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19 August 2017 Military Aviation » Accidents - Military » 1930 - 1939  
 

1930-1939

A number of incidents are dated 11.10.37. This is the date when the aircraft was “struck off charge” i.e. the aircraft was removed from the inventory of the air force or navy. The actual incident itself happened earlier, but the date and description of accident so far remain unknown
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DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
20.01.30 Fairey IIIF   No. 39 Aircraft crashed in the sea.
05.06.30 Fairy IIID 202 S1078 Aircraft spun into the sea from 3000 feet, two fatalities.
__.07.30 F. Flycatcher 405 Flight   Heavy landing at Hal-Far. Engine separated from airframe. Fatalities/injuries unknown, but aircraft probably a write-off.
07.07.30 Fairy IIID 202 N9730 Collided with an RAF dinghy when taxying. Boat occupant killed.
__.__.31 B. Ripon IIA 461 Flt. S1489 ? Crashed at Hal-Far, unknown circumstances. Serial needs confirmation. www.palnetrace.co.uk gives the month as June and serial as S1469.
25.04.32 Fairey IIIF 448 Flight   Aircraft had disembarked from HMS Glorious along with ship’s other Flights. Took off from Hal-Far, but ditched in rough seas close to shore after in flight problems. Two fatalities.
25.04.32 B. Ripon 460 flt. S1265 A part of this aircraft was caught up in a fisherman’s net, and handed over to the Aviation Museum in late 2011/early 2012. See article below reproduced from Malta Flypast 7, written by Major Mark A. Said, AFM.
        
 

Accident Report

Light from the Epitaphs

"THEY SAY I MAY HAVE NO WARNING

I MAY NOT EVEN HEAR

THE RUSTLING OF HIS GARMENT

AS HE SOFTLY DRAWETH NEAR

SUDDENLY IN A MOMENT

UPON MY EAR MAY FALL

THE SUMMONS TO LEAVE THIS CLOUD-LAND

TO ANSWER THE MASTERS CALL"

Throughout my long years of research into aircraft accidents which occurred from the first day man took to flight on this Island, I criss-crossed several aerial tragedies that were either not reported by the local dailies of the day or went unrecorded later and have been forgotten. The only clue to the researcher that an air tragedy had happened lies with the epitaphs on the graves ...

At ten in the morning of Monday 25 April 1932, Blackburn Ripon S1265 (numbered 75) of 460 Flight, Fleet Air Arm, took off from Royal Naval Air Station Hal Far on a routine navigation training flight. It flew along the West coast towards the smaller island of Gozo. The two crew members aboard the two-seat naval Ripon aircraft were, twenty three year-old Flying Officer Paul Leslie Irven RN, (Flight instructor), and eighteen year-old Midshipman Archibald Hamilton RN, of HMS Resolution. The latter was temporarily embarked on the carrier Glorious for a short course of instruction in aerial navigation.

One and a half hours into the flight, the Napier Lion engine of the Ripon failed. The machine was ditched about three quarters of a mile off 'Ras il-Pellegrin', limits of Gnejna bay and capsized. The two airmen managed to un-strap themselves of their submerged cockpits and make it to the surface of the cold water. On surfacing Irvin noticed that his passenger had drifted apart from him. Without hesitation, he let go of his grip, swam in rough seas, grabbed Hamilton and towed him back towards the floating machine. They both then held as best as they could to the machine as it bobbed up and down in high waves, whilst calling out for help in desperation.

When the aircraft's engine had failed, John Portelli, a farmer, had been tending his fields at 'Ghajn Bierda', limits of Bahrija. His attention had been attracted by the sudden silence of the engine, and when he saw the aircraft descend behind the cliffs and fail to come up in a climb, he called some friends and ran towards the cliff's edge from where they would surely have a better view of the sea. Arriving there, they saw both airmen holding to a wing tip and noticed they were drifting slowly towards shore. The wreckage remained afloat about thirty yards from the shore until it sank at around 2.30 p.m.

The rescuers at the top of the cliff, threw one end of a rope but this was too short. They then dropped some pieces of wood down the cliff's face, for the airmen to hold onto, but this attempt was also in vain. Unable to reach the shore in the heavy surf, the exhausted airmen swam further out expecting rescue to come from that direction. A few minutes later, a plane approached the area, circled overhead and minutes later flew back to the south east towards Hal Far.

Whilst tragedy was unfolding, one of the farmers cycled to Bingemma Fort half a mile away to call for assistance. The soldiers on guard duties at the Fort then informed Rabat Police Station, three miles away. On duty Police Inspector Loreto Bonnici, and a number of Policemen raced to the area with rescue equipment and arrived on scene at around 3.15 p.m. Unfortunately, they could not be of any assistance, as by the time they arrived, the two men were far out at sea and their only hope laid with a boat coming to their rescue.

It took another three quarter of an hour for His Majesty's destroyer Vimiera to arrive on scene. Furthermore, it remained at the mouth of 'Fomm ir-rih' bay as the heavy swell made it difficult to navigate close inshore. A whaler lowered from the side of the ship made in the direction of the two men, the spot being indicated by a circling aircraft (No. 7171) which had arrived only a few minutes earlier. It took the whaler another fifteen minutes to reach the two unfortunate individuals. By the time they were hauled aboard they were dead through severe exhaustion. The corpses were taken to Bighi Naval Hospital. Lt. Irvin and Midshipman Hamilton were buried at the nearby Capucini Naval Cemetery with full Military Honours.

'THE SMILING EYES SHALL SMILE ON US NO MORE

THE LAUGHTER CLEAR

TOO FAR AWAY ON THE FORBIDDEN SHORE

WE SHALL NOT HEAR'

Today the epitaphs on their graves are the only witness to youthful life brought abruptly to a tragic end. The gravestones may have weathered but the epitaphs still register the emotion. Like a candle they shed a flickering light onto the story of brave airman. The above is only one of several such dear losses forgotten through the span of time.

.... AND WITH THE RISING OF THE SUN

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.
        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
19.10.32 Fairey IIIF Mk IIIB 202 S1518 Overturned on take-off from Kalafrana.
05.12.33 Fairey IIIF Mk.III 447 Flt S1780 Hit another aircraft during take-oiff from Hal-Far.
03.03.34 B. Baffin Mk. I 812 FAA K3548 Ditched in sea off Malta following engine failure.
15.07.34 A. Tutor     Crashed in sea. Fatalities/injuries unknown.
12.02.35 H. Nimrod I 800 S1621 Crashed in sea off Malta after collision with S1262.
12.02.35 H. Nimrod I 800 S1262 Crashed in sea off Malta after collision with S1621.
15.02.35 S. Singapore   K3595 Collided with a mountain near Messina, Sicily, en route to Malta.
__.03.35 B. Baffin   K3558 Crashed into field boundary rubble wall whilst landing at Hal-Far. Delivered to Fleet Air Arm 04.01.34 then used by 812 Squadron, Hal Far (Malta) 30 Jan 1934; coded “72”. Later to 810 Squadron, then to RNZAF as NZ175 06.12.37.
16.04.35 Fairey IIIF   S1508 Crashed at Kalafrana.
__.05.35 F. Flycatcher IIIF 825/Glorious S1823 Destroyed after a night flying crash. No fatalities.
29.05.35 DH Queen Bee   K4046 To Gunnery Co-operation Flt, Kalafrana 17.05.34; coded “6”, but returned to RAE Farnborough 29.08.34; Again to Malta on 28.03.35 Crashed in sea off Malta and sank. Cause of crash unknown. Total of 45.05 hours.
__.06.35 F. Flycatcher IIIF 825/Glorious S1717 Replacement for S1823 (above). Also involved in night time landing crash, but repairable.
15.07.35 F. Flycatcher IIIF 202 S1461 SOC, exact cause of accident unknown.
31.05.36 F. Flycatcher IIIF 825/Glorious   Involved in night time landing crash, injuries unknown.
15.09.36 Fairey IIIF Mk IIIB 444 Flt S1509 Soc, Hal-Far. Exact cause of accident unknown.
18.09.36 B. Ripon 812 S1660 Engine failure during take-off from Hal-Far.
02.11.36 H. Nimrod II 802 K3655 Undercarriage collapsed on landing at Hal-Far. Aircraft repaired.
24.11.36 B. Baffin 812 K2884 Written-off after cyclone hit Malta. Hangar housing Baffins uplifted and destroyed. All of 812’s aircraft were written-off, including K2885, K2886, K2887, K3559, K3590, K4776, K4778.
25.11.36 Fairey IIIF Mk IIIB 202 S1524 Soc, Hal-Far. Exact cause of accident unknown.
29.01.37 F. Swordfish   K5948 Crashed into island on HMS Glorious, written off.
03.02.37 DH82B Queen Bee   K5104 Crashed off Malta.
11.02.37 DH82B Queen Bee   K5108 Crashed off Malta.
11.02.37 DH82B Queen Bee   K5110 Crashed off Malta.
18.02.37 DH82B Queen Bee   K5106 Crashed off Malta.
18.02.37 DH82B Queen Bee   K5111 Crashed off Malta.
02.04.37 Fairey Mk IIIB 443 Flt/Gosport/Hal Far S1552 Soc, Hal-Far. Exact cause of accident unknown.
05.04.37 H. Nimrod I 408 Flt/802 S1579 Crashed on landing at Hal-Far.
21.04.37 F. Swordfish   K8382 Crashed into Kalafrana bay quay after release of torpedo. Aircraft was being flown by a crew from No. 3 Anti-Aircraft Cooperation Unit (AACU).
05.06.37 Fairey Mk IIIB   S1551 Soc, Hal-Far. Exact cause of accident unknown.
10.08.37 F. Swordfish   K8384 Crashed into St Paul’s Bay. Aircraft was also being flown by a crew from No. 3 Anti-Aircraft Cooperation Unit (AACU). No fatalities, slight injuries only.
18.09.37 F. Swordfish 812 K8365 Crashed onto the village of Zurrieq from 3,000ft. The two-crew members escaped by parachute, no injuries.
07.10.37 Scapa 202 K4200 Crashed during take-off from Marsaxlokk Bay.
11.10.37 DH 60 Moth Hal Far Station Flight K1198 Soc, Hal-Far. Aircraft was taken on charge on 03.07.37, but “deteriorated beyond repair”. Total hours 456.4. c/n 1510
11.10.37 DH 60 Moth Hal Far Station Flight K1199 Soc, Hal-Far. As above. Total hours 745. c/n 1511.
11.10.37 Fairey Mk IIIB 443 Flt/Gosport/Hal Far S1485 Soc, Hal-Far. Exact cause of accident unknown.
11.10.37 Fairey IIIF Mk IIIM 202 S1385 Soc, Hal-Far. Exact cause of accident unknown.
11.10.37 Fairey IIIF Mk IIIM 202 S1386 Soc, Hal-Far. Exact cause of accident unknown.
11.10.37 Fairey IIIF Mk IIIM 202 S1383 Soc, Hal-Far. Exact cause of accident unknown.
11.10.37 Fairey IIIF Mk IIIB 202/SF/Hal Far S1517 Soc, Hal-Far. Exact cause of accident unknown.
11.10.37 Fairey IIIF Mk IIIB 822 S1862 Soc, Hal-Far. Exact cause of accident unknown.
__.__.38 F. Seal   K-3527 Crashed at Hal-Far. No further details.
27.01.38 DH82B Queen Bee   K8643 Crashed off Malta.
10.02.38 H. Nimrod I 800/802 S1581 Crashed on landing at Hal-Far.
21.05.38 Fairey IIIF Mk IIIB   S1534 Soc, Hal-Far. Exact cause of accident unknown.
10.08.38 F. Swordfish   K8284 Pilot lost control when in the vicinity of St. Paul’s Bay. No fatalities. Aircraft belonged to No. 3 Anti-Aircraft Cooperation Unit (AACU).
16.08.38 S. Walrus Mk.II 711 RN L2177 Damaged during a water landing at Kalafrana. Aircraft eventually lost when on board HMAS Sydney, when ship sank after a battle with the Kormoran, going down with all hands.
31.10.38 DH82B Queen Bee   K8635 Shot down off Malta.
22.03.39 H. Nimrod I 801/802 S1587 Crashed on landing at Hal-Far.
20.04.39 F. Swordfish 825 K8432 Got stuck in soil during landing at Hal-Far. No further information on aircraft damage or crew safety available.
19.05.39 Gl. Sea Gladiator   N5534 Stalled whilst climbing from a low altitude. Pilot crashed in the sea near Filfla Island.
05.06.39 DH82B Queen Bee   N1830 Shot down by AA off Malta.
16.06.39 DH82B Queen Bee   N1822 Crashed off Malta.
22.08.39 DH82B Queen Bee   L7764 Overturned landing on sea off Malta.
03.09.39 H. Nimrod 802/Glorious K3639/560 Ditched in sea, cause unknown. Pilot believed to have survived.
03.09.39 H. Nimrod 802/Glorious K2824 Ditched in sea, cause unknown. From the captions to photographs accompanying an article (A crab recalls . . . by Cecil Bristow, Malta Flypast – 6), the aircraft were ditched by the same pilot, FO K. A. Stewart. The serial numbers can be read from photographs, clearly showing two different a/c. Did the same pilot have two identical incidents on the same day?
18.09.39 Blackburn TSB Ripon   S1660/74 Engine failure caused pilot to land in a field.
24.10.39 DH82B Queen Bee   L7723 Floats collapsed landing off Malta.
13.11.39 B. Bombay   L5822 Departed on the 22nd, following repairs to tail wheel.
13.11.39 B. Bombay   L5824 Departed on the 22nd, following repairs to tail wheel.
13.11.39 B. Bombay     Departed on the 22nd, following repairs to tail wheel. Serial not listed in Customs records.
23.12.39 DH 82B Queen Bee   P4693 Damaged by AA and crashed on approach Malta.
26.12.39 DH82B Queen Bee   P4692 Ditched off Malta.
29.12.39 DH82B Queen Bee   P4689 Ditched off Malta.
        
 
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