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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 204119
Last updated: 10 February 2021
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Type:Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk II
Owner/operator:97 Squadron Royal Air Force (97 Sqn RAF)
Registration: K7255
C/n / msn: AWA.1243
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Stockwell Field, Boars Hill, near RAF Abingdon, Oxfordshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:RAF Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Destination airport:RAF Abingdon, Oxfordshire
With the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, 97 Squadron RAF moved to Abingdon in Oxfordshire and joined 6 (Training) Group within Bomber Command. Over the next six months, the squadron did not undertake any operations, although some casualties were sustained in flying accidents during training flights, before the Squadron disbanded when it merged with 166 Squadron to become No 10 Operational Training Unit in April 1940.

One of these accidents occurred on 10 February 1940. Whitley II K7255 took off at 21:45 hours from RAF Abingdon on a circuits and landings exercise. The pilot requested permission to land on a low circuit and having been granted and acknowledged the aircraft struck trees at the top of Sandy Lane on Boars Hill on the north end of the airfield and crashed into Stockwell Field and burst into flames. According to one source it undershot during the landing approach and hit a house at St Helens before crashing. Both pilots were killed, while the third crew member survived.

Probable cause: Poor judgement on the part of the crew while performing an approach by night.

Pilot Officer Oarley Whitney Bligh (pilot, Service Number 42186, 24 years old, of Berwick, Nova Scotia, Canada): Killed
Sgt Reginald Frederick Cyril Dupe (pilot, Service Number 517894, 24 years old): Killed
AC.2 R.T. Casson - Survived, Wounded

Born at Edenbridge, Kent, on 4 March 1915, Dupe had obtained his Royal Aero Club Aviators Certificate on 21 June 1934 at the Royal Cinque Ports Flying Club, Lympne,, flying a De Havilland D.H. 60G Gipsy Moth. At the time of qualifying for his Royal Aero Club Aviators Certificate Reginald was employed as a Petrol Salesman. He is buried in St. Stephens Churchyard, Lympne, Kent (grave 16C).

It is thought that Pilot Officer Orley Bligh was the first Canadian to be killed in WW2. He is buried in Abingdon cemetery in Spring Road.


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft K1000-K9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1976)
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

Revision history:

10-Jan-2018 08:50 Laurent Rizzotti Added
11-May-2019 22:45 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
12-May-2019 09:43 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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