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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 209926
Last updated: 23 February 2020
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Date:12-NOV-1939
Time:19:15 LT
Type:Miles Magister Mk I
Owner/operator:219 Squadron Royal Air Force (219 Sqn RAF)
Registration: P6350
C/n / msn: 1719
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Tunstall, 2 miles west of Catterick, North Yorkshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Catterick, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:
Narrative:
On 12th November 1939 this aircraft took off from RAF Catterick, North Yorkshire, at around 19.00 hours, and flew in a westerly direction. The aircraft then crashed into a field around half a mile from the "Somme Lines" at Catterick Army Camp, which was also near Tunstall, and caught fire on impact with the ground; the pilot was sadly killed in the crash. The aircraft was seen or heard by a number of people who gave statements at the pilot's inquest.

Sgt Joseph Ford RAF (590269) was walking with his wife to the airfield along the A1 Great North Road from Catterick village when he saw the aircraft take off and he later saw a fire some distance away which he took to be a crashed aircraft. At least three soldiers stationed at Catterick Camp heard the aircraft and then a crash in a field near to where they were stood. They also believed that the aircraft's engine had stopped prior to the crash. Signalmen James Burnett, Arthur Cameron and Charles Haggerty, all of the Royal Corps of Signals, stated that they then saw a fire in a field about 1/4 of a mile from where they were at the time. They had made their way to the burning aircraft at 19.15 hours, Burnett saw that the pilot was trapped in the burning wreckage so released him and then all three soldiers managed to pull his body clear of the flames.

It was believed that the injuries sustained in the crash had in fact sadly killed the pilot. There is still some mystery about why took off and crashed because it occurred at around 19.00 hours, when one presumes it was fairly dark and the aircraft would have had little navigation equipment. A brief entry in RAF Catterick's Operational Records Book on this day states that "P/O Baker, 219 Sqn killed in Magister P6350".

Pilot - Pilot Officer Stephen George Baker RAF (Service Number 41245), aged 24, of Paignton. Buried Paignton Cemetery, Devon.

No.219 Squadron was a night fighter unit which reformed on 4/10/39 at RAF Catterick, North Yorkshire and was equipped with the Blenheim Mk.1F fighter. Its initial role was to protect coastal shipping, but it was soon used for night patrols, with detachments scattered around the north in an attempt to increase coverage. The Magister was used by the squadron as a "hack" to ferry crews and equipment between dispersed bases.

Magister P6350 was built to contract 778435/38 by Phillips and Powis Ltd., at Woodley and was delivered to 41 Squadron at Catterick in June 1939. 41 Squadron moved to Wick on 19th October 1939 and the aircraft remained (left behind) at Catterick, but was not officially transferred to 219 Squadron at this time; however they almost certainly used the aircraft as a "Hack" aircraft. Cat.W/FA damage was recorded in the accident detailed above and it was struck off charge/written off on 15th December 1939. The pilot was a 219 Squadron pilot although technically the aircraft was still a 41 Squadron aircraft.

Sources:

1. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1939a.htm
2. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2441935
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunstall,_North_Yorkshire
4. 219 Squadron RAF ORB (Air Ministry Form 540) 01/10/39-28/02/40
5. http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/yorkshire/york39/p6350.html
6. http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D8394395


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
26-Apr-2018 17:06 Dr. John Smith Added
26-Sep-2018 07:58 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
03-Oct-2018 18:25 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Source, Narrative]
03-Oct-2018 18:26 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source]
04-Oct-2018 13:56 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
23-Feb-2020 18:58 Xindel XL Updated [Location, Source, Operator]

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