Report on accidental death in Sudan, 1941

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Belville, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. Belville

    Belville Senior Member

    Where could I find the report on a crash landing at Port Sudan which resulted in the death of a member of the aircrew, possibly the pilot?

    Flt. Lt. Brinsley Plunket died on 24th November, 1941 and is buried in Khartoum. I am told that he died of his injuries, not in the crash, which must have been a few days earlier.

    Belville

    P.S. I now know that he died as the result of a fall from a window! Does anyone know where the report on such a death would be -maybe an inquest report of an RAF enquiry?
     
  2. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Not that it actually answers your question - but I presume we are talking about Flight Lieutenant (The Hon.) PLUNKET, BRINSLEY SHERIDAN BUSH 75962 - the (37 year old) Son of William Lee Plunket, 5th Baron Plunket, G.C.M.G., K.C.V.O., K.B.E., D.L., J.P., and Lady Victoria Alexandrina Plunket (nee Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood), of Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

    I doubt he would have been the pilot -

    THE LONDON GAZETTE, 20 FEBRUARY, 1940

    EQUIPMENT BRANCH.

    The undermentioned Acting Pilot Officers on probation are graded as Pilot Officers on probation on the dates stated:

    8th Jan. 1940

    The Honourable Brinsley Sheridan Bushe PLUNKET (75962)
     
  3. Belville

    Belville Senior Member

    Yes, that's the one. He was aged 37, so I agree it is unlikely he was the pilot, especially if he was in the Equipment Branch. However ...

    1. He had gained a pilot's license in November, 1929. The photo was taken then.

    2. According to the RAFWeb list of casualties, the only other man buried in Khartoum Military Cemetery earlier in November, 1941, was Cpl. B. F. Holder, serving with No. 71 O.T.U., and buried on 23rd November - not likely to have been a pilot, either. Then there was a crash of a Blenheim IV on 25th November, the day after Plunket died, with the deaths of three R.A.A.F. sergeants (Dunstone, Skinner and Thomson), all of whom were buried in Khartoum. It looks as if they all died in the crash, so it is unlikely that they all survived Plunket by a day, if he had been on board (I don't know how many a Blenheim IV carried).

    In other words, if he wasn't the pilot, he was the only fatality. Not impossible, of course, but I would like to find a report on the incident! The story that he died in a crash came down in the family, and I have no other evidence for it.

    Belville
     

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  4. arkrite

    arkrite Senior Member

  5. Belville

    Belville Senior Member

    Thanks, I do have that. I am getting in touch with his family, and hope to get more information about him.

    Belville
     
  6. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Could this chap have been a relative?

    P/O. Reginald Patrick Blenner Hassett Plunket, 14 Squadron. Shot down, East Africa 14 June 1940.

    CWGC :: Casualty Details
     
  7. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    This snippet from the 211sq history - The Middle East

    While stood down to work up the 72 OTU operation at Wadi Gazouza, the Squadron suffered the loss of Sgt JJ “Paddy” Kavanagh (veteran of the Desert, Palestine and Greece) to natural causes; and of the all-Australian crew of Sgts Skinner, Dunstone and Thomson in a training accident.
     
  8. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Well Spidge, your post poses more questions than it answers.

    A check of the CWGC shows the death of Sergeant KAVANAGH, JOHN JOSEPH DFM 508631 of 241SQN who was buried in Khartoum cemetery, died 18OCT1941

    The next deaths mentioned in the 211SQN snippet are the ones of the three-man Aussie Blenheim crew on 25NOV1941, belonging to 72OTU (NAA - Blenheim Z9612 / Place - South west Wadi, GA-Zouza, Middle East).

    The deaths of Plunket on 24NOV1941 & Holder of 71OTU on 23NOV1941 aren't in the snippet.

    I suppose that tells us that 211SQN was associated with 72OTU making it into the same unit history.

    Now what was 71OTU associated with? What other units were nearby that Plunket could have belonged to?? Do any of those units have a history book or website that might mention Plunket???

    My current gut-feel is that Plunket was involved in a ground accident, either on the airfield or in a motor car and as a member of a "Base Squadron" or similar doesn't make it into any unit's history books.


    PS - I think the CWGC has a typo with Kavanagh's unit and it should read 211SQN as 241SQN does not make sense (it was in the UK at the time)
     
  9. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    No 71 Operational Training Unit

    Formed at Ismailia in Egypt under the control of No 202 Group on 1 June 1941 from the fighter element of No 70 OTU. Its task was to acclimatise fighter and army co-operation pilots to desert conditions. From June to September it was tasked with providing night defence of the Canal Zone but in the latter month it moved to Gordon's Tree in the Sudan. In October 'C' was detached to form No 74 OTU and with it the commitment to train army co-operation pilots.
     
  10. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    No 72 Operational Training Unit

    Formed at Carthargo from a nucleus provided by No 211 Squadron on 10 November 1941 as a light bomber training unit in desert and tropical conditions. On the 18th it moved to Wadi Gazouza and operated a mixture of Blenheim, Ansons and Bostons. From 20 March to early April 1942 it transferred to Nanyuki within No 207 Group
     
  11. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    I have to admit that I find it fascinating that someone with his name, title and connections could have the circumstances of his death going unreported. He doesn't even have a unit in the appropriate field on his CWGC entry. I have looked through the Flight Global archive and besides repeating his few promotions there is no mention of his passing.

    In a Google search I noticed that there must be a rafcommands thread concerning him, has that been explored (I'm not a member) or is that query from the same source??

    Has the Times newspaper archive been checked? How about Who's Who or Burke's peerage etc?? I might set the researchers in my work library service onto it, they have corporate access to a few archives I can't afford to join.

    By the sounds of it, the family know as little as the rest of us. - "I am told that he died of his injuries, not in the crash, which must have been a few days earlier." / "The story that he died in a crash came down in the family, and I have no other evidence for it."
     
  12. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    The next deaths mentioned in the 211SQN snippet are the ones of the three-man Aussie Blenheim crew on 25NOV1941, belonging to 72OTU (NAA - Blenheim Z9612 / Place - South west Wadi, GA-Zouza, Middle East).



    Relating to the loss of Blenheim Z9612 I can confirm that on the date of its loss 25 November 1941, it was with 72 OTU. The undercarriage struck a sand dune on approach to Wadi Gazouza and crashed, the aircraft was destroyed by fire.

    'The Bristol Blenheim' - Warner.
     
  13. Belville

    Belville Senior Member

    In a Google search I noticed that there must be a rafcommands thread concerning him, has that been explored (I'm not a member) or is that query from the same source??

    Has the Times newspaper archive been checked? How about Who's Who or Burke's peerage etc?? I might set the researchers in my work library service onto it, they have corporate access to a few archives I can't afford to join.


    I joined 'rafweb' to enquire, and they have no more information.

    The Times (Nov. 26, 1941) has a report of his death and a letter (Nov. 29, 1941), with a rather gushing eulogy but no facts about his death. Burke's peerage simply says "das (died on active service, I presume) Nov 1941.

    I am approaching two branches of his family, and I hope to get some more information that way.

    Belville
     
  14. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Hiya Belville - I have run into a few more dead-ends, however, with a bit of bloody-minded persistence I found a reference to his death in the Flight Global archive.

    However, it doesn't really shed any more light on his passing (left-hand side, just above "Royal Australian Air Force":
     

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  15. Belville

    Belville Senior Member

    Thanks, Dave,

    I think that is very helpful. There is a distinction between 'Died of wounds or injuries received on active service' and 'Died on active service'.

    If he had been injured in any sort of accident he would have been in the former classification, so I think this means he died of disease.

    If anything comes in from the family I will post it here, to set your mind at rest!

    Belville.
     
  16. Carl

    Carl Now resident in Belgium...

    Its good to know the history of the men we remember here in Khartoum. I am a British Army SNCO currently serving in Khartoum and am acting as the Honorary Supervisor of the Khartoum War Cemetery. I have taken some pictures of Flt Lt Plunkets headstones. Please see compressed versions below. If you want the full resolution copies please let me know. Good look with your quest to find out what happened to him. Please do let me know if you find the answers as I am putting together a collection of stories of some of the individuals in the cemetery and this would be very useful. Best regards, Carl
     

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  17. Belville

    Belville Senior Member

    If you want the full resolution copies please let me know.
    Yes, please! I do have some photos already, but these are better. I'll send my e-mail address in a P.M.

    Belville
     
  18. Carl

    Carl Now resident in Belgium...

    Yes, please! I do have some photos already, but these are better. I'll send my e-mail address in a P.M.

    Belville

    Please PM me your email and I will send the full Res pictures as promised. C
     
  19. Belville

    Belville Senior Member

    Please PM me your email. C

    I've done it now.

    Belville
     
  20. Carl

    Carl Now resident in Belgium...

    I've done it now.

    Belville

    Sent you the photos by email. Happy to be of assistance. Carl
     

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