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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 68582
Last updated: 25 November 2021
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Date:03-SEP-1934
Time:day
Type:Bristol Bulldog Mk IIA
Owner/operator:29 Squadron Royal Air Force (29 Sqn RAF)
Registration: K2866
MSN:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Ham Street, 6 miles South of Ashford, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF North Weald, Essex
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Bulldog IIA K2866, 29 Squadron, RAF North Weald, Essex: Written off (destroyed) 3/9/34 when hit wires during low flying attack on troops on army co-op exercise & crashed, at Ham Street, six miles south of Ashford, Kent. (At approximate co ordinates 51.0656N 0.8626E). Aircraft was flying in formation as part of army maneouvres.

Pilot - Flying Officer John Graham Bigelow (aged 22) - was killed. Soldiers involved in the Army Co-op exercise extracted him from the wreckage of Bulldog K2866, but he died in hospital. According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Dover Express" - Friday 7 September 1934)

"AIR SMASH THROUGH PYLON DURING DOVER TROOPS MANOEUVRES.
During the manoeuvres in which the troops from Dover are taking part, a Royal Air Force pilot, Flying Officer John Graham Bigelow, of the 29th (Fighter) Squadron, was fatally injured on Monday, when his machine, a single-seater, struck a high tension electric cable near a pylon at Ham Street, Ashford.

The R.A.F. were cooperating with the 10th and 12th Infantry Brigades in their exercises. Suddenly one of three aeroplanes, after passing over a clump of trees, collided with one of the wires of the grid line from Hastings to Folkestone, which runs across the Ashford-New Romney Road at this point, close to the Royal Military Canal. The machine fell with its wings smashed.

Soldiers who were in the field hurried to the wreckage and extricated the pilot. He was very severely injured and was taken to Shorncliffe Military Hospital where he died later in the day. The cables which were struck carry high tension current of 132,000 volts."

A further newspaper report (same newspaper - "Dover Express" - on Friday 14 September 1934) adds...

"GRID LINES NOT SHOWN ON AIR MAPS.
At the inquest last week on the body of Flying-Officer J. G. Bigelow, of 29, (Fighter) Squadron, who died as the result of injuries received when his machine collided with a grid cable on September 3rd, during manoeuvres at Ham Street, near Ashford, Kent. Flight-Lieut. J. B. Lynch, said the grid system was not marked on the maps they used, and in answer to a question by the Deputy Coroner, said that they were difficult to detect.

Asked by Mr. J. G. Gunter, representing the Central Electricity Board, if there is any regulation which prescribes a minimum height for pilots to fly on such occasions, Flight-Lieutenant Lynch said 300 feet. Mr. Gunter added that the height of the top of the wire of the grid was 50 feet. A verdict of accidental death was recorded."

Sources:

1. Air Britain The K File The RAF of the 1930s
2. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1934.htm
3. http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?17796-RAF-Fatalities-1934
4. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=6730.0
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamstreet


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
07-Oct-2009 00:28 JINX Added
26-Jan-2012 14:42 Nepa Updated [Operator, Source]
12-Jul-2013 08:09 JINX Updated [Operator]
18-Jan-2016 17:57 J.Cryer Updated [Operator]
24-May-2018 21:23 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
08-Oct-2018 18:17 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]

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