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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 209640
Last updated: 19 November 2019
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Date:11-SEP-1939
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic T6 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
North American Harvard Mk 1
Owner/operator:1 SFTS Royal Air Force (1 SFTS RAF)
Registration: N7074
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Oare Hill, Marlborough, Wiltshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Training
Departure airport:RAF Netheravon, Wiltshire
Destination airport:
Narrative:
North American Harvard Mk.I N7074, 1 SFTS, RAF Netheravon: Written off (destroyed) 11/9/39 when went out of control and spun into the ground at Oare Hill, Marlborough, Wiltshire. Of the crew of two, one, the pilot - Flying Officer Douglas Genders (Service Number 37633, aged 26) - was killed.

The second crewman in Harvard N7074 of 1 SFTS was Midshipman John Harrington Jefford, who baled out successfully. He provided a vivid account of the loss in a letter to his brother which was published in a newspaper. He was killed 04/07/44 in a flying accident while with 768 Squadron FAA. According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Gloucestershire Echo" Wednesday 27 September 1939)

"LEAP FOR LIFE FROM CRASHING AEROPLANE
MR. F. R. JEFFORD'S SON'S PARACHUTE ESCAPE
Mid. (A) John H. Jefford, R.N., son of Mr. F. R. Jefford, the Borough Sanitary Officer for Cheltenham, and Chief Food Control Officer, has qualified to join the select membership of the Club. Membership is open only to airmen who have saved their lives by making a parachute jump. Mr. Jefford, who is attached to the Fleet Air Arm, was receiving instruction at Netheravon when the 'plane was put into a spin at about 9,000 feet. It remained in the spin, and at about 4,000 feet he bailed out and made a safe landing.

Unhappily the instructor remained in the machine and lost his life. Midshipman Jefford gives a graphic description of his escape in a letter to his brother. He says:— 'I went up with my instructor, an F/O, to go spinning. We climbed up to 8,000 feet, and he did one to the left. We shot round, but came out quite O.K. Back again we went to 9,000. Straight away he shot her into a right-hander, and down we went We went on spinning, 8,000...7,000...6,000, something is wrong, whip the stick backwards and forwards still spinning—jump! FOUND I WAS STUCK So I slid the hood back, tore off the Sutton harness, stood up thought I might fall into the prop—turned round, leaned half-way out, and found was stuck.

The pack had caught on the cover could feel the stick wrapping' my leg I thought I would never get clear. Things were getting desperate when I fell and was flung right out—hung for a few seconds kicked hit the wing and shot into space head first...

I couldn't see the machine and drifted down towards hill, juggled with the cords to steer away from a. small wood, swung like mad—remembered it was like jumping off a 15ft. wall—and crump! Did that dirty bit of wet meadow feel comfortable! I gathered up the 'chute, and up walked

A dame and a car which took me to the nearest house, where I tried to find out if anyone had seen my instructor come down, but, of course, nobody had. telephoned the aerodrome, and beat it to look for the rest of the outfit. About a mile away on a hill we came across the crash. Poor old Genders, there was nothing we could do for him. It's just the luck of the game...and I was lucky, very lucky.

The "dame" mentioned is probably Stephanie Hurd (wife of Sir Anthony Hurd) and mother of Douglas Hurd (who became well known as a Cabinet Minister in the UK Government from 1979 to 1995).

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-N9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1983)
2. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1939a.htm
3. http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?2728-Early-RAF-Harvard-losses
4. http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?2583-Rainscombe-Farm-Wiltshire-in-WW2&p=13689#post13689
5. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2709397/genders,-douglas/


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
21-Apr-2018 01:48 Dr. John Smith Added
26-Apr-2018 19:24 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
20-Nov-2018 17:45 Nepa Updated [Operator, Nature, Operator]

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