Accident Vickers Vildebeest Mk III K8079, 25 Nov 1939
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 209966
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Type:Vickers Vildebeest Mk III
Owner/operator:42 Squadron Royal Air Force (42 Sqn RAF)
Registration: K8079
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Location:near Docking, Norfolk -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:RAF Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
Destination airport:RAF Bircham Newton, Norfolk
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Vickers Vildebeest Mk.III K8079, 42 Squadron, RAF Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk: Fatal flying accident 25/11/39 when Wireless operator fell out of aircraft, near Docking, Norfolk. Wireless Operator - AC.2 Edward William Littlefair Westgarth (Service Number 627599, aged 20) - was killed. The pilot's name was Flying Officer William Barrie-Smith (Service Number 39178). He was later posted as "missing" on 21/6/40 still with 42 Squadron.

Vickers Vildebeest Mk.III K8079 was undamaged in this incident, and was transferred to the RNZAF (Royal New Zealand Air Force) on 2/8/40 as NZ129.

Vildebeest K8079 as RNZAF NZ129:
Arrived New Zealand October 1940 and barged to Hobsonville for assembly.
Allocated to No.1 (GR) Squadron Whenuapai during 1940-1941.
Allocated to No.7 (GR) Squadron Waipapakauri during 1942.
Destroyed by gale at Waipapakauri on 26 August 1942.

According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Western Mail" Saturday 2 December 1939 page 6)

Mr. Edward William Westgarth. of the Royal Air Force, who died following a flying accident somewhere in England, was buried on Friday" (i.e 1st Dec 1939) "from his home, 26, Coedcae-street, Cardiff, internment being in Cardiff Cemetery

The Rev. E. A. R. Nicholl, Grange, officiated. Chief mourners were:—Mr. an«l Mrs. C. Westgarth (father and mother). Mr. James Westgarth (brother), Mr. and Mrs. A. Richards and Miss Gwyneth Westgarth (brother-in-law and sister), Mrs. Nellie Harrison (aunt). of the Royal Air Force, in charge Pilot-officer C. Harrison and Flight Sergeant R. Boreham. acted as bearers and formed escort"

NOTE: The Air Britain reference book (see link #1) wrongly lists the aircraft involved as K8080. As confirmed by 42 Squadron ORB, Air Ministry Forms 81 and F1180 (Aircraft Record Card) the aircraft involved was K8079. However, the relevant file at the National Archives at Kew - Air 81 file AIR 81/1685 - is closed until 01/01/2030


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft K1000-K9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1976 page 67.
6. 42 Squadron RAF ORB (Air Ministry Form 540) November 1939:

Revision history:

27-Apr-2018 19:34 Dr. John Smith Added
27-Apr-2018 19:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
28-Apr-2018 15:19 Dr. John Smith Updated [Registration, Narrative]
10-May-2018 23:11 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
10-May-2018 23:11 Dr. John Smith Updated [Total occupants]
10-Nov-2018 22:18 Nepa Updated [Operator, Destination airport, Operator]

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