10.04.1944 No. 1653 HCU Stirling I BF397 Fl/Lt. A.M.F. Alexander,
Date: 10th April 1944
Unit: 1653 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit)
Type: Stirling I
Coded: - K
Location: RAF Chedburgh, Suffolk
Pilot: Fl/Lt. A.M.F. Alexander RNZAF (Instructor)
Pilot: F/O. S.G.W. Stokes RAFVR (Trainee)
Fl/Eng: Sgt. R.A. Partridge RAFVR
Nav: F/O. W.A. Airey RAFVR
W/Op/AirGnr: F/O. A.M. Rattray RCAF
W/Op/AirGnr: Sgt. E.R. Bradbury RAFVR
Air/Gnr: Sgt. J.F. Wilson RCAF
Air/Gnr: Sgt. E.G. Cooper RAFVR
REASON FOR LOSS:
There were thousands of accidents during the war years - many of which are dont appear anywhere. This is just one of the many with no resulting injuries to the crew, unlike so many others.
Took-off from RAF Chedburgh in Suffolk, England for circuits and landings. (crew No. 80, course No. 17.)
Bounced on landing at circa 14.50 hrs, with the trainee pilot at the controls, and promptly began to swing in the prevailing crosswind. Fl/Lt. Alexander RNZAF took over but was unable to check the swing before making contact with the runway for a second time, whereupon the wheels folded, no one was to badly hurt.
Over the next three hours, salvage workers concentrated on clearing the runway of the wreck.
This photo taken from the top of the wreck of BF397, shows the arc of the skid and swing to port following the undercarriage collapse, from which debris lay around this interesting shot of the stations Fordson Fire Tender. Also shown Cockpit section of BF397, after the crash. (mouse over image)
Notes from Wikipedia: 'On 7 September 1942 South of the Bury Road, RAF Chedburgh opened, in No. 3 Group RAF Bomber Command. Major construction work was carried out by John Laing and Son Ltd, built to Class A standard, the airfield had three concrete runways, 05-23 at 2,000 yards and 12-30 and 17-35 both at 1,400 yards. In October 1942, 214 Squadron moved in flying Short Stirling bombers. Various squadrons followed until December 1946. The airfield site was sold in October 1952, although some hangars were still visible in the 1970s. The Bury Road Business Park is located on the former technical site.'
For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Aircrew Remembered archives.