Tragic fatal accident between Spitfire and lorry Andreas airbase

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Woodpeckerchick, Nov 15, 2013.

  1. Hello again
    Does anyone have any info on a fatal tragic accident when a Spitfire collided with a lorry on the runway at Andreas airbase Isle of Man between Oct 41 and Feb 42?

    Many thanks
  2. CL1

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

  3. graeme

    graeme Senior Member



    In section headed 'Operational Life'.

    "By October 1941, RAF Andreas was ready to receive the first of No. 457 Squadron's[5] Spitfire IIA's from RAF Jurby as a prelude to working up to operational efficiency.[6] This work-up would take six months, however the transfer of 457's ground crew and administrative staff brought welcome relief to the congestion at Jurby.

    It was during this period that an unfortunate accident occurred in December, when one of the aircraft was coming in to land. Crossing the end of the runway at the time was one of the builder's foremen driving a lorry. One of the Spitfire's wheels hit the cab of the lorry, causing severe injuries to its occupant, who was killed instantly."


  4. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    The lorry and spitfire collision is mention quickly in passing on a very good history of the airfield to be found on Andreas Gliding Club site. You get the impression that the incident led to the lowering of the local Parish Church's tower.

    The History of Andreas Airfield - Andreas Gliding Club

    My Father was in the Wilts and stationed on the Isle of Man for a time. So it was interesting for me to catch a glimpse of them as mentioned in the Wikipedia article and the crash in 1942 (from ritsonvaljos' page) that killed a number of service men including Major Geoffrey Killigrew WAIT, M.C., Wiltshire regiment. The few pictures I have of him there with mates seemed to be have taken on the Douglas waterfront.

    Regards ...
  5. hi
    Thank you all. I had already found the references Cee and Graeme mention as I was looking for corroboration of a story told by my dad either witnessed this traumatic event or was there a few weeks later when it was still a talking point.
    Just trying to find out the actual date it occurred.

    Many thanks again, this is a very helpful forum.

  6. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi W,

    Thanks for bringing it up as I learnt a thing or two on other matters not entirely related to your enquiry. A date of December 1941 is given for the lorry and Spitfire collision. The information you seek could be contained in the ORBs for the Andreas Airfield and possibly for Squadron 457.

    There is a crash landing of a Spitfire at Andreas dated December 31st 1941 on ADF-SERIALS.

    "P7905 Mk.IIA - ... 457Sqn RAAF 29/09/41. crashed landed Andreas Cat C 31/12/41. ReCat E 20/05/42."

    This could be another incident entirely but it's interesting that it involves a Spitfire, Squadron 457 and occurred in December 1941.

    Regards ...
  7. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Good day Woodpeckerchick,

    As I understand it, the accident you are looking to establish the date for was in December 1941 but I do not have the exact date. It should be traceable in the National Archives file on Andreas airfield (mentioned in #6).

    Part of the problem in this instance is that the CWGC does not commemorate the civilian driver who was accidentally killed. If it did, this would have given the exact date. Had the pilot also been killed then the Commission would have commemorated both the pilot and the civilian. In that case, the civilian's death would have been classed as "incidental and conducive".

    Even when the CWGC does commemorate a WW2 civilian accidentally killed at the same time as a service man or woman it can still be difficult to verify it relates to a particular incident. For example, there is a civilian grave maintained by the CWGC in the Service Plot at Andreas Churchyard: Thelma Kersley (accidentally killed on 23 August 1942). There were three servicemen killed in the same accident, including Major Wait, M.C. of the Wilts. Regt. (the regiment your Dad was with while in the I.O.M.).

    The CWGC commemorations for the three airmen can be found are listed for Andrea Churchyard:,%20GEOFFREY%20KILLIGREW,%20ANDREW%20BRYCE,%20EDWARD%20VINCENT

    Yet, strange as it may seem, the CWGC commemoration for Thelma Kersley is in the 'Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour' which is in St George's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, London:,%20THELMA

    There was a Canadian pilot serving with the RAAF at Andreas in December 1941 who was accidentally killed in a plane crash (while performing acrobatic tricks that went wrong). He was Flight Lieutenant Allen Laird Edy, D.F.C. (457 RAAF) Squadron and his grave can be found in Andreas Churchyard:,%20ALLEN%20LAIRD

    Often, it can be more difficult trying to research a tragic accident, such as the one you are asking about, than a major battle in a campaign. The latter tends to be well documented and relatively easy to find the details. I hope you may be able to establish more details on this. Good luck.
  8. -tmm-

    -tmm- Senior Member

    Might be worth contacting the Manx Aviation Museum to see what info they have. I visited last year, and remember reading about this incident (though cannot remember any details).
    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  9. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Struth W - it would have helped if you had posted the info you knew on the original request. Now that the wiki info has been added and 457SQN is known to be involved I can advise that being an Aussie SQN means that the ORB are held by the National Archives of Australia, and have been digitised.

    Attached is an extract from the December ORB showing some extra detail on the incident.

    Attached Files:

    Owen and ritsonvaljos like this.
  10. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    The fate of Sgt Gifford -

    Isle of Man. Portrait of 403341 Sergeant Thomas Findlay Clark and 404337 402740 Sgt Gordon Lindsay Charles Gifford of No. 457 (Spitfire) Squadron RAAF based at the RAF Station, Jurby. Gifford was later killed on operations 2 May 1943 in the Darwin area.

    A group of pilots of No. 457 (Spitfire) Squadron RAAF at RAF Station Redhill. Left to right: 402750 Sergeant (Sgt) Marshall Edmund Parbery (later lost on operations on 27 April 1942); 404405 Pilot Officer (PO) D. R. Edwards; 402740 Sgt Gordon Lindsay Charles Gifford (later killed on operations on 2 May 1943 in the Darwin area); 402726 Sgt Arthur Bolwell Burgess (later lost on operations 4 April 1942); 404807 Sgt Lockwood Graham Munro; 400458 Sgt Alfred Henry Blake (later killed on operations off Darwin 28 May 1943); 403341 Sgt Thomas Findlay Clark; 404337 PO Alfred Glendinning.
  11. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Way to go Dave!

    So the date was December 1st, 1941 and the lorry driver who died after being struck was Mr. J. I. Bray. I missed it completely while searching for "Andreas" instead of "lorry" on the link provided above. But I noticed it was there after the fact with your ORB info.

    "P8380 Mk.IIA - ... 457Sqn RAAF 27/09/41. hit lorry at base Cat E 01/12/41."

    Cheers ....
    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  12. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Well done,Dave.

    Another success for 'WW2 Talk'. Once again it shows how useful the forum can be.

    Dave's information also states that Mr Bray was interred in Douglas Cemetery on 4 December 1941. But, as referred to earlier, Mr Bray is not commemorated by the CWGC.
  13. Thank you all. I have established now from the info you have provided that my father could not have actually witnessed this sad event as he was not on the Isle of Man until mid-Feb 1942. Nevertheless his account, which must have been hearsay, was as follows: A plane was coming in to land too low and it hit a truck [I got the impression servicemen were in the back of the truck] and a person on the lorry was decapitated by the plane.

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