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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 25194
Last updated: 21 April 2020
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Date:04-JAN-1952
Time:18:00 LT
Type:Avro Nineteen I
Owner/operator:Ministry of Civil Aviation
Registration: G-AGZS
C/n / msn: 1330
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Bell Hill, Petersfield, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Calibration/Inspection
Departure airport:London Gatwick Airport, Horley, Surrey (LGW)
Destination airport:London Gatwick Airport, Horley, Surrey (LGW)
Narrative:
Ex-RAF Anson C.19 Series 1 TX236. First civil registered (C of R 9869/1; C of A 7703) on 06/05/46 to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Theobalds Road, London WC.1. Operated by the CAFU (Civil Aviation Flying Unit) and used for radar calibration and communications duties. Written off (destroyed) 04/01/52 when crashed at Bell Hill, Petersfield, Hampshire, killing all four persons on board. According to a local newspaper source ("Petersfield Post" 3 June 2018):

"THE DAY when the peace of choir practice at St Peter’s Church in Petersfield was shattered by news of an aircraft crash has been recalled by a Post reader. Peter Dimond, of Petersfield, who is an aircraft historian, writes: “On the evening of Friday January 4, 1952, I was in Petersfield church at 6 o’clock choir practice, when the old wartime air raid siren sounded.

“In those days it was positioned next to the church at the police station – now Petersfield Museum. The noise drowned out the choir and two fireman, Bob Pett and Reg Berriman, rushed out into the pouring rain to answer the call – it was an aeroplane crash at Bell Hill.

“This is how it was reported in a national newspaper: ‘‘Three Ministry of Civil Aviation experts and another man were killed when their plane crashed at Bell Hill, Petersfield, Hampshire, last night. The plane hit a tree and burst into flames as it dived into marshy ground.

“The Ministry men were Mr AS Crisp, of Berryhill, Eltham, Kent, a telecommunications specialist; Mr P Meyer, of Tye Green, Essex, and the pilot, Captain AA Betts, of Northolt Avenue, Bishop’s Stortford. The fourth man was an employee of the Decca Navigator Company.

“‘Police and firemen were at first uncertain how many were trapped in the blazing wreckage, and for several hours they searched fields and woods in pouring rain for possible survivors. The plane was a twin-engined Avro Anson, one of the silver and blue fleet maintained by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. It took off from London Airport on radio flight trials.

“‘Mr HR Caplen, Petersfield fire chief, said remains were found in the wreckage. Shortly after 6pm, people near Petersfield saw the Anson flying low and a flare dropped from it. Then it plunged into a field at Bell Hill, only 300 yards from houses. On charred parts of the fuselage and wings police picked out the registration letters G-AGZS. The plane had been in the air for over an hour before the crash".

“‘Mr H Watts, of Sussex Road, Petersfield, was delivering a parcel when he heard it overhead. It was flying in heavy wind and rain,” he said. “Its engine was spitting and spluttering. I saw a flare drop and then there was a flash and an explosion.

“The experienced pilot, Captain Betts, was a staff pilot with the Ministry of Civil Aviation after spending much of the Second World War as an instructor with both the Rhodesian Air Training Group and the Mediterranean Transport and Ferry School of Transport Command.

“His medals, including the Air Force Cross, with his record of service and newspaper cuttings about his Service career and the Petersfield crash were sold at auction.”

Registration G-AGZS cancelled by the Secretary of State, Ministry of Aviation 4 January 1952 as "crashed, destroyed 4.1.52"

Sources:

1. Safety Was No Accident: History of the Uk Civil Aviation Flying Unit By James Fuller
2. The Anson File (Ray Sturtivant, Air Britain, 1988 p 294)
3. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-AGZS.pdf
4. http://www.petersfieldpost.co.uk/article.cfm?id=116310&headline=NOSTALGIA:%20Choir%20practice%20shattered%20by%20result%20of%20aircraft%20crashing§ionIs=news&searchyear=2018
5. http://www.hampshireairfields.co.uk//hancrash.html
6. https://www.baaa-acro.com/crash/crash-avro-191-petersfield-4-killed
7. Auction catalogue of pilots medals: https://www.dnw.co.uk/auction-archive/past-catalogues/lot.php?auction_id=476&lot_uid=309972
8. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT 219/24: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C414796
9. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT 219/25: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C414797
10. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT 219/26: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C414798
11. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT 219/27: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C414799
12. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT 219/28: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C414800
13. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT 219/29: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C414801
14. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT 219/30: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C414802
15. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT 219/31: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C414803
16. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT 219/32: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C414804


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
07-Jun-2010 11:58 TB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Damage, Narrative]
19-Mar-2012 11:19 TB Updated [Source, Narrative]
02-Mar-2014 21:50 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
23-Feb-2017 18:51 TB Updated [Source, Narrative]
16-Dec-2019 19:42 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
16-Dec-2019 19:55 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]

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