Letter to Squadron Leader J V Hay from RAF director of personnel services



Letter to Squadron Leader J V Hay from RAF director of personnel services


Gives some details of the crash of a Whitley in which his son was the wireless operator and was killed. Note that court of enquiry was unable to allocate responsibility for the accident.



Temporal Coverage




Two page typewritten letter


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Dept. [missing word]

[indecipherable words]

13. May, 1941.



I am directed to refer to your letter of 25th March, 1941, addressed to the Accidents Investigation department, and to inform you that your son was a wireless operator of an aircraft which took off on a 2 1/2 hours cross country flight at approximately 3.50 p.m. on the 24th September, 1940.

Eye witnesses stated that the machine was flying towards Rothes in a normal manner at about 4.0 p.m. A peculiar noise [inserted] then [/inserted] appeared to be coming from its engines, it burst into flames and began to dive steeply. Its vertical dive continued until it struck the ground near the summit of Ben Aigan. Your son and the other five members of the aircraft sustained multiple injuries which must have resulted in their instantaneous death.

It is regretted that the court of Enquiry were unable to allocate responsibility for the flying accident to Whitley V aircraft P.5006 or to offer any suggestion as to the possible cause of the accident. The wreckage was inspected but was too badly broken up for a thorough examination to be conducted. The engine and airframe had been examined at 1.0 p.m. that afternoon and certified as fit for the flight in question. It has been suggested that the peculiar noise proceeding from the aircraft referred to by the civilian witnesses is due to the fact that they were accustomed to the noise of the Wellington aircraft at an aerodrome near at hand and that in consequence the Merlin engine of the Whitley presented a peculiar note. The pilot

Squadron Leader J.V. Hay,
No. 4 Wing,
Royal Air Force,
Preston, Lancs.

[page break]

of the aircraft was stated to be above the average and experienced in flying Whitley aircraft. It was also ascertained that no wireless message was received from the machine during its flight.

I am to express this department’s sincere sympathy with you in your great loss.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,

Sgt. [indecipherable letters] CATLEY
for Director of Personal Services.


“Letter to Squadron Leader J V Hay from RAF director of personnel services,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 10, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/37121.

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