RAAF Air Accident Report 28.12.41?

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by JKeith, Jan 20, 2022.

  1. JKeith

    JKeith Member

    Hi There,
    Hoping to find out where to source the RAAF Unit 1 (C) Op Training - Flight crash report on 28.12.41 in Cumberland? It is referred to in a RAAF Fatalities in Second World War (below) - but I am after the full report of the accident or if it is available for public or not? All crew died - including Gerald Backhouse who I am researching. Any help would be greatly appreciated - thanks Julia

    402455 Sergeant ALLSOP, Richard Wyke Source: AWM 237 (65) NAA : A705, 163/153/20 Commonwealth War Graves records Aircraft Type: Hudson Serial number: AM 786 Radio call sign: Unit: 1 ( C) Op Training RAF Summary: Hudson AM786 on 28th December 1941, crashed and burnt out while engaged on a practice bombing flight. The aircraft crashed at 11.12am at Waybridge Farm, 1.5 miles from Maryport, Cumberland, UK. All the crew were killed. Crew: RAAF 402452 Sgt H Puusepp, Captain (Pilot) RAAF 400722 Sgt R G Luke, (Observer) RAAF 402455 Sgt R W Allsop, (Wireless Air Gunner) RAAF 400487 Sgt G I D Backhouse, (Wireless Air Gunner) In a report on the flying accident, the Wg Cdr No 1 (C) Op Training stated “ It may be an error on the part of the Pilot, who allowed his engines to run cold.” Sgt’s Puusepp, Luke and Backhouse are buried in the Silloth (Causewayhead) Cemetery, Holme Low, UK Sgt Allsop is buried in the Aderley Edge Cemetery, UK.
     
  2. graeme

    graeme Senior Member

    error
     
  3. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Ok,

    You have been confused by the entry.

    The unit was RAF - No.1 Operational Training Unit - part of RAF Coastal Command administered by Royal Air Force Home Force.

    Only one truly RAAF Squadron was in the European Theatre No.10 RAAF Squadron flying Sunderland Flying Boats which was in the UK for training -just pre war - and loaned to UK for the duration.

    The Hudson was an RAF aircraft assigned to No.1 OTU

    RAF aircraft could be crewed by a mix of commonwealth, dominion and UK airmen as in this case.

    The reporting and investigation into the accident will have been carried out by the RAF and reported to the Air Ministry and partial records survive in UK archives.Sergeant H Puusepp (RAAF), Sergeant R G Luke (RAAF), Sergeant R W Allsop (RAAF),... | The National Archives

    For RAAF Personnel copies of the RAF investigation/reporting were sent to the Australian Government and as time went on the details of compensation, personal effects etc for each casualty was added to the file
    https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/SearchScreens/BasicSearch.aspx

    Links time out, but put Puusepp into the Search box and search.

    The first two items returned are his service and casualty files. The lack of a sheaf of paper symbol means that the record has not been digitised yet.
    Pre pandemic you could request the files to be digitised and this would be done over a few months but with archive closure this has not been restarted.

    Now try Allsop 402455
    This will bring both his file
    and the digitised version of Backhouse
    Hit the sheaf of paper symbol on Backhouse entry - tip start reading from last page and use previous to page through to front of file where latest correspondence entered.

    Attached is the RAF Form 1180 Accident Card from RAF Museum Hendon on Hudson AM786 - no call sign - this is a general mistake in Storr's database.

    Ross
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2022
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  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    a thread here about the casualties from Spidge
    In Memoriam - Those Air Force Pilots/Crews who died on this day in WW2.

    BACKHOUSE, GERALD IAN DACRES Sergeant 400487 1 O T U (C) RAF 28/12/1941 29 Royal Australian Air Force Australian Sec. S. Grave 6. SILLOTH (CAUSEWAYHEAD) CEMETERY, HOLME LOW UK Cumberland

    AIRMAN ATHLETE KILLED

    Sgt Gerald Ian Dacres Backhouse RAAF, 28, champion Australian runner, has been reported killed in an aircraft accident in England on December 28th

    A fine sportsman, Sgt Backhouse was educated at Geelong Grammar School, where he competed in the school athletic team. He later became champion half-mile and mile runner of Victoria and Australia, and was a member of the Australian team which visited Berlin in 1936 for the Olympic Games.

    Before enlisting in the RAAF early in 1940, Sgt. Backhouse was on the staff of AMP. He trained at Bradfield Park and Narromine, sailing for Canada in February, 1941, and went to England last October.

    [​IMG]

    LUKE, ROBERT GILLESPIE Sergeant 400722 1 O T U (C) RAF 28/12/1941 23 Royal Australian Air Force Australian Sec. S. Grave 4. SILLOTH (CAUSEWAYHEAD) CEMETERY, HOLME LOW UK Cumberland

    [​IMG]

    PUUSEPP, HAROLD Sergeant 402452 1 O T U (C) RAF 28/12/1941 20 Royal Australian Air Force Australian Sec. S. Grave 5. SILLOTH (CAUSEWAYHEAD) CEMETERY, HOLME LOW UK Cumberland

    [​IMG]

    ALLSOP, RICHARD WYKE Sergeant 402455 1 O T U 28/12/1941 26 Royal Australian Air Force Australian Grave 303. ALDERLEY EDGE CEMETERY UK Chester

    [​IMG]

    Source:
    AWM 237 (65) NAA : A705, 163/153/20 Commonwealth War Graves records
    Aircraft Type: Hudson
    Serial number: AM 786
    Radio call sign:
    Unit: 1 ( C) Op Training RAF
    Summary:
    Hudson AM786 on 28th December 1941, crashed and burnt out while engaged on a
    practice bombing flight. The aircraft crashed at 11.12am at Waybridge Farm, 1.5 miles
    from Maryport, Cumberland, UK. All the crew were killed.
    Crew:
    RAAF 402452 Sgt H Puusepp, Captain (Pilot)
    RAAF 400722 Sgt R G Luke, (Observer)
    RAAF 402455 Sgt R W Allsop, (Wireless Air Gunner)
    RAAF 400487 Sgt G I D Backhouse, (Wireless Air Gunner)
    In a report on the flying accident, the Wg Cdr No 1 (C) Op Training stated “ It may be an error on the part of the Pilot, who allowed his engines to run cold.”
    Sgt’s Puusepp, Luke and Backhouse are buried in the Silloth (Causewayhead) Cemetery, Holme Low, UK
    Sgt Allsop is buried in the Alderley Edge Cemetery, UK.
     
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  5. JKeith

    JKeith Member

    Hi Ross - thank you so much for this detailed reply! And for the accident report. I will now try and transcribe it :) . When you mention above regarding no call sign - being a general mistake - what do you mean - should it have a call sign against it? I am only new to learning all the terminology too - so apologies for my naïve question. thanks again - really appreciate this information! Julia
     
  6. JKeith

    JKeith Member


    THanks so much
     
  7. JKeith

    JKeith Member

    Last question... can you please share the webaddress that you go the report card from - I am having difficulty searching for it on their web site. thanks so much
     
  8. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Different nations have different data protection and different amounts of archive from the 1939-45 war.

    Australia has a much smaller holding of air force personal files relating to the RAAF and so all records could be retained and released to archive early on. Due to their data protection laws public viewing is possible for all records without redaction.

    Here in the UK with the larger air force a much larger amount of documentation was created. Almost from creation in 1918 the RAF had been instructed by Parliament as to what records it would retain and a timed disposal sequence for the remainder to keep the archive to manageable size with the storage and access methods of the time. Even during the war years the keep/destroy instructions were being shortened by Parliament instructions.

    Post war the retained files were kept by Ministry of Defence and access was by security cleared staff only. A few groups of documents were transferred from MoD to other archives - the Form1180 Accident Card being one of these groups and was sent to the (then) new RAF Museum to aid their collection/preservation work.

    Form 1180 is an index card to numerous other documents that were created and was updated as progress into the accident investigation happened. The purpose of the card was reference and statistical information.

    As a charity the RAF Museum allocates only a small amount of revenue to digitisation and the F1180 have not been converted yet and so are not available in a form that can be displayed by electronic means. Also recent developments in UK data protection may require redaction before publication. Currently to obtain a copy you must ask Department of Research and Information Services. I have a copy as part of research I carried out for my books.

    In a similar manner other primary source retained documents are usually held in non digital means by The National Archive where initial RAF document were transferred and now a steady stream of the Casualty files although some are still closed due to data protection.

    If you look at the link I sent to the casualty file from the TNA you will see that this is open for viewing but has not been digitised.

    Also at the TNA are other preserved documents that reference the accident in passing eg No.1 OTU Operations Record Book
    1 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit (OTU), Silloth, UK, defence orders. Includes maps.... | The National Archives

    again this is not digitised but I have attached the page I copied on a visit there.

    The RAF casualty file will have the best collection on the accident but pieces that were destroyed in the RAF archive may exist in the RAAF files of the remaining crew so worth having those digitised starting with the pilot.

    My reason for this suggestion is that Storr recorded a comment on allowing engines to run cold. This refers to carb icing in cold, damp weather which is normally prevented by manual operation of carb heating control. The Form1180 just states EF as the cause - engine failure - and then the subsequent crash into power lines. For Storr to record this comment I think all or part of the Court of Inquiry is in the pilot's RAAF file.

    Storr set up his database file with a Call sign field but during this period RAF aircraft did not have one assigned. Only an informal system eg Blue Leader, Red Two etc was used by fighter command. Radio Telephony (R/T eg voice) was short distance and reserved for tactical control. As other Commands were greater range Wireless Telephony (W/T eg morse) was the signalling method. Backhouse was a W/T trained aircrew member.

    Outside RAF Fighter intercept control very little radio reporting/conversations were carried out due to the numbers of aircraft in the air. Visual methods were used by the pilots for joining aerodrome circuits and landings with r//t being used only for bad weather ZZ landings and this tended to use the aircraft individual code letter which as only unique to that unit.

    Method of flight authorisation was for planned flight to be given a MSI (movement serial index) by RAF Movements Section. This MSI was sequentially numbered each day/month and was a one time use only and recorded path and estimated time at points. If Observer Corps reported an aircraft Filter room Movement Officer would consult the MSI for the day to see if it could be designated Friendly and disregarded.

    Equipment and needs of the time change what we perceive as normal practice based on how military aircraft are controlled today.

    Ross
     

    Attached Files:

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  9. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

  10. JKeith

    JKeith Member

  11. JKeith

    JKeith Member

    Thanks Ross!
    This is tremendously helpful ! I tried to zoom into your attachment but couldn't quite read it - am I correct that it includes the 28.12.41 accident?

    I will follow up on your suggestions regarding investigating the crew and pilot records . Also I have transcribed the accident card to the following words - just wondering if you read it the same or can help with my ?

    Flight Accident Card

    EF. ? Pilot unable to make a successful forced landing due to lack of ? and experience

    Seen flying low, rose? Hit? TT cables , fell back + crashed.

    Accident might have been avoided if pilot had support of another pilot and experienced observers.
    __________

    I have copies of personal letters sent to next of Kin - in this instance the brother of Gerald - suggesting that the crash was instant - so it may provide some comfort that they all died so quickly.?

    I gather the plane blew up on impact - so morbid.

    Thanks so much for helping me understand - I really appreciate it.
     
  12. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    E/F flt (Engine failure flight phase - Ross) Pilot unable to make a successful forced landing due to lack of skill and experience.

    Seen flying low, came over HT cables (high tension power lines - usually wooden pole approx 12-15 foot high - Ross), fell back and crashed. (suggests eyewitness statement - Ross)

    CofI (Court of Inquiry Finding - Ross) Accident might have been avoided if pilot had support of another pilot or experienced observer.

    The Form 1180 discounts fire in air - stating fire on ground.

    So reading is that engine problem reduced ability of aircraft to remain at height - pilot descended under control with no apparent airframe or external engine defects, while either on final stage of forced landing or while searching for landing area, at close proximity to the ground they hit unseen cables. This dragged the aircraft from the air and caused secondary damage leading to fire on the ground.

    From the finding recorded it looks like the CofI had considered that although the initial problem may have been caused by control mishandling by the pilot, the fatality was due to causes out of his ability at that stage of training (bac of card give that he has 49hrs solo and 16 hrs dual on the Hudson and qualified as pilot 7 months before).

    Ross
     

    Attached Files:

  13. JKeith

    JKeith Member

    Thanks Ross - could I ask how to read the Postings documentation - for Geralds record it has a series of dates Emb ? 20,2,41 - Emb Can? 27.9.41; 3 PRC 18.10.41 then 1.OTU 10.11.41. Are these all different places ? Also would those that crashed on the 28th have flown together before as a permanent crew? Just trying to get an idea of the goings on - I have a letter he wrote while sailing to a destination on the 5th October 1941 - would there be a timeline of this units travels for that year - from their training in Canada then to the UK? My searches have not been successful. Thanks again julia
     
  14. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Embarked 20/2/41 - start of his outward journey to Canada
    Embarked (Canada) 27/9/41 date of return to UK after training
    No.3 Personnel Reception Centre 18/10/41 - Holding unit - did kit exchange - leave passes etc short waiting for place in next training unit
    3 Personnel Reception Centre. Based at Bournemouth (UK) in July 1941. Detachments also... | The National Archives

    No.1 Operational Training Unit 10/11/41

    If being posted to land planes for Coastal Command then this would have typically been a usual crew - members could and were swapped out for training, leave, sickness etc

    Crews at OTU were not assigned to each other gathered together as pilots, observers, WOp/AG and left to sort themselves out.
    Resulted in pilots shouting out home location/football team/interest or seeing someone from same draft and others responding. I suspect the call was "who is from Australia" for this crew grouping.

    His record does not correspond directly to location - it is a time line of units from enrolment to discharge (the RAF knew were most of their units were so no need to record on the service record) - if some one wanted to specifically know where a unit was they went to the registry on looked at the unit ORB.

    Ross
     
  15. JKeith

    JKeith Member

    Thanks again Ross. Love this - just a random collection of crew getting themselves together for flying. Do you recommend any books that may talk to the stories of this unit - or avenues to contact past relatives? Just thought I would ask as the anecdotes you have already given are wonderful insights.
     
  16. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Most books that remark on RAF Silloth or No.1 OTU usually do so as a passing remark or isolated chapter for the complete story. In general any publication which has Coastal Command flying as context will be similar to the experience at No.1 OTU regardless of the OTU number - Bomber Command OTU was slightly different.

    I would recommend the Operations Record Bool and the Appendices as a primer for No.1 OTU - although short in diary entry the ORB will give you an idea of the pace of training, weather limitations and most of all the high rate of accident due to the work load of the unit. Also in the ORB you will find the reports of the Station Sick Quarters and details, including aerial photos of the army units assigned to protect the Station from assault. The appendices are of the daily orders so all the mundane notifications on trade tests, return of boots, clothing repair parades etc.

    As to relatives - you could try posting and replying on the local history sites in Cumbria and on here
    RAF Silloth in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

    Ross
     

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