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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 145342
Last updated: 14 October 2019
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Date:14-FEB-1949
Time:21:45
Type:Silhouette image of generic MOSQ model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito NF Mk 36
Owner/operator:23 Squadron Royal Air Force (23 Sqn RAF)
Registration: RL249
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:4 miles of RAF stn Coltishall, Norfolk, England. -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Nature:Training
Departure airport:RAF Coltishall, Norfolk
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Mosquito RL249 T/o at 21:35 hrs for practice gunnery sortie over the Wash (the Holbeach Gunnery Range).
Engines cut after take-off crashlanded about four miles of RAF Coltishall. Crashed in wood at 21:45hrs. 14.2.1949
Crew:
P/O (590994) Richard COLBOURNE (pilot) RAF - very badly Injured
Sgt (1605819) William Bert KIRBY (nav.) RAF - killed

P/O Colbourne (rescuing his nav) awarded the GM for this act.
On the night of February 14 1949, Colbourne took off from Coltishall, Norfolk, in a Mosquito night fighter for a practice gunnery sortie over the Wash. Both engines failed, and Colbourne managed to crash-land in a plantation of trees. The aircraft suffered severe damage, immediately catching fire. Severely dazed, he called out to his navigator. A reply appeared to come from outside.
Colbourne's legs were trapped, but as the fire intensified, he finally got clear of the aircraft and smothered the flames on his clothing. On failing to find the navigator, Colbourne realised that he must be trapped in the wreckage. Despite his injuries, and knowing the aircraft was loaded with high explosive ammunition, he climbed back into the burning wreckage and found the navigator trapped in the aircraft's shattered nose.
At this point the aircraft exploded. Although severely burned, Colbourne freed his comrade, dragging him clear and stripping him of his burning clothing. Despite his own severe injuries, he refused to be assisted into a vehicle for transfer to hospital until he was satisfied that his navigator was receiving medical attention. Throughout the difficult journey to hospital, he remained conscious and offered encouragement to his navigator. Both men were placed on the "dangerously injured" list, and the navigator died 20 hours later. P/O Colbourne remained in hospital for many months.
The citation for his George Medal concluded: "Colbourne showed great fortitude, personal courage and devotion to duty under conditions of extreme danger when he was in considerable pain from his injuries."

Sources:

http://www.airhistory.org.uk/dh/_DH98%20prodn%20list.txtt

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1487915/Flight-Lieutenant-Dickie-Colbourne.html
http://www.peoplesmosquito.org.uk/2014/02/13/commemorating-rl249s-fatal-crash-14th-february-1949/


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
30-Apr-2012 07:32 Nepa Added
30-Apr-2012 08:55 Nepa Updated [Source, Narrative]
01-May-2012 00:52 Nepa Updated [Narrative]
14-Jul-2014 18:44 Kraus Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Source, Narrative]
26-Jul-2015 10:50 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Narrative]
20-Oct-2018 15:39 Nepa Updated [Source, Narrative, Operator]
14-Jun-2019 22:14 Nepa Updated [Time, Other fatalities, Location, Nature, Narrative, Operator]

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