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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 68379
Last updated: 15 January 2020
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Date:17-JUL-1937
Time:
Type:Bristol Blenheim Mk I
Owner/operator:90 Squadron Royal Air Force (90 Sqn RAF)
Registration: K7049
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:White Hill, Pitton, near Salisbury, Wiltshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Bicester, Oxfordshire
Destination airport:RAF Old Sarum, Salisbury, Wiltshire
Narrative:
Blenheim I K7049, 90 Squadron, RAF Bicester, Oxfordshire: Written off (destroyed) 17/7/37 when crashed at White Hill, Pitton, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, killing two of the three crew:
Crew:
Pilot Officer Peter Edwards (aged 22) killed
Corporal Thomas Henry Robson (aged 22) killed

Pilot thrown out after control lost in cloud. Pilot was court-martialed but exonerated due to lack of instrument flying practice. According to a contemporary newspaper report (The Mercury (Hobart, Tasmania) Tue 12 Oct 1937 Page 6):

"JUMP TO DEATH

Air Force Pilot and Companion Killed
Too Low For Parachutes

How a Royal Air Force pilot Jumped from an aeroplane travelling at 260 miles an hour when it was only 100 feet up, was described at the inquest recently at Old Sarum aerodrome, near Salisbury, on the two victims of a crash at White Hill, Pitton, Wiltshire.

An open verdict was recorded on Pilot Officer Peter Edwards (22), the pilot of the machine, and Corporal Thomas Henry Robson (25), both of No. 90 Squadron, Bicester, Their machine, a Bristol Blenheim medium bomber, crashed into the top of some fir trees, and then into the ground.

After bouncing for 100 yards, its petrol tank exploded. Robson's body was found badly burned on the scene of the explosion, and Edwards' body, with an open parachute attached, was found three quarters of a mile away.

TURNED UPSIDE DOWN
Ernst Whitlock, a farm labourer, of Fitton, said the aeroplane suddenly appeared over the hedge of a field where he was working, turned upside down, righted itself, and then disappeared beyond another hedge. It was gaining height and travelling very fast

Squadron-Leader Eric Burton, commanding the 90th Squadron, Royal Air Force, Bicester, said Edwards could not be called a very experienced pilot, although he was fully qualified. Robson, who would have been the navigator, was a qualified air observer, but not a pilot.

The Coroner: When the pilot left the machine, could the other man have had any control over it? It would have been possible. He would-be sitting by the side of the pilot, and it would have been possible for him to have moved over to the pilot's seat.

The Coroner: Can you give any reason for the explosion? Yes, the petrol tanks probably caught fire. The speed of the aeroplane at the time of the crash was probably 250 miles an hour.

The Coroner: Edwards would have known that his parachute would not open in such a short distance? He should have known, but In a slate of panic one does not always realise these things.

Replying to a question by Robson's father, Squadron Leader Burton said that Robson would have been able to get out of the cockpit If he had wanted to, but it would have been no use at that height. The parachute could not have opened in time."

Sources:

1. Air Britain The K File The RAF of the 1930s
2. The Bristol Blenheim (Warner)
3. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1937.htm
4. The Mercury (Hobart, Tasmania) Tue 12 Oct 1937 Page 6 at https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/29217212


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
02-Oct-2009 11:16 JINX Added
02-Oct-2009 11:38 JINX Updated
11-Aug-2014 17:11 Investig Updated [Operator]
29-Sep-2014 02:48 JINX Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Source]
14-Oct-2014 14:33 Lotos Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
13-Feb-2016 07:42 MrBean1941 Updated [Date, Source, Narrative]
05-Mar-2018 14:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
05-Mar-2018 14:11 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
26-Sep-2018 12:14 Nepa Updated [Operator, Narrative, Operator]

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