Accident Bristol Bombay Mk I L5852, 17 Jun 1940
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 224116
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Type:Bristol Bombay Mk I
Owner/operator:216 Squadron Royal Air Force (216 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L5852
MSN: SH.44
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:East Dean, NE of Chichester, West Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:France
Destination airport:RAF Tangmere, Chichester, West Sussex
Bristol Bombay Mk.I L5852 of 271 Squadron, RAF: Written off (destroyed) 17.6.1940. While descending in poor weather conditions, on approach to RAF Tangmere, the aircraft hit a hill at East Dean, north-east of Chichester, West Sussex, and disintegrated, killing all five crewmen. According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (File AIR 81/2263): "Flying Officer C Murphy, Pilot Officer H F Large, Aircraftman L Bradburn, Leading Aircraftman W A Harber, Leading Aircraftman E Wragg: killed; Bombay L5852, 216 Squadron, 17 June 1940"

Crew (24 Squadron):
Aircraftman 1st Class Leonard Bradburn, RAF 550047, 24 Sqn., age 21
Leading Aircraftman Wilfred Arnol Harper, RAF 540221, 24 Sqn., age 23
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Hedley Eric Large, RAF 41795, 24 Sqn., age 23
Flying Officer (Pilot) Colman O'Shaughnessy Murphy, RAF 39892 (Ireland), 24 Sqn., age 27 (Died Of Wounds?)
Leading Aircraftman Ernest Wragg, RAF 540496 , 24 Sqn., age unknown,

These five airmen's deaths are registered at Chichester. Flying Officer Murphy is buried in the CWGC's Roman Catholic section in Chichester (Portfield) Cemetery. The other four crewmen are buried at Tangmere (St. Andrew) parish churchyard, Tangmere, Chichester, Sussex

Note: Several sources differ as to exactly which Squadron L5852 was attached to at the time of its crash. Some (e.g. James J Hallley's Air Britain book) state it was 271 Squadron. The official Air Ministry file AIR 81/2263 states that L5852 was a 216 Squadron Aircraft. However, as can be seen from the above, all five crew were attached to 24 Squadron, RAF Hendon. To confuse matters still further, neither the ORBs (Operational Record Books; Air Ministry Form 540) of 271 Squadron or 24 Squadron, record any accidents or casualties on this date. It is further speculated that L5852 was involved in evacuating 24 Squadron personnel from France after the fall of France in June 1940


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1978 p 38)
2. National Airchives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/2263:

Revision history:

18-Apr-2019 18:44 Dr. John Smith Added
19-Apr-2019 10:42 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
19-Apr-2019 17:45 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn]
11-Sep-2019 18:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
17-Sep-2019 19:38 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
20-Jun-2021 13:42 Hugh Jaeger Updated [Source, Narrative]

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