenbass was born in 1919 in Dumfries. His father, Jacob, was Swiss and had married a local girl, Agnes McLachlan in 1918 in Glasgow. At some stage the family moved to Stockport which is why John was buried there in 1940. Sgt Bain is buried at Haverhill.

"Royal Air Force Bomber Losses in the Middle East and Mediterranean. Volume 1: 1939-1942", by David Gunby and Pelham Temple. ISBN 1-85780-234-9

Revision history:

30-Nov-2017 21:58 Laurent Rizzotti Added

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description