Bristol Botha

Discussion in 'Basic' started by vernon, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. vernon

    vernon New Member

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    i'm trying to get information on a crash by a bristol botha in the sea off the Isel of Man in 1941 that killed my uncle. Grateful for any leads or suggestions!
    Thanks
     
  2. FlexiBull

    FlexiBull Member

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    #2 FlexiBull, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    The aircraft is actually a Blackburn product, not Bristol, and served with 608 Sqn until April 1941, mainly on patrols of the North Sea, from Thornaby. Some aircraft also went to 502 Sqn, but not many, and not for long.
    Being seriously under-powered,and possibly the worst aircraft ever to enter RAF service, the Botha was not issued to other squadrons, as planned, and was soon withdrawn from operational service, being relegated to duties mainly with Air Navigation and Air Gunnery Schools, where it served until 1944, despite numerous accidents and losses.
     
  4. vernon

    vernon New Member

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    Hi there
    what i know so far!:
    My uncle was Vernon Branwell Dewhurst (i was named after him) He was co pilot on the flight which was a training flight from his base at St. Annes Lancs. (Squires Gate)
    It came down in the sea just a few hundred yards from the coast of the Isle of Man (Port St. Mary) on 2 May 1941
    Offical number: 61506 or 1164820 not sure which!
    I know that the aircraft was supposed to be dangerous to fly ( i remember my Grandfather being very bitter about that!)...strange idea to make it a trainer i would have thought!
    I'm a bit curious about the funeral arrangements that were made as my Garndparents were not invited...he was burried without their knowledge on the Isle of Man in the same grave as the pilot. This in spite of the fact they were initially asked if they wanted his body returned to the mainland.
    In a condolence letter from one of his fellow pilots he says that they have been instructed not to discuss the accident with anyone ...maybe because of the bad reputation of the aircraft.
    I have masses of documents/ corespondence saved by my Grandfather, but have not been able to find any explanation of the crash and am just trying to fill in the blanks!
    Many thanks for your reply
    PS i was told by another source that theses planes were not allowed to fly over the sea because of their poor engines...not sure if that has any truth!
     
  5. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Squires Gate is on the edge of the town of Blackpool (now Blackpool International Airport), and the Bothas of No.3 School of General Reconnaissance operated from here. As the Botha was designed as a General Recce and Torpedo Bomber, and was originally employed as such on North Sea patrols by 608 Sqn, it's doubtful if there was a ban on it flying over the sea.
    Navigation and other training exercises were regularly mounted from the UK's west coast, across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Mann, often on a triangular course, with Jurby, to the north of the island, being a turning point or destination, and Bothas would have undertaken such exercises.
    The numbers you have posted could be the serial number of the aircraft, with a typographical error, and your Uncle's Service Number. The number '61506' could be 'L6506', one of the batch from the serial range L6347 - L6546, but of course I can't be positive on this.
    The National Archives at Kew hold the Squadron Operational Record Books, which show the daily movements of a particular squadron, and some of these are also available 'on-line', although I'm unsure about this regarding non-operational or training units. Whether the ORB, if found, will reveal any more than is already known is uncertain, but the Aircraft Movement Card, held at the RAF Museum, Hendon, might indicate cause of loss, or lead to further documentation, given that the serial number is correct.
    Sorry I can't be of more help, but I hope this at least points you in the right direction.
     
  6. FlexiBull

    FlexiBull Member

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    #6 FlexiBull, Dec 15, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
    Commonwealth War Graves Commision

    DEWHURST, VERNON BRAMWELL
    Initials: V B
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Pilot Officer (Pilot)
    Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Age: 19
    Date of Death: 02/05/1941
    Service No: 61506
    Additional information: Son of William Edward and Ada Sophia Dewhurst, of Penrhyn Bay, Llandudno, Caernarvonshire.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Row W. Coll. grave 10.
    Cemetery: KIRK MALEW (ST. MALEW) CHURCHYARD EXTENSION
     
  7. John W.Qualtrough

    John W.Qualtrough New Member

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    I saw the aftermath of this crash and spoke to someone who saw it happen if you want information. [email protected]
     
  8. vernon

    vernon New Member

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    Hi John, i'd love any info you might have on this! I must have missed your post ...tried to email you but the addres is incomplete. Many thanks in advance!
    Vernon Dewhurst
     
  9. Ivor Ramsden

    Ivor Ramsden New Member

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    Vernon, John's email address just needs " net " adding at the end so it reads ...@manx.net . I know John and he does indeed have some information about the aircraft.

    I've also got some information about your uncle's aircraft, but not much about him or the other members of the crew. I would like to put something on display about them in the Manx Aviation Military Museum if you are agreeable.

    Here is his grave. It's now got fresh poppies on it.
     

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  10. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Now that's very cool!
     
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