Search billions of records on Ancestry.com

Pennfield Ridge Air Station
Accident and/or Mishap Reports
No.34 Operational Training Unit (OTU)
Transcribed and Research by G. Christian Larsen

23 July 1942

Ventura II AE950 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - reported missing @ 2130 hours by the Duty Pilot (1.5 hrs. overdue) - Cat. "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
AUSTIN, Sgt. Harvey John GB1331495 Pupil Pilot Missing
YURKOWSKI, Sgt. Joseph Stanley R/107012 Wireless Operator Air Gunner Missing

Objective of Flight:

Feathering of propellors. Single engine flying. Use of Plane. No instruction was being given.

Weather:

Between 1800 and 2300 hours - Wind: East to north east 2-6 m.p.h. Cloud: 3/10ths - 6/10ths St. Cu. base at approximately 6,000 feet. Overcast alto stratos above 1,000 feet. Visibility 15 miles.

Sgt. Austin's flying time as pilot:
Aircraft Dual Solo
Tiger Moth 35.20 hours 33.15 hours
Oxford 45.15 hours 64.15 hours
Ventura 8.05 hours 7.10 hours

Sgt. Yurkowski's flying time as WO/AG:
Aircraft Time
Various Aircraft 36.50 hours

Description of Flight:

Sgt. Austin, pilot, with a Wireless Operator Air Gunner as crew, took off at 1850 hours in Ventura aircraft AE950 instructed to carry out single engine flying, feathering of propellors, and the use of flaps. The exercise was to be carried out about 5,000 feet above the aerodrome, and this was pointed out carefully to Sgt. Austin as it was his first solo attempt at these exercises. The duration of the flight was to be 2 hours. The aircraft had enough fuel for about 3 hours flying. The aircraft failed to return to base.

The last message received from the aircraft was at 1917 hours when it acknowledged reply from base as to the strength of the aircraft signals. The strength of the aircraft signals at this time was strength 9'. At 2110 hours the base station started calling the aircraft and continued doing so until 0100 hours the next morning but there was no reply from the aircraft.

Findings of Investigation:

Cause: Unknown.

Recommendations: Nil

Observations by A.O.C.:

The O.C., No.12 Operational Training Group, approved the proceedings, and concurred with the Findings on behalf of Eastern Air Command.

Conclusions of Accident Investigation Branch:

Aircraft and crew missing. Cause unknown.

As nothing has been heard of the crew since July 23rd, they may reasonably be assumed to have perished. 

SOURCE: File 1300-AE950-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Search:

Group Captain A.C. Evans-Evans, the Officer Commanding, No.34 O.T.U., when the fact that an aircraft was missing was reported to him, decided that it was too late to start a search that evening. Therefore a search was organized to start at dawn the morning of July 24, 1942. This search by air was carried out for three days, finishing on July 26th 1942. This air search fully covered the area, bounded on the West, by a line 20 miles West of the Canada-U.S.A. boundary; on the East, by a line running through Chipman, Havelock and Salisbury Bay (all places in South West New Brunswick). The area was bounded on the North by a line, approximately East and West, running through Fredericton, New Brunswick. The Southern boundary of the area included all the coastal areas, including Grand Manan Island.

SOURCE: Declaration of F/L H.J. Fine (GB63982), Senior Operations Officer at No.34 OTU, Pennfield, NB found in File 1300-AE950-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

23-July-1942: First accident at this Unit. Ventura AE950 failed to return from evening local flight for airscrew feathering, single engine flying and use of flaps. The crew consisted of pilot 1334195 Sgt. AUSTIN, H.J. and WAG. R.107012 Sgt. J.S. YURKOWSKI, both pupils of No. 1 Course. The aircraft was not heard of after 19.17 hours local time when W/T communication ceased. It took off at 1900 hours. Flying Control, E.A.C. were informed immediately and given all available details. MILLINOCKET and all adjacent aerodromes were asked to switch on landing lights for one hour. ST. JOHN Control was asked to inform R.C.M.P. of the missing aircraft. Flying Control, E.A.C. were informed of the Station Commander's decision to commence aerial search with the first daylight, the search being organized by him. Extracts from the Operations Log Book concerning this missing Ventura AE950 are attached hereto as Appendix "C".

24-July-1942: As soon as weather permitted  search was started and continued all day for the missing aircraft AE950 with the co-operation of R.C.A.F. Station, ST. JOHN. An appeal for information with regard to the missing aircraft was broadcast from ST. JOHN Radio Station CHSJ. Many replies were received and the information amassed was acted upon were readily available.

25-July-1942: Search continued all day for AE950. BOSTON enquired through E.A.C. whether we would like them to co-operate. The Station Commander not thinking this necessary the offer was declined with thanks.

26-July-1942: Search for AE950 still continued until late in the afternoon. A civilian in ST. GEORGE reported having found a large galvanized cylinder  in BACK BAY. On examination this was found to be a 4.5 shell container from a ship recently sank in the BAY OF FUNDY. This matter was reported to S.N.L.C. at E.A.C.

29-July-1942:'In view of the favorable report from F/LT. CROSS from GRAND MANAN, authority was granted by E.A.C. to continue salvage operations for missing aircraft AE950 and S/LDR. GRINDEN was detailed to proceed to the Island and deal with operations there. See Appendix "C".

03-August-1942: Salvage operations for the lost Ventura AE950 previously referred to was today abandoned off Grand Manan Island were dragging operations had been carried out. The object contacted was in some 50 fathoms of water, too deep for a diver to be used or for lifting operations to be carried out, and further dragging gave the impression that after all it was a rock and not the missing aircraft. No eye witnesses either have been discovered who saw a crash in this area. S/Ldr. J.E. GRINDON and F/Lt. CROSS returned from GRAND MANAN ISLAND and presented their report to the Station Commander and S.A.S.O. Command.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

26 July 1942

Ventura Mk.II AE942 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1500 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BAKER, Sgt. Albert George GB1435654 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
KIRSTINE, Sgt. Lloyd R/90782 Navigator Uninjured
READER, P/O Fredeirck J/15999 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Circuits and landings.

Nature and short description of accident: A/C tipped on nose when brakes applied while landing.

Cause of Accident: Error in judgment on the part of the pilot in that he applied his brakes too violently.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

26-July-1942: Ventura AE942 pilot 1435654 Sgt. BAKER, a pupil of No. 1 Course, tipped on its nose on landing from a local training flight. Damage to the port propellor. "Cat. C" - nobody injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

Pilot's Logbook

SOURCE: Logbook of F/L A.G. Baker (GB147754) (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

06 August 1942

06-August-1942: One Ventura II force-landed at HOULTON with oil pressure trouble. Fitters were flown there in another Ventura and corrected the fault. Both aircraft then returned to base.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

19 August 1942

Ventura Mk.II AE872 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge -Dorval, PQ @ 1858 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
SETTLE, Sgt. Arthur GB1033314 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
JONES, Sgt. Marshall Levi R/85476 Observer Uninjured
LOUBERT, Sgt. Peter George Patrick R/117249 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
FRASER, LAC GB508503 Passenger Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training cross country.

Nature and short description of accident: On take-off gas tank cap was noted missing and gas was streaming out. Pilot throttled back but A/C ran off end of runway and U/C collapsed on bad ground.

Cause of Accident: Others.

Secondary Cause of Accident: U/C Strain.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

19-August-1942: Our Ventura AE872 crashed on taking off from DORVAL on returning from a day training cross country flight. The undercarriage of the a/c collapsed when it overran the runway. Damage Cat. "C". The pilot was a pupil of No.1 Course - Sgt. Settle. No injuries.

10-January-1943: S/Ldr. A.R. Skinner (GB40435) and F/O. W.M. Paton proceeded to Dorval to collect Ventura II, AE872, the latter having been repaired at Dorval after crashing.

14-January-1943: Ventura AE872 was ferried from Dorval by S/L. A.R. Skinner (GB40435).

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

24 August 1942

Ventura Mk.II AE879 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0125 hours- Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
SKINNER, S/L Alan Richard GB40435 Staff Pilot Uninjured
QUIRKE, Sgt. Kevin Thomas GB1034924 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
COOK, P/O William Reginald Neil J/11618 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Dual night training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Tail wheel retracted after landing.

Cause of Accident: Failure of tail wheel to lower fully, tail wheel retracted after landing.

Secondary Cause of Accident: Leaking hydraulic gland in tail wheel.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

25-August-1942: At 01.25 hours on the morning of the 24th while landing from a local dual flight the tail wheel of Ventura II AE879 (Instructor S/Ldr. A.R. SKINNER at the controls) retracted after landing and the a/c was damaged Cat. "C". Investigation showed that the cause of the accident was a leaky hydraulic gland in the tail wheel pipe.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

25 August 1942

Ventura Mk.I AE728 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0245 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BAKER, Sgt. Albert George GB1435654 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
COOK, P/O William Reginald Neil J/11618 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Local night training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Running off end of runway on to rough grounds, brakes failed to act.

Cause of Accident: Collapse of STBD U/C when A/C left end of runway on rough ground.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

25-August-1942: Ventura II AE728 (Pilot Sgt. A.G. Baker, pupil No. 1 Course) ran into rough ground off the end of the runway on landing, and its starboard undercarriage collapsed which resulted in a damaged airscrew and mainplane. Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

26 August 1942

Ventura Mk.I AE658 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0250 hours - Category "C"

CREW

SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
LOWE, Sgt. James William GB657928 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
GOUGH, Sgt. Laurence Gordon John R/110156 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
KERNAGHAN, Sgt. Clarence Gerald R/128981 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Local Night Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Port tyre burst and damaged port wheel.

Cause of Accident: Burst tyre and swerve off runway on landing.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE658/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

26-August-1942: Ventura II AE658 (Pilot Sgt. Lowe, J.W. pupil of No. 1 Course) had a port tyre burst on landing, and damaged its port wheel - damage Cat. "C", nobody injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

01 September 1942

Ventura Mk.II AE936 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1230 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BLUNDELL, Sgt. Harold Edwin GB1385376 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
DUBOSE, Sgt. Thomas Coke R/129312 Observer Uninjured
NORMAN, Sgt. Ernest Albert R/78909 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
PRICE, Sgt. Kenneth Ether R/82703 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
BLOOM, P/O Joseph Alexander GB113501 Passenger Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Cross country training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Undercarriage collapsed at end of landing run.

Cause of Accident: Defect in oleo leg and previous heavy landing or braking.

Secondary Cause of Accident: U-C collapsed at end of landing run.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

01-September-1942: Ventura II AE936 pilot 1385376 Sgt. Blundell, H.E., a pilot of No. 2 Course, was damaged on landing from a day cross country flight from Dorval. The pilot made a normal landing, but the port oleo leg folded up as he turned to the left off the runway to taxi to the hangar. Cat. "B" nobody injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

01 September 1942

Anson II J.S.181 attached to No.4 Repair Depot, Scoudouc, NB - Maces Bay, NB @ 1830 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BURROWS, Sgt. Charles Thomas GB939487 Pupil Pilot Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Ferrying aircraft from No.4 Repair Depot, Scoudouc to No.34 OTU, Pennfield Ridge.

Nature and short description of accident: Forced landing on turf with wheels up.

Cause of Accident: Port engine seized, due to failure of oil pressure in port engine.

Secondary Cause of Accident: A/C force landed with wheels up.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

01-September-1942: Crews were flown to SCOUDOUC to collect Anson II J.S. 180 and J.181. The latter machine developed engine trouble on the return flight. The pilot Sgt. Burrows, finding he could not remain airbourne on one engine decided to force land with wheels up at MACES BAY (8 miles S.E. of this aerodrome) at 2130 hours G.M.T. Nobody was injured. It was made Cat. "B". Cause of the seizure was lack of oil to the port engine. A salvage party collected the damaged and returned it to SCOUDOUC by road. J.S. 180 was taken on charge.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTATIONS: Accident report card gives the time of the forced landing as 1830 hours whereas the Daily Diary states it as 2130 hours.

02 September 1942

02-September-1942: Tail Oleo of Ventura AE954 was holed by machine gun fire whilst re-arming. Court of Inquiry was instituted.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

07 September 1942

07-September-1942: 3 crews carried out Navigational Cross Country Exercises, and two crews a Map reading Exercise. One of the former, Sgt. O'Donnell [Bernard James O'Donnell (R/109157)], in Ventura AE886 landed at BANGOR as his compass and radio became U/S.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

09 September 1942

Ventura Mk.II AJ194 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1120 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
MIDGLEY, Sgt. Duward E. R/131084 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
MATTHEWS, Sgt. Francis NZ414511 Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner Uninjured
McDONALD, Sgt. R.K. R/115315 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training flight - circuits and landings.

Nature and short description of accident: U/C jack cylinder end broke off allowing U/C to collapse on nearing completion of landing run.

Cause of Accident: Weakened U/C through previous heavy landings.

Secondary Cause of Accident: Collapse of STBD oleo leg.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

09-September-1942: Ventura II Aj.194 pilot R.131084 Sgt. Midgley (pupil of No.3 Course) was damaged Cat B. Its undercarriage Jack cylinder broke off and allowed the undercarriage to collapse on nearing the end of a landing run at PENNFIELD. This accident followed an unsuccessful attempt to land when the pilot hit the runway heavily and bounced about 20 feet, from which position he opened up his throttles and went round again. The accident was thought to be caused by this previous heavy landing. Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and ArchivesCanada/ Copy Number C-12364.

23 September 1942

Ventura II AE893 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 2350 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
KIERSTEAD, S/L Ralph Clayon GB40230 Staff Pilot Uninjured
ATKINS, P/O Arthur George Gordon GB127538 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
BREAKSPEAR, Sgt. Aallan Rothery AUS412374 Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Night Flying training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Starboard undercarriage upper torque link bracket broke. Wheel swiveled round inside of oleo leg & starboard brake anchor plate broke and tyre damaged.

Cause of Accident: Flange on aircraft oleo leg broke owing to undue strain.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE893/ Library and Archives Canada - Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

23-September-1942: Six aircraft carried out a Compass Swinging Exercise and night flying was carried out by ten crews. During night flying the flange on oleo leg of Ventura II AE893 (pilot S/Ldr. R.C. Kierstead) broke on landing owing to undue strain. Damage Cat. "C" - nobody injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

24 September 1942

Ventura Mk.II AE905 attached to No.34 OYU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1625 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
ENO, S/L Llloyd Higgs GB40096 Flying Instructor Uninjured
PELLETIER, P/O Jeffrey William AUS400483 2nd Pilot Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Local Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Tail wheel retracted on landing, under rear section, of fuselage angle brackets and skin damaged. Tail wheel collapsed.

Cause of Accident: Misc. Technical.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

24-September-1942: On landing from a local day training flight at PENNFIELD the tail wheel of Ventura II AE905 (pilot S/Ldr. L.H. ENO) retracted and collapsed and the A/C was damaged Cat. "C". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

26 September 1942

Ventura I AE664 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - 15 miles North East Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0810 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
ELLIS, Sgt. James Fitzgibbon R/127859 Pilot Uninjured
FOSTER, Sgt. Owen Ellice NZ415067 2nd Pilot Uninjured
BALDCHIN, P/O Leslie Alfred GB129418 Observer Uninjured
PENN, P/O Thomas Alfred NZ414336 Observer Uninjured
MACK, Sgt. Ian Harold William NZ315544 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
MANN, Sgt. Russell Walter AUS411357 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
FRENCH, Sgt. Donald Louise Henry R/126248 Air Gunner Uninjured
WARNER, Sgt. Timothy William James NZ414363 Air Gunner Uninjured

Object of Flight:

Local instrument flying at height between 2/3,000 feet. Pilots Sgt. Ellis, J.F. and Sgt. Foster, O.E. were to carry out forty five (45) minutes instrument flying practice each.

Weather:

Clear. Visibility 15 miles or better. Temp. 44F. Wind N 8 mph.

Sgt. Ellis' flying experience as pilot:
Aircraft Dual Solo
Fleet Finch 30:45 hours 29:25 hours
Anson 60:00 hours 90:05 hours
Ventura 4:55 hours 16:05 hours

Description of Flight:

Sgt. Ellis and Sgt. Foster, two pupil pilots, took off on an authorized flight in aircraft Ventura I AE664 at 1720 hours, authorized for an hour and half of instrument flying. The pilots to practice the exercise for 45 minutes each. Six other personnel of the station went along as crew. The aircraft was not equipped with dual control neither did it have an instrument flying hood.

On take off, Sgt. Foster was at the controls, he climbed to 2,500 feet and carried out instrument flying practice by concentration on the blind flying instruments for a period of approximately 15 minutes, he then flew to the Unit's authorized low flying area and carried out low flying practice for a period of approximately 10 minutes, then climbed in a northerly direction to a height of approximately 1,500 feet and leveled off, at that altitude.

The two pilots then changed over and Sgt. Ellis assumed control of the aircraft. Sgt. Ellis continued climbing and carried out instrument indicator flying practice for about 15 minutes at which time he learned upon questioning that the aircraft was over the low level flying area. Sgt. Ellis put the aircraft into a dive 30 to the horizontal. Sgt. Ellis states the the aircraft approached the ground the airspeed indicator was reading approximately 250 mph. When he considered that the aircraft had reached a sufficiently low altitude, he began easing it out of the dive, but the aircraft continued to sink and went down below the level of the highest trees on the hilltop. Both the port wing and and the starboard wing struck trees and were damaged but the pilot was able to climb to a height of approximately 2,500 feet and return to the aerodrome where he reported the incident to his flight commander.

The aircraft was slightly damaged. None of the occupants were injured.

Findings of Investigation:

Cause: Deliberate low flying on the part of the pilot Sgt. James Fitzgibbon Ellis in contravention of Pilot's Order No.20 paragraph 1 sections (b) and (c).

Recommendations: Nil.

Observations of A.O.C.:

The Air Officer Command, No.12 Group, Eastern Air Command, concurred in the report and approved the proceedings and remarked that a summary of evidence is being taken.

Conclusions of Investigation Branch:

Agree with the findings.

While agreeing with the findings it is noted that Sgt. Ellis is alone singled out as contravening the pilots order No.20 paragraph 1 sections (b) and (c). Sgt. Foster in his evidence on page 4, states that he, too, carried out low flying practice for a period of approximately 10 minutes although of course he did not have an accident.

Pilots order 20 (which is exhibit (b) in the proceedings) paragraph 1 sections (b) and (c) reads as follows:

(b)

Instrument flying practice is to be limited to straight flying, turns, gliding and climbing turns, all above 3,000 feet. Instrument flying, take-offs, spinning and aerobatics are prohibited.

(c)

No other practices that those authorized, except for the flying necessary to reach the required height, and return, are to be carried out.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE664/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

26-September-1942: 'During an instrument flying day training flight, Ventura II AE664 (pilot R.127859 Sgt. ELLIS J.F. a pupil of No. 3 Course), owing to unauthorized low flying, hit a tree, the aircraft was damaged Cat. "C" nobody injured. A Court of Inquiry is to be held.'

29-September-1942: Sgt. Ellis, R.127859, was removed from No. 3 Course pending investigation on his low flying accident.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

~click on photographs~

01 October 1942

01-October-1942: Accident to Ventura AJ.173. Pilots escape hatch flew off, damaging aerial mast and starboard tail plane - damaged Cat. "C"

07-October-1942: Court of Inquiry (President S/Ldr. B.A. MILLER (GB37977)) was held regarding the circumstances in which Ventura AJ.173 was damaged on the 1st of October 1942.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

08 October 1942

Ventura I AE658 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1840 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
CHAPPELL, Sgt. R.A.J. GB1318483 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
MARK, Sgt. Harry Edward NZ414508 Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Local Day Training Flight - Circuits and Landings.

Nature and short description of accident: Port oleo leg damaged.

Cause of Accident: Aircraft swung violently to right on landing and ran on to stony ground - ground loop.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE658/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

08-October-1942: Ventura I AE.658 on landing on the aerodrome at PENNFIELD from a local training flight, yawed on landing, ran on to stony ground and the port oleo leg was damaged Cat. "C". The pilot GB.1318483 Sgt. CHAPELL, R.A.J. was a pilot of No.4 Course - nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

27 October 1942

Ventura Mk.II AE934 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Yarmouth aerodrome @ 1635 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
CORNFOOT, Sgt. Radford Claue NZ414964 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
McKINNON, P/O John Allan J/13793 Observer Uninjured
HOUGHTON, Sgt. Keith Ernest Creffield AUS403988  Wireless Operator Air Gunner Uninjured
TOBIN, Sgt. Leo Sarsfield R/108399 Air Gunner Uninjured
CURNO, F/S Leslie Curno NZ402105 Air Gunner Instructor Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Operational Day Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: A/C swung off runway to port on takeoff in wind, and taxied into and mounted a high bank. The automatic pilot was engaged.

Cause of Accident: Sgt. Cornfoot made an error of judgment in failing to close throttle when the swing became uncon

Secondary Cause or Contributing Factors: A/C swung and struck high rise in ground near control tower.

Action Taken: Disciplinary action to be taken.

Conclusion of A.I.B.: Poor airmanship. Bad take-off by pupil probably due to faulty cock-pit procedure.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

27-October-1942: Ventura II AE.934, pilot NZ.414964 Sgt. CORNFOOT, R.C. a pupil of No.3 Course, swung off the runway on take-off at YARMOUTH, and hit a mound. Aircraft damaged Cat. quot;C" - nobody injured.

29-October-1942: A Court of Inquiry on the cause of the crash of Ventura AE.934 assembled with F/Lt. D.G. LACEY (GB76586) as President, F/Lt. H. ANDREW (GB43256) and P/O. A.K. LOMAS (J/15284) as Members.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

30 October 1942

Ventura Mk.II AE925 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0110 - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BYRON, P/O Joseph GB1476473 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
FLETCHER, Sgt. Archibald Alexander NZ411875 Observer Uninjured
MARK, Sgt. Harry Edward NZ414508 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Night cross country training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Taxied off runway to avoid stranded aircraft. Took short cut across rough ground to reach tarmac and STPB. wheel dropped into a hole on the ground and collapsed.

Cause of Accident: Careless taxing.

Secondary Cause or Contributing Factors: Stdb. wheel dropped into hole on the ground and collapsed.

Action Taken: Log book endorsed "Carelessness".

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

30-October-1942: On landing on completion of a night range flying training flight 1476473, P/O J. BYRON, a pupil of No.4 Course, seeing another aircraft stopped just off the runway at its junction with the taxi-ing strip, taxied across the rough ground towards the tarmac and his starboard wheel dropped into a hole in the ground and collapsed, the aircraft being damaged Cat. "C" - nobody injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

12 November 1942

12-November-1942: Eight crews carried out Navigational Cross Country Exercises. Two of these crews, in Venturas, landed at Houlton and Mont Joli respectively, with engine trouble, and two Ansons had to land at Yarmouth owing to severe icing conditions over the Bay of Fundy.

14-November-1942: The two Ansons that had landed at Yarmouth owing to weather, returned to Base.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

15 November 1942

15-November-1942: An Anson on Cross Country from Chatham landed at Pennfield due to engine trouble and remained overnight.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

20 November 1942

Ventura II AE932 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - crashed four (4) miles N.E. of Caledonia, Queens, Co., NS @ 2130 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
MALE, P/O Harold Otho GB188825 Staff Pilot Killed
SUTHERLAND, P/O Stanley Evans J/15455 Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner Instuctor Killed
SARGEANT, AC1 Thomas Frederick GB1125256 Passenger/ Flight Mechanic (Engines) Killed

Object of Flight:
Ferrying Hydraulic Oil from Dartmouth to Yarmouth, and to land two passengers (namely F/L Charles Shelley TURNER (C/2144) and Cpl. Hubley) at Dartmouth.

Weather:

At the time of take-off - ceiling 500 ft. Visibility 3 to 4 miles, raining moderately.

At the time of crash - drizzling rain with low clouds. Visibility 4 to 5 miles.

Sgt. Male's  flying time as pilot:
Aircraft Dual Solo
Tiger Moth 30.40 hours 32.20 hours
Avro Anson Nil 9.05 hours
Lysander Nil 4.30 hours
Oxford 48.45 hours 62.05 hours
Ventura 10.40 hours 150.20 hours

Sgt. Male (staff pilot), good average ability and confident. His flying time as follows:-

He had a total flying time on Service aircraft of 348.25 hrs. of which 150.20 hrs. was solo on Ventura aircraft.

His total instrument flying time was 32:05 hrs. of which 5.25 hrs. was on Ventura aircraft.

His night flying time total was 22:50 hrs. of which 8:05 hrs. was on Ventura aircraft.

Description of Flight:

Sgt. Male, pilot, was detailed to fly Ventura aircraft AE932 to Dartmouth and collect certain freight. P.O. Sutherland was wireless operator. Three passengers also made the trip to Dartmouth. The Aircraft arrived at Dartmouth at 1640 hrs. Two of the passengers remained there and at 1740 hrs. the aircraft took off on its return journey. Messages were received from the aircraft at 1803 hrs. and 1823 hrs. The last message was to the effect that the pilot had nothing to communicate. No difficulty whatsoever was had in exchanging signals with the aircraft. At 1828 hrs. the signals officer at base called the aircraft to tell the pilot he had a message for him, there was no reply. At 1830 hrs. the signals officer asked pilot for his estimated time of arrival and received no acknowledgment, and calls were continued until 1940 hrs., but with no reply. Then word came that the aircraft had crashed.

Residents of the districts of Westfield and Caledonia in Queens County, N.S. heard the aircraft at about 1820 hrs. as it flew in a south westerly direction. About 3 minutes later the aircraft was heard circling from the south east to north east; then at about 1825 hrs. the sound of the engines ceased and within a minute there was a large flash of light followed by a loud explosion. The aircraft was totally destroyed and the occupants were killed instantaneously.

An examination of the wreckage by the O.T.C. disclosed that the aircraft was in a steep left hand turn and losing height when it struck the top of the trees. That the aircraft was approaching the ground at an angle of 45. There were no indications of structural failures in flight. The C.T.C. further stated: "The aircraft was so badly wrecked and scattered that it was impossible to make any observations on the instruments, flying controls, engine controls or fuel tanks."

Findings of Investigation:

Circumstances: Whilst enroute from Dartmouth, N.S. to Yarmouth, N.S.

Cause: Whilst circling at a low altitude in conditions of poor visibility aircraft struck trees with port wing tip and crashed.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE932-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

20-November-1942: On a return flight from Dartmouth to Yarmouth, Ventura Ae932 crashed at 2130 hrs. G.M.T. at North Brookfield near Caledonia, N.S. and was burnt out (Cat. "A"). The crew, consisted of Pilot 657604 Sgt. Male H.O. W.A.G. J.15455 P/O S.E. Sutherland and F.M.E. 1125256 A.C.2 Sergeant who were all killed. The cause of the crash has not yet been established and is being investigated by a Court of Inquiry appointed by Eastern Air Command.

22-November-1942: The body of P/O. Sutherland was escorted to the Yarmouth Railway Station by S/Ldr. Burbridge (GB39374), O.C. Detachment, and all Officers of the Detachment. P/O. Kay accompanied the Body as representative of the Station Commander.

23-November-1942: The funeral of Sgt. Male and A.C. Sergeant took place at Yarmouth. 90% of the Detachment attended and the R.C.A.F. Station Band was in attendance.

22-November-1942: A Court of Inquiry under the presidency of S/Ldr. McIness was held at Yarmouth to enquire into the crash of AE932.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: See "Several Are Killed In Crash of Bomber Near Caledonia, N.S."

21 November 1942

21-November-1942: Eleven Navigational Cross County Exercises were completed, seven of these being at Low Level and two crew practiced Radio Range flying. One of the Ventura on Navigational Exercise landed at Mont Joli owing to engine trouble.

22-November-1942: Ventura AE911 returned from Mont Joli.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

22 November 1942

Ventura II AE868 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1655 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
SMITH, Sgt. Desmond GB1477985 Pupil Pilot Killed
PUTT, Sgt. Gerald St.George NZ416039 Wireless Air Gunner Killed

Objective of Flight:

Local training (day). Single engine approaches and landings.

Weather:

Visibility 15 miles plus: 4/10ths strato-cumulus at 3,500 feet: Wind North to North East 16 to 24 mph. Gusty.

Sgt. D. Smiths flying experience as pilot:
Aircraft Total
Tiger Moth 68:40 hrs.
Oxford 150:05 hrs.
Ventura 10:40 hrs.

Sgt. Smith had graduated from E.F.T.S. and S.F.T.S. with an assessment of "above average."

Tested on flying ability prior to going solo at O.T.U., he was an average pilot with good grasp of that particular aircraft. He was also a methodical pilot and his cockpit drill satisfactory. On the day of this accident he had flown 2:25 hours solo and 1:00 hour dual. This flying was broken during the middle of the day and also after flying dual.

Sgt. Smith was a very short pilot and had some difficult in reaching the rudder pedals, but had full control with the aid of a cushion.

Description of Flight:

Sgt. Smith was authorized to take off at 1645 hours for the purpose of carrying out local training. Aircraft took off at 1650 hours. When half-way down No.3 runway the engine commenced to mis- fire, the pilot, however, continued to take off and gained altitude. The port engine cut out immediately at 75 feet and the port wing dropped. The aircraft made a steep turn to port, narrowly missing the trees at the N.W. end of No.3 runway. It straightened out and gained height, commencing a skidding turn to port, it approached the West end of No.2 runway (East-West) in almost a direct line with No. 3 hangar. The aircraft was observed at about 200 feet to skid to port, turn completely over, the nose dropped and the aircraft struck the ground in a vertical position with the starboard wing and nose hitting about the same time. At the time of the crash, there was a strong cross wind. The pilot was evidently attempting to make a cross-wind landing. The undercarriage had also been retracted. Upon striking the ground the aircraft burst into flames and the fire fighting crew experience difficulty in putting them out. Both occupants were killed and the aircraft totally destroyed.

An examination of the wreckage discovered that the aircraft had struck the ground inverted, in an almost vertical position, going towards the East. It had then bounced almost 15 feet to the South where it had burned. The starboard wing had been totally demolished, The front section of the aircraft was totally destroyed.  The fuel selector valves were located in the wreckage and it was definitely established that they were open to rear main tanks at the time of the accident. Further examination also revealed that the port switch was off at the time of the crash.

NOTE:- From tests made during the investigation it was found that a pilot could unwittingly knock the switch of the port engine in the "off" position groping for the undercarriage control knob.

Findings of Investigation:

Circumstance: Engine cut on take off due to lack of gasoline.

Cause: Through inexperience the pilot was unable to make a single engine landing after the port engine had cut out.

Recommendations: Nil.

Observations of A.O.C.:

The Air Officer Command, No.12 Group, approved the proceedings.

Conclusions of Investigation Branch:

Due to shortage of fuel the port engine cut out intermittently after take-off, the pilot inadvertently knocked the port engine switch into the "off" position while attempting to operate the undercarriage control after <eligible>.

Recommendations of A.I.B.:

That a guard be fitted to protect the port engine switch from accidental operation when a pilot operators the undercarriage control by feel only.

That a strict watch be kept on gasoline consummation when short flights are being undertaken for the purpose of training, to avoid the possibility of students taking off on depleted tanks.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE868-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs:

22-November-1942: Ventura AE868 crashed on the aerodrome just after take-off on a local day training flight. The circumstances were as follows:- The port engine failed shortly after take-off, and on attempting a cross-wind landing on the aerodrome, the aircraft cartwheeled on its back and crashed. All fuel tanks appeared to explode on impact and the aircraft was burnt out, (Cat. "A"). Both members of the crew, Pilot 1477985 Sgt. Smith D. and W.A.G. NZ.416039 Putt G. St.G. were killed. The accident is being investigated by the E.A.C. Investigating Officer, S/Lt. Brickhendon.

25-November-1942: The funerals of Sgt. Smith and Sgt. Putt took place at St. George, N.B. with full Military Honours. The funerals were attended by the Station Commander and Chief Instructor and other representatives of the Staff and by the pupils of No.6 Course.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: See "Two R.A.F. Members Killed in Crash Of Plane Near Pennfield"

23 November 1942

Ventura II AE869 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Yarmouth aerodrome @ 1900 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
WICKHAM-JONES, Sgt. Thomas Anthony GB1318077 First Pilot Uninjured
STRANGE, Sgt.John Fraser R/56789 Observer Uninjured
ROBERTS, Sgt. Victor Albert Adair NZ414521 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
RILEY, Sgt. Ernest GB942714 Air Gunner Uninjured

Objective of Flight:

Cross country and bombing exercises. Bombing to be done at dusk, and landing after dark.

Weather:

Clear at base - RAF Station, Yarmouth.

Pilot:

Sgt. Wickham-Jones total flying time as follows: 284:20 hours.

Description of Flight:

Sgt. Wickham-Jones, pilot, and a crew of three, landed in Ventura II No.869 at about 1865 hours after flying for about 2 hours and 15 minutes on an authorized cross country and bombing exercise; landing was to be made after dark. Immediately after landing the pilot taxied onto the tarmac in front of the hangars. At the point where aircraft turned off to the hangars, the pilot was guided by an airman with two flashlights. When the aircraft was facing the hangars, pilot taxied forward to ensure that the tail wheel was on the taxying strip, and then shut off the engines. The pilot used landing lights to taxi in those portions of the taxying strip, which were unlighted. Neither the pilot nor any member of the crew were aware that Ventura No. 869 had been damaged when maneuvering into position for parking. Ventura 869 was due for an 60 hour check so was placed in maintenance for inspection, but not worked on for 4 days.

The airman, an AC1 [AC1 Cyril Lawrence Tidmarsh (GB1431669)], who with flashlights guided Ventura 869 to its parking place on the night of the 23rd of November thought he heard a sharp crack like a piece of wood snapping, he looked at the aircraft and saw only two yellow marks on the tire. The next morning he saw a crushed yellow wheel-barrow in the position where the aircraft 869 had turned the night before. This wheel-barrow was the property of the construction company at work on the aerodrome and it had negligently been left near the taxi strip by one of the workmen on the evening of November 23rd. The Airman reported to the N.C.O. in charge of the shift about the wheel-barrow and yellow marks on the tire. The N.C.O. knew the aircraft was in maintenance for inspection and took no further action. It was not until the inspection was taking place four days later at the time the aircraft was put up on trestles that the damage underside of the fuselage was discovered.

Findings of Investigation:

Cause: That the last pilot of Ventura AE869 taxied over a wheel-barrow left on the Aerodrome by the Contractors. Sgt. Wickham-Jones, the pilot, was unaware of having done this or of the presence of the obstruction.

Recommendations: That the Contractors should inform the Aerodrome Control Pilot of the position of any Equipment left on the Aerodrome adjacent to the runways.

Observations of A.O.C.:

The Air Officer Commanding, No.12 Operational Training Group approved the proceedings and remarked as follows:

Reference para. 14, the responsibility for notifying the presence of obstructions on the aerodrome cannot be allowed to rest with a civilian contractor. Eastern Air Command has informed the Officer Commanding No.34 O.T.U. to this effect and issued a policy letter defining the responsibility of the Aerodrome Control Pilot in this respect.

The indication of poor workmanship on the part of the sixth witness LAC Aldridge, has been dealt with by Eastern Air Command. (This witness, detailed to carry a skin inspection, failed to inspect the "belly" although he signed the Maintenance Inspection Schedule.)

Conclusions of Investigation Branch:

Agree with the findings and with the remarks of the A.O.C.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE869/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

26 November 1942

Ventura II AE923 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Yarmouth aerodrome @ 1910 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BURROWS, Sgt. Charles Thomas GB939487 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
MOULTRIE, SGT. Douglas NZ414324 Navigator Uninjured
ASHWELL, Sgt. Sidney NZ415511 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
UNDERWOOD, Sgt. Cecil Gwynne R/99265 Air Gunner Uninjured

Objective of Flight:

Navigational and bombing exercise, landing at night - no special instructions were issued for this flight.

Weather:

Clear, light wind.

Sgt. Burrows' flying time as pilot:
Aircraft

Total

Night Flying
Dual/ Solo

Instrument
Dual/ Solo

Magister

64:35

 

6:30/ -

Oxford

100:55

5:25/6:35

9:00/ 3:25

Avro Anson

47:10

 

 

Ventura

77:05

2:50/ 8:40

0:25/ 4:20

Description of Flight:

Sgt. Burrows, pilot, and a crew of three, returned from a navigation and bombing exercise in Ventura AE923 and landed on No.3 runway, received instructions from the Control Officer to turn right on reaching No.1 runway, heading 150.

Aircraft proceeded along No.1 runway a few yards when the starboard engine failed. Pilot applied brakes and left rudder to bring aircraft to stand still but was unable to prevent the swing to starboard. The aircraft had almost stopped when the port wheel sank into a ditch, which bordered the runway and which was between 2 to 3 feet deep and 3 feet wide. The excavated dirt was thrown from the ditch and piled on the edge farthest from the runway. There were no lanterns, flares or other obstruction lights along the ditch. The aircraft was slightly damaged, there was no injury to occupants. Workmen employed by Tomlinson construction commenced digging a ditch along runway on the <hard to read>.

Findings of Investigation:

Cause: That an unmarked "ditch" was present at the edge of No.1 runway, at R.C.A.F. Station Yarmouth, NS on 26th November, 1942, unknown to the pilot of Ventura aircraft A.E. 923, thus giving the pilot no warning that he must take extra precaution when taxing on No.1 runway.

Recommendations: That greater care be taken in the supervision and maintenance of the serviceability of the runways and the adjacent ground at Royal Canadian Force Station, Yarmouth, NS.

Observations of A.O.C.:

The A.O.C. Eastern Air Command remarked as follows:-

I consider Tomlinson Construction Co. were negligent in failing to comply with Contract Number 33184/1941 (which extract is shown as Exhibit "H"), but that Station Yarmouth were not without blame in that they did not physically check the serviceability of the runway.

Conclusions of Investigation Branch:

Agree with the findings and with the remarks of the A.O.C.

NOTE:- Exhibit "H" referred to reads as follows:

Particular care must be exercised by the Contractor to keep all personnel and equipment off the existing landing strips so as to avoid interference with existing aircraft traffic. The existing landing strips just not to be used for trucking materials or equipment to the works.

Trails for trucks, tractors or equipment must not be established on finished or semi-finished areas.

At the conclusion of each days work equipment shall be parked adjacent to the boundary fences, where directed by the Engineer, and suitably illuminated by red lanterns or flare pots during the hours of darkness and by red flags during the daylight.

Where work is being carried out adjacent to existing landing strips areas, it must be marked out by red flags during daylight and by red lanterns or flare pots during the hours of darkness, as directed by the Engineer.

All such lanterns, flare pots and flags are to be provided by the Contractor."

SOURCE: File 1300-AE923/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

~click on photographs~

26 November 1942

26-November-1942: Five crews carried out Navigational Cross Country Exercises, three of these being at Low Level. One aircraft, Ventura AE889 landed at Presque Isle with Engine trouble.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

29 November 1942

Ventura II AJ211 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Yarmouth, NS @ 1615 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
MATHEWS, Sgt. J.C. R/33665 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
DARLING, P/O Francis Ritchie J/21752 Navigator Uninjured
YULE, Sgt. V.T. R/1311605 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
CHURCHILL, Sgt. J. R/124938 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Aircraft swung to right on take-off and ripped off starboard tyre and damaged starboard airscrew.

Cause of Accident: Swung off - investigation officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AJ211/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

29-November-1942: Ventura AJ211 ground looped on take-off at Yarmouth as tyre burst.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

04 December 1942

04-December-1942: Three crews completed Navigational Cross Country Exercises and three crews carried out Night Cross Country Flights on the Blisseville and Presque Isle Radio Range. One Ventura AE665 landed at Summerside with minor engine trouble.

06-December-1942: Ventura 665 returned from Summerside and 952 and 658 returned from Yarmouth and Houlton respectively.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

05 December 1942

05-December-1942: Two crews took-off on Night Radio Range Cross Country flights, but both aircraft landed away from base. Ventura AE962 at Yarmouth and Ventura AE658 at Houlton. The latter through engine trouble.

06-December-1942: Ventura 665 returned from Summerside and 962 and 658 returned from Yarmouth and Houlton respectively.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

05 December 1942

Anson II J.S.182 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge -Yarmouth, NS @1150 - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
COURT, Sgt. R.A. R/110340 Pilot Uninjured
MORDEN, F/O John Crawford J/6283 Passenger Uninjured
WADSWORTH, F/S A. GB346011 Passenger Uninjured
NONO, AC1 J.A. GB1611585 Passenger Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day flight transfer of A/C from Pennfield Ridge to Yarmouth.

Nature and short description of accident: Aircraft struck hangar doors in gusty wind while taxying.

Cause of Accident: Careless on part of pilot in not checking brakes before taxying.

Secondary Cause or Contributing Factors: Faulty brakes and strong gusty wind, A/C struck hangar doors.

Action Taken: Nil.

Conclusion of A.I.B.: Pilot was careless and showed poor airmanship.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

05-December-1942: Anson II, J.S.182 (R110340 Sgt. Court) after arrival at Yarmouth from Pennfield, was damaged in a taxying accident (Cat. B). S/Ldr. Eno [S/L L.H. Eno (GB40096)] from this Unit is investigating the matter.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

06 December 1942

Ventura II AE936 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - crashed 3 miles South of Presque Isle aerodrome, ME @ 1740 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
SUTTIE, Sgt. Grant Crawford AUS15553 Pilot Uninjured
GOOD, P/O Thomas Colin J/14642 Observer Uninjured
SIMPSON, Sgt. Alexander Hugh R/126200 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
KOZORIZ, Sgt. George R/150961 Air Gunner Uninjured

Object of Flight:

Day cross country formation training flight. Ventura AE936 was No.3 in the formation.

Weather:

Cloudy to overcast at two to three thousand feet, with scattered snow showers. At the time of accident 2500 feet overcast with very light snow and visibility over 10 miles.

Surface - Light to moderate rime icing.

Sgt. Suttie's flying time as pilot:
Aircraft Total
Tiger Moth 69:25 hours
Crane 159:20 hours
Ventura 65:15 hours

Description of Flight:

Sgt. Suttie and a crew of three took off at 1521 hrs. A.D.T. December 6th, 1942, in Ventura aircraft AE936, instructed to carry out a high level cross country formation flight, having first been warned of possibilities of light snow showers and to avoid thick snow or clouds.

At 1620 hrs. A.D.T. having reached New Castle the formation changed course for Fort Fairfield, about 5 minutes after leaving New Castle snow was encountered and the starboard engine coughed, but then continued to run satisfactorily. About 20 minutes later the starboard engine  coughed and sputtered again and started to lose power. Both propellors were changed to fine pitch, and the throttles open to 30 inches of boost, the mixture control was first moved to automatic rich, then to full rich. The auxiliary pump was switched on and all fuel tanks selected in turn. The gills and oil cooler regulators were closed on the right engine and the blower moved to high speed, but it continued to loose power, so the airscrew was feathered, no further attempt being made to start the engine.

At the time of starboard engine failure the aircraft was flying through clouds 2 to 3000 ft. The R.P.M.'s were 1800 boost 25 to 30 inches, airspeed 170 to 190 miles per hour, cylinder head temperature 160C, oil temperature 60C, carburettor heat control 1/3 from full on, with temperature at 33C. Outside air temperature minus 15C.

After the starboard engine failed a course was set for Presque Isle the nearest aerodrome, flying on the Port engine only at 120 to 130 miles per hour, 35 inch of boost, and 1900 R.P.M.'s, Carburettor mixture was at automatic rich and heat full on, giving a carburettor temperature of 30C, the gills were closed and the cylinder head temperature remained at 160C.

Just before Presque Isle aerodrome was reached the port engine coughed; at that time the cylinder head temperature was 250C and the gills were open. On arrival at Presque Isle some difficulty was experienced in getting permission to land, and on the third circuit of the aerodrome, which was made at 400 to 600 ft. the port engine caught fire. The pilot attempted to land on runway heading 270M but owing to lack of control over aircraft due to having only one engine, could not turn quickly enough and passed over the aerodrome on a heading of 245M. The pilot tried to go around again but could not maintain height, and landed with wheels up, down wind, on the Maine Experimental Farm.

All the crew got clear of the aircraft, and an attempt was made to extinguish the fire by means of the aircraft fire extinguisher, but the extinguisher appeared to be unserviceable. A fire tender and crew from the army aerodrome arrived on the scene a few minutes after the crash, but were unable to extinguish the fire until the aircraft was practically burnt out.

At the time the Port engine caught fire the gills were closed, the cylinder head temperature was 350C and carburetor temperature was 70C. At no time, during the approach, did the pilot attempt to lower the undercarriage or flaps.

Findings of Investigation:

Cause: 1. Aircraft was flown too slowly on single engine to maintain adequate control for landing. Low airspeed and low r.p.m. caused loss of height, and allowed engine to overheat causing fire and 2. Starboard engine failed previously apparently due to carburettor icing.

Recommendation: Investigation should be made into use of carburettor heat on this aircraft, and until further experience is obtained, carburettor heat should not be used at outside air temperature of less than -1C.

Observations of A.O.C.:

The Air Officer Commanding, No.12 Training Group, approved the proceedings.

Conclusions of Accidents Investigation Branch:

Starboard engine failed while flying through snow and clouds, probably due to icing of the carburetor or blocking of the carburettor air intake screen. The aircraft flew on port engine to Presque Isle Aerodrome where difficulty was experienced in getting permission to land resulting in the pilot forgetting that the carburettor heat was on full, and the gills were closed, causing the engine to overheat and catch fire.

On the landing approach the pilot misjudged and overshot the runway and upon attempting to go around again was unable to maintain height due to failure of the port engine, which was caused by fire and over heating. There is also a possibility that the carburettor  heat was still in the full heat position which would have effect the engine power materially when the throttle was fully open. The aircraft made a smooth wheels up landing 2 to 3 miles from the aerodrome but was totally destroyed by fire.

Recommendation:

a) The carburettor air intake screen should be investigated with regards to blocking when snow and icing conditions are previlent.

b) The recommendations of the Court are concurred in.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE936/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

06-December-1942: Three crews took-off on a formation flying cross county exercise, but one of the aircraft developed engine trouble and eventually the port engine caught fire. The pilot belly landed the aircraft 3 miles South of the Presque Isle Army Air Base at 2040 G.M.T. and all the crew were able to get out of the machine. uninjured before it burnt into flames and was burnt out (Cat. A). The aircraft was Ventura II AE936 and the crew were all pupils of No.5 Course.

07-December-1942: A Court of Inquiry was convened to inquire into the loss of Ventura AE936, under the Presidency of S/Ldr. Grant, D.F.C. (Debert). S/Ldr. Grant, D.F.C. reported from Greenwood and F/Lt. Lucas from E.A.C. for the Court of Inquiry into the loss of Ventura II, AE936.

08-December-1942: S/Ldr. Grant, D.F.C. and the other members of the Court of Inquiry flew to Presque Isle.

10-December-1942: S/Ldr. Grant, D.F.C. together with the other members of the Court of Inquiry, returned from Presque Isle.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

Reflections of an airmen:

I watched from the hangar line for some time and observed what to me was a disturbing method being used to start very cold engines. The engines were repeatedly primed with fuel, resulting in horrendous backfires and the engines failing to start on the first, second and even third try. This questionable procedure didn't, however, deter me from walking into the pilot's room and asking the first person I saw if it would be possible for me to go up for a familiarization flip. To my surprise and delight the person I had approached turned out to be a friendly Aussie, Sgt. Grant Crawford Suttie, who said, "Sure!" Although I wasn't even wearing a flying suit, I was given a parachute that belonged to someone else and the four of us trekked out just after 3 PM to Ventura 936.

I was the shortest member of the crew at just over six-feet tall. We were a tall crew! The engines had previously been warmed up so they started right off. I had never been in an airplane so large. My previous, and only, trip in a twin-engine airplane had been in a Cessna Crane at SFTS in Calgary the past summer. I climbed into the turret and prepared for take-off. The flight was relatively smooth and we flew at a rather low altitude, I thought. About an hour or so into the flight, I began hearing agitated conversations over the headset and wondered about the problem up front. I got out of the turret and made my way to the flight deck. I asked Pilot Officer Tom Good, the navigator what the problem was. He pointed with his pencil to the starboard engine and said, "It's overheating." There was nothing I could do about that, so I returned to my station. By this time, we were in a heavy snowstorm and the next thing I recall seeing was the feathered propeller of the starboard engine. I could listen to what was going on up front and hoped for the best. We were now headed for the nearest USAAF (United States Army Air Force) airfield near Presque Isle, Maine. The airplane wasn't holding altitude, which contributed a little more to an already white-knuckle situation. At last, the airfield was sighted straight ahead, thanks to the good work by the WAG, Sgt. Alex (Lofty) Simpson, in getting the correct course direction via radio. However, we didn't have too much altitude left by this time. We were heading straight for the water tower. I don't recall what I yelled over the intercom,. but Old Sut reacted suddenly by banking on the dead engine into a steep starboard turn. All he could do then was keep the aircraft straight and level. there wasn't a hope of lining up on the runway for a landing because we were practically on the ground by now. We were now headed for the forest dead ahead. Within seconds, we started mowing off the tops of the spruce and pine trees, when suddenly a small clearing appeared in front of us. We finally came to rest in an Aroostook State Farm potato field a short distance in front of a new experimental greenhouse. While sitting in the turret with all this going on and seeing the ground coming up rather suddenly, I felt no panic or fear; it wouldn't have helped anyway. The only thought that went through my mind was that "my parents will be receiving a telegram telling them that I had been killed in an airplane crash in northern Maine."

The belly landing was hard and rough then, suddenly, everything became very quiet. I had closed my eyes waiting for the inevitable to happen when I realized that I was still alive. I scrambled out of the turret.

In the darkness of the fuselage I groped for the door handle of the side exit door. It needed a little bit of persuasion, but I got it open. The rest of the cabin crew were not far behind me in exiting the airplane as smoke from the starboard engine was getting a little thicker. There was fuel on the ground which soon ignited and we had a nice fire going. The airport crash crew and duty officer from Presque Isle came looking for us and were able to home in on the crash site when they sighted the smoke plume of our fire. We learned later that the hospital had been alerted to prepare for possible burn victims when the control tower saw us trailing smoke and heading into the forest. Behind the crash site was a main highway, and in a very short time there were cars lined up on both sides of the road with curious spectators who stopped and watched as smoke and flame from the wreckage flared high into the sky. The crash crew arrived and, when they were satisfied that all the crew had escaped, we were whisked away in a staff car to the air base. The duty colonel introduced himself as "Curly." He couldn't do enough for us. We were taken to the Officer's Mess as Curly's guests. When he took off his hat we understood why was called Curly - he was completely bald.

There was a big celebration in the Mess that night - it was the "First Anniversary" of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbour on December 6, 1941. We were treated to a sumptuous turkey dinner, three BCATP Sergeants and a Pilot Officer from Canada in a U.S. Officer's Mess. Imagine how foolish I felt to discover that damn cutlery in my tunic pocket. Nevertheless, I experienced euphoria as great as I had known during my first meal in the Sergeant's Mess in Edmonton.


When it came time to leave, we trudged out to an aircraft assigned to us - a twin-engine yellow Anson I, referred to as the "flying greenhouse." It had loads of plexiglass windows and a geodesic airframe covered in fabric. As the USAAF did not have a battery cart with a compatible ground start cable that would fit the socket in the Anson (the base was a jumping-off post for operational crews with their own assigned operational airplanes who were heading off to various combat zone abroad), the American entourage that came to wish us farewell watched with interest and mild amusement as two of their hangar line crew attempted to start the engines with a crank given to them by the pilot of the Anson. They wore themselves out but couldn't get either engine started. It then befell our RAF Squadron Leader to demonstrate his prowess, while wearing a greatcoat, to wind up both engines. It was more of a knack then brute strength to hand crank the engines. I still recall, with amusement, how he kept cranking with one arm after each engine was energized and coughed and sputtered before coming to life. We waved farewell with some sadness as we left our American hosts who had been so kind to us. All we had to look forward to now was more of the same old unpalatable routine as Pennfield Ridge, which did little to inspire us.

We arrived back at home base in about an hour or so to discover, to our dismay, that our entire OTU course had been moved to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia during our brief absence. My immediate concern on arrival was to be reunited with my New Zealand pilot. I need not have been concerned - Grant Suttie put his hand on my shoulder and said, "You are now a member of my crew, I'm not letting you go." And so it was to be for nearly two years until October, 1944. We completed two tour of Ops. and even survived a second crash, this time in a Mitchell, on February 6, 1944 - but that's another story. During our term at OTU, a total of 3 Venturas were lost and our crew was the only one of the three to survive. The other two crews disappeared "over the wash" and were never found.

There was still one piece of unfinished business at Pennfield Ridge that required our attention and action before we could proceed to Yarmouth. We were required to submit individual memos explaining how we lost our personal flying gear. I had lost a borrowed parachute and didn't know to whom it belonged. Writing the memo was the easy part and I signed it. Having it accepted was another matter. It created some mild fireworks as I apparently had not followed the correct RAF format in signing off my memo and, being a sergeant, I should have known better, according to my RAF superiors. Both Grant Suttie and Alex Simpson kept reiterating that I had no option but to sign off according to the RAF Manual of Service Writing, with "I am Sir, Your Obedient Servant." I finally signed my memo as directed, but under duress. That incident, and frequently being called a "Colonial" while flying with the RAF during WWII, have left indelible pejorative impressions that still persist to this day. Apparently, attitidues sill haven't changed in the UK as, for example, in 1998 during a MBA reunion banquet in Bedford, we Canadians were again collectively referred to as "You Colonials."

SOURCE: "Crewing Up At 34 OTU" by George Kozoritz, CD. Taken from the book "Grumpy Flies Again (A Collection of World War II Anecdotes)".

14 December 1942

14-December-1942: Two crews took-off on Navigational Cross Country flights; one of these, in Ventura AE911, landed at Mont Joli owing to shortage of fuel.

15-December-1942: Ventura AE911 returned from Mont Joli.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

15 December 1942

Ventura I AE658 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 2110 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
HYNDMAN, Sgt. James Thomas William NZ42406 Pilot Uninjured
MATHESON, P/O Roderick James J/20179 Pilot Uninjured
DAVIS, Sgt. Reginald Austin AUS413155 Navigator Uninjured
ALLEN, Sgt. Thomas William R/131619 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Instrument Flying Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Tail oleo remained retracted and failed to come down when emergency system used.

Cause of Accident: Failure of hydraulics in undercarriage system.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE658/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

14-December-1942: Ventura AE658 was damaged at Pennfield on landing with the tail wheel retracted, the latter having failed to come down after the emergency system had been used. (Cat. C). The pilot was P/O. Matheson, a pupil pilot of No.6 Course. Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

15 December 1942

Station ORBs

15-December-1942: Six crews carried out Navigational Cross Country flights, one of these crews, in Ventura 866 landed at Presque Isle owing to fuel shortage.

20-December-1942: Ventura 866 returned from Presque Isle.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

TRANSCRIBER NOTE(S): Ventura AE866 took off from Pennfield Ridge at 1410 hours with at least two crew members aboard (Sgt.Pilot E.D. BRISTOW (GB1334939) and Sgt. J.S. TITUS (R/124267) (WAG)). BRISTOW and crew landed in Presque Isle, ME at 1735 hours after being aloft for 3 hours and 25 minutes. They took off to return to Pennfield Ridge five days later at 0900 hours and touch down 1 hour and 15 minutes later.

SOURCE: Logbook of Sgt. J.S. TITUS (R/124267) (copy in archives of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society")

02 January 1943

"Their only major incident was on January 2, 1943, when the brakes on Ventura 670-W1 failed minutes after landing. Fortunately Brooking averted certain disaster by steering it into a high snowbank only two feet from the hangar."

SOURCE: "Through Footless Hall of Air (The Stories of a Few of the Many Who Failed to Return" by Floyd Williston.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: The Brooking is P/O Leslie Trewin BROOKING (GB135118) from Course No.7 (Pilots). Also onboard the a/c was Sgt. David Archibald WILLISTON (R/124616) (WAG). P/O Brooking's additional two crew members, namely Victor HINDIN (J/20877) (NAVs Course No.7 started 30 December 1942) and Sgt. John Stephen HARRIS (GB1338763) (Course 7 A/Gs started 24 January 1943) probably would not have been aboard.

04 January 1943

04-January-1943: Four crews took-off from Yarmouth on pre-dawn Cross Country Flights, but as the weather closed in at Yarmouth, two aircraft were diverted to Pennfield and the remaining two to Greenwood.

05-January-1943: Bad weather and unserviceable runways prevented all flying at Yarmouth.

06-January-1943: The two Yarmouth Venturas that were diverted to Greenwood on the 4th. inst. landed at Pennfield as the runways were still unserviceable at Yarmouth.

07-January-1943: One Yarmouth Ventura returned to Base.

08-January-1943: The remaining three Yarmouth Venturas returned to Base.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

08 January 1943

08-January-1943: The Station Commander flew to Houlton and ferried a new Ventura II, AE874 back to Pennfield. The starboard engine had to be stopped twice on route owing to overheating. The new aircraft was taken on charge.

SOURCE: No.34 ANS Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

16 January 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE926 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Yarmouth aerodrome @ 1700 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
LAWRENCE, F/L Kenneth Aubyn Hassell GB41031 Pilot Uninjured
MOORE, P/O William Alexander AUS420475 Observer Uninjured
BURLEY, F/S Herbert Thomas Campbell R/69756 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
HENDERSON, F/O Albert Caisley GB88679 Passenger Uninjured
RANDALL, P/O Clifford William AUS412689 Passenger Uninjured
BURNHAM, Sgt. Hubert John AUS429135 Passenger Uninjured
HOGAN, Sgt. John Francis NZ416424 Passenger Uninjured
EDMOND, Sgt. Philip Llewellyn AUS413841 Passenger Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Ferrying Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Starboard undercarriage collapsed after landing.

Cause of Accident: U/C Failure.

Secondary Cause of Accident: Pilot landed in conditions of bad visibility and light wind on an icy runway.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

16-January-1943: No.6 Course left for Yarmouth, but owing to a lorry breakdown, the boat was missed and the course had to return to Pennfield, where it was decided to transport it by air. A shuttle service of aircraft was arranged, but the weather closed in at Yarmouth with the result that only two Ansons and one Ventura were able to land there, the remaining aircraft being recalled to Base. The Ventura that landed at 1707 GMT, Ventura II, AE926 piloted by F/Lt. K.A. Lawrence (41031) was damaged (Cat. "B") owing to the starboard oleo leg collapsing on impact. Nobody was injured.

17-January-1943: The remaining pupils of No.6 Course were ferried to Yarmouth in 14 Venturas.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364./p>

16 January 1943

16-January-1943: Hudson 691, on Navigation Exercise from Greenwood, landed with Engine trouble.

17-January-1943: W/Cdr. Barren flew from Greenwood and returned later as pilot of Hudson 691 which had been serviced over night.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

18 January 1943

Anson I L7054 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Archer's Farm, Trescott, ME @ 1700 hours

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
EVANS-EVANS, G/C Anthony Caron GB19018 Pilot Uninjured
STUART, F/L George Scott GB60416 Passenger Uninjured
GREER, Sgt. John GB5674559 Passenger Uninjured
ALDRIDGE, Sgt. G. GB545963 Passenger Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Visiting Yarmouth detachment of 34 O.T.U.

Nature and short description of accident: A/C forced landed due to rapidly thickening weather which was reducing visibility.

Cause of Accident: 47. Weather.

Secondary Cause of Accident: Thick snow storm. Faulty weather report.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

18-January-1943: The Station Commander visited the Detached Flight at Yarmouth by Air in Anson I, L7054, and on the return trip was caught in a snow storm and force landed in a field at Archer's Farm, Trescott, ME. Whilst flying across the Bay of Fundy in the storm, he saw Grand Manan Island from 800 ft. and could only just see the mainland from 400 ft. The landing was made in a large field without damage to the aircraft or injury to personnel. After the landing, the visibility on the ground was only 500 yards. A temporary guard for the aircraft was arranged by this Unit through the U.S.A.A.F. at Bangor, the guard being maintained by personnel from the Military Camp at Machias, Me. Transport was despatched to bring the Station Commander back to Pennfield.

27-January-1943: F/Lt. G.F. Gilbert reported on temporary duty from No.4 R.D. Scoudouc in connection with the salvage of Anson L7054.

28-January-1943: Anson I, L7504 was flown back to base from Trescott, Me. by F/Lt. G.F. Gilbert.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: See "Daring Pilot Saves Stranded R.A.F. Plane".

18 January 1943

Ventura II AE869 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - No.1 Runway at RCAF Station Yarmouth @ 1440 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BARRIBALL, Sgt. Malcolm Elmber Palmer NZ42358 Pilot Uninjured
PRIDDLE, Sgt. David Allan AUS420487 Navigator Uninjured
TOOHEY, Sgt. Edward Wallace NZ416672 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Objective of Flight:

Medium level bombing exercise.

Weather:

High overcast. Wind 5mph directly down No.1 runway.

Pilot:

Sgt. Barriball (Pupil Pilot) had flown a total of 267:55 hrs. 55:15 of which was on Ventura aircraft.

Description of Flight:

At 1100 hrs. on the 18th of Jan., 1943, Sgt. Barriball, and a crew of two were detailed to carry out a medium level bombing exercise in Ventura aircraft AE869. The Pilot taxied out, carried out a cockpit check, and ran up the engines. At first there was a magneto drop of 200 to 250 RPMs on both engines, but after 2 or 3 minutes of running at 30" if boost the engines cleared. The Pilot then taxied on to the runway, did a final cockpit check, straightened out, locked the tail wheel, and started to roll. Just as the tail wheel was leaving the ground, the starboard engine coughed twice and died. The aircraft swung violently to the the right, ran into a snow bank at the side of the runway, collapsed the starboard undercarriage, and ground looped through about 150 degrees.

On the 24th of January a technical warrant officer ground tested the engines of Ventura AE869 by running at 1,000 to 1,100 R.P.M.s for 5 minutes. The oil cooler was found to be leaking, so the engines was immediately run to full throttle in Auto-Lean giving 2,500 to 2,550 R.P.M.s. The engines were throttled back to 25" Boost 100 to 130 RPM's, (starboard) 100 to 150 R.P.M.s. The engines were then run up to full throttle with the mixture control in full rich, and gave 2700 R.P.M.s. at 40" Boost. All P
ressures and temperatures were found to be O.K. with the exception of Cylinder head temperature which was too low. The engines not having run long enough due to oil leak.

A test flight was carried out on this aircraft the day of the crash, but no mention made as to its state of serviceability.

Findings of Investigation:

Note: - The court made a statement to the effect that it is convinced that the crash did not occur as the result of mechanical failure.

Cause: The pilot experienced difficulty in keeping the aircraft straight after the tail came "up", and over-corrected the swing by use of rudder and possibly throttles thus losing control.

Recommendations: Nil.

Observations by A.O.C.

The Air Officer Commanding, Eastern Air Command, approved the proceedings.

Conclusions of Accidents Investigation Branch:

The first statement of the court is not concurred in, as the evidence produced would seem to indicate failure of starboard engine.

The "cause" is concurred in, except, that the swing was uninitiated by failure of the starboard engine.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE869/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

18-January-43: On taking off on a training flight at Yarmouth, in Ventura II, AE869, NZ42358 Sgt. Barriball M.E., a pupil of No.6 Course, swung off the runway owing to the starboard engine cutting, and mounted a snow bank and did a ground loop. The starboard oleo leg and lower half of the drag strut seared off and the aircraft was damaged Cat. "B". The cause of the accident is obscure and an investigation by the E.A.C. Investigating Officer has been requested. Nobody was injured..

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

18 January 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE944 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - RCAF Station Yarmouth @ 1950 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
SOLHEIM, Sgt. William A. R/127499 Pilot Uninjured
EVANS, Sgt. Trevor John Augustus GB1316167 Navigator Uninjured
PAINTING, Sgt. Allen John AUS412673 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
MARTINEAU, AC2 Wilfred G. R/192754 Passenger Uninjured
MURRAY, AC2 J.A. R/204257 Passenger Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Overshot runway on landing and ran into snow bank causing undercarriage to collapse.

Cause of Accident: 29. Overshooting runway.

Secondary Cause of Accident: Error of judgment.

Action Taken: Recommended that log book be endorsed.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

18-January-1943: On landing at Yarmouth at 1950 GMT, from a training flight, Ventura 11, AE944, pilot - R127499 Sgt. Solheim, W.A. a pupil of No.6 Course, overshot the runway and ran into a snow bank causing the starboard undercarriage to collapse (Cat. "B".). Nobody was injured. The accident is attributed to the pilot's error.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

23 January 1943

Ventura II AE872 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Hills Mountain near Waweig Bridge (near St. Stephen, NB) @ 1015 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
WILLIAMS, P/O Badyen Bala J/21199 Pilot Killed
NORRISS, P/O Geoffrey Alexander NZ421334 Navigator Killed
McCARTHY, P/O Philip William J/21050 Wireless Air Gunner Killed

Objective of Flight:

Practice formation flying.

Weather:

Thin overcast above 10 thsd. Visibility 15 miles. Temperature 3 deg. F. Dew point 1 deg. F. Wind up to 1,000 ft. was West 8 mph. At 2,000 ft. it was North-West 15 mph.

P/O B.B. Williams flying experience as pilot:
Aircraft Overall Time
Tiger Moth 91:30 hours
Avro Anson 135.55 hours
Ventura 28.00 hours

Description of Flight:

P/O Williams and a crew of two took off at 0910 hours in Ventura aircraft AE872, authorized to carry out formation flying for one hour and 30 minutes with Sgt. Tovell and crew in Ventura No.658. P/O Williams and Sgt. Tovell were to share the leadership time in the formation, normally splitting the flying time into four portions.

After flying for about one hour in formation and at a time when the aircraft were heading back towards the aerodrome at a height of 2,000 ft. P/O Williams was leading; he gave the visual break-away signal and then broke away in a steep dive turn to port and Sgt. Tovell broke off in a steep climbing turn to starboard. Sgt. Tovell lost sight of Ventura 872 but later saw a fire on the ground. Eye witnesses residing some 9 miles from St. Stephen, N.B. and 37 miles from Pennfield Ridge stated that they saw two Ventura aircraft flying in formation when one broke away to the left and made a large circle, going into a steep bank and crashed into Hills Mountain which is about 300 feet higher then the surrounding country. The aircraft, Ventura 872, burst into flames on impact, exploded and was totally destroyed. All the occupants were killed.

An examination of the wreckage and of the scene of the accident disclosed that the aircraft had flown into the top of the trees in a 45 starboard wing - down, 30 nose-down altitude with considerable speed. The impact was so severe that the aircraft made a hole some four feet deep in the ground, exploded and broke into many pieces.

The Chief Technical Officer of the Unit who examined the wreckage was of the opinion that the cause of the accident was other than a mechanical failure.

The aircraft was received from Dorval nine days previously and had a short but good record at the Unit. It had flown 5 hours and 15 minutes on the 17th of January, 5 hours and 45 minutes on the 18th. On the 21st of January it had flown 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The L.14 showed that on the 17th of January the W/T not calibrated and on the 23rd of January the starboard fuel gauge was unserviceable.

Findings of Investigation:

Circumstances: The aircraft broke away from formation, circled to port, dived, and crashed to starboard into high trees on a 300 foot hill.

Cause: The cause is obscure. The probable cause is the lack of appreciation by the pilot of the unwieldy nature of the Ventura aircraft near the ground and/or in a diving turn. The contributory cause was faulty judgment due to inexperience.

Recommendations: Nil

Observations of A.O.C.:

The Air Office Commanding, No.12 Training Group , Eastern Air Command, concurred in the findings.

Conclusions of Accident Investigation Branch:

Agree with the findings.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE872-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

23-January-43: Whilst on a local flight in formation, Ventura II, AE872 suddenly broke formation and went into a diving turn and crashed into the side of a hill. (Cat. "A"). The location of the crash was Hills Mount, Waweig Bridge, 10 miles East of St. Stephen, N.B. The crew, consisting of:- R9929 P/O. B.B. Williams, R.125833 P/O P.W. Norris [McCarthy] and NZ421334 P/O. G.A. McCarthy [Norriss] were all killed.

The Station Commander flew to the scene of the crash but was unable to distinguish anything indicating a crash, from the air.

The Chief Instructor and Chief Technical Officer proceeded to the scene of the crash by M.T. to make a preliminary investigation.

26-January-1943: S/L. G.A.P. Brickendon arrived to carry out an investigation into the loss of Ventura AE872.

26-January-1943: P/O. L.W. Munroe proceeded to Ottawa accompanying the casket containing the remains of P/O. P.W. McCarthy.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: See "Three Members of R.C.A.F. Killed In Plane Crash Near St. Stephen"

25 January 1943

25-Janary-1943: A Low Level Bombing programme was carried out at Yarmouth during the morning, but bad weather caused flying to be cancelled at 1600 GMT. One aircraft of the detail, Ventura AJ211 P/O. Samuelson, landed at Pennfield owing to fog.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

26 January 1943

Ventura I AE665 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - reported missing @ 1710 hours (believed to have crashed off Point Escuminac, Gulf of St. Lawrence) - Cat. "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
CORMACK, P/O Donald Shaw AUS414470 Pilot Missing
JAMES, P/O Stanley James AUS416966 Navigator Missing
HUNTER, Sgt. Thomas Marshall NZ42329 Wireless Air Gunner Missing

Object of Flight:

Cross country navigation exercise.

Weather:

Wind WNW 10 to 15 mph. Upper wind WNW 25 to 45 mph. Clouds ten tenths As and AC above 8000 ft. occasionally eight tenths. Two to five tenths SC occasionally 5-8 tenths based at 2-3 thsd. Visibility generally 5-10 miles - reduced by light haze or light fog. Temp. 34 deg. at surface.

P/O Cormack's total flying time
Aircraft Total Total Instrument Fly.
Tiger Moth 63:15 hours 6:30 hours
Anson 182.55 hours 27:15 hours
Ventura 41:40 hours 3:40 hours

Very steady pilot.

Description of Flight:

P/O Cormack (pilot), P/O James (navigator) and Sgt. Hunter (W/AG) took off at 1300 hours, A.D.T., in Ventura I No. 665 authorized to carry out a cross country navigation exercise. Route - Base - Bathurst - Point Escuminac - St. John - Base. Practice bombing was to have been carried out at Musquash Range on the route home. Three other crews were detailed on a similar exercise at the same time. P/O Cormack was instructed at the briefing to avoid flying in cloud and snow. The flight was to be carried out at 10,000 ft. In the event of encountering snow or cloud below 9,000 ft., he was to endeavor to climb above such conditions.

The aircraft reported its position at Bathurst, the first turning point on the flight, at 1403 hrs., A.D.T., and three minutes later the aircraft sent a message that they were changing frequency to Greenwood, but this contact was never established. No further message was received from the aircraft by any known person. The other three aircraft on the same cross country exercise completed their flights successfully but nothing was ever seen or heard from Ventura 665 or its crew of three.

Intensive and extensive searches were made for the missing aircraft but all proved fruitless.

At above 1440 hours an aircraft from Summerside on a routine training flight sighted a patch of oil off Point Escuminac and for a few minutes saw the centre of the oil patch burning then die out, and some wreckage was seen. The position of the oil as just off the second turning point of Ventura 665 and about thirty five miles from the last position report from the aircraft.

The aircraft had carried out a satisfactory 25 minute test prior to taking off at 1300 hrs. This test flight followed a 40 hr. inspection on January 14, 1943, but due to bad weather it had not flown again until the 25 of January.

Findings of Investigation:

Circumstances: The aircraft took off on navigation exercise and failed to return..

Cause: The cause of the accident is obscure, but it is probable that the pilot attempted to go below a cloud bank at a point about 8 miles south of Point Escuminac and crashed into Northumberland Strait where wreckage was sighted.

Recommendations: Nil

Observations by A.O.C.:

The Air Officer Commanding, No.12 Training Group, Eastern Air Command concurred in the findings.

Conclusions of Accident Investigation Branch:

Aircraft and crew missing on a navigation cross country exercise.

The cause of the accident is obscure but the opinion of the Chief Instructor of the Unit is concurred in. He stated in part as follows:

Three other crews of the same flying experience as the missing crew completed this cross country flight successfully about the same time and experienced little or no difficulty. Presuming that this wreckage and oil is in fact from the missing aircraft, I can only presume that there was either from some unknown structural failure or that the pilot came down to obtain a pin-point himself near Point Escuminac and crashed. There is no reason to assume why the pilot should come down to a pin-point on a cross-country of this length as he had sent a position report from his last turning point, Bathurst, only some fifty miles away, a matter of fifteen minutes flying time."

It is considered that the occupants of the aircraft may reasonably be presumed to have perished. (F/L K.C. Fappell)

Agree: There is insufficient evidence to enable the cause of this accident to be determined. (F/S F.S. Wilkins, Chief Inspector of Accidents)

SOURCE: File 1300-655-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

26-January-1943: One crew practiced Radio Range Flying on the Blisseville Beam and three crews took-off on a Navigational Cross Country Exercise. Two of these crews completed the exercise, but the remaining crew, in Ventura I, AE665, consisting of:- AUS41447 P/O. D.S. Cormack, AUS416966 P/O. S.J. James and NZ42329 Sgt, Hunter T.M. failed to return to base. When this aircraft became one hour overdue at 2050 GMT. Overdue Action was immediately instigated and it was learned from Flying Control, E.A.C. that an aircraft from Summerside had reported the sighting of a patch of oil and green and yellow flotsam in a position 48'48" N. 64'51" W.

At this position was on the track being followed by 665, Chatham was requested to send an aircraft to reconnoiter, and the pilot of this aircraft reported a definite oil slick and flotsam. Further enquires of the Summerside pilot elicited the information that the oil patch he had seen was burning. A search was organized to take place the following day, Chatham and Moncton being requested to cooperate.

27-January-1943: The search fir Ventura AE665 was commenced, aircraft from Chatham and Moncton cooperating with these from this Unit. Nearly 80 aircraft in al took part, but nothing helpful was discovered. A Radio Appeal for information from the General Public was broadcast over Station OBA, Sackville, but only two reports were received in response to this, and neither proved to be of any consequence. In the early evening, the Station Commander decided that subject to the consent of the S.A.S.O. E.A.C. the search should be abandoned, and the latter concurred with the decision as it affected the three searching Stations, but decided that a Catalina should be sent from Dartmouth at the first light tomorrow, to make a final reconnaissance. Moncton and Chatham were thanked for their assistance and informed of the decision.

28-January-1943: The search for 665 by the Catalina from Dartmouth had to be postponed owing to severe ice pack conditions in the area concerned, pending information from Chatham that the ice pack was sufficiently broken up.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

Letter

"I desire to inform you that a cablegram now received from Royal Canadian Air Force, Ottawa, contains a report from your son's Squadron stating that some aircraft wreckage was found floating five miles east of Richibucto, New Brunswick, Canada. The wreckage found included one tyre similar to those fitted to Ventura aircraft, and a handkerchief with a laundry mark "S. James", which it is believed referred to Pilot Officer James who was a member of the crew of your son's aircraft. It is, therefore, believed that this wreckage was that of your son's aircraft."

SOURCE: RAAF Causality Correspondence File of P/O Donald Shaw Cormack (Series A705/ Item 166/8/31).

30 January 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE953 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Yarmouth aerodrome @ 0610 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BRISTOW, Sgt. E.D. GB1334939 Pilot Uninjured
McLEOD, Sgt. H. GB1343398 Navigator Uninjured
TITUS, Sgt. John Sidney R/124267 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Night cross country training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Aircraft swung to the left on take-off leaving the runway. Aircraft travelled over uneven ground collapsed undercarriage.

Primary Cause of Accident: Swung.

Secondary Cause of Accident: U/C Strain.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

30-January-43: On taking off on a training flight at Yarmouth, Ventura II, AE953, pilot 1334939 Sgt. Bristow E.D. swung off the runway and the undercarriage collapsed. (Cat. "B"). Nobody as injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

08 February 1943

Ventura II AJ211 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - near Richibucto, NB @ 0715 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BURNHAM, Sgt. Hubert John AUS420135 Pilot Killed
EDMOND, Sgt. Philip Llewellyn AUS413841 Air Observer-Navigator Killed
HOGAN, Sgt. John Edward NZ416424 Wireless Air Gunner Killed

Object of Flight:

Cross country exercise for training bomber crew.

Weather:

Dark night, overcast, ceiling about 2,000 feet at take-off; about 2,500 feet at time of crash, snow showers in region of crash.

Sgt. H.J. Burnham flying experience as pilot:
Aircraft

Total

Night Flying
Dual/ Solo

Total Instr.
Dual/ Solo

Total Link

DH82

65:50

3:00/ -

6:05/ -

10:00

Avro Anson I

96.55

7:15/ 4:50

16:00/ 2:30

10:00

Avro Anson II

54:00

1:20/ 2:50

4:50/ 2:35

19:00

Ventura

71:35

1:50/ 5:45

1:30/3:35

14:10

His instructor in the Conversion Flight states of this pilot: "I took on Sgt. Burnham as a pupil pilot on his arrival on the station, I found him an average pupil, very keen and perhaps a little over-confident."

Description of Flight:

Sgt. Burnham as pilot, Sgt. Edmond as observer-navigator, Sgt. Hogan as W.A.G. were detailed to fly Ventura AJ211 on a cross country exercise. Four other crews were authorized for the same flight. The crews were told that the cloud base would be about 2,000 feet to 2,500 feet. They were instructed to attempt the exercise at a height of 2,000 feet, and if they were forced below that altitude by cloud, or ran into heavy snow showers they were to abandon the exercise and return to base. Sgt. Burnham and his crew took off at about 0555 hours. They were due to complete the cross country and bomb at Tusket between 0830 and 0840 hours.

A wireless check was made with ground operator before take off; the aircraft reception and transmission by W/T were normal and the pilot's R/T check was satisfactory. All crew had been instructed to transmit W.T.B.'s to base every half hour or at turning point which ever was the nearer. At 0627 hours the ground operator received part of a position report of aircraft AJ211, the rest of the report being broken by transmission from other aircraft. No further communication was received from the aircraft although, according to the statement of the ground operator, he tried to contact the aircraft at regular intervals.

Of the five aircraft on the same detail that morning three aircraft completed the exercise successfully, the fourth returned having encountered cloud at 1700 feet. Aircraft AJ211 failed to return to base.


At about 1045 that morning the R.C.M.P. at Richibucto received word to the effect that a fisherman had seen a plane crash about 3 miles from the town of Richibucto. The aircraft was found completely broken up, the wreckage was widely scattered by the explosions which appear to have the followed the contact with the ground, causing a large crater. The location of the crash was nearly on the course Westpoint to Blissville.

The W.C. of the Unit who was not advised until about eight hours later stated:-

"Judging by the conditions of the bodies and extent of the injuries I consider that the aircraft must have crashed at high speed and/or an explosion occurred on impact; in both cases death must have been instantaneous."

The only eye witnesses were two fisherman of Richibucto, one of whom gave evidence to the fact that at about 0700 hours he heard a plane flying a north westerly course over his shanty, the noise died away but later he heard it again and looked out and saw an aircraft flying towards the east. He considered the wings were tilted as he could see all three lights on the aircraft which was flying fast with engines roaring. He stated he saw flames coming from the engine. (The Investigating Officer considered this was the dual exhaust flames which are easily visible in the darkness). Aircraft dived and went straight into the ground about a mile and a half away from his shanty. Although the night was dark and snowing a little, the weather was clear and the town lights could be seen, 3 miles away.

The senior Engineering Officer at the Unit when asked with regard to the possibility of icing being a contributing factor to the accident, stated in part as follows:-

"I am of the opinion that the existing carburetor heat system on the Ventura is inadequate to cope with all icing conditions such as may be encountered in this region. This Unit has asked that an effective winterization be fitted to the Ventura, and, to quote C.A.F.222, p.75, para.8, 'The object must be to keep the mixture temperature above freezing.' Eastern Air Command have advised that a winterization which will raise the air temperature is not required and that an alcohol spray has been ordered. This latter method has been tried on aircraft in the U.K. over the last ten years and to the best of my knowledge has proven unsatisfactory."

The Investigating Officer who visited the scene was of the opinion that the condition of the aircraft did not permit of any definite conclusions as the cause of the crash.

Findings of Investigation:

Circumstances: Aircraft flew into ground north of Richibucto River, killing all three occupants. Time about 0715 hours.

Cause: Aircraft struck ground, probably at high speed, and exploded. Why it did so, I do not consider the evidence is sufficient to ascertain.

Recommendations: Nil

Remarks by O.C.:

Owing to the nature of the crash, it has been found impossible to ascertain the reason for the crash. I however conquer in the remarks by the Investigating Officer.

Observations by A.O.C.:

The A.O.C., No.12 Group, E.A.C. concurred in the findings.

Conclusions of Accident Investigation Branch:

Agree with the findings. (F/L K.O. Rappell - C.I. Accidents)

Concur. (G/C F.S. Wilkins, C.I. Accidents).

Memoranda

There is just a suggestion that the weather may have been worse than actually reported when only three aircraft out of five succeeded in the operation. There is no evidence as to cause the accident but it may be that the pilot control lost in a snow flurry. His training seems to have been quite well done and he appears to have a been a reasonably capable pilot.

SOURCE: G/C F.S. Wilkins, C.I. Accident - May 5, 1943.

SOURCE: File 1300-AJ211-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934

Station ORBs

08-February-1943: Pre-Dawn Cross Country Flights and a Low Level Bombing programme were carried out at Yarmouth. One aircraft on Cross Country, Ventura II, A.J.211, crashed 4 miles from Richibucto, N.B. and exploded on impact. All the crew were killed. The crew were members of No.6 Course and consisted of:- AUS420135 Sgt. Burnham H.J. AUS413841 Sgt. Edmund P.L. and NZ416424 Sgt. Hogan J.E. The cause of the accident being obscured, an investigation was requested and the accident is being investigated by S/Ldr. C.W. Foxley-Norris, R.A.F. of No.31 O.T.U.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

TRANSCRIBER NOTES: For additional information please see:

1) "The Last Flight of an Australian Bomber";

2) "Cousin Visits Gravesite"; and

3) "Three R.A.F. Members Killed in Plane Crash Near Richibucto"

16 February 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE671 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @1630 - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
WHITE, F/O Raymond Arthur Cecil de Courcy, DFM GB46132 Flying Insuctor Uninjured
ARNOLD, P/O Bryan Frederick GB151046 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
NUTTALL, P/O Kenneth W. R/131051 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Starboard oleo leg broke during run after landing & a/c swung off runway. Pupil pilot applied brake quite gently and in his instructor's opinion the amount of brake he used did not put any excessive strain on the U/C.

Cause of Accident: 1. Bad surface of aerodrome./ 5. U/C failure.

Secondary Cause of Accident: Possible previous weakening of oleo leg due to several patches on icy runway./ 35. U/C defect.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

16-February-1943: On landing from a Day Training flight at Pennfield, the starboard oleo leg of Ventura II, AE671 broke, and the aircraft was damaged Cat. "B". The captain of the aircraft was F/O. R.A.C. White, D.F.M. and the pupil pilot - P/O. B.F. Arnold, a pupil of No.9 Course. Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

20 February 1943

20-February-1943: Pre-Dawn and Dusk Cross Country Flights and a Low Level Bombing programe were completed at Yarmouth. One aircraft on Dusk Cross Country, landed at Dartmouth (Ventura AE954 Pilot - Sgt. Robson D.).

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

21 February 1943

Ventura Mk.II AJ247 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Yarmouth aerodrome @ 1450 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
GREER, F/O John Montague J/8778 Pilot Uninjured
CONLIN, Sgt. L.R. R/109242 Wireless Operator Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Circuits and landings practice.

Nature and short description of accident: A/c swerved on take-off and through harsh use of brakes, tail went up causing damage to propellors and came down heavily breaking off tail wheel and damaging fuselage.

Cause of Accident: 12. Swung.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

22 February 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE874 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1130 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
DOWNING, P/O John William GB135120 Pilot Uninjured
TAYLOR, P/O Leslie Ian NZ421337 Navigator Uninjured
NEWELL, P/O P. R/116893 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
DAVIS, Sgt. F.A.G. R/128218 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Local day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: A/c swung off runway on take-off to stony ground. Tail wheel was locked and brake fully off before take-off.

Cause of Accident: 9. Swinging./ 12. Swung.

Secondary Cause of Accident: Inexperience of pilot.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

22-February-1943: On taking-off on a local Day Training flight, Ventura II, AE874 (Pilot - P/O. J.W. Downing, a pupil of No.8 Course) swung off the runway on to rough ground causing the tail oleo leg to break and the fuselage to be damaged. (Cat. "B"). Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

24 February 1943

24-February-1943: Pre-Dawn Cross Country flights were carried out at Yarmouth. One of the aircraft on the latter landed at Pennfield, owing to fog. (Ventura AE878 Thorburn R.G.).

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

25 February 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE887 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1710 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
GARDINER, Sgt. Kenneth GB12334464 Pilot Uninjured
PALLET, Sgt. Charles Gordon R/141179 saddam husseinWireless Operator Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Local day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident:: Landed with u/c partially retracted, and although horn was blowing he did not use the hand pump or emergency release.

Cause of Accident: 31. Undercarriage down but not fully locked./ 7. Others.

Secondary Cause or Contributing Factors: Carelessness. Comparative inexperience of pilot on type./ 32. U/C drill - in air.

Action Taken: Pilot's Log Book Endorsed.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

25-February-1943: At 2010 hours GMT, Ventura II, AE887 was landed at Pennfield by 1233464 Sgt. Gardiner K., pupil of No.9 Course, with the undercarriage partially retracted, the pilot having failed to use either the emergency release or the hand pump. The aircraft was damaged Cat. "B"/ Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

26 February 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE911 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Unknown, believed in the immediate area west of Grand Lake, NB @ 1140 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
HARRIS, P/O Norman Clifford GB138121 Pilot Missing
WILLIAMS, Sgt. Evan AUS416901 Navigator Missing
BATES, Sgt. Donald Stuart NZ413220 Wireless Operator Missing
OTTO, Sgt. Thomas Marshall R/161141 Air Gunner Missing

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Formation cross country training exercise.

Nature and short description of accident: Not known.

Cause of Accident: Not Known - investigation officer required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE911-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934

TRANSCRIBERS NOTES: 1. Accident report too faded to read.
2.

a) From a review of the marginally noted Investigating Officer's Report, it is concluded that Pilot Officer D.A. Crosbie [Donald Alexander Crosbie (J/21660)], pilot of Ventura AE942, and Pilot Officer N.C. Harris, now missing, pilot of Ventura aircraft AE911, deliberately carried out unauthorized low flying, contrary to the provisions of C.A.P.100, Section 1, para. 25, during their formation exercises and both pilots disobeyed the unit's flying orders in going beyond the limit of 30 miles from the aerodrome with the submission of flight plans for such flight and also in flying below 1000 feet.

(b) It is noted that the Commanding Officer of the unit concerned has recommended that disciplinary action be taken against Pilot Officer Crosbie and that the Air Officer Commanding, No.12 Training Group Headquarters, Eastern Air Command, his remarks as follows:-

"The evidence indicating low flying is circumstantial and insufficient to warrant a summary of evidence. I concur in the finding and in the remarks of the Unit Commander."

(c) The remarks of the Air Officer Commanding, No.12 Training Group Headquarters are not agreed with as to the evidence being circumstantial and insufficient to warrant a summary of evidence. It is acknowledge that the evidence of the civilian witnesses would be of little use in as much as they failed to identify the aircraft seen low flying and that Pilot Officer Crosbie's evidence as given to the Investigating Officer would not be admissible at a trial. However, the evidence of Pilot Officer William Mowatt (J.22242), who was flying in Ventura Aircraft AE942 as observer, would appear to be sufficient to warrant proceeding with a summary of evidence. He states in his evidence that the aircraft in which he was an occupant descended to about 700 to 800 feet and crossed the south western part of the lake at this height. When asked if he looked at the altimeter after the pilot had levelled out from the dive approaching Grand Lake, he states that he did and that is crossing the lake the altimeter was reading about 700 to 800 feet. Also from the evidence of this witness, it is assumed that the aircraft piloted by Pilot Officer Crosbie had reached Douglas Harbour, which is understood to be over 60 miles from the unit.

(d) Accordingly, it is recommended that consideration be given to the taking of appropriate disciplinary action against Pilot Officer Crosbie. May this Headquarters be advised when a decision has been made in this regards, please.


SOURCE: Letter to Eastern Air Command dated 05 May 1942. Copy in File 1300-AE911-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.
3.

(a) Further to reports submitted by this detachment on the above captioned case (Missing Aircraft from Pennfield Airport), please be advised that at 10:30 a.m. of the 22nd instant Ira Alden NIGHTINGALE and Walter NIGHTDALE of Rothwell, Queens Co., N.B. called at this office and stated that they had located a wrecked aircraft in the woods about four miles from New Zion, N.B., approximately 9:00 a.m. of even date.

(b) A check was immediately made on the Aircraft Detection map, Fredericton-Moncton sheet, and it was learned that the aircraft in question was located in clock G-12, Parish of Sheffield, Sunbury, N.B. The officer Commanding Fredericton Sub-Division was immediately contacted by telephone and advised of the above information; he informed the writer that the airforce authorities would be notified from his officer and further instructions would be issue also that a guard was to be placed on the aircraft.

(c) A short time late Squadron Leader J. HILL phoned this office from Pennfield Airport, Pennfield, N.B., and stated that a guard would be sent from that airport to take over guarding the aircraft.

(d) The writer, 2/Cst. H. DAVIES, Ira NIGHTINGGALE and Walter NIGHTINGALE patrolled to where the aircraft was located. It was noted that the number of the aircraft was AE911 and that it was a Ventura, four human bodies were located in the aircraft which appeared to be a total wreck, these bodies were badly decomposed and beyond recognition. 2/Cst. H. DAVIES and and Walter NIGHTINGALE were instructed to remain as guards at the plane, the writer and Ira NIGHTINGALE returned to Minto.

(e) At 10 p.m. of the 22nd instant Cpl. H.N. LEFLER and a party of three Air Force Security Guards arrived from Pennfield Airport to take over the plane. They were guided to the scene where they took over the guarding of the aircraft, receipt was obtained from Cpl. H.B. LEFLER.

(f) The following statement was obtained from Ira Alden NIGHTINGALE which is self explanatory.

Minto, N.B. 22-11-43

On the a.m. of the 22-11-43, my brother Walter NIGHTINGALE and I left my home in Rothwell, N.B. for the purpose of game hunting. We entered the woods at New Zion, N.B. and travelled in a south westerly direction. About 9.00 a.m. I noticed a pile of wreckage a short distance ahead and drew my brother's attention to it. We walked a short distance further and saw that it was an aircraft which had crashed into the woods. On close examination we saw three human bodies which had been dead for sometime.

Having searched the woods in this district on numerous occasions for an aircraft which was reported missing last February we thought that this was the missing plane. We returned to Minto and reported the finding of the aircraft to the R.C.M.Police at the point. We then returned to the Aircraft and showed its location to Cpl. Carroll of the RCMP who placed a guard on same.

(Sgd) Ira NIGHTINGALE.

Witness. D.J. CARROLL, A/Cpl."

(g) Walter NIGHTINGALE was also interviewed and gave the following statement:

Minto, N.B. 22-11-43

I have heard the statement given to Cpl. CARROLL D.J. by my brother, Ira NIGHTINGALE, regarding an aircraft which we found in the woods on the a.m. of the 22-11-43 and corroborate it in every detail. I assisted in the guarding the aircraft in question on the 22-11-43, until it was taken over by the Air Force guards.

(Sgd.) Walter NIGHTINGDALE

Witness: D.J. CARROLL, A/Cpl."

(h) Dr. G.R. LAWSON, Minto, N.B., Coroner for Sunbury Co., was notified that the missing aircraft had been located in his jurisdiction and that the wreck contained four human bodies. He contacted the Attorney General's Department by telephone and was instructed that it would not be necessary to conduct an investigation as same would be done by the Air Force Authorities.

(i) Squadron Leader A.D. Gill arrived at this office from Pennfield Airport, together with a party of Air Force personnel, at noon of the 23rd ins, for the purpose of removing the bodies from the wreck. He obtained a warrant for burial of all four bodies from Dr. G.R. LAWSON and gave the names of the deceased as Pilot Officer Harris, Sgt. Navigator WILLIAMS, Sgt. Wireless Operator BATES and Sgt. Gunner OTTO, however, he did not know the Given Names of these men. Mr. GILL was guided to the scene of the crash were the bodies were removed from the wreckage, carried to the main highway, place in an R.A.F. truck and taken to Pennfield, N.B.

(j) On the late p.m. of the 23rd instant S/L HILL J., F/L/T PARVIN F. and F/O PEACOCK G. arrived in Minto for the purpose of investigating the crash. These men were rendered all assistance possible by this detachment.

(k) On the early a.m. of the 24th instant, the writer assisted the Air Force Guard to pack their supplies through the woods to the scene of the crash where they are now located.

(l). As reports will no doubt be required on the sudden death of the four men who were killed in the aircraft at the time of the crash and as all details required for these reports will have to be obtained from the Pennfield Airport, it is requested that same be submitted by our St. George detachment. There were no witnesses to the crash and the only information available at this detachment is that the deaths occurred in the Parish of Sheffield, County of Sunbury, Province of New Brunswick.

SOURCE: Statement from RCMP Inspector S. Bullard, Commanding F'Ton S/Division dated 25 November 1943.

Station ORBs

26-February-1943: At 1437 hours GMT, a W/T message was received from an aircraft flying in formation, to the effect that the aircraft with which it was flying had suddenly broken formation and had, it was believed, crashed. On receipt of this message, W/T contact was again made with the reporting aircraft, but the latter was by this time in the circuit, ready to land. On landing, the crew were instructed to report to the Operations Room, where they were interrogated by the Chief Instructor. Aerial search was immediately organized and four aircraft took-off on search. Although intensive aerial search was continued during the day, and a broadcast appeal for information was made over the Fredericton Radio, nothing of any interest was discovered.

The aircraft was Ventura II, AE911, and the crew consisted of the following members of No.8 Course:- 1319378 P/O. N.C. Harris, AUS
416901 Sgt. Williams E. NZ413220 Sgt. Bates, D.T. and R161141 Sgt. Otto T.M. who are missing.

27-February-1943: Bad weather prevented the aerial search for Ventura AE911 being continued today but two ground searches were conducted by the R.C.M.P. following a report of fire having being seen on the banks of Grand Lake, by an aircraft on night flying from Chatham. Nothing was discovered however.

28-February-1943: Arial search for Ventura AE911 was continued by this Unit and Chatham cooperated with 19 Ansons but nothing was seen.

01-March-1943: S/Ldr. S.L. Sigurdson reported to Unit as Investigating Officer into the accident concerning Ventura AE911.

01-March-1943: A final search for Ventura AE911 was made, and proved unsuccessful.

06-March-1943: S/Ldr. S.L. Sigurdson departed from Unit for No.36 O.T.U. after completing his investigation.

23-October-1943: S.L. J. Hill (G.D.) and F.L. E. Parvin (Tech.) departed for Minto, N.B. to inspect a crashed aircraft which had been found in that district by a Hunting party. The aircraft turned out to be Ventura II, AE911 which was lost from this Station in February of this year from a day training flight. The bodies of the four members of the crew were brought back to the Station for burial at St. George. From the position of the wreckage and bodies, it would appear that the aircraft had crashed whilst out of control and the crew killed instantly.

24-November-1943: S.L. J. Hill and F.L. E. Parvin returned from Minto on completion of inspection.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

26 February 1943

26-February-1943: Pre-Dawn Cross Country flights were commenced at Yarmouth, but two aircraft landed at Pennfield owing to engine trouble. (Ventura AE912 P/O M.C. Farrell and Ventura AE867 Sgt. Orr R.M.).

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

28 February 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE893 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1150 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
SPAFFORD P/O Frank Ronald J/23446 Pilot Slightly Injured
CLOTWORTHY Sgt. Gilbert Lewis NZ413737 Wireless Air Gunner Slightly Injured

28-February-1943: On landing in Cross Winds and Gusts at Pennfield, from a local Day Training Flight, Ventura II, AE893 crashed and was damaged Cat. "A". The crew, R146974 P/O. F.R. Spafford and NZ413737 Sgt. Clotworthy, pupils of No.9 Course, were both slightly injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

Reflections of an airmen:

"Gil and I did have a bad prang at Pennfield Ridge OTU. I had maybe 3 or 4 hours on Venturas and the tower brought us in on a runway with a 90 degree crosswind of strong force. To make things worse, the runway was ice covered and rough. Venturas landed like hot bricks at best. Anyway in attempting the landing, she drifted off so I crabbed her in but as soon as I leveled the old "B" drifted out again so I tried to take her around again on full boost. She wallowed along 50ft. up and when I realized she was heading for the trees I tried to bring the nose up to clear and she immediately stalled and we went in nose first. When I came to, I looked for Gil who was pretty groggy and somehow helping each other we staggered out into the snow. We were mightily cut and bruised but lucky she didn't blow. Poor Gil, I think he thought his new sprog pilot had ended his career early. Frankly I too thought I might be grounded but on my second day in hospital, I was visited by the C.O. and the S/L from the control tower who apologized for bringing us in on that particular runway. I wonder if Gil still has a sore back from that prang?"

SOURCE: F. Ronald "Spaff" Spafford, MID - October 2000.

01 March 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE851 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1415 - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
URU, P/O Henare Whakatau NZ39589 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
BRADDOCK, Sgt. Robert Jack NZ416081 Navigator Uninjured
TAYLOR, Sgt. Patrick NZ421296 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
BOLANDER, Sgt. H. R/178494 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Cross country training flight.

Nature and short description of accident:: Collapse of undercarriage while taxiing in after landing.

Cause of Accident: 33. Technical default. Failure of actuating jack piston assembly and downlock./ 8. U/C failure.

Secondary Cause or Contributing Factors: 35. U/C Defect.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

01-March-1943: When taxying after a day training flight at Pennfield, the starboard undercarriage of Ventura II, AE851 collapsed and the aircraft was damaged Cat. "C". Nobody was injured. The accident was caused by the failure of the undercarriage actuating jack piston assembly and dawn lock. The pilot of this aircraft was NZ39589 Sgt. Uru H.W. a pupil of No.8 Course.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

03 March 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE664 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 2330 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
DOWNING, P/O John William GB1317592 Pilot Uninjured
NEWELL, P/O P. R/116893 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Local Night Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Port engine cut just as the A/C was becoming airborne. A/C swung violently and pilot closed throttles. A/C swung off the end of runway and crashed.

Cause of Accident: Engine failure - appointment of investigating officer requested.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society") & File 1300-AE664/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

02-March-1943: On taking off on a local Night training flight from Pennfield, P/O. J.W. Downing (1317592) a pupil of No.8 Course, in Ventura II, AE664, swung off the runway owing to port engine cutting as the aircraft become airborne. The aircraft was damaged Cat. "B". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

06 March 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE907 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - ice of the Saint John River (7 miles East of Fredericton) @ 1330 hours

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
SCHALIT, P/O R.F. R/145272 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
BELL, Sgt. George Samuek Crawford AUS412361 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Pilot caught in snowstorm force landed.

Cause of Accident: 47. Weather.

Recommendations: That reports from the U.S. on bad weather conditions approaching be accelerated.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

06-March-1943: On returning to Pennfield Ridge from a Day training flight, Ventura II, AE807 was unable to land owing to the weather having closed in, and was diverted to Houlton, Me. Slight engine trouble was experienced, and the pilot landed the aircraft without damage on the ice of the Saint John river, 7 miles East of Fredericton. The pilot was R145272 P/O. R.F. Schalit.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

06 March 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE678 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Low flying area about 6 miles N.W. of Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1140 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
GARDNER, Sgt. Kenneth GB1233464 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
PALLET, Sgt. Charles Gordon R/141179 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Single engine flying and landings.

Nature and short description of accident: Aircraft hit tree starboard fuselage and starboard engine damaged.

Cause of Accident: Authorized low level flying - investigation officer required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE678/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934

09 March 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE912 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Yarmouth aerodrome @ 1720 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BEBARFALD, P/O Brian Arthur NZ414953 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
YARWOOD, Sgt. Malcolm James NZ421340 Navigator Uninjured
PAQUETTE, Sgt. R.A. R/130121 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Operational Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: While being taxied after landing, AE912 collided with AE954 which was stationary on flight line and unoccupied. On applying brakes pilot found there was insufficient pressure to stop A/C.

Cause of Accident: 3. Hitting other aircraft./ 9. Collision.

Secondary Cause or Contributing Factors: 24. Carelessness. Brake failure while taxying, due to pilot operating bomb doors while taxying.

Action Taken: (A) Pilot's Log Book endorsed "Carelessness".

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

09-March-1843: Ventura II, AE954 and Ventura II, AE912 were both damaged (Cat. "C" and Cat. "B" respectively) at Yarmouth when NZ414953 F/O B.A. Bebarfald, a pupil of No.7 Course, collided with AE954 which was standing unoccupied in the flight line, while taxying. The accident was caused through brake failure owing to the pilot operating the bomb doors to the "open" position when taxying.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

09 March 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE866 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - ice of Shell Camp Lake, NS (about 12 miles S.S.W. of Greenwood, NS) - 1045 hours

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
PETTIT, F/O Victor Godfrey GB67026 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
STIGANT, P/O Roland Frank GB176215 Navigator Uninjured
HOOD, Sgt. A.W. R/130020 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
DAVIES, Sgt. John Derrick Edward GB1214826 Air Gunner Uninjured
LOW, Sgt. J.R. R/124210 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Low Level Cross Country Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Std. engine dropped to 600 rpm. The pilot suspected icing and tried to clear it by backfiring his engine which he failed to do. Propellor would not feather and pilot states he was unable to climb satisfactorily with port engine. Successful forced landing was made on Shell Camp Lake. Subsequent thaw may result in the loss of this A/C.

Primary Cause of Accident:  Engine failure in the air. Pilot applied full carb. heat in 0 C contrary to instruction bringing his carb, intake temperature from 17 up to icing range.

Secondary Cause of Accident: Carelessness/ Misuse of Controls.

Findings of the Investigation: Pilot had not handled controls according to instructions, causing engine to fail & resulting in forced landing. Aircraft subsequently broke through ice due to an unprecedented thaw and salvage operations were taken over by No.4 R.D.

Conclusion of A.I.B.: Forced landing due to engine failure.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

09-March-1943: Five crews carried out low level cross country flights. One of the latter aircraft, Ventura II, AE866 pilot 67026 F/O. V.G. Pettit, a pupil of No.8 Course, forced-landed on the ice of Shell Camp Lake, Nova Scotia, about 12 miles S.S.W. of Greenwood, following the failure of the starboard engine; apparently due to the carburetor icing. Nobody was injured and the aircraft was not damaged. The matter is being investigated by S/Ldr. R. Kiersteid.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

13 March 1943

Ventura II AJ173 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - reported missing @ 1845 hours (45 minutes overdue) (believed to be near Port Maitland, NS) - Cat. "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
CORR, P/O Thomas Anthony GB138491 Pupil Pilot Missing
LALOR, P/O Fintan Howard J/22229 Navigator Missing
CANNON, F/S David Armstrong R/103962 Wireless Operator Air Gunner Missing
FAULKNER, O/S Ronald Herbert D/JX366668 Passenger Missing

Objective of Flight:

500 foot bombing followed by front, turret and under gun firing.

Weather:
Overcast above four thousand feet. Visibility four to six miles. Surface wind eight to twelve miles per hour throughout the period veering from West Northwest to North West.

P/O T.A. Corrs flying experience as pilot:
Aircraft Total
DH82A Tiger Moth 38:35 hours
Stearman 56:35 hours
Anson 149:10 hours
Ventura 81:45 hours

He had been qualified as first pilot on Ventura aircraft and was considered to be capable and reliable.

Description of Flight:

On the afternoon of Saturday, Mar. 13/43, F/L D.G. Lacey, Flight Commander Armament Flight, authorized P/O Corr as pilot, P/O Lalor observer and Sgt. Cannon W.O.A.G. to take off at 1645 hours in Ventura AJ173 for the purpose of carrying out bombing and gunnery exercises. The bombing was to be undertaken at the Pubnico Range and the gunnery at Port Maitland and the crew were given strict instructions to land at 1800 hours.

As this was the first exercise of this type to be carried out by this particular crew at this Unit they were briefed before take off by the Gunnery Officer. They also signed the Air Firing Range Orders as having read and understood. The last signal received from the aircraft informed the base that bombing had been completed and that it was proceeding to the gunnery range.

At 1845 hours, when the aircraft had not returned the Flight Commander Armament Flight requested that overdue action be taken, and on the following morning an intensive search by air and sea was organized without result. On Mar. 15th some lobster boats found near Port Maitland an oleo leg, glee wheel and tyre and aircraft type dinghy which were positively identified as belonging to this particular aircraft. The R.C.A.F. crash boat cruised in the area for three hours after the discovery without finding any further evidence.

On Mar. 16th several other pieces were picked up on a beach south of Port Maitland Harbour, these included a sleeping bag and box marked "Tail Drift Sight". From these parts it was evident that the aircraft had broken up with great violence.

On the day of the accident the aircraft had been flown by another pilot for 1 hr. 30 min. during this flight it behaved in a normal manner; there is also evidence to prove that it had been refueled prior to taking off on the fatal trip.

The presence of Ordinary Seaman Faulkner, R.H., as passenger in this aircraft is not explained, a naval rating was seen by the Leading Aircraftman J.R. Atkinson, who assisted the pilot in starting the engines to be on board the aircraft when it taxied out for take off. It is further certified by F/L D.G. Lacey that the four men were members of the crew and that nobody was seen to leave the aircraft prior to take off.

Findings of Investigation:

Circumstances: Aircraft engaged on a Low Level Bombing and Air Firing Exercise: completed its bombing and became missing after proceeding towards the Air Firing Range at Port Maitland to carry out the Air Firing Exercise. From the wreckage found, Aircraft & Crew may be presumed lost at Sea.

Cause: No evidence to show how the accident occurred.

Recommendations: Nil.

Remarks of O.C.:

The cause of this accident must remain obscure. An explosion appears to have occurred, but whether in the air or on impact is difficult to decide. The finding of more wreckage later may bring something more to light.

Observations of A.O.C.:

The Air Officer Commanding No.12 Operational (T) Group concurred in the report.

Conclusions of Accident Investigation Branch:

Agree with the Findings.

From the evidence available the accident was probably due to the pilot allowing the aircraft to dive into the water through an error of judgment. (G/C F.S Wilkins, C.I. of A.)

Search (Based on Declaration of F/O C.R.Dixon (J/9209), pilot of No.113 Squadron, employed as Operations Officer, RCAF Station, Yarmouth, NS):

Details of the aircraft searching for Ventura No. A.J. 173 are given below:

The area searched was enclosed by the points:-

4353'N. 6622'W.    4407'N. 6602W.
4337'N. 6530'W.    4322'N. 6550'W

On the morning of the 14th, March 1943, the area was searched by three (3) Venturas, two (2) Lysanders, four (4) Ansons and one (1) Hudson. In the afternoon the search was continued by nine (9) Ansons, one (1) Lysander, one (1) Ventura and one (1) Canso.

None of these aircraft reported having seen anything.

A Lobster Boat also searched for seven (7) hours, on the 14th. March 1943.

After wreckage had been found off Port Maitland, the RCAF Crash Boat searched the vicinity and was at sea for three hours on the 15th, March 1943 commencing at 1900 hours A.D.T.

SOURCE: File 1300-AJ173/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

13-March-1943: Medium and low level bombing exercises were carried out at Yarmouth. One aircraft on low level bombing exercise failed to return to base - Ventura AE II, AJ173. The crew consisted of:- Pilot - 1319378 P/O. T.A. Corr, Navigator - R140855 P/O. F.H. Lalor, W.A.G. R.103962 Sgt.  Cannon D.A. and passenger - DJX366668 O/Seaman Faulkner R.H. who are now missing. Ground search was made following a report received from a fisherman, but nothing was discovered.

14-March-1943: At Yarmouth, aerial, ground and sea search for Ventura AJ173 was organized, aircraft being used from Pennfield and the Royal Navy as well as the Yarmouth Detachment. In all, 25 sorties were made, totalling 43 hrs. 40 mins. but nothing was discovered.

15-March-1943: Search for Ventura AE173 was continued at Yarmouth, eleven sorties being made, totalling 18 hrs., 30 mins. Wreckage, consisting of 2 wheels and a punctured dinghy were discovered 2 miles West of Port Maitland, in the Bay of Fundy.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

~click on photographs~

18 March 1943

Ventura II AE943 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1440 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
SELLARS, Sgt. Douglas S. R/146786 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
MOWATT, P/O William J/22242 Navigator Uninjured
PALMER, Sgt. R.M. R/129640 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Local Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Swung off runway on take off and crashed into tree stumps on rough ground off runway.

Cause of Accident: Swinging - investigation officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE943/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

18-March-1943: On taking off on a local day training flight at Pennfield, Ventura II, AE943, Pilot R146786 Sgt. Sellars D.S. a pupil of No.9 Course, swung off the runway in a cross wind and crashed into tree stumps on rough ground off the runway, and the aircraft was damaged Cat. "A". Nobody was injured. The accident was due to the inexperience of the pilot and the presence of snow slush and ice at the intersection of the runways.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

~click on photographs~

24 March 1943

24-March-1943: Nine crews took off on a navigational cross country flight, but only eight finished the course, one crew landing at Houlton with engine trouble. (Ventura II, AE922, pilot - R148578 P/O. Grills.)

25-March-1943: Ventura AE922 returned from Houlton.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

25 March 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE889 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Old Orchard Beach, ME @ 0900 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
SCOTT, Sgt. Thomas GB657462 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
HARVEY, Sgt. Colin Barclay AUS420666 Navigator Uninjured
PAGE, Sgt. Hugh Charles NZ421288 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Cross county and bombing exercise.

Nature and short description of accident: Pilot took off on a pre-dawn cross county from Yarmouth and after encountering low cloud at the first turning point, attempted to return to base. A forced landing was made at the end of the A/C's endurance at Old Orchard Beach, near Portland, Maine.

Cause of Accident: 51. Lost./ 17. Forced Landing.

Secondary Cause or Contributing Factors: 20. Faulty navigation./ 34. Wheels up landing.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

25-March-1943: Pre Dawn Cross Country flights and a low level bombing with air firing exercise were arranged at Yarmouth. One of the aircraft on cross county, Ventura II, AE889, pilot - 657462 Sgt. Scott T. a pupil of No.8 Course, lost his bearings and eventually forced landed at Old Orchard Beach near Portland, Me. The pilot made a wheels up landing and the bomb bay and undersided of the engines were damaged and the propellers were bent. Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

BOOK

At the September 11, 2001, reunion of Company H, 181st Infantry, in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Romeo LeBlanc, related a story that took place while the unit was stationed in Saco. "One night" (March 24, 1943), he said, "everyone in the barracks woke up to the noise of several loud explosions.." Battalion headquarters alerted all units. Officers notified the troops to prepare to move out as soon as possible. "Wood spread throughout the barracks that an airplane had crashed-landed on the beach in the nearby resort town of Old Orchard Beach. We thought it was a German plane," Romeo added. "The company entrucked and headed down the highway toward the beach area at a high rate of speed."

The aircraft turned out to be a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Lockheed B-34 Ventura medium bomber with a crew of four, the pilot and three crewmen, based at "RAF Station, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick." The Canadians used the bomber primarily for anti-submarine patrol.

It seems the bomber had lost its way and was about to run out of fuel. The pilot "decided to try" a "belly-landing" on the beach, putting the plane down "in the soft sand about 400 feet west of Goose Fare Brook, in the Kinney Shores section of Old Orchard Beach" (Kinney Shores is actually part of Saco). The Biddeford Daily Journal reported that the crash "damaged the underside of the plane and the propeller[s?]...Whether or not the landing gear stuck was not disclosed." Fortunately, no one was injured.

The B-34, powered by two Pratt & Whitney radial engines with 2,000 horsepower each, carried a bomb load of 3,000 pounds. The pilots jettisoned his bombs over the ocean and made the emergency crash landing. The article reported that the "landing was within 50 feet of the bulkhead [?]." LeBlanc recalls it being "a bright moonlit night," which was most fortunate for the pilot and crew. Had it been dark or foggy, the incident might have resulted in an unfortunate  ending for all aboard. Jillian Carle Jakeman, a resident of Ocean Park, wrote, "The bomber story was told to my husband by another person from Old Orchard Beach, who died several years ago." The man said he "could see the bomber from the end of one of the streets in Ocean Park.

According to the Journal article, "Within a few minutes after the crash, a detachment of U.S. Coastguardsmen from Biddeford Pool Station were at the scene." Guardsmen kept "spectators.... at a distance from the plane." The pilot and three crew members were walking about the craft checking the damage. A short while later, the Journal reported, "Army men and trucks from nearby barracks" had arrived and "were at work towing the plane out of the sands to where repairs could be made." Romeo, whose duty station was located at the end of the pier at Old Orchard Beach, claims, "The airplane remained on the beach for several days." Finally, he says, a large truck with a flatbed trailer, followed by a large crane, arrived at the site accompanied by a work crew from the air base. The men removed the wings, hoisted the dismantled craft onto the trailer, and carted it away."

The wing commander, "S/L N.W. Timmerman," sent a letter to the 2nd Battalion commander, Lt. Col. John A. Amberg, conveying his appreciation and thanks to the officers, NCOs, and men of the unit "for the assistance and cooperation" accorded crewmembers. The closing statement reads, "The crew of the aircraft concerned have spoken very highly of the reception and treatment which they received, and I can assure you this has created an excellent impression of our Allies in the minds of our men, and instances such as this serve still more to strengthen relations between our two nations."

SOURCE: The 26th "Yankee" Division on Coast Patrol Duty, 1942-1943 by Dennis A. Connole (2008).

27 March 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE886 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - RCAF Station Yarmouth, NS @ 1200 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
PASCOE, P/O Frank Edmund AUS421041 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
WALKER, Sgt. Reginald Thomas AUS409863 Navigator Uninjured
PELLETIER, Sgt. J.L.A. R/84890 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Low Level Bombing.

Nature and short description of accident: A/C taxied out to line up for take-off, but the U/C (stdb. leg) collapsed.

Cause of Accident: 11. Others.

Secondary or Contributing Factors: 35. U/C Defect.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

23 April 1943

Ventura II AE878 attached to No.34 OTU Detachment, Yarmouth, NS - 15 miles W of Yarmouth (near Springhaven), NS @ 1225 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
FRANCKEISS, Sgt. John Edward GB1525643 Pupil Pilot Killed
SELF, Sgt. Keith Robert AUS425367 Navigator Killed
CALVERT, Sgt. Kenneth George R/144389 Wireless Air Gunner Killed

Object of Flight:

Cross country flight.

Weather:

Weather good, no low cloud, visibility at time of crash - unlimited.

Pilot:

Sgt. Franckeiss had flown Service aircraft a total of 297:20 hours which included 82:30 hours on Ventura aircraft. The Officer Commanding the Unit assessed him as a pilot of average ability and even temperament.

Description of Flight:

Sgt. Franckeiss, pilot, with an observer and air gunner took off at 1157 hours G.M.T.,. in Ventura AE878, on an authorized cross country flight, height 6,000 feet.

Nineteen minutes after take off RAF ground station received a message from aircraft to the effect that aircraft was returning to base. No reasons was given for the return. Nine minutes later the R/T operator in the control tower (RCAF) heard aircraft calling: "878 calling tower, are you receiving me ?" Operator replied: "Tower to 878, receiving you loud and clear, go ahead." 878 back to tower: "I can barely hear you but I am 15 miles North of aerodrome, we are going to force land. Both engine dead." This last message was acknowledge. No further communication passed.

Farmers at Springhaven saw the aircraft about 50 ft. up approaching from the S.E. and apparently trying to land, but overshot a field, then pilot gained height and continued North Westerly towards Duck Lake, but failed to clear a wooded section lying between the field and Duck Lake. The aircraft crashed, burst into flames and was totally destroyed. The three occupants were killed instantaneously.

When the aircraft taxied out at 1145 hours G.M.T. persons in the control tower heard the engines back-firing and noticed "larger and more frequent puffs of smoke coming from the exhausts than is usual."

The Engineer Officer of the Unit examined the wreckage of Ventura AE878 with a view of ascertaining whether or not there were indications of structural failure in flight. He stated:-

"Owing to the condition of the wreckage, it was impossible to form any opinion. It was noted that the propeller on the Port Motor was in fully feathered position. Petrol was found to remain in the auxiliary tank."

The eye witnesses at Springhaven stated that the engines were running at least partially just before the crash.

Findings of Investigation:

Circumstances: Pilot attempted a forced landing in Duck Lake without engine. Undershoot and crashed into trees.

Cause: Cutting out of both engines.

Recommendations: Nil

Remarks of O.C.:

The loss of flying speed in attempting a forced landing, which must be regarded as an error of judgment on the pilot. There is no evidence to show why the engines should have cut out.

Remarks of A.O.C.:

The A.O.C., No.12 Operations (T) Group, concurred in the report.

Conclusions of Accident Investigation Branch:

Aircraft on authorized cross country crashed about 33 minutes after take-off and burst into flames.

Engine failure necessitated a force landing. Pilot erred in judgment when attempting his forced landing, then allowed aircraft to stall at low altitude when attempting to fly over trees.

There is no evidence to show why the engines failed.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE878-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

23-April-1943: Pre-dawn cross county flights and a low level bombing programme were completed at Yarmouth, but of four aircraft despatched on a day cross country flight only three returned, the fourth, Ventura II, AE878 crashed in attempting to make a forced landing near Spring Haven, N.S., owing to one engine cutting, and all the crew were killed. The crew consisted of:- 1525643 Sgt. Franckeiss J.E. AUS425367 Sgt. Self K.R. and R144389 Sgt. Calvery K.G. all pupils of No.9 Course. The accident is being investigated by S.L. L.S. Potter.

26-April-1943: Sgt. Franckeiss J.E. and Sgt. Self K.R. were buried with full military honours at Yarmouth.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

10 May 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE668 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1710 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
WATTERS, F/L James Smith GB42923 Captain, Pilot Uninjured
CROUDIS, Sgt. Peter NZ415329 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
SAMPSON, Sgt. Douglas John NZ422571 Navigator Uninjured
NUNN, Sgt. Kenneth Stanley AUS418459 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
PAGE, Mr. D.E. Civilian Meteorologist Passenger >Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: A/C was landing in rather heavy cross wind, no runway being directly into wind on landing. Instructor, who was captain of A/C, took over from pupil but was unable to correct resultant swing and A/C ran over some rough ground causing U/C to collapse.

Cause of Accident: Swung.

Secondary

Cause or Contributing Factors: U/C strain.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

10-May-1943: On landing from a dual I.F. day training flight at Pennfield Ridge, Ventura I, AE678, Captain - GB42923 F.L. J.S. Watters Pupil pilots - NZ415329 Sgt. Croudis P., a pupil of No.11 Course, swung off runway in a cross-wind and the undercarriage collapsed on running on uneven ground. The aircraft was damaged Cat. "B". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

20 May 1943

Ventura I AE674 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0445 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
KENNARD, P/O Robert Miller AUS422080 Pilot Uninjured
CAMPBELL, Sgt. William John AUS418060 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Night Flying Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Pilot applied brakes in first instance gently with no result. He then used both hands on brake handle. Brakes locked suddenly and A/C nosed over thereby bending propeller tips. A/C then righted itself falling heavily on its tail causing extensive damage to tail unit.

Cause of Accident: Nosing Up - investigation officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE674/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

20-May-1943: At 0445 ADT, whilst making a night landing in Ventura I, AE674. AUS422080 P.O. R.M. Kennard, a pupil of No.12 Course, overshot and tipped the aircraft on its nose due to the brakes being applied too violently. This accident was caused through lack of experience on the part of the pilot. The aircraft was damaged Cat. "C". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

29 May 1943

Ventura I AE678 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - near the Burns Road (Digdeguash, NB) @ 1545 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
ROGERS, Sgt. Albert Ernest Edward AUS421828 Pilot Killed
ELLIS, Sgt. Leslie Albert AUS422151 Wireless Operator Slightly Injured

Object of Flight:

Formation flying.

Weather:

(Illegible)

Pilot:

Sgt. Roger's experience as pilot:
Aircraft Dual Solo
DH.82 40.45 39.40
Anson 75.35 79.30
Ventura 12.00 12.55

This pilot's instructor on the Conversion course states: "In my opinion this pilot, although knowing his cockpit drill well,  was inclined to be careless. He found the aircraft hard to cope with at first and did not strike me as being a very capable pilot."

Description of Flight:

Sgt. Rogers...(Illegible)

Item Port Starboard
  Auxiliary Tank - Empty Auxiliary Tank - approx gallon
Front Main Tank 72 gallons (leaking slowly) Full (91 gallons)
Rear Main Tank approx. 64 gallons approx. 64 gallons

Front fuel cocks turned off and port mixture control in "out-off". Both propellers were in fine pitch and neither had been feathered. Visual inspection indicated that the flaps were down, and the undercarriage was up. 1 port rudder trim, elevator trim 5 nose up. There was an indication of structural failure in flight.

On the night of the 28th on the Daily Inspection the petrol gauges were checked for all tanks and all tanks showed full. The aircraft made its first flight on the day of the 29th at 1345 hours and was flown for an hour and five minutes by F/L Douglas who immediately handed over the aircraft to Sgt. Rogers without refueling. F/L Douglas stated that he flew the aircraft on the rear main fuel tanks. He stated as follows:-

"On commencement of this flight, I noticed that the port rear main indicator read about 65 gallons, while the starboard rear main petrol indicator read at about 85-90 gallons. The whole of my flight was carried out on these two tanks, and on landing and before getting out of the aircraft I noticed that the port rear main petrol indicator read just above the 'empty' mark. I pointed this fact out to Sgt. Rogers on handing the aircraft over to him. The normal sequence of use of petrol tanks on Ventura aircraft is:

1st Rear main down to 50 to 60 gallons.
2nd Auxiliary tanks.
3rd Front main tank
4th Back to rear main tank"

Findings of Investigation:

Circumstances: The crash occurred when the pilot, attempting a forced landing after the failure of the port engine, overshot the field he was trying for and crashed into trees..

Cause: Mishandling of controls by an inexperienced pilot who did not carry out the correct single engine flying approach (ie: not applying rudder trim or feathering airscrew) and subsequently failed to carry out a successful forced landing. The cause of engine failure is doubtful, but as the port auxiliary fuel tank was dry at the time of the crash, it appears very likely the pilot neglected to change to a full tank before running the auxiliary tank dry, and when engine did cease, failed to appreciate the cause.

The 5th witness states that the pilot made use of the remaining up to the time of crash, but it is not known why the pilot did not try to remain airborne with his engine instead of trying a forced landing.

Recommendations: Nil

Conclusions of Accident Investigation Branch:

Agree with the findings.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE678-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

29-May-1943: Whilst on a formation day training fight, Ventura I, AE678, pilot - AUS421828 Sgt. Rogers, A.E.E., W.A.G. AUS422151 Sgt. Ellis L.A., both pupils of No.12 Course, overshot and hit trees on attempting to make a forced landing after experiencing engine trouble, and crashed 9 miles N.W. of St. George, N.B. The pilot was killed but the W.A.G. escaped with only slight injuries. The aircraft was completely wrecked. Cat. "A"

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

~click on photographs~

03 June 1943

Ventura II AE942 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - reported missing @ 1950 hours (50 minutes overdue) - Cat. "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
LANGDALE, P/O Selwyn Noel NZ424554 Pilot Missing
CARTER, Sgt. Francis Robert NZ416456 Navigator Missing
BRIER, Sgt. Roland Frank NZ424967 Wireless Air Gunner Missing
STILES, Sgt. Frederick John R/164166 Air Gunner Missing

Object of Flight:

Formation day training flight.

Weather:

6/10 of heavy cumulo-nimbus cloud based at an estimated 3,500' with 1 to 3 tenths ragged cloud at 2500 ft. Visibility 15 miles. Winds at 5,000 to 6,000 ft. would be approximately 300 at 20-25 m.p.h. In the heavier cumulonimbus clouds the turbulence would be severe. Icing index would be light to moderate, clear icing above 11,000 ft.

P/O Langdale's flying time as pilot:
Aircraft

Total

Within 6 mo. previous

DH82

86:45

-

Crane

150:20

150:20

Avro Anson

6:15

6:15

Ventura

39:55

39:55

His instructor stated that he was a safe, steady pilot with no outstanding faults and his instrument flying was better than average.

Description of Flight:

P/O Langdale, pilot, with Sgts. Carter, Brier and Stiles, took off at 1640 (GMT) in Ventura AE942 to carry out formation day training flight for one hour and 30 minutes.

WO2 Harris, pilot, took off in Ventura AE658 to fly in formation with P/O Langdale. He states as follows:- "I took off first and he then followed me off. He pulled into formation about five minutes after take off. We climbed up in formation on a heading of 045 until we reached the cloud base which was approximately 2,500'. We flew under the cloud base for approximately 15 minutes. During this time we did several turns, keeping within the local flying area to the N.E. of the aerodrome. The clouds were about five-tenths in that area and as it was very bumpy I decided to climb above them. We levelled out at 6,000'. I then led the formation down to the coast. As we approached the coast the clouds below us thickened. I then made a turn to the right and followed the coast line back to the airport. Seeing a very large clear spot in the area bounded by the airport, Lake Utopia, Saint Andrews, I led the formation into it and then gave P/O Langdale lead of the formation. He then turned to the right and flew on a heading of approximately 045 passing North of the airport which was plainly visible to me and my Navigator. We flew on for several minutes and he did a turn to his right and flew on to approximately 135 and continued on his course, The tops of the clouds were building up and we were flying through wispy light cloud. We finally broke through one of these clouds and a very dark cloud loomed up ahead of us. He immediately went into a climb without giving a signal, consequently I dropped about two lengths behind him. On entering a cloud I lost sight of him, so I immediately turned away from him to the right, turning 180 bringing me back out of this cloud. About a minute later I saw him emerge from the cloud to the S.W. of me. He then turned towards me, I continued my course. Our height at this time was approximately 6,500'. We were still flying through light broken cloud and he passed under me, and then turned to his left and passed very close underneath me. I then began a turn to my left to renew the formation. At this time his Wireless Operator called up and wanted to break the formation. I immediately turned to my right towards our airport on a course of about 330, and descend down to 2,000' below the cloud base and flew directly home. It took me approximately 15 minutes to reach the airport and land." WO2 Harris further stated that he did not strike any icing conditions on the flight.

In answer to the question:- "Can you give any opinion as to what may have caused the disappearance of this aircraft." WO2 stated:- "I would say that it is possible that he reserved his compass."

An extensive and intensive search was carried out for the missing aircraft and crew but no trace was found.

Findings of Investigation:

Circumstances: Ventura AE942 took off 1640 hours GMT with Ventura AE658 to carry out local formation flying. Ventura AE658 landed at 1800 hours after breaking formation at a point between 30 and 40 miles S.E. of aerodrome. The aircraft was last seen flying due South and failed to return.

Cause: The cause of the accident is very obscure.

Recommendations: Nil.

Conclusions of Accident Investigation Branch:

Aircraft and crew failed to return from a day formation practice flight for reasons not disclosed in the evidence. Evidence is lacking as to the inspection and condition of instruments prior to the flight.

It is considered that the occupants of aircraft AE942 may reasonably be presumed dead.

NOTE: 1. Sgt. Brier, W.A.G., was considered of average ability.
  2. The only recorded communications between the aircraft and the Unit Control Tower were by R/T as follows:- 1641 hours - taxi clearance; 1650 hours - take-off clearance; and 1651 hours - airborne and changing to formation R/T frequency.
  3. At 1950 hours, when the aircraft was 50 minutes overdue, W/T Section was ordered to try and contact the aircraft but the evidence does not disclose the result of this action.
  4. The aircraft's R/T was functioning when the two aircraft broke formation.

Memorandum (by G/C F.S. Wilkins, C.I. Accidents - 21 August 1943)

This accident is beyond understanding. Why a pilot would fly so far off course in daylight without attempting to reach land apparently cannot be explained. The failure of signals was probably due to lack of skill on the part of the W.A.G. and the pilot and navigator became completely lost and apparently finished up in the sea.

Search:

Twenty four aircraft from various Stations took part in the search together with three surface craft.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE942-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

03-June-1943: Ventura II, AE942, Pilot NZ424554 P.O. S.N. Langdale, Navigator NZ416456 Sgt. F.R. Carter, W.A.G. NZ424967 Sgt. R.F. Brier all pupils of No.12 Course and A.G. R164166 Sgt. F.J. Stiles, a pupil of No.11 Course, failed to return from a formation day training flight. It was last seen 30 to 40 miles from this Station over the Bay of Fundy, flying S.W. at 500 ft. above cloud at 5 - 7,000 ft."

03-June-1943: An aerial search for AE942 was commenced, two aircraft from this Station, two each from Saint John, Greenwood and the U.S. Coastal Station at Bar Harbour, Maine taking part. The latter Station also searched in the Bay of Fundy with Patrol Craft without result.

04-June-1943: Search for AE942 was continued, six aircraft from the Unit, and two each from Saint John, Debert, Greenwood and Bar Harbour, and one from Yarmouth taking part. Marine Craft from Bar Harbour and this Unit were also used without result.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

09 June 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE670 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1230 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
MILLER, Sgt. Maurice James NZ428792 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
FROST, Sgt. Peter Charles NZ422988 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Local day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Pilot made heavy landing. Port oleo strut fractured and wheel and part of strut came off. A/C swung off runway.

Cause of Accident: 40. Heavy landing - flying into ground./ 4. Heavy.

Technical Officer's Report: 20. Fracture of port oleo leg in region of weld at point of attachment of radius arm, following heavy landing. Defect being examined and Form L.3 Defect Report being submitted. This oleo leg had done 593 hours service.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

09-June-1943: On landing from a local day training flight, the port oleo leg of Ventura I, AE670 collapsed and the aircraft was damaged Cat. "C". The pilot was NZ428792 Sgt. Miller M.J., a pupil of No.13 Course. Nobody was injured.

14-June-1943: Ventura I, AE670 was transferred to No. 4 Repair Depot.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

12 June 1943

Ventura GRV FN977 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, RI @ 1918 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
ODLUM, P/O Desmond William Julian GB156329 Pilot Slightly Injured
BURLEY, WO1 Herbert Thomas Camobell R/69756 Wireless Air Gunner Killed
Third Party: U.S soldier - Cpl. Seymore Wishbone on duty at Anti-Aircraft gun post was struck by aircraft and seriously injured.

Object of Flight:

Ferrying aircraft from Quonset Point, R.I. to Pennfield Ridge, N.B.

Weather:

C.A.V.U. Wind 15-18 m.p.h.

Pilot:

Sgt. Odlum, staff pilot, had flown service aircraft a total of 459:25 hours, including 274:00 hours on Ventura.

Description of Flight:

Sgt. Odlum, staff pilot, with W.O.1 Burley, W.A.G., took off at 1915 hours G.M.T. in Ventura FN977 for the purpose of ferrying the aircraft to Pennfield Ridge. Ventura FN977 started down the runaway. After a short distance, the tail of the Ventura was raised and then almost immediately lowered again. After another short run the tail was raised again and the Ventura proceeded for a distance of about 800 feet in a straight course down the runway. The plane then began a gradual turn to the left while still on the runway. Just before the Ventura reached the left-hand side of the runway, the plane became airborne with the left wing down at an angel of about 20. Shortly after clearing the runway, the left wing and wheel struck an Army gun emplacement and the plane cart wheeled over the sea-wall into the water.

The aircraft was totally damaged, the pilot slightly injured, the other occupant was knocked unconscious and death was due to drowning.

Findings of Investigation:1

Circumstances: Aircraft swung on take-off, left the ground partially stalled. One wing dropped and struck ground causing the aircraft to cart wheel.

Cause: Pilot error.

Recommendations: Nil.

Remarks by S.A.S.O, No. 12 Group.:

In my opinion the accident was caused by a pilot's error. The sequence of events being as follows: The pilot started a normal take-off and during the take-off run allowed a swing to develop. No endeavored to get the aeroplane into the air by pulling it off the ground before it had reached proper flying speed. The aeroplane left the ground the slip-stream over the inner wing was sufficient to supply the necessary lift, although the wing tips were probably in a stalled condition. However, in the condition, lateral control was not available and the aircraft continued its swing at the same time a wing dropped. At this point the aircraft was heading for an obstruction on the ground and the pilot presumably attempted to pull the aircraft over the obstruction, thus aggravating the stalled condition of the wings. The port wing then hit the ground and the aircraft cart wheeled and was wrecked. There is no indication of any form of failure of the engine or airframe.

Observations by A.O.C,:

There was no question whatsoever about engine failure. The pilot was pilot was satisfied in this regard.

Conclusions of Accident Investigation Branch:

Agree with findings and remarks of S.A.S.O.

SOURCE: File 1300-FN977-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5937.

25-June-1943: On taking-off on a ferrying flight to this Unit from Quonset Point, Rhode Island, Ventura GRV. FN977 (Pilot 1068115 Sgt. Odlum D.W.J. W.A.G. 69756 W.O.I. H.T.C. Burley) swung to port and collided with a light A.A. Gun Post and continued into the sea. On impact with the sea, the nose of the aircraft split open and the pilot was thrown clear and escaped with slight injuries. The W.A.G., W.O.I. Burley was drowned in the aircraft. The aircraft was destroyed. Cat. "A"

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

16 June 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE860 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1900 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BALDWIN, F/O Frederick Alexander J/13068 Pilot Uninjured
CATT, Sgt. Herbert Ross Alton R/146355 Navigator Uninjured
McGILLIVRAY, Sgt. Gordon Robertson R/163625 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Pilot ran off runway after landing, port oleo leg collapsed on the rough ground.

Cause of Accident: 32. Pilot error.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 44. Bad surface./ 61. Swinging on landing.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Log book endorsed.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

16-June-1943: On landing from a day training flight, Ventura II, AE960 (Pilot - J13068 P.O. Baldwin, a pupil of No.12 Course) ran off runway on the runway on to rough ground and the port oleo leg collapsed. The aircraft was damaged Cat. "C". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

25 June 1943

Ventura Mk.II AJ186 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Summerville, NS @1350 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
COWIE, P/O George Wellington NZ422262 Pilot Killed
GRIFFITHS, P/O Clifford Avery NZ421703 Navigator Killed
LOUCKS, P/O John Clark J/26843 Air Gunner Killed
MULCAHY, Sgt. Cornelius Arthur AUS422234 Wireless Air Gunner Killed

Objective of Flight:

Cross-country low flying exercise, 250 feet.

Weather:

Visibility 15 miles (over land), 3 to 4 miles (over water). Wind S.W. 10. Moderate to severe turbulence over land. Temperature 78 F. Dew Point 63.

Pilot:

P/O Cowie had flown a total of 323:50 hours on service aircraft, of which 65:25 hours were on the type involved.

The Flight Commander authorizing the flight states:- "P/O Cowie was a safe and reliable pilot, a good average pilot with no weaknesses to my knowledge. Previous to this crash he had completed all his exercises satisfactorily."

Description of Flight:

The aircraft took off from Pennfield Ridge at 1237 hours G.M.T. on 25th June, 1943 for the purpose of carrying out a low flying cross-country navigation exercise.

This exercise had been properly authorized.

The crew members were P/O Cowie, pilot; P/O Griffiths, navigator; P/O Loucks, air gunner; and Sgt. Mulcahy, wireless air gunner.

The aircraft was seen flying starboard wing low in an attitude which suggested that the starboard engine had cut out. At this point it was also observed to strike a tree, catch fire and crash, becoming a total wreck and killing all the occupants.

Findings of the Investigation:

Cause: The cause of the accident at present remains obscure, although it appears that one engine (the starboard) had cut out and the aircraft was flying starboard wing low when it struck a large tree, caught fire, somersaulted, landing approximately 200 yds. from the tree. The engine above-mentioned may have cut out as a result of fuel starvation as there was a history of fuel pump unserviceability.

Recommendations: Nil.

Remarks of O.C.:

The cause of this aircraft must remain obscure, but the possibility of the aircraft flying too low should not be ruled out.

Conclusions of Accident Investigation Branch:

The cause of this accident is obscure. There is not sufficient technical evidence to prove that the fuel pump failed. (F/L J.R. Dexter, C.I. Accidents)

Agree. (G/C F.S. Wilkins, C.I. Accident)

SOURCE: File 1300-AE186-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

25-June-1943: Five crews were despatched on a Low Level Cross County Exercise, and four successfully complete the same; the remaining crew, consisting of Pilot NZ422262 P/O. G.W. Cowie, Navigator NZ421703 P/O. C.A. Griffiths, W.A.G. AUS422234 Sgt. Mulcahy C.A. and A.G. R188478 P/O. J.C. Loucks were all killed when the aircraft in which they were flying, Ventura II, AJ186, crashed at Summerville, Nr. Falmouth, N.S. The crew were members of No.12 Course.

29-June-1943: S.L. Brickenson and F.L. Cobb reported on temporary duty from E.A.C. to investigate the accident involving Ventura II, AJ186.

29-June-1943: Ventura II, AJ186 was struck off charge on being transferred to No.4 Repair Depot.

01-July-1943: S.L. G.A.P. Brickenson and F.L. H. Cobb (E.A.C. Investigating Officers) reported on temporary duty. (Investigation into the loss of Ventura AJ186.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

03 July 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE672 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0735 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
LAWS, Sgt. Russell NZ421515 Pilot Uninjured</td>
CASEY, Sgt. G.P.J. R/164711 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Aircraft undershot on landing.

Cause of Accident: Pilot error - investigation officer required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE627/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

03-July-1943: On landing from a day training flight in Ventura I, AE672, NZ421515 Sgt. Laws R. a pupil of No.14 Course, undershot and the aircraft was damaged Cat. "B". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

06 July 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE912 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome  @ 1230 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
FRANKLIN, Sgt. Clifford Walter NZ424445 Pilot Uninjured
CHATTO, Sgt. Harry Stewart AUS421569 Navigator Uninjured
MESSITER, Sgt. John Edward AUS421993 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Bombing flight.

Nature and short description of accident: While taxiing into flight line after exercise, opened bomb doors for re-arming while still taxiing. This probably lowered hydraulic pressure momentarily rendering brakes practically inoperative and collided with port wing of AJ230.

Cause of Accident: 3. Hitting other aircraft./ 9. Collision.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 24. Careless taxiing./ 14. Misuse of controls.

Technical Officer's Report: When bomb doors are opened whilst taxiing hydraulic pressure drops from 750 to 100 lbs. per sq. in. rendering brakes weak for 15-18 secs. until pressure had time to build up.

Court of Inquiry or Investigating Officer's Report: Normally this should not happen as there is an accumulator to take care of peak loads.

Order has been put into effect that bomb door lever and flap lever is not to be operated when A/C is taxiing.

Action Taken: Log book endorsed.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

06-July-1943: While taxying into position on the flight line, after landing from a bombing exercise, NZ424445 Sgt. Franklin C.W., a pupil of No.12 Course, collided with the port wing of Ventura II, AJ230. The taxying aircraft was Ventura II, AE912. The accident was due to fast taxying and operating bomb doors to the open position before the aircraft had stopped. Ventura II, AJ230 was damaged Cat. "B" and Ventura II, AE912 was damaged Cat. "C". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

06 July 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE661 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 2215 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
DIXON, F/O William H. J/15799 Pilot Uninjured
WRIGHT, F/S. Robert Marshall NZ414371 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
WRIGHT, Sgt. Ivan Herbert NZ425202 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: While taxing off tyre blew out causing aircraft to swing. Undercarriage retracted to avoid collision with taxing aircraft on aerodrome triangle.

Cause of Accident: Port tyre bursting - investigation officer required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE661/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

06-July-1943: At 2215 ADT. Ventura I, AE661, (pilot - J15799 F.O. W.H. Dixon, a Flying Instructor this Unit,) on taking off on a day training flight, burst the port tyre, causing the aircraft to swing and the undercarriage was retracted to avoid collision with aircraft taxying on the aerodrome triangle. The aircraft was damaged Cat. "B". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

07 July 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE673 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1800 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
YARWOOD, P/O H.J. R/160400 Pilot Uninjured
HORASYMCHUK, F/S W. GB107423 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Aircraft practicing glide approaches and landings made heavy landing damaging port undercarriage leg would neither retract or lower. Fuel jettisoned and one a one wheel landing was made.

Cause of Accident: Damage to undercarriage causing failure of it to retract or lower - investigation officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE673-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

07-July-1943: At 1800 ADT. Ventura I, AE673 (Pilot R160400 P.O. W.J. Yarwood, a pupil of No.15 course) practicing glide approaches and landings, made a heavy landing, damaging the port oleo leg. The a/c. took-off again but the port oleo would neither retract nor lower. After jettisoning fuel, the pilot made a one wheel landing, and the aircraft was damaged Cat. "B". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

10 July 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE696 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 2115 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
HANSEN, P/O Milton Whitehead J/26817 Pilot Killed
JASMIN, P/O Herbert Eloi J/26838 Wireless Air Gunner Killed

Object of Flight:

Revision of all exercises on which pilot had received instruction.

Weather:

Visibility 8 miles. Wind S to SSW 4-6 mph, cloud 7/10 above 10,000.

Description of Flight:

At 2100 GM, Ventura AE696 took off on a revision flight. The aircraft made a normal approach for landing when one quarter along the length of the runway at a height of 30' and a speed of approximately 80 mph with the wheels and flaps down the pilot instituted overshoot action revving up the motors. The port engine picked up before the starboard engine pulling the aircraft into a shallow bank and around to the starboard from where it climbed for 150 yards to a height of 100 feet, stalled and dived into the ground on the aerodrome.

Both occupants of the aircraft were killed. The aircraft burned and was totally destroyed.

Findings of Investigation:

Circumstances: Port engine picked up faster than the starboard engine when throttles opened for overshoot action causing aircraft to swerve to starboard and climb, the action being taken at a slow speed with flaps and wheels down thereby resulting in a stall and dive into the ground from a height of 100 feet.

Cause: Failure by the pilot to maintain trim and flight angle when revving up his engine for overshoot action and contributed by quicker pick up of port engine.

Recommendations: Nil.

Remarks by C.O.:

I concur.

Conclusions of Accidents Investigation Branch:

Agree with the findings.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE696-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

10-July-1943: At 2115 GMT., Ventura 1, AE696 overshot runway the aerodrome and attempting to go round again, dived into the ground from 100 ft. and burst into flames. Both members of the crew were killed. Pilot - R176129 P.O. M.W. Hansen, W.A.G. R155475 P.O. H.E. Jasmin. The aircraft was destroyed. Cat. "A".

12-July-43: F.O. W.E. Earle reported from Eastern Air Command for investigation into the accident involving Ventura 1, AE696.

15-July-43: F.O. W.E. Earle departed on completion of temporary duty.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

TRANSCRIBER NOTES: See "Two Airmen Killed In Crash At Pennfield" & "Two Airmen Killed When Plane Crashed At Pennfield Ridge"

19 July 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE666 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1830 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
ANSTEY, Sgt. Ronald Stanley NZ424817 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
HARRISON, Sgt. (N.?) R/163722 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Pilot reports that he opened both throttles and engines responded normally. After running forward about 300 yds., port engine failed at about 35 inches manifold pressure. A/C swung to the left and ground looped causing tail oleo to collapse and also considerable damage to tail unit.

Cause of Accident: Misuse of controls.

Secondary or Contributing Factors: 13. Engine failure on take-off./ 32. Pilot Error.

Technical Officer's Report: Presumed that pilot choked one engine through opening throttles too quickly as subsequent test found engine O.K.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

23 July 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE658 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 2040 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BEGG, P/O George Henry Knight J/27527 Pilot Uninjured
BINNING, Sgt. Terence William AUS420432 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Pilot ballooned slightly on landing while practicing single engine landings and swung off the runway. The starboard oleo leg collapsed on the rough.

Cause of Accident: Starboard undercarriage collapsed on landing - investigating officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE658/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

23-July-1943: At 2040 hrs. GMT, Ventura I, AE658, pilot - R.172001 P/O. G.H.K. Begg, a pupil of No.16 Course, on landing from a day training flight, ballooned and swung off the runway onto rough ground. The starboard oleo leg collapsed and the aircraft was damaged Cat. "B". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

25 July 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE952 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1820 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
EAGLESON, P/O J.L. J/27715 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
CURTIS, Sgt. K.G. NZ422987 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Pilot bounced heavily while carrying out glide landings and broke the stdb. oleo leg, and he went around again. Owing to the broken u/c he had to belly land.

Cause of Accident: 4. Heavy.

Technical Officer's Report: No technical failure.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

29 July 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE887 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0850 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
HEATH, F/O Alfred Wray J/9746 Pilot Uninjured
HARDY, F/S R.L. R/155951 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Night Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Landed with wheels retracted.

Cause of Accident: Broken port undercarriage leg due to heavy landing - investigation officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE887/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

29-July-1943: At 0850 GMT, Ventura II, AE887, Pilot - J9746 F.O. A.W. Heath, a pupil of No.15 Course, was unable to lower the undercarriage, owing to an oleo leg evidently having been damaged due to a heavy landing during night flying training. The pilot made a successful "belly" landing and nobody was injured. The aircraft was damaged Cat. "B".

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

30 July 1943

Ventura Mk.II AJ230 attached to No.34 OTU - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0015 - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
HENDERSON, F/O William Charles NZ415435 Pilot Uninjured
OWNSWORTH, P/O Henry Leonard NZ422998 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Pilot misjudged the height of the a/c above the ground during a night landing and hit runway heavily with the stbd oleo leg, causing the tyre to burst and the oleo leg collopased.

Cause of Accident: 40. Heavy landing - flying into ground./ 4. Heavy.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 43. Tire trouble.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

30-July-1943: At 0015 GMT, Ventura II, AJ230 Pilot NZ415435 P.O. W.C. Henderson, a pupil of No.15 Course, landed with slight drift from night training flight, damaging the starboard oleo leg owing to tyre bursting. The aircraft was damaged Cat. "B".

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

31 July 1943

Ventura GRV. FN975 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1415 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
OLSEN, Lt. O. RNNAS Pilot Uninjured
MOE, Sgt. RNNAS Wireless Operator Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Ferrying.

Nature and short description of accident: A/c swung to port on take off tearing out wheel tail assembly.

Cause of Accident: 9. Swinging.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

08 August 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE659 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - crashed 2 miles north of Lepreau, NB @ 1800 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BEGG, P/O George Henry Kmight J/27527 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
CURTIS, Sgt. Kenneth George NZ422907 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Object of Flight:

Solo practice of feathering and single engine approach and landing.

Pilot:

P/O Begg total flying time was 241:40 hours time (time of type: 16:00 hours (dual)/ 8:10 hours (solo)). He was quick to assimilate instructions and has average flying ability but is of nervous character. His instructor said he was capable of carrying out single engine feathering but was inclined to be hasty in action. He had received no instruction in drill of vital actions  in an emergency of the kind encountered here.

Description of Flight:

Prior to the subject flight aircraft had flown on two previous flights, one from 1315 hrs. to 1425 hrs. and the other from 1430 hrs. to 1530 hrs. During both of these flights it was flown S.E. on the port engine was was fully serviceable. The aircraft was refueled and took off again at 1605 hrs. It safely completed one flapless and one S.E. landing which were carried out on the rear main tanks. After taking off again it climbed to 3000 ft. where the pilot changed to auxiliary tanks and then climbed to 4000 ft. There he went on to S.E. procedure and flying on the port engine. He had been flying about 4 minutes on the port engine with the starboard engine feathered when he heard a muffled rush of air or dull thud on the port engine followed by the aircraft yawing to port. He had been using 30" of boost and 2100 RPM on the port engine but was not maintaining altitude and opened up pitch control to 2500 RPH. This was too high and he was reducing RPM when he became aware of port engine failure. The aircraft lost 1000 ft. of altitude before the pilot regained control. He was then gliding at 100 mph. and made a quick cockpit check noting the ignition and fuel on, 25 gals in tanks and mixture in auto rich. Though in control of the aircraft he gave the order to abandon because there was no suitable field for a forced landing available. After the W/AG bailed out the pilot went back to try to start the engine by manipulating the throttle but did not succeed, he abandoned the aircraft then and it crashed, exploded and burned. It was totally destroyed but neither of the crew was injured.

The Chief Engineering Officer who examined the wreckage stated that he found both mixture controls in the auto cut out position. The pilot stated that the port mixture controls was in the auto rich position locked and the starboard one in idle cut off. The C.E.O. found no fault in the port engine fuel pump magneto or ignition.

Findings of Investigation:

Circumstances: A/C was flying at 4000' with stbd. engine 'feathered', when port engine failed. Pilot failed to restart either engine, so pilot and crew 'baled out', plane crashed in wooded area.

Causes: Faulty cockpit drill on part of pilot, ie: mixture control in "idle cut-out."

Recommendations: That feathering be carried out under supervision of an instructor. As it is an emergency device it is suggested that with pupil pilots with little experience of the a/c, 'feathering' to be used only in emergency when solo.

Remarks by C.O.:

The C.O. did not concur in the findings and subscribed to the report of the Chief Instructor attached to the proceedings. This report disagreed with the findings on the grounds that there was not sufficient evidence to support them.

Observations by A.O.C,:

Although the evidence is not conclusive, I do not concur with the finding under the circumstances, especially in view of of the evidence of the Chief Flying Instructor, who states that the pilot is inclined to make hasty decisions.

The recommendation in para.14 is not agreed with as pupils have extensive dual instruction in feathering airscrews and single engine flying and it is considered essential that they should carry out this very important practice by themselves in order to gain confidence.

Conclusions of Accident Investigation Branch:

Agree with the findings and with the remarks of the A.O.C.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE659/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

08-August-1943: At 2100 hrs. Ventura I, AE659 pilot - R172001 P/O. G.H.K. Begg a pupil of No.16 course - was on a day training flight, single-engine flying, when the port engine failed. As the starboard engine was feathered, both the pilot and W.A.G. made a parachute descent and landed without injury. The aircraft crashed. Cat. "A".

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

10 August 1943

Ventura GRV FN973 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Bay of Fundy @ 1855 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
LAWS, Sgt. Russell NZ421515 Pilot Missing
LEDINGHAM, P/O Rpbert Alexander J/27450 Navigator Killed
ALBREY, Sgt. Trevor Alexander NZ425583 Wireless Air Gunner Missing
ALLEN, F/O Joseph Cletus C/6555 Air Gunner Missing

Object of Flight:

Low level cross country at 250 ft. above the ground and sea. Base - Quance Head - Base. Duration 3 hrs.

Weather:

At base 3 to 6/10 cloud at 3500 ft. Visibility 12 miles. Low stratus cloud reported more than 20 miles S. of the aerodrome, height unknown.

Description of Flight:

The aircraft took off at 1655 hrs. GMT, the presence of the crew in the aircraft being established by the evidence. At 1855 hrs. it returned from the cross country and contacted the control tower requesting permission to bomb Utopia range. The Aircraft was not seen by the Range crew. At 1853 hrs. and at 1900 hrs. a Ventura was seen by two other Venturas heading out to sea. At 2330 hrs. a searching aircraft returned to base and reported sighting a yellow object in the sea 8 miles East of North Head. On the 11th August a search in this area resulted in a water container, 3 ration boxes, 1 sleeping bag, all marked No.973 being found as well as the body of P/O Ledingham. Sundry small pieces of broken aircraft flooring were also found in the area but none of it actually could be identified as part of the aircraft.

Findings of Investigation:

Circumstances: That aircraft complete cross country and requested and obtained permission to bomb at local range, but nothing further was heard until a/c reported overdue. Following day body of observer and pieces of 973 found in Bay of Fundy.

Cause: The cause of the accident is obscure as the a/c is missing.

Remarks by C.O.:

There is insufficient evidence to show why this a/c crashed into the sea. The a/c and three members of the crew are still missing.

Conclusions of Accidents Investigation Branch:

Cause obscure. Aircraft missing.

Note: The three missing members of the crew may reasonably be presumed dead.

SOURCE: File 1300-FN973-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5937.

Station ORBs

10-August-1943: Five aircraft took-off for a navigation cross country flight with bombing and air firing exercise on return. Four aircraft completed the exercise but the fifth, Ventura GRV. FN973 failed to return. The last communication from this aircraft was received by R/T after the cross country had been completed and permission to proceed to the Bombing Range was requested and given. The crew are missing, their names being as follows:- Pilot - NZ421515 Sgt. Laws R., Navigator - R158188 P.O. R.A. Ledingham, W.A.G. - NZ425583 Sgt. T.A. Albrey, A.G. - C6555 P.O. J.C. Allen, all were members of No.16 Course.

10-August-1943: Two aircraft and two marine craft searched for FN973 without results, and a further search was organized to commence at first light on the 11th.

11-August-1843: Search for FN973 was continued with nine aircraft from Pennfield, 8 from Summerside, 9 from Moncton, 72 from Yarmouth, 8 from Debert, 9 from Darmouth, 1 from Saint John and 4 from Bar Harbour. The following marine craft also searched:- Pennfield Crash Boat, 1 Coastguard Cutter from Bar Harbour and 1 Navy Patrol Boat and 1 Coastguard Cutter from Eastport. Wreckage from FN973 was found by the Pennfield Crash Boat, M413 south of the Wolves.

12-August-1943: The body of P.O. R.A. Ledingham, Navigator of FN973 was picked up by fisherman, south of the Wolves and was brought into Black's Harbour by our crash boat.

14-August-1943: F.O. K.M. MacMillan left on temporary duty, escorting the body of P.O. R.A. Ledingham, to Moosejaw, Sask.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: See the following newspaper articles for additional information:-

1) Airman's body taken from damaged raft after plane crashed; and

2) Identify Three Fliers Missing Since Tuesday.

16 August 1943

16-August-1943: Two crews completed navigational cross country flights and four crews took-off on night cross country flights; one crew completed the exercise but the remaining three had to be diverted to Moncton owing to the weather closing in here. They consisted of Ventura 930 P.O. Henderson, 967 Sgt. Robertson and 974 Sgt. Sideway.

18-August-1943: The three crews diverted to Moncton on the 16th, returned to Base.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

23 August 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE663 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome@ 0045 hours - Category "B"

SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BEGG, P/O George Henry Knight J/27527 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
CURTIS, Sgt. Kenneth George NZ422987 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Night training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Stbd leg  collapsed on faulty landing causing a/c to swing and oleo leg to collapse.

Cause of Accident: 40. Heavy landing - flying into ground./ 4. Heavy.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 61. Swinging on landing./ 25. Inexperience.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Log book endorsed "Inexperience"

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

23-August-1943: "At 2145 hrs. Ventura 1, AE663 (pilot:- R172001 P.O. G.H.K. Begg a pupil of No.16 Course) made a heavy landing and was damaged Cat. "B". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

25 August 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE930 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 2200 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
HILSDEN, Sgt. Roger Norman GB1602356 Pilot Uninjured
McKELLAR, P/O David Alastair GB152661 Navigator Uninjured
HADDOCK, Sgt. Ieuan R/164709 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
SHANKS, Sgt. Lloyd A. R190156 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Stbd oleo leg collapsed while taxiing after normal landing.

Cause of Accident: 33. Technical defect./ 8/ U/C failure.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 35. U/C defect.

Technical Officer's Report: Defective down lock, caused probably by heavy landing, causing the locking pin to bend from its housing.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

25-August-1943: At 2200 hours G.M.T. GB1602356 Sgt. Hilsden R.N. a pupil of No.15 Course was taxying Ventura II, AE930 when the starboard oleo leg collapsed through a technical defect and the aircraft was damaged. Cat. "C". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

16 September 1943

16-September-1943: "Five crews took-off for navigational cross country exercises but had to be diverted to Moncton owing to the weather closing in at Base."

17-September-1943: The five Venturas diverted to Moncton on the 16th. inst. returned to Base.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

16 September 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE674 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1300 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
VANDERBURGH, Lt. L.   Pupil Pilot Uninjured
WHITE, F/O Ralph S. J/15278 Pilot Uninjured
LINDSAY, Cecil Robert NZ417217 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Port oleo leg collapsed due to heavy landing.

Cause of Accident: Inexperience - investigating officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE674/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

16-September-1943: At 1300 hours G.M.T. Lt. L. Vanderburg a R.N.N.A.S. pupil pilot of No.20 Course, made a heavy landing in Ventura I, AE 674 and the aircraft was damaged cat. "B" owing to the port oleo leg collapsing. Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

23 October 1943

Ventura Mk.II AJ164 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1510 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
SQUANCE, P/O John Martyn GB153549 Pilot Uninjured
Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Landed the a/c with u/c retracted. There were no technical failures.

Cause of Accident: 34. Wheels up landing.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 24. Carelessness.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Log book endorsed.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

23-October-1943: At 1510 G.M.T. Ventura II, AJ164 (Pilot J.M. Squance, a pupil of No.22 Course) landed from a day training flight with wheels up and the aircraft was damaged Cat. "B". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

27 October 1943

Ventura Mk.II AJ448 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0130 hours -Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
SQUANCE, P/O John Martyn GB153549 Pilot Uninjured
ANDERSON, Sgt. Herbert Lawrence R/197565 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Night training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Aircraft parked at taxying post was run into by another aircraft.

Cause of Accident: Hit by aircraft AE703 - investigating officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AJ448/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

27-October-1943: At 0130 G.M.T. Ventura II, A.J. 448 (Pilot - 153549 P.O. J.M. Squance, a pupil of No.22 Course) was run into by another aircraft when parked on taxying post during a night training flight. The aircraft was damaged Cat. "B". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

30 October 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE676 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1300 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
STEPHENS, F/O Stanley John Cecil GB116051 Pilot Uninjured
PARK, F/S R.H. R/166127 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: While taxiing at the completion of a landing run, the tail oleo collapsed due to a technical failure.

Cause of Accident: 33. Technical failure./ 18. Misc. Techincal.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 35. U/C defect.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

30-October-1943: At 1300 G.M.T. Ventura I, AE676 (Pilot - 116051 F.O. S.J.C. Stephens a pupil of No.23 Course) was damaged Cat. "C", when the tail oleo leg collapsed on landing after a day training flight. The accident happened whilst the aircraft was being taxied and was caused by a technical fault. Nobody was injured.

14 November 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE851 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1715 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
NORTON, P/O Albert Kitchener J/29361 Pilot Uninjured
FLETCHER, Sgt. Allan Lindsay AUS492430 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Pilot made heavy landing during a single engine approach.

Cause of Accident: 40. Heavy landing - flying into ground./ 4. Heavy.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 25. Inexperience.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").</p>

Station ORBs

14-Movmember-1943: At 1715 G.M.T. Ventura II, AE861, Pilot - J29361 P.O. A.K. Norton, a pupil of No.24 Course, made a heavy landing after a single engine approach training flight, causing the starboard oleo leg to break. The aircraft was damaged Cat. "C'. Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

20 November 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE946 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Blissfield, NB @ 1915 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
WYJAD, P/O Maurice J/29285 Pilot Uninjured
HUTTON, Sgt. Francis Gilbert AUS422914 Navigator Uninjured
LINDSAY, F/S Cecil Robert NZ417217 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
ROSS, Sgt. Colin James NZ425176 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Swung on landing after diversion to strange aerodrome due to weather conditions.

Cause of Accident: Overshooting runway - investigating officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE946/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

Station ORBs

20-November-1943: Five aircraft in a formation cross country flight from this Unit landed at Blissville, N.B. owing to the weather closing down here, one aircraft swung after landing, causing the starboard oleo leg to collapse and the aircraft was damaged Cat. "B". Nobody was injured. The pilot was P.O. M. Wyjad a pupil of No.20 Course.

21-November-1943: Two of the aircraft forced down at Blisseville yesterday, returned to Base.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

25 November 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE928 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1400 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
SIMPSON, P/O S.B. R/225122 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
GARVIE, Sgt. James Harvie R/72025 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Wheels up landing, inexperience on type.

Cause of Accident: 34. Wheels up landing./ 7. Other.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 25. Inexperience./ 32. U/C drill - in air.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Log book endorsed.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

25-November-1943: At 1400 G.M.T. Ventura I, AE928, pilot - R225122 P.O. S.B. Simpson, a pupil of No.24 Course, landed from a local day training flight with "wheels up". The aircraft was damaged Cat. "B". Nobody was injured.

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

25 November 1943

Ventura Mk.I AE669 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1510 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
WHITE, F/L Raymond Arthur Cecil de Courcy, DFM Pilot Uninjured
ALLEN, F/O Arthur Robert GB49254 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day ferrying flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Pilot was requested by C.T. to land short on runway with a snow obstruction at windward end. Pilot, in carrying out Precautionary landing, touched snow bank at leeward end with Port wheel, causing Port u/c to collapse on landing.

Cause of Accident: 6. Collision. Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

25-November-1943: At 1510 G,M.T. F.L. R.A.C. White, a flying instructor at this Unit, returning from a ferrying flight, received instructions from the Control Tower to land Ventura I, AE669 short on runway, owing to an obstruction at the windward end. In carrying out a precautionary landing, the aircraft touched a snow bank causing the port oleo leg to collapse. The aircraft was damaged Cat. "B". Nobody was injured.

No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

28 November 1943

Hudson BW694 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1915 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
WILLIAMS, F/S Robert Lionel Topham GB1388802 Pilot Uninjured
PLUMMER, F/O Alfred Norman GB125147 Passenger Uninjured
HODGSON, Cpl. F.E. GB339010 Passenger Uninjured
DENNISON, Cpl. S.H. GB625637 Passenger Uninjured
BEECH, LAC C. GB999501 Passenger Uninjured
PEACOCK, AC1 D. GB1047052 Passenger Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Air Test.

Nature and short description of accident: Ground loop on landing causing port wheel to collapse.

Cause of Accident: Swinging on landing - investigation officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-BW694/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5936.

01 December 1943

Ventura Mk.III FD728 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 2020 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
KNICKERBOCKER, F/O Gordon H. J/15473 1st Pilot Uninjured
DODDSDODDS, P/O L.A. J/17549 Passenger Uninjured
ASTRIDGE, F/S Jack Ronald GB551564 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Local Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Tail oleo leg collapsed when tail wheel unlocked at the end of landing run.

Cause of Accident: Heavy Landing - investigation officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-FD728/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5936.

06 December 1943

Ventura Mk.III FD693 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1405 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
HARDER, P/O Lloyd Jacob J/35622 Pilot Uninjured
IRVINE, F/O A.E.H. J/22558 Navigator Uninjured
SIM, Sgt. John King R/192875 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
McKINNON, Sgt. R.P. R/186694 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: U/C failed to lock after correct cockpit drill had been carried out.

Cause of Accident: 33. Technical fault./  5. U/C failure.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 31. U/C down but not fully locked./ 35. U/C defect.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

06-December-1943: "...landing from a day training flight...owing to the undercarriage failing to lock after correct cockpit drill had been carried out."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

Reflections of an airmen:

School was now over, but training continued when, after a short leave, we were posted t #34 OTU at Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick. This was an RAF Operational Training Unit, where crews were formed and converted to operational aircraft. In our case, we were being converted to medium bombers, with a crew of four. Pilot and Observer, later referred to as Navigator B, in the forward part o the fuselage and Wireless Air Gunner and Air Gunner in the rear. Our training was primarily practical, to become familiar with operational procedures on two engine aircraft, principally the Vega Ventura.

In about three months, we completed about 65 flights totalling 110 hours, involving exercises in flying, navigation, and bombing and gunnery. My function was to thoroughly understand the Bendix Radio and Bendix turret with its .50-calibre machine guns, as well as some wireless telegraphy (WT). All flying exercises proved to be adventurous, at least partly because the Ventura was a cumbersome and sluggish aircraft.

Three incidents, however, stood out.

The first was a sort of crash landing in a Ventura. As we were preparing to land, a horn warned us that the landing gear was not in locked-down position. The pilot tried to make another circuit but, instead, flooded the engines and in we came, with no apparent problem, except that the horn was still blowing. The navigator shouted to get the door open. So I did, and the crew came bailing out, with me bringing up the rear. As we stood beside the aircraft with the horn still blowing, suddenly the undercarriage collapsed and the aircraft was on its belly. We were lucky to be on the outside - and the horn stopped blowing.

The second incident occurred as we were on a wireless exercise over the Bay of Fundy. My job was to do some work on the unitized Bendix radio. I had just removed one of the transmitter units when, suddenly, both engines sputtered and died. "Send a Mayday" the pilot shouted to me. "You've got to be kidding" I shouted back, with a vital part of the radio in my hand. Well, the Ventura is not known for its gliding ability and, below the Bay of Fundy was rising up to met us. I began to despair when, as I with intervention from above, I heard the pilot utter the magic word, "shit," as he switched fuel tanks and the engines roared back into action. We estimated we had lost about 5000 feet in altitude in that seemingly interminable period of time.

The third incident ended far more tragically. Seven days [four days] before we were to complete our training at Pennfield Ridge, we were on a low-level exercise with full crews in a formation of three aircraft in a 'vic" [V formation, usually of three aircraft]. We were in the number three position on the port side of the leader, a RAF pilot, flying tree-top level. As we reached Charlottetown [McAdam], number two, on the starboard side, whacked a flagpole [water level indicator] atop a railroad water tank. Game over and loss of a great crew.

This cast a pail over our graduation parade which was not really dispelled when the CO congratulated the remaining eleven [seven] crews with the loss of "only" one crew.

SOURCE: "Wartime Exploits" by John K. Sim . Taken from the book "Grumpy Flies Again (A Collection of World War II Anecdotes)".

16 December 1943

Ventura Mk.III FD697 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1950 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
STEPHENS, F/O Stanley John Cecil GB116051 Pilot Uninjured
YOUNG, Sgt. H.O. GB394360 Navigator Bomber Uninjured
WESTGARTH-TAYLOR, F/O Clifford GB151180 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
DURLING, P/O Russell David J/36594 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Low Level Cross Country Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Came in contact with cable during authorized low level cross country exercise. Pilot briefed for minimum height 250ft. due to inexperience he came below this height but it is not considered a deliberate breach of standing orders.

Cause of Accident: Inexperience - investigation officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-FD697/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

17 December 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE925 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1230 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
HENNING, P/O H.J.M. J/35647 Pilot Uninjured
PETERKIN, Sgt. F.D. R/166338 Navigator Bomber Uninjured
MATTHEWS, Sgt. Donald J. R/194764 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
SWARTZ, Sgt. M. R/203363 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: A/C 925 taxied into A/C 637 (unoccupied) while attempting to park the A/C in front of the hangar.

Cause of Accident: Hitting other A/C - investigating officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE925/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

17 December 1943

Bolingbroke IV 9177 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1745 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
WILLIAMS, F/S Robert Lionel Topham GB1388802 Pilot Uninjured
WARD, LAC J. GB939430 Passenger Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Port oleo collapsed on opening up to take-off. A/C had only travelled 75 yds. A/C swung to port, causing stbd oleo to collapse.

Classification: Technical defect.

Secondary Or Contributory Factors: U/C defect.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Court Of Inquiry OR Investigating Officer's Report:

Cause: Pilot error in having cockpit u/c control lever in "up" position while taxiing out and taking off.

Remarks of Unit C.O.: This accident would appear to be due to faulty cockpit check on part of pilot, i.e., he failed to ensure that u/c control lever was "down" before taxiing out.

Conclusions of A.I.B.: Agree with findings.

Action taken: Log book endorsed "Carelessness".

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

17-December-1943: "...was preparing to take-off in Bolingbroke 9177 for Drogue towing, when the port oleo leg collapsed after the aircraft had traveled only 75 yds. After the collapse, the aircraft swung to port, causing the starboard oleo to collapse and the aircraft was damaged."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364.

19 December 1943

Ventura Mk.III FD697 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - McAdam Junction, NB @ 1520 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
CHRISTENSEN, P/O Caryle George J/35729 Pilot Killed
BARTS, Sgt. Roy Joseph R/151359 Navigator Bomber Killed
ANDERSON, Sgt. Herbert Lawrence R/197565 Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner Killed
CULL, Sgt. George Christopher R/151223 Air Gunner Killed

Object of Flight:

Low level formation cross county flight. One pilot only.

Weather:

7/10 strato nimbus cloud at 3,000 feet. Visibility 8 miles. Wind S.W. 6 m.p.h.

Pilot:

P/O C.G. Christensen's flying time as pilot:
Aircraft Dual Solo
Cornell 35.10 hours 39.30 hours
Anson 20.40 hours 66.45 hours
Crane 73.20 hours 66.45 hours
Ventura 11.40 hours 59.40 hours

Description of Flight:

<illegible>

Findings of Investigation:

From the evidence both of Witnesses and photographic it is evident that Ventura FD697 crashed as a direct result of striking the water level indicator on top of the Water tank located in the marshalling yards at McAdam.

The aircraft was flying below the approved height of 250 feet at the time of impact as the height of the Tower is 80 feet and the water level indicator extends another 30 feet above. At the time of the accident Ventura FD 697 was in formation with GRV 972 flown by Flight Sergeant Merhige an Instructor of No. 34 O.T.U. and leader of the formation. Both these aircraft were at the same height at the time of the impact.

It is considered that the accident occurred due to the concentration on the part of P/O. Christensen the Pilot of FD 697 to maintain formation with his leader and that it is unlikely that he saw the obstruction. It is further considered that the responsibility for the accident rests with the leader of the formation who lead his flight through a simulated bombing attack at a height which did not permit clearance of obstructions.

Recommendations: It is recommended that Disciplinary action should be taken against No. R.141524 Flight Sergeant Merhige, Edmond George, for flying and conducting his formation at a height lower than permitted by Air Force Routine Orders e.g., 250 feet.

Remarks by C.O.:

I concur in the finding - although there can be no doubt that Flight Sergeant Merhige disobeyed the regulations governing the height at which all low flying exercises are to be carried out, I am of the opinion that it was intention to simulate as near as possible actual operational conditions as called for in the syllabus, and owing to an error of judgment led his flight in to attack the Marshalling Yard at a height below the safe limit.

Observations by A.O.C,:

<illegible>

Conclusions of Accident Investigation Branch:

Apparent that responsibility for accident placed on leader of formation, disciplinary action being taken. F/S Merhige had signed as having read A.M.P.A.696 which deals with low flying. S.A.S.O. has given instructions that McAdam be not used as low flying target in future.

SOURCE: File 1300-FD697-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

TRANSCRIBERS NOTES: See "Four Airmen Killed In Crash Of Bombing Plane At McAdam".

19 December 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE923 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Railway Station (three quarters mile from aerodrome) @ 1545 hours - Category "A" 

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BASTABLE, Sgt. Thomas Henry GB1523043 Pilot Slightly Injured
MATHELS, Sgt. H.G.S. GB798766 Wireless Air Gunner Slightly Injured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Forced landing caused by one engine cutting due to pilot having checked fuel contents of the wrong tank and thus running out of fuel on the tank selected.

Cause of Accident: Careless/ Inexperience - Investigating officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE923/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

21 December 1943

Mosquito KB173 attached to No.36 OTU Greenwood, NS - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1300 hours

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BARLEY, F/O Basil George GB138202 Pilot Uninjured
TAYLOR, Sgt. W.B. GB1459680 Navigator Uninjured

"Precautionary landing made as a result of icing conditions being experienced."

SOURCE: No.36 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

23 December 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE867 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0255 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
LOHR, P/O Ffrederick William J/36479 Pilot Uninjured
BARLOW, P/O J.S. J/36816 Navigator Uninjured
PARK, F/S R.H. R/166127 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
STEWART, Sgt. Norman O. R/260262 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Night Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Undercarriage failed to lock and pilot guilty of faulty cockpit drill (he failed to check this).

Cause of Accident: Undercarriage down but not fully locked - investigation officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE867/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934

30 December 1943

Ventura GRV. FN979 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1940 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
THORENTON, P/O J.H. J/37980 Pilot Uninjured
KNICKERBOCKER, F/O Gordon H. J/15473 Staff Pilot Uninjured
KNIGHT, P/O D.A. R/171484 Pilot Uninjured
MacDONALD, P/O J.F. J/16282 Navigator Uninjured
EDWARDS, F/S R.C. R/131930 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Aircraft swung viciously to port with a pupil pilot flying. There was no dual control fitted, the staff pilot realizing the aircraft could not clear the trees at the edge of the aerodrome, raised the undercarriage.

Cause of Accident: Swung.

Secondary Cause of Accident: U/C Drill - On Ground.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

30-December-1943: "...was taking off for a local day training flight when the aircraft swung to port. As there was no dual control fitted to the aircraft, the instructor, realizing that the aircraft would hit trees at the edge of the aerodrome, retracted the undercarriage and the aircraft was damaged."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

31 December 1943

Ventura Mk.III FD730 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0115 hours - Category "D"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
McGOWAN, P/O Ernest Howard J/36173 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
CLARK, Sgt. William George Hugh R/170728 Navigator Uninjured
ROSS, F/S A. Edward R/161679 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
McWHIRTER, Sgt. William George R/206353 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Night training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Owing to a film of oil on the windscreen, the pilot was unable to see clearly, consequently he levelled off too high on landing, and on touching down the A/C swung sharply to port, off the runway onto rough ground. Pilot applied brakes in an effort to stop the aircraft, causing the tail to come up and the propellor tips to touch the ground.

Cause of Accident: 39. Flattening out too soon./ 7. Other.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 61. Swinging on landing./ 4. Harsh use of brakes./ 36. Nosing up.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

21-December-1943: "...on returning from a night training flight...P.O. E.H. McGotsan <McGowan> (Pilot)...was unable to see clearly owing to oil on the windscreen and on coming in to land, levelled off to high and on touching the runway swung sharply to port on to rough ground. The pilot applied the brakes in an effort to stop the aircraft, causing the tail to come up and the propeller tips to touch the ground."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: "This is not recorded in dad's Log Book, like I thought it should. However I remember dad talking about this incident. An oil line broke apparently and as the report mentions covered the windshield. I remember him saying it was a frightening experience bringing the plane in under those circumstances.

Of course they always went over the plane with a fine tooth comb, to make sure it was not pilot fault which in this case was mechanical failure."

Source: E-mail from Lynda Lougheed, d/o P/O E.H. McGowan (J/36173) to G. Christian Larsen - 04 May 2011.

31 December 1943

Ventura Mk.II AE907 attached to No.34 OTU at Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0220 hours - Category "D"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
FOGARTY, F/O Francs Richard AUS414397 Pilot Uninjured
DAWES, Sgt. Walter George AUS428549 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Night Training Flight

Nature and short description of accident: Pilot used the brakes too severely causing the aircraft to tip up on its nose at the end of the landing run.

Cause of Accident: Nosing up.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE907/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934

01 January 1944

Ventura Mk.II AE926 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1715 - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
COLES, F/O Herbert James J/23449 Pilot Uninjured
MAYER, P/O Sheppard Edwin J/38998 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
BURN, Sgt. Edward D. GB1672857 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
BURROWS, Sgt. Kenneth GB1046292 Pupil Pilot Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: A/C turning to port while taxiing, slid sideways on snow covered ice. When stbd wheel made contact with bare runway, the stbd oleo leg collapsed.

Cause of Accident: 1. Bad surface of aerodrome./ 10. Bad ground.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 35. Cross winds and gusts.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

01-January-1944: "...after landing from a local day training flight, On turning to port whilst taxying, the aircraft slid sideways owing to the bad surface caused by snow covered ice, and the starboard oleo leg collapsed."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

02 January 1944

Ventura Mk.III FD732 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1835 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
TIVEY, P/O Richard William GB154023 Pilot Uninjured
JONES, Sgt. David Arthur GB1459484 Navigator Uninjured
BROWN, P/O Ronald Davies GB154102 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
MUYSSO?, Sgt. A.P. GB516691 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: A/C swung to port on take-off run. Pilot used port engine in attempt to check swing. Swing to stbd resulted and a/c ran off runway onto rough ground.

Cause of Accident: 9. Swinging./ 2. Swung.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 32. Pilot error.Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

02-January-1944: "...was taking off on a day training flight when the aircraft swung to port. The pilot attempted to correct by opening starboard engine, resulting in a swing to starboard and the aircraft ran off the runway on to rough ground."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

09 January 1944

Ventura Mk.I AE676 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @1445- Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
DYOS, Sgt. J.H.R. GB1804705 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
ENDACOTT, Sgt. J.A. R/170686 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Tail oleo collapsed shortly after a/c touched down on runway.

Cause of Accident: 31. U/C down but not fully locked./ 5. U/C failure.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 33. Technical defect./ 35. U/C defect.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Court of Inquiry or Investigating Officer's Report: Possible contributory factor, pilot did not allow sufficient  time for oleo leg to lock.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

"...on landing from a day training flight..the tail oleo leg collapsed owing to same being down but not fully locked."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

10 January 1944

Ventura Mk.I AE677 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1300 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BURROWS, Sgt. Kenneth GB1046292 Pupil Pilot Slightly Injured
McNEIL, Sgt. A.H. R/137662 Wireless Air Gunner Slightly Injured

Purpose of Flight: Training Flight.

Nature of Accident: Both engines cut (one second before the other) when a/c was 200-300' during a normal landing approach. A/C dropped sharply and pilot failed to correct in time. A/C "mushed" on to ground. Port engine caught fire and a/c burnt out.

Classification: 4. Heavy.

Secondary or Contributing Factors: 26. Engine trouble - accident.

Court of Inquiry or Investigating Officer's Report:

Findings:

Conclusions of A.I.B.: The cause of this accident remains obscure but it is, despite the evidence given by the pilot, considered to have resulted from mismanagement of the flying and engine controls.

Conclusions of C.I. Accidents: This accident was certainly due to the pilot mishandling the controls. The flaps were not damaged in the crash and from photographic evidence the flaps were "up". It appears that the pilot inadvertently raised the flaps at low altitude and stalled the aircraft.

Action Taken.: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

~click on photographs~

</td>

12 January 1944

Ventura Mk.II AE871 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 2340 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
DYOS, Sgt. J.H.R. GB1804705 Pilot Uninjured
THURSFIELD, Sgt. GB1071768 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: While taxiing down runway to line up for take-off, pilot was ordered to clear runway by C.T., via R/T. Pilot taxied off runway and ran into the wreckage of an engine from a previous crash. The wrecked engine was not marked by lights. It was 40 yards, off runway.

Cause of Accident: 2. Hitting obstructions./ 9. Collisions.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

12-January-1944: "...whilst taxying down runway to line up for takeoff on a night training flight was ordered to get clear of the runway by the Control Tower. The pilot taxied off the runway into the wreckage of an engine from a previous crash causing damage to port oleo leg. The wrecked engine was not marked by lights."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

Memories from Course No.23 (Pilots): 18 October 1943-14 January 1944<

"On one of our navigation training night flights across the U.S. border and back, Doc [Peter Ryan] said we should land at a Newfoundland airport to have our navigation radio repaired; when I flew low over the runway to have the runway lights turned on, a guy in a pick up truck started laying flares along the runway because it had no runway lights, but I didn't wait for the flares as I could easily see the runway in the clear moonlight and I turned on my landing lights and started to land; this is when the pickup operator very quickly jumped in his cab and drove it off the runway.

While the radio crew repaired our navigation radio I had to wait in the control tower while the rest of my crew attended a dance on the station. I thought of the possibility that Doc knew there was a dance there that night, so he pretended that our radio was broken down as an excuse to attend at the dance, but I never mentioned it.

The safety officer came up to the control tower and asked who landed that plane, when I said I did, he told me I made an excellent landing in the dark.

By the way, there was a note in the front page of my log book that said that my night vision was too poor to fly a plane in the dark, but there's no way I would ever point that out to anyone.

SOURCE: E-mail from Cyrille E. J. (Cy) Poissant - 21 October 2007.

18 January 1944

Ventura Mk.III FD689 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Derby, NB (15 miles SW of Newcastle) @ 1859 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
WOOD, Sgt. J. GB1569946 Pilot Uninjured
VINES, Sgt. A.G.C. GB1802581 Navigator Uninjured
BROOKS, Sgt. L.J. GB1371646 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
TONKIN, Sgt. Joseph Arthur GB1586859 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Engines failed while changing petrol tanks in air necessitating wheels up forced landing.

Cause of Accident: 54. Engine failure in the air./ 11. Forced landing.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 34. Wheels up landing./ 26. Engine trouble - accident.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

"...crashed-landed  at Derby, NB 15 miles S.W. of Newcastle."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

19 January 1944

Ventura Mk.II AE907 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - two miles SW of Digby, NS on the Neckroad @ 1735 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
SHAPKA, Sgt. George William R/187485 Pupil Pilot Slightly Injured
HARRICKS, Sgt. Peter Neville Hughes AUS33735 Wireless Air Gunner Seriously Injured

Objective of Flight:

Local flying - precautionary and single engine landings. Duration one hour.

Weather:

1430 hours GMT at Base (Time of take off on flight) visibility 10 miles; ceiling 900 ft.; wind E.S.E. 6 m.p.h.; temperature 32; dew point 27.

Pilot:

Sgt. Shapka, pilot, total flying time 240:50 hours; time on type 11:25 hours; consisting of 5:50 hours dual and 5:35 hours solo. His ability on the type was considered average for the stage of instruction therein had reached.

Sgt. Harricks, WAG, total flying time 303:40 hours; time on type 7:10 hours. After graduating from Wireless School he was employed as staff operator at No.4 AOS from 13th Aug. to 31 Dec./43. He commenced training at No.34 OTU on 3rd Jan./44 and his time in the air there up to the day of the accident had been spent on circuits and landings.

Description of Flight:

The aircraft was duly D.I.'d on the 18th of Jan., and its fuel tank were filled during the inspection. Its first flight on the 19th was from 1210 hours to 1315 hours GMT, during which it was flown solo by Sgt. Shapka. From 1330 hours to 1415 hours GMT Flying Officer Morden, a flying instructor, flew the aircraft with Sgt. Shapka along under instruction. On both of these flights Sgt. Harricks was the WAG. During the second flight the radio went u/s and Sgt. Harricks was unable to find the trouble. When the aircraft landed he got a WOG to go over the radio and the WOG found and remedied the trouble. Flying Officer Morden had authorized Sgt. Shapka to practice circuits and landings for one hour and he took off again in the aircraft about 1430 hours GMT with Sgt. Harricks as WAG. The aircraft had not been refueled following the two previous flights and at the time of take off on this third flight the front main tank were full, the rear mains contained 30 gallons each according to the gauges and the auxiliary tanks 15 gallons each.

The aircraft made two circuits during which time Sgt. Shapka had observed that the weather was beginning to close in. At 1515 hours GMT, by which time the aircraft had taken off on its third circuit, the Flying Control Officer washed out flying and recalled all aircraft that were in the air. The subject aircraft, when on its third circuit, came out of a cloud patch at 1,000 ft. altitude and Sgt. Shapka, seeing another aircraft 2-300 yds. ahead and in his path, made a descending turn to the starboard to avoid collision. He recovered from the turn at 200 ft. but stated that he could not see the aerodrome. He climbed to 500 ft. following for a short time the same course by directional gyre that he had been flying in the cloud before he made the diving turn to starboard. Then he made a 60 turn to port, flew this course for 5 minutes but did not locate the aerodrome. Thereupon he climbed to 3,000 ft., started circling, came down to 350 ft., did not get a clear view of the ground and climbed to 6,000 ft. where he cleared the clouds. At this time Sgt. Shapka had Sgt. Harricks inform base by R/T that they were lost. Sgt. Harricks had contacted base by R/T and had received instructions that flares would be fired, that the cloud base was 550 ft. and the aircraft was to descend to 500 ft. Sgt. Shapka came down to 500 ft. but stated he could not see clearly, did not see base nor any flares and almost immediately climbed again. At this time the aircraft lost R/T contact with base.

The unit's radio facilities were all serviceable on the day of the accident except H/F D/F transmitter which was not. Transmitters in the Unit's aircraft are pre-set on four frequencies, namely R/T, base W/T, H/F D/F and MF D/F. Selection of any one is made by turning a switch. Dialing is thus eliminated and no skill on the part of the WAG is required to tune in on any of these channels. During the flight of the aircraft the intercom was u/s according to Sgt. Shapka and Sgt. Harricks but the evidence was not conclusive on this point and it seemed possible that they had not operated it properly. W/AG's receive instruction at the Unit in the method of securing bearings and stress is laid on the use of the radio compass as the best means of homing back to base when lost.

After losing R/T contact with the base Sgt. Harricks attempted to get a bearing by using the radio compass. Base MF beacon had been switched on and Sgt. Harricks did get a bearing on it which he gave to Sgt. Shapka. After flying on it for some time they found they had been flying the reciprocal and after turning they were unable to get another bearing on it because its signal was weak and another transmission (possibly Debert which is on the same frequency) interfered. Sgt. Harricks then took a bearing on the Fredericton radio station but Sgt. Shapka couldn't find the town when Sgt. Harricks calculated they were over it. Sgt. Harricks then tried to contact base by W/T but did not succeed and thereafter the radio was not used. Sgt. Harricks had used the radio compass twice in the air before and had received instruction for its use on the ground but had no experience with the equipment.

After failing to locate Fredericton Sgt. Shapka climbed to 10,000 ft. where he saw an opening in the clouds on the horizon. He flew towards this break and eventually down through it and force landed. Sgt. Shapka stated he drained the auxiliary tanks and gone back to the front main tanks while flying over the sea. When the front tank gauges showed empty he switched to the rear mains. When he was letting down from the cloud he turned the cross feed and auxiliary pumps on. He then selected a field for a precautionary landing and when he was turning down wind over the field the starboard motor sputtered and seemed to cut out. When this happened he turned off the cross feed and auxiliary pump and the motors cut out completely. He thereupon closed his throttles, straightened out and glided right in down wind with full flap, touching down lightly at high speed. The aircraft came to rest on top of a 1 ton Chevrolet truck on the road boarding the selected field.

Examination of the aircraft was made by two of the unit Engineering Officers and they found that the starboard main tanks had been split in the crash but that the port main tanks and both auxiliary tanks contained a total of 57 gallons of gasoline. It was also found that the starboard engine fuel supply lines on both sides of the engine-driven fuel pump and to the carburetor were full of fuel as well as the starboard carburetor. This evidence negatived the possibility of fuel exhaustion but it was stated that rapid descent from high altitude would have so cooled the motors that it was quite possible that they would cut out for a short time.

Findings of Investigation:

Causes: Inexperience and lack of knowledge on the part of both the pilot and the WAG leading to errors by both.

Recommendations:

1.

That Instructors make certain pupil pilots fully understand the Ventura fuel system.

2.

That consideration be given to Sgt. Shapka's suggestion on page 29 of teaching pupil pilots more on the use of the wireless equipment.

3.

That pupil WAGs be given more time on practical work in A/C types in the air both before and while in Conversion Flight.

4.

That Instructors do not allow pupils to go solo on any type of flight with the A/C inter-comm. radio not operating, as was done in this case.

5.

That pupils be ordered not to make solo flights of any kind with A/C inter.-comm. radio not operating.

6.

That consideration be given to Sgt. Harricks' suggestion on page 18 that the pupils be taught emergency procedure as a crew as well as individually.

7.

That the recommendation of S/L Denning on page 7 in re an improved di-electric for the feeders of H/F D/F station be carried out.

C.O.'s Remarks

It would appear that this accident was primarily due to the inexperience of the pilot and wireless operator. I cannot attach any blame to any one for I consider the training given to crews at this Unit is adequate and conscientiously carried out.

Conclusions of Accidents Investigation Branch:

Agree with the findings.

NOTE:

1.

The Investigating Officer made several additional findings on the evidence which contained in para.5 of his reports on page 50.
 

2.










The Investigating Officer, with whom the C.O. of the Unit agreed, found that the accident was due to the inexperience of the crew and the findings is concurred in. In view of this finding the provisions of C.A.P.100 regarding the qualifications of pilots are in point. The minimum flying time which a pilot must have on type in order to be considered qualified therein as second pilot, day, is 5 hours dual instruction and 5 hours solo. (Section 8, para.2 (a)) Sgt. Shapka's time on type was slightly more that this minimum and her may therefore be presumed to have qualified as second pilot, day, on type. In this case Sgt. Shapka had been authorized to fly solo with a crew of one but while a second pilot may be permitted to fly solo he may not do so with a crew of passenger unless accompanied by a qualified first pilot who acts as captain (Section 8, para.5). This provisions of C.A.P. 100 was not complied with here and if its purpose is to avoid such accidents as this, action to ensure compliance with it is recommended. The Flight Commander Conversion Flight at the Unit stated in his evidence that the 20 hours of the course allotted for conversion of the pilots to the type was insufficient and should be increased to at least 30 hours so that pilots will be better qualified when the pass to operational flight.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE907/ Library and Archives Canada/Copy Number C-5934.

BOOK

19th January. 1944 - Ventura 907 from Pennfield crash-landed in Digby Neck area. Mr. Sydney Westcott, official Observer at Yardley 150, after telephoning in the crash report, drove the two injured crewmembers, one of whom was seriously hurt, to Digby hospital. He then reported to the Yarmouth Station from the R.C.M.P. Headquarters in Digby and stated he would stand by at that office for any further action required of him. It is considered here that his observers work and complete co-operation are deserving of highest praise.

SOURCE: Watch And Warn (A Wartime Story of Canada's Homefront Aircraft Detection Corps) by Allan F. Coggon (2004).

TRANSCRIBERS NOTES: "See "Bomber Crashes On Road: 3 Injured"

~click on photographs~

O

25 January 1944

Ventura Mk.III FD742 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 2100 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
NORTON, P/O Albert Kitchener J/29361 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
YOUNG, Sgt. H.O. GB394360 Navigator Uninjured
WILSON, P/O James George J/27884 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
SCRIBNER, Sgt. Arthur Vernon R/166712 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Port oleo leg collapsed due to fracture of upper drag strut. Pilot made normal landing.

Cause of Accident: 31. U/C down but not fully locked./ 5. U/C failure.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

25-January-1944: "...the port oleo leg collapsing whilst the pilot was carrying out precautionary landing practice."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

26 January 1944

Ventura Mk.III FD740 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Chatham, NB @ 1600 hours

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
BURN, Sgt. Edward D. GB1672857 Pilot Uninjured
KIRK, P/O Alfred Charles GB154612 Navigator Uninjured</td>
SMITH, Sgt. George Vivian AUS419407 Wireless Operator Air Gunner Uninjured
FREEMAN, Sgt. J.R. GB1250048 Air Gunner Uninjured

Crew of Ventura FD740 took off from the Pennfield Ridge aerodrome at 1400 hours on a Cross Country Training Flight. As George Smith, the Wop/AG on this flight, recalls: "We were on a three leg cross country when the radio caught fire and we were left with no communications. As we were required to contact base at the end of each leg of the exercise skipper Ted Burn decided to land at Chatham so that we could advise base as to what had happened. That done the weather closed in suddenly and we were stuck at Chatham for 2 days. On the flight back to Pennfield we found the cloud base very low and landing in a snow storm was a bit scary."

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: Log book of F/O G.V. Smith shows they returned from Chatham 28 January 1944 at 1630 hours (1 hour flight). This crew would eventually be posted to 180 Squadron at Dunsfold, Surrey, England. During their third op. (07 August 1944), an attack on a German panzer division, their aircraft was badly damaged by flax and they forced landed in Northern France (none of the crew were injured). During their fourth op. (09 August 1944), an attack on an ammunition dump near Rouen, again their aircraft was seriously damaged by flak and they crash landed back in England. However this time the Navigator, P/O A.C. Kirk, was badly wounded and ultimately had his left leg amputated. With replacement Navigators [2] the crew had completed 44 operations when in December 1944 while stationed at Melsbroek airfield, Brussels, Ted Burn was accidentally shot in the head while sleeping on his bunk in their billet. He recovered but was paralyzed down his left side

SOURCE: Log book of F/O G.V. Smith ((copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society") and e-mails from George Smith (29 June 2010 and 3 July 2011).

2 February 1944

Ventura Mk.II AE925 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1345 hours - Category "D"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
KNICKERBOCKER, F/O Gordon H. J/15473 Staff Pilot Uninjured
MANNING, P/O George Edward GB153948 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
WATSON, Cpl. J. GB942208 Passenger/ Fitter 2E Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Taxing accident due carelessness. Stbd. wingtip damaged by contact with telegraph pole.

Cause of Accident: Hitting obstruction - investigating officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE925/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934

08 February 1944

Ventura Mk.III FD688 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1626 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
GROUNSELL, Sgt. Laurence GB1563255 Pilot Uninjured
HEARLE, Sgt. G.M. GB159660 Navigator Uninjured
JACKSON, Sgt. Frank William AUS424039 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
SHIELDS, Sgt. S.C. GB1439437 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Swung off runway after heavy landing due to inexperience of pupil pilot.

Cause of Accident: 40. Heavy landing - flying into ground./ 4. Heavy.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 61. Swinging on landing./ 25. Inexperience.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Paraded and has had pointed out to him the seriousness of damaging a/c.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

08-February-1944: "...made a heavy landing on returning from a day training flight and swung off the runway due to pilot's error."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

14 February 1944

Mosquito III HJ874 attached to No.36 OTU Greenwood - Greenwood aerodrome @ 1057 hours - Cat. "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
STEWART, F/L H.C. C/1494 Pilot Uninjured
>MAYER, P/O Sheppard Edwin J/38998 Passenger Uninjured

Duty On Which Engaged: Test flight.

Nature Of Accident: Swung on landing - stbd wheel caught in deep loose snow just on edge of runway.

Primary Cause: Swinging on landing.

Secondary Or Contributory Factors: Hit obstructions.

Action Taken: Pilot reproved.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: P/O S.E. Mayer (J/38998) was stationed at No.34 OTU, Pennfield Ridge at the time of this accident.

Reflections of an airmen:

On awakening, next morning, Mac and I were disturbed by Shep Mayer, who ran into the room saying excitedly, "Hurray up and put your things on - the C.F.I. has just promised us a flip in a Mosquito. Each of us is supposed to get some dual instruction.

What a stroke of luck!" MacEachern exclaimed, and his eyes lit up. "We'll be able to fly the world's fastest aircraft - the De Havilland plywood wonder! Let's get rolling!" In a few moments we dashed towards No.1 hangar, where a couple of instructors awaited us, ready to acquaint us with a cockpit layout.

Making a survey and a familiarisation check of all flight instruments and appendages, the instructor asked if we were all set.

Sure. Let's scramble!" eagerly said Mayer. The three of us climbed into different Mozzies for an hour's dual work. Taxi-ing into the propert runway, all kits were airborne in ten minutes. MacEachern's particular instructor, D.F.C. and bar, soarded his aircraft to 1,300 feet and said over the intercommunication system, "Okay - you have control."

With a roger, MacEachern took control and found this aerodynamically-perfected aircraft manoeuvred wonderfully. It responded to the slightest touch, even at death-defying speeds. The instructor again took control, pressed forward on the stick, drove the Mozzy earthwards at over 400 m.p.h. and did a loop as easily as a trained acrobat. Continuing at bullet speeds, he tossed and rolled the aircraft about the air playfully. Silencing a hydromatic full-feathering propellor, the instructor gave Mac a great flying demonstration, by showing him that the Mosquito was fully aerobatic on one engine! Mac had his strong arms on the control column once more, and he zoomed across apple trees tops like a streaking comet. Yes, this was a young man's thrill!

In time, the three planes ventured back to base, joined the circuit and went ahead with landing performances. My test pilot and I had scampered off the landing strip and were watching Shep Mayer and his instructor come in. His approach was decent, then suddenly, he swerved to one side and hit the banked snow on the runway edge. The snow shot up in a beautiful spray, like Old Faithful spluttering his vehemence, and the Mozzy came to a smashing, splintering stop. Unbelievably, and very fortunately, Shep wasn't hurt. Yes, we were certainly relieved when we saw Mayer crawling from the tangled wreckage after his test pilot. Shep had been at the controls, and a cross-wind had caught him, to thrust the aircraft sideways and thus disastrously. The Mozzy was known to fly like a bird in the air, but on the ground it performed like a doped broncho. Soon, photos were taken, and much excitement was derived therefrom.

Here, because of this hockey excursion, Shep had pranged an aircraft worth nearly $300,000. We told Shep, who was a former Toronto Maple Leaf N.H.L. player, that he would have to play nearly 70 years in that league to realize a sum like that.

SOURCE: Pennfield Ridge by Stanlee Obodiac (1949).

22 February 1944

Ventura Mk.II AE929 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 1730 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
CLINE, P/O John Anderson J/39454 Pilot Uninjured
SEANIGER, F/S Neville Alfred AUS426761 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Pilot ran out of fuel on petrol tank in use and failed to turn to available full tanks.

Cause of Accident: Carelessness - investigating officer not required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE929/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

~click on photographs~

05 March 1944

Ventura Mk.II AE954 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0130 hours - Category "D"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
PORTER, Sgt. D. GB1620807 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
PARKINSON, P/O A. R/70279 Nav. B Uninjured
LEMESSURIER, Sgt. R. GB798765 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
BAULK, Sgt. W.J. GB1106793 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Night Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Pupil pilot swung off runway after causing slight damage to aircraft. Visibility 15 Miles.

Cause of Accident: 61. Swinging.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 32. Pilot error.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

05-March-1944: "On landing from a night training flight...swing off the runway...The pilot states that the port engine out just prior to landing."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

08 March 1944

Ventura Mk.III FD637 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 2035 hours - Category "D"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
WALTON, Sgt. Colin Allan AUS10769 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
LEAVEY, Sgt. Thomas Kevin Francis Xavier AUS432007 Nav. B Uninjured
PATTISON, P/O J.C. J/17083 Navigator Uninjured
PITTENDRIGH, Sgt. Robert Nisbet AUS434575 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
HALL, Sgt. R.G. Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Day Training Flight.

\

Nature and short description of accident: Ground loop after landing.

Cause of Accident: 38. Ground loop.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

08-March-1944: "On landing from a training flight (day)...swung off the runway..."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

11 March 1944

Ventura Mk.III FD752 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 2320 hours- Category "D"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
McKENNA, P/O Arthur Edward J/39629 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
KINSBOROUGH, Sgt. G.C. R/165084 Navigator Uninjured
DEWAN, Sgt. L.M. R/151147 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
WARNER, Sgt. Walter George R/215361 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Pupil pilot swung off runway on take off.

Cause of Accident: 9. Swinging.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

11-March-1944: "...whilst taking off on a training flight...swung off the runway..."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

19 March 1944

Ventura Mk. II AE925 attached to No.34 OTU Pennfield Ridge - Scotch Settlement, NB @ 1630 hours - Category "A"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
HICKS, P/O Ernest Sankey J/39571 Pupil Pilot Seriously Injured
THOMPSON, P/O Frank William J/39305 Navigator-Bomber Killed
SOMERS, Sgt. George Robert R/203432 Wireless Air Gunner Killed
CORMIER, Sgt. Raymond Edward R/258970 Air Gunner Slightly Injured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Training Flight.

Nature and short description of accident: Crash on low level formation exercise.

Cause of Accident: Obscure - investigation officer required.

SOURCE: File 1300-AE925-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.

BOOK:

March 19, 1944 At 1625 ADT Chief Observer Harvey Duplessis, Observation Post Fundy 201, in the vicinity of Keswick, N.B. reported seeing an aircraft approximately 4 miles north-west of his Post which appeared to be in difficulty. Later he reported that it seemed to be about to crash and he could see volumes of black smoke arising from that locality. The above ADC Observer's report was received at ADC Reporting Centre Saint John, N.B. who immediately passed the information to Command Flying Control and upon checking it was ascertained that three Ventura aircraft were on exercises from RAF Station at Pennfield, N.B. The R.C.M. Police was notified and a guard placed around the aircraft pending arrival of RCAF authorities. It is understood that two crewmembers lost their lives and two were injured. The excellent reporting according to ADC instructions by Chief Observer Duplessis resulted in the aircraft being located at approximately the position given by him.

SOURCE: Watch And Warn (A Wartime Story of Canada's Homefront Aircraft Detection Corps) by Allan F. Coggon (2004).

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:

1) "The bomber nose-dived into the trees on a hardwood ridge and travelled approximately 200 yards before it came to rest. The plane was completely demolished having caught fire when it crashed. Dr. B.W. Robertson of Keswick Ridge was at the scene and brought an injured man (Hicks) out on a horse driven sled. The other injured man (Cormier) refused to get on the sled and walked. Pending arrival of the military ambulance their injuries were attended to at Scotch Settlement. At 9.00 P.M. they were conveyed to the Military Hospital at Fredericton under the care of Major Berbayer."

SOURCE: Letter from Headquarters "J" Division (R.C.M.P.) to Eastern Air Command (E.A.C.) dated 22 March 1944 found in File 1300-AE925-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934).

2) For more information please see "Rescuers Deserve Recognition".

22 March 1944

Ventura Mk.III FD700 attached to No.34 OTU - Pennfield Ridge aerodrome @ 0155 hours - Category "B"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
HUGHES, Sgt. B.J. R/186484 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
BRYNE, Sgt. W.J. R/169241 Navigator Uninjured
HOLMES, Sgt. I.E. R/84049 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
JUDD, Sgt. I.C. R/200414 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Night training flight.

Nature and short description of accident: A/C landed with one wheel retracted due to technical failure.

Cause of Accident: 33. Technical failure.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 34. Wheels up landing.

Technical Officer's Report: Rubber hose (re-positioned by Mod.E1/55/3) leading to port wheel "up" lock was found to have been chafted through, by rubbing against the wheel in the retracted position.

Action Taken: Nil.

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

"...landed from a day training flight with one wheel retracted due to a technical failure. "

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

20 April 1944

Ventura Mk.III FD739 attached to No.34 OTU - 13 miles west of Fredericton, N.B. @ 1830 hours - Category "C"

CREW
SURNAME/ Rank/ Given Names Service Number Position in Aircraft Status
McLAREN, Sgt. Robert Arthur R/186787 Pupil Pilot Uninjured
BRESSLER, Sgt. H. R/169235 Navigator Uninjured
TRUDEAU, Sgt. H.P. R/195587 Wireless Air Gunner Uninjured
RUTHVEN, Sgt. L.A. R/208264 Air Gunner Uninjured

Nature of duty on which engaged at time of accident: Cross country.

Nature and short description of accident: A/C struck an obstruction near the ground on a low level cross country.

Cause of Accident: 17. Disobedience of Standing orders./ 22. Collision - Others.

Secondary or Contributing Factor: 41. Disobedience of Orders.

Technical Officer's Report: Nil.

Action Taken: <not completed>

SOURCE: Accident Report Card (copy in archive holdings of "Pennfield Parish Military Historical Society").

Station ORBs

"...Whilst on a low level day training flight...hit Power Cables...The accident was apparently caused through disobedience of Station Standing Orders, and a Summary of Evidence has been taken against the pilot."

SOURCE: No.34 OTU Daily Dairy/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-12364

Terms and Abbreviations
Category "A" "The aircraft is destroyed, declared missing or damaged beyond economical repair."
Category "B" "The aircraft must be shipped, not flown under its own power, to a contractor or depot level facility for repair."
Category "C" "The aircraft sustains damage to a major component requiring repair beyond field level resources including those occurrences where:

(1) The aircraft must be flown to a contractor or depot level facility for repair;
(2) The damaged major component is shipped to a contractor or depot level facility for repair;
(3) The repair is carried out by a mobile repair party from a depot level or contractor; or
(4) The major component is damaged beyond economical repair."
Category "D" "Damage to any component that can be repaired within field level resources."
SOURCE: "Canadian Military Aircraft Serial Numbers" website.

Return to Pennfield Ridge Air Station Page
Return to Pennfield Parish Home Page