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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 24996
Last updated: 30 September 2019
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Time:21:30 LT
Type:de Havilland DH.84 Dragon
Owner/operator:Wrightways Ltd
Registration: G-ACHX
C/n / msn: 6036
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Rose Walk, 1 mile SW of Purley, Surrey -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Croydon Airport, Croydon, Surrey (EGCR)
Destination airport:Croydon Airport, Croydon, Surrey (EGCR)
First registered June 1933 to R.V. Wrightson, Heston, Middlesex. Re-registered 3.7.1935 to Wrightways Ltd., Croydon Airport, Croydon, Surrey.

Written off 25.4.1938: Shortly after takeoff from Croydon Airport, while on an army co-operation (anti-aircraft/ searchlight training) flight, the twin engine aircraft stalled collided with trees and crashed in a field in Rose Walk, Purley, Surrey. Both crewmen were seriously injured and the aircraft was destroyed. Crew were Flying Officer Colin Calder Byar (33) died 30.4.38 (RAFO, New Zealander) and Mr. Ernest Ratcliffe injured (wireless operator, New Zealander). According to a published report (see link #8):

"Mon, Anzac Day 1938
Army co-operation searchlight exercise
Wrightways Ltd (Croydon, Surrey)
De Havilland DH84 Dragon I G-ACHX - took off at about 19:00 but on returning to Croydon 2 hours later the starboard engine failed during approach from the southwest. G-ACHX crashed into a row of trees near the Rose Walk and Promenade de Verdun intersection, Purley, a mile to the South West. The New Zealand wireless operator, Ernest Ratcliffe, received a broken right thigh, but his fellow countryman was more severely injured. It took a dozen firemen to lift the wreckage and finally extricate them, but the pilot died at Purley and District War Memorial Hospital three days later and was buried south of Croydon, at Wallington on 2 May.

Pilot: Colin Calder BYAR - Age 25. Byar served with the RAF 1933-37 as a short service commission officer and was on the Reserve at the time of the accident. Army co-operation searchlight flights by civil aircraft were a regular event in 1938 as war appeared increasingly inevitable.

An item in 'Flight' of 5 May 38 says that 'both petrol taps had been turned off'"

Registration G-ACHX cancelled by the Air Ministry 25.4.1938 due to "destruction or permanent withdrawl from use of aircraft". This action was presumably retrospectively, as the Air Ministry records note "census 1938", which would indicate that the cancellation action was done towards the end of 1938, and not at or near the time of the accident.



Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
05-Oct-2009 10:56 JINX Updated
29-Dec-2011 15:31 Dr. John Smith Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
02-Oct-2017 22:08 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
02-Oct-2017 22:09 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]

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