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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 206870
Last updated: 30 September 2019
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Date:03-JAN-1939
Time:day
Type:Miles Magister Mk I
Owner/operator:30 Elementary & Reserve Flying Training School Royal Air Force (30 E&RFTS RAF)
Registration: L8329
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Rolls-Royce Works, Derby, Derbyshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Training
Departure airport:RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:RAF Burnaston, Derbyshire
Narrative:
On 3.1.39, Miles Magister Mk.I, L8329, of 30 E&RFTS, Burnaston, Derbyshire was written off (destroyed) when it crashed onto the Rolls-Royce works in Derby, during a solo cross country flight. According to the official Air Ministry announcement in "Flight" magazine (January 19, 1939 page 61 - see link #3):

"FLYING ACCIDENTS
Sgt. George Anthony Bell (flying solo) lost his life in an accident which occurred at Derby on January 3, to an aircraft of No. 30 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School, Derby."

Pilot was on a solo flight back to RAF Burnaston, Derbyshire, after picking up the Miles Magister from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, when, flying over the Rolls-Royce Derby works, the plane lost height whilst circling around, before crashing into the blue print offices. Six female workers in the office were injured, but there were no deaths recorded, apart from the pilot.

At the inquest, the pathologist who carried out the post-mortem, said the pilot died from compound fractures of the skull and lacerations of the brain, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was recorded by the coroner.

The record on line isn't the full inquest record: what is there was in the "Daily Telegraph" of Wednesday 4 January 1939. However, according to a report in an Australian newspaper ("Evening News" Rockhampton, Queensland 4 January 1939, see link #6):

"PLANE CRASHES INTO ROLLS ROYCE FACTORY
LONDON. Tuesday.

A training machine crashed in'o the Rolls Royce factory in Derby killing the pilot and injuring six girls working in a blueprint room. The petrol tank exploded and the plane was soon a mass of flames"

Pilot: Sgt George Anthony Bell RAFVR (aged 21) killed. He came from Bywass, Wooler, Northumberland. According to a short biography of the pilot (see link #4):

"Bell, George Anthony
Sergeant Pilot
Sergeant Pilot Bell, The Royal Air Force (V.R.), was born on 20th May 1917. At Loretto, he held a scholarship from January 1928 to April 1934. On leaving School, he trained as an engineer at the Rolls-Royce Works, Derby, and after finishing his apprenticeship, was appointed to a position in the experimental department which would give him full scope for developing the "undoubted talent" the firm considered him to possess. In 1938 he joined the R.A.F.V.R. and learnt to fly at Nottingham. On 3rd January of the following year he was killed when his machine crashed over the Rolls-Royce Works"

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-N9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain)
2. Daily Telegraph of Wednesday 4 January 1939
3. Flight magazine 19 January 1939 page 61: https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1939/1939%20-%200137.html
4. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1939.htm
5. http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=673688.0
6. "Evening News" Rockhampton, Queensland 4 January 1939 at https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/198296941?searchTerm=plane%20rolls%20royce&searchLimits=l-decade=193|||l-year=1939|||l-month=01
7. Biography of pilot: http://ol.loretto.com/frmProfile.aspx?A=__5


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
28-Feb-2018 23:17 Dr. John Smith Added
28-Feb-2018 23:18 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
22-Mar-2018 20:55 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
23-Mar-2018 16:50 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
20-Nov-2018 16:18 Nepa Updated [Operator, Nature, Operator]

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