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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 21909
Last updated: 2 June 2020
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Type:Bristol Blenheim Mk I
Owner/operator:90 Squadron Royal Air Force (90 Sqn RAF)
Registration: K7067
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Dour Hill, Cottonhopehead Moor, Redesdale, Northumberland -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Bicester, Oxfordshire
Destination airport:
In the late morning of 30th August 1938 Blenheim K7067 ("90-B" of 90 Squadron, RAF) took off from RAF Bicester, Oxfordshire, for a cross-country exercise. The pilot for this journey was the 'A' flight commander, Flying Officer Hughie Idwal Edwards.

Later that afternoon the aircraft was over central Northumberland near Redesdale Camp when it was witnessed by William Rogerson of Cottonshope Head farm to be in difficulty. The aircraft had in fact started to ice up and Flying Officer Edwards was struggling to keep the machine in the air. The decision was given to abandon the aircraft, which the crew did, with the ground only 500 feet below them.

Flying Officer Edwards was the last to leave, but as he baled out, his parachute became snagged on the tail of the aircraft, only freeing itself seconds before the aircraft impacted with the ground and demolished 40 yards of stone walling. Luckily for Flying Officer Edwards, the ground he hit took the form of extremely "squashy" soft peat and he landed in it up to his armpits. He sustained head injuries and a badly broken leg, which was only saved after extensive surgery. Due to the accident, he was declared unfit for flying duties until April 1940, when he was posted to No. 139 Squadron for active service due to the outbreak of war; he later served with distinction during the Second World War and beyond being awarded the Victoria Cross, KCMG, CB, DSO, OBE, DFC before retiring from the RAF on 30th September 1963.

The aircraft's crash location was at Dour Hill, Cottonshope Farm, Cottonhopehead Moor, 5 to 6 miles north of Redesdale Camp, Northumberland.

As for the other occupants of the aircraft, they both served through the duration of WWII, Sgt Nash retired as Squadron Leader on 18th September 1953, whilst AC1 Theophilus retired with an OBE on 1st October 1972.

Flying Officer (39005) Hughie Idwal EDWARDS (pilot) RAF - seriously injured.
Sgt (359695) Walter Frank NASH (navigator) RAF - injured.
AC1 (525690) John Aubrey THEOPHILUS (W/Op/Air Gunner) RAF - injured.

An account of the crash is contained in the following contemporary newspaper report ("Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette", Sunderland, Wednesday, 31 August 1938):

Three R.A.F. men had amazing escapes from death in a thunderstorm on the Redesdale moors, Northumberland, yesterday afternoon, when their machine, making a forced landing, crashed into the hillside, burst into flames and exploded. The men were Flying Officer Edwards (pilot), who suffered from fractured leg. head, and shock. Sergeant Nish (sic), uninjured: and Aircraftman Theophilus, concussion and head injuries.

The men had been stationed at the R.A.F. Depot, Bicester, Oxfordshire. The men were in a medium bomber, which appeared to be having engine trouble during the storm. Two of the men descended by parachute, and the pilot, who was the last to attempt to leave, was caught by the tail the machine as he dropped. He was found to be unconscious. When the plane crashed on the hillside it broke down about yards of stone walling, and burst into flames before blowing up.

Mr William B. Rogerson, shepherd, of Cottonshopehead Farm, said there was a tremendous crash the machine struck the walling and afterwards exploded. This accounted for the for the wreckage which extended for a radius of 500 yards.

One part of the engine was found 120 yards away from the wreckage. The falling plane, said Mr Rogerson, was about 500 feet from the ground, when the men jumped. Mr Rogerson said things moved very quickly. He heard a tremendous crash and noticed parts of the plane being scattered about. A son of Mr Rogerson, working with him, rushed to render assistance, followed by others.

A Newcastle woman, Nora Morris, of Cresswell Road, Walker, saw the crash from distance. She ran across bog and moorland to the telephone. She informed officials of the Ministry of Labour at the Training Centre at Redesdale, who in turn got into communication with the Otterburn police. The men were taken to Redesdale Camp, and later conveyed to Catterick Camp, Yorkshire."


1. Air Britain The K File The RAF of the 1930s

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Revision history:

01-Aug-2008 11:09 Anon. Added
04-Oct-2009 00:13 JINX Updated
15-Dec-2014 10:16 DB Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Narrative]
10-Mar-2018 17:33 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
15-Mar-2018 19:42 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
26-Sep-2018 12:17 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]

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