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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 25305
Last updated: 3 September 2020
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Type:Vickers Wellington Mk X
Owner/operator:201 Advanced Flying School Royal Air Force (201 AFS RAF)
Registration: RP388
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:3
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:RAF Swinderby, Lincolnshire, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:RAF Swinderby, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:RAF Swinderby, Lincolnshire
The crew was returning to RAF Swinderby after participating to the night exercice 'Emperor'. The approach was completed jointly with a second RAF Vickers 619 Wellington X registered RP388 and carrying a crew of five as well. On final approach, both aircraft were too close from each other when a red flare was deployed from the control box to declare that the runway was closed (radio silence due to live exercise). The first aircraft gained height hit the second Wellington. Both aircraft stalled and crashed onto the runway, bursting into flames. Two crew members on LP846 were seriously injured while all eight other occupants were killed (three on LP846 and all five on RP388). According to the following reports:

"I was a navigator going through the Wellington course at RAF Swinderby with my student pilot. We were flying in Wellington X PF926 on Exercise "EMPEROR", and had just landed and were taxiing back to dispersal when we watched in horror as the 2 Wellingtons collided and crashed in ball of fire. At the time, there was a Board of Enquiry going on in one of the offices and within minutes one of the members who I seem to remember was a Wing Commander, jumped into a jeep and drove straight into the wreckage and I believe rescued one of the crew."

"16th November 2015 added by Dave Murphy
My Uncle - Paul James Smith was one of the fatalities. He was a Sergeant Signaller. I have tried to obtain a copy of the board of inquiry report but it no longer exists. Apparently the two aircraft where on final approach but dangerously close. a red flare was deployed from the control box to declare the runway closed (radio silence due to live exercise) when the aircraft gained height they collided and went into the runway hard bursting into flames. it took the emergency services several minutes to reach the scene. Two out of the 10 crew [five on each aircraft] survived. I have the names of the survivors and fatalities somewhere. Very tragic indeed..."


1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.107 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Last Take-off: A Record of RAF Aircraft Losses 1950 to 1953 Colin Cummings p 90
3. Air Britain: RAF Aircraft LA100 - LZ999, published 1991

Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
29-Dec-2011 12:24 Uli Elch Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Phase, Nature, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
23-Apr-2017 21:13 Dr.John Smith Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
08-Dec-2017 21:13 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Aircraft type]
23-Oct-2018 21:00 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
04-Feb-2020 00:27 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Source]
04-Feb-2020 10:50 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Location, Operator]

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