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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 68510
Last updated: 30 November 2021
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Type:Bristol Bulldog Mk IIA
Owner/operator:17 Squadron Royal Air Force (17 Sqn RAF)
Registration: K1083
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Arundel Park, Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Tangmere, Chichester, West Sussex
Destination airport:
On 30.9.30 Bristol Bulldog IIAs K1083 and K1085, of 17 Sqn, RAF Hawkinge, whilst flying in a formation of three, flew into trees on a hillside in fog, at Arundel Park, Sussex. Both pilot of both aircraft were killed:

Flt Lt Gerald Christopher Allan Armstrong (26) killed
Sgt Wilfred Birkinshaw (28) killed

However, it is not clear which pilot was in which aircraft. Pilot Officer Geoffrey John Pawson slightly injured in third Bulldog (J9587). An account of the inquest into the two pilots was published in "The Aeroplane" in October 1930:

"Squadron Leader Richard Harrison, who identified the bodies, said that they were attached to the Upavon Station and temporarily stationed at Tangmere for air exercises. Armstrong was leading a flight of three Bristol Bulldog single seaters with instructions to patrol the air immediately north of Amberley. The other machines were occupied by Sergeant Birkishaw and Pilot Officer Pawson.

The atmosphere was clear over the aerodrome with light clouds to the east. The airmen were experienced flyers and had been in the district the previous day. The visibility was sufficiently good for them to fly with safety. The previous patrol had reported that while flying at 3,000 feet they had noticed the ground obscured in places by cloud. They could, however, see the aerodrome.

Pilot Officer Lawson said that they were flying at 3,000 feet. The ground became obscured with cloud. They dived down through this and suddenly hit the trees.

The coroner asked whether the trees were obscured all the time until the machines hit them. The witness said that they were and that the mist was lying on the ground.

A verdict of accidental death was returned."


1. Air Britain The K File The RAF of the 1930s
2. A/C Photo:

Revision history:

06-Oct-2009 01:26 JINX Added
12-Feb-2015 14:40 Scout Updated [Operator]
01-Sep-2017 17:37 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
01-Sep-2017 17:38 Dr. John Smith Updated [Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Source]
16-Apr-2018 19:45 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
01-Nov-2018 16:22 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]

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