20 June 2024 Civil/General Aviation » Accidents - Civil » 1940 - 1949  


“Put Back”

Examining the Custom 12 file, I discovered several aircraft entries which had “Put Back” in the REMARKS section, sometimes with a cause, such as engine problems, or bad weather.

My initial reaction was to assume that the aircraft had actually taken off, and been forced to return back to Luqa.

However, given the difference between the aircraft’s scheduled and actual departure times, sometimes by as much as 11-12 hours, I’m being to think that the aircraft may have never left the ground in the first place.

Thus, it is possible that “Put Back” means that the aircraft’s departure was delayed.

Anyone who is familiar with the term and custom procedures, and what it actually meant, is more than welcome to contact me and set the record straight.

No Carnet

Another term I discovered was “no carnet”.

From Mr. Bill Fisher came the following explanation.

This referred to a document carried on board the aircraft, which listed the serial numbers of all the equipment, and was intended to allow customs to check if anything had been changed whilst away.

The problem was that, in order to make a check, a detailed strip of the aircraft, removal of the spinner to get the prop serial, instruments and radios was required and, in the UK at least, where we are innocent until proven guilty, we could then ask customs to put everything back and get the work signed out. For that reason no checks were carried out, and the idea was gently dropped in favour of asking if any maintenance had been done.

13.05.42 L. Lodestar BOAC G-AGCR Previously AX718. Crashed on take-off from Luqa.
02.08.42 Co. Catalina BOAC G-AGDA Delayed departure from Gibraltar for Malta. Arrived on the 4th. Left Malta on the 9th.
16.09.43 DC-3 BOAC G-AGHT The no. 1 engine failed shortly after take-off from Luqa, Malta. On finals the remaining engine also lost power. The pilot attempted to reach the runway by making a diving turn to the left, the aircraft making a hard landing. 1 fatality. This same aircraft would be involved in another accident, see date 21.08.46. Scource:
25.10.45 DC-3 BOAC G-AGHR/FL514 Engine lost power on take-off; swung and hit ridge, catching fire.
02.02.46       All aircraft bound for the UK were recalled due to bad weather.
19.05.46 DC-3 BOAC G-AGJY Arrived from Hurn at 01:14. 03:00 departure to Cairo delayed by weather, leaving at 08:05.
17.06.46 DC-3 B.O.A.C. G-AGIX The entry for this aircraft had the following note:

“Left El Adem on 16.06.46 at 20:45 GMT & returned there at 01:11 GMT – 17.06.46 owing to stress of weather. Left for Malta on 17.06.46 at 06:35 GMT.”

Aircraft had originally left Almaza, Egypt, at 16:29 GMT on the 16th. It eventually landed at Luqa at 13:00hrs.
28.06.46 DC-4   OO-CBF Landed at Hal-Far from Kano to Brussels. (Note about this aircraft in Cus 19 file: Aircraft was not admitted to pratique as its arrival was not reported to Customs ________ __________. In Cus 12 files there was the following note: Arrival was not reported to Customs. No Pratique was given.)
12.08.46       Unknown four-engined landed at Luqa with a feathered engine and another engine “weak”.
14.08.46 DC-3 BOAC G-AGHT Departed for Libya with a cargo consisting of an aircraft engine and two “large” tires. Aircraft got airborne, but unable to gain height, crashed near the airfield. Totally destroyed by fire. One fatality, one serious injury, two minor injuries.

From a letter from the Police Commissioner to the Secretary to Government, dated 22nd August 1946: “G-AGHT left for Castel Benito on a special flight, with a crew of four persons, but without passengers. Soon after taking off, the aircraft presumably developed engine trouble and was about to effect a landing at Luqa airfield, crashed on a strip of roadway on the edge of the aerodrome and burst into flames. Two minor injuries, one major, one casualty.
21.08.46 DC-3 B.O.A.C. G-AGNF Arrived from Lyyda at 19:25. Had the following note attached from BOAC Office, Luqa Malta, dated 22.08.46.

”Please note that passenger Mr. Naaman Elias a passenger who was travelling on G-AGHF was offloaded yesterday owing to non-permissible payload.”

”Kindly alter the passenger list accordingly. This gentleman will be leaving tonight by which service we shall let you know a soon as possible.”
18.09.46 A. Anson   ZS-AXO Aircraft arrived from Croydon on a re-fuelling stop between 11:42-13:30. No carnet.
19.09.46 HP Halifax BOAC PP327 Training flight, arriving from Cairo between 10:50-12:45, departing for the UK afterwards. Note in Custom 12: training flight, No log book.
26.09.46 A. Lancastrian B.O.A.C. G-AGML Diverted to Luqa on a Lydda-London flight due to fog at London.
03.10.46 DC-2 Southampton Air Services G-AGBH The following was written in the Custom files:

”Dep from Lyyda, arrived from El Adem at 15:15. Mrs L. Wolf from Geneva was landed at El Adem owing to air sickness.”
23.10.46 HP Halifax C. Mk. VIII B.O.A.C. G-AHYI Aircraft was on a London-Libya flight. Reported at 14:12Z that starboard outer engine was u/s. Unable to land at Elmas due to thunderstorms, diverted to Luqa, landing at 15:55Z.
28.10.46 DC-3 BOAC G-AGKI Aircraft had departed Marignane, France after a re-fuelling stop on the 27th. Forced to return due to bad weather, landing in Malta on the 28th.
30.10.46 DC-2   G-AGBH Aircraft was registered to Air Taxis Ltd, being operated by Southampton Air Service. Cause of accident unknown. Notes from Custom File 12 at the National Archives: Aircraft landed at 15:15, and departed at 16:35. Crashed on Take-off, no injuries to passengers and crew.

From the LGO files at the National Archives, part of a letter from the Police Commissioner, dated 8th October 1946, ref. no. 1360/46. “. . . carrying ten passengers and three crew for Paris, was taking off from Luqa, it developed engine trouble and was brought to a standstill before it actually became airborne . . . . . Some damage was caused to the aircraft but none of the passengers or crew were injured.
30.10.46 DC-3 KLM PH-TBI Departed Baghdad on the 29th, bound for Croydon. No carnet.
02.11.46 DC-3 Anglo Transvaal Air Transport ZS-BCA Arrived from Cairo, for the UK. Note in Cus 12: No Carnet.
05.11.46 DC-3 BOAC G-AGHS Departed El Adem (Libya) for Malta at 06.57GMT on the 4th, but had to return due to engine problems. Eventually left on the 5th at 02.13GMT.
15.11.46 Avro 652A Mk. I   G-AHKF Arrived for a night stop on its way to South Africa. Arrived without Carnet or Log book.  
20.11.46 A. Consul British Aviation Services G-AHRK Aircraft was returning from Tunis. Note in Custom files: “Aircraft instructed to return to Tunis on 18.11.46 and also on 19.11.46 – radio instruction from Malta area control.” Crew departed on the 18th at 13:40GMT & on the 19th at 07:55GMT. Landed at Luqa on the 20th at 08:00 GMT.
12.11.46 DC-3 BOAC G-AGKD Arrived from Cairo at 16:00. Departure time of 19:15, Put back at 22:45. Left for the UK on the 13th at 02:00.
05.12.46 A. York BOAC G-AGNZ Test flight at 14:20. No problems listed in the Customs’ Pratique Deposition form.
09.12.46 C-47B-5-DK BOAC G-AGKL Aircraft on a UK-Cairo flight. Departed Marignane after a re-fuelling stop, but had to return due to bad weather. Landed in Malta on the 10th, a 24-hour delay.
10.12.46 Bristol 170   G-AIFV Arrived from Hurn at 04:05, departing for El Adem at 12:19. No Carnet.
11.12.46 Halifax BOAC PP331/G-AGYI Arrived on a direct flight from the UK to Cairo without a log book. Aircraft made a stop-over on its return flight on the 15th.
15.12.46 Bristol 170   G-AHJN Arrived from Hurn to Calcutta without a carnet.
16.12.46 DC-4 KLM PH-TAK/NL-309 Arrived from Amsterdam at 14:04. Scheduled to depart for Batavia at 16:00. Eventually departed the following day at 07:00.
22.12.46 DC-3 Middle East Airlines LR-AAB Night stop on a Beirut-Malta-Beirut flight. Carried no carnet.
23.12.46 DC-3 BOAC G-AGKD Gale winds caused serious damage at Safi and Luqa. Damaged when landing during the storm. Even heavy aircraft like Yorks and Lancastrians were moved around.
30.12.46 DC-4 KLM PH-TAG Diverted to Luqa with engine trouble.
03.01.47 DC-3 B.O.A.C. G-AGND Aircraft failed to locate Malta at night due to u/s W/T and D/F loop on aircraft. Due to bad weather, the captain turned the aircraft back towards the African coast and landed safely.
10.01.47 DC-3 B.O.A.C. G-AGKG Aircraft had departed from El Adem for Luqa but reported engine trouble after 30 minutes, and returned to Libya, landing at 11:30Z.
10.01.47       Luqa declared unfit for aircraft due to high crosswinds, with five aircraft being diverted.
14.01.47 HP Halton Skyways G-AHDW En route London to Castel Benito reported inner starboard engine trouble 80 miles south-west of Malta, but continued towards Libya, landing safely there.
23.01.47 A. York B.O.A.C. G-AGSO Captain requested weather conditions at Luqa when still one hour out of Cairo. The AHQ orb notes that considering that this information is not relevant when the aircraft still has several hours flying to go before reaching Luqa, it causes unnecessary W/T traffic and should be stopped.
29.01.47 A. York B.O.A.C. G-AGOC Aircraft struck by lightning on departure from Malta, the captain elected to return to Luqa.
29.01.47 Ju 52/AAC 1 Air France F-BAMX Arrived on from Libya, departing on unknown date and time for Tunis.

I received the following information about this aircraft from a German researcher.

c/n 112

- owned by the French State - Direction des Transports Aériens

- operated by Air France, based in Madagascar between 1945 and 1953(?)

- 'Visite trimestrielle' from 03.02.47 to 15.02.47 (literally, Quarterly visit, meaning: regular visit to maintenance shop.)

The date of the visit to Luqa fits neatly into the above-mentioned time frame, as F-BAMX probably was on its way to then French-Algeria where two(?) large French maintenance centers were in operation.

Webmaster’s note: Whilst I cannot be sure, and since the routing the pilot took doesn’t make sense, it is probable that sand-storms over Libya may have forced the diversion See entry below .
29.01.47       On advice from the Meteorological Section, Malta area was placed as unfit due to icing, low cloud and sand storms along the African coast. Seven aircraft diverted from Luqa.
01.02.47 L. Constellation KLM PH-TBT Approached Luqa on three engines, landing safely.
02.02.47 A. Lancastrian Skyways G-AHBZ Arrived from Cairo at 14:45. Scheduled departure was the 3rd at 09:20. Note in files state “put back at 1:10pm.” Eventual departure for the UK was on the 5th at 08:00.
03.02.47 A. York Skyways G-AHLV Arrived from Karachi at 05:10, meant to depart at 07:15. Departed on the 5th at 07:10.
06.02.47 DC-3 BOAC G-AGNG Aircraft, en route to Malta, reported engine trouble 30 minutes after leaving Marignane. Captain returned to airport.
16.02.47 A. Lancastrian BOAC G-AGLZ Arrived from Karachi at 11:25. Departure delayed by problems in petrol tanks. Eventually left on the 20th at 07:18.
16.02.47 DH Mosquito   G-CAAR Brought into Luqa by Q.D.M.S. after being forced back by bad weather over Greece. Landed at Luqa short on petrol.
18.02.47 Consul Chartair Ltd G-AIOM Arrived from Naples & Catania 18:35. Scheduled to depart on the 20th at 07:25, but “put back”, leaving the following day at 06:15 to Naples.
27.02.47 V. Viking   G-AJFR Departed for El Adem from Luqa, but forced to return due to engine trouble.
01.03.47 A. York BOAC G-AGJC Landed at 03:55, departing at 05:20, but returned with engine trouble. Eventual departure date unknown.
05.03.47 DC-3   G-AJAY Aircraft inbound to Luqa from Marignane. Developed engine trouble 70 miles south west of Sardinia. Diverted to Tunis making a safe landing there.
15.03.47 A. York BOAC G-AGOA Arrived from Almaza, Egypt at 05:30. Departed for the UK, but within twenty minutes was reporting shut down of starboard inner engine. Captain circled Malta for three hours to reduce petrol load, landing at 10:10. Mail and passengers transferred to DC-3 G-AGKG which arrived later in the day from Cairo at 21:33. G-AGKG departed the following day at 06:05. The York left Luqa on the 19th at 06:10.
15.03.47       Luqa airfield becomes unfit for all aircraft types due to gale force winds. Between 13:45Z to 16:30Z, 14 aircraft were diverted.
25.03.47 HP Halifax BOAC PP272 Arrived the previous day on a training flight. Departed at unknown time, but returned at 12:20. Eventually left Malta on the 27th at 06:25.
25.03.47 DC-3 BOAC G-AGKL The Custom records had the following note signed by the aircraft’s captain Honlder. Aircraft two hours late arriving at Luqa owing to receiving request from El Adem to search for an aircraft in distress on the sea approx 40 miles north of Benghazi. Abandoned search but pilot later found safe by another aircraft.
27.03.47 A. Lancastrian BOAC G-AHBU Arrived the previous day from Cairo. Took-off at 03:20 for the UK, but returned at 05:15 “owing to stress of weather over France”. Left on the 28th at 07:12.
15.04.47 A. York BOAC G-AGJC Arrived from the UK on the 11th for Karachi, returned on the 15th at 14.22. Departed on the 17th at 09:25, no reason given for the three-day lay-over.
21.04.47 DC-3 BOAC G-AICV Arrived from Cairo at 06:05, departing on the 23rd at 04:10 but returned with engine trouble. Departed on the 25th at 04:15.
24.04.47 A. York BOAC G-AGOE Refuelling stop between 21:45-23:10. Returned for unknown reasons, departing at 01:00 on the 25th.
05.05.47       Luqa airfield was declared unfit for flying for all aircraft types between 02:00Z to 17:10Z due to winds gusting up to 53 mph.
12.05.47       High winds experienced in the Mediterranean are render Luqa unfit for aircraft except 4-engined and heavy twin-engined aircraft only.
12.05.47 A. York BOAC G-AHFI Arrived the previous day at 12:50. Left Malta at 02:15 but returned for unknown reasons at 03:15. Departed at 09:20.
14.05.47       High winds again made Luqa unfit for flying from 13:07Z.
22.05.47 DH Dove   G-AHRB Scheduled for 14:00, the entry had cancelled written over it.
22.05.47 A. Lancastrian BOAC G-AHBU Arrived from Libya at 13:15 with 7 crew, no passengers after captain reported being unable to raise either undercarriage or flaps, and diverted to Luqa for technical assistance. Departed on the 24th with 5 crew.

Note in Custom files stated that "2 removed to G-AHCC 1434/47*.” Lancastrian G-AHCC of Skyways Ltd. arrived from Iraq on the same day at 13:25, with 13 passengers in transit and 5 crew. Departed the same day at 14:50 w/13 pax and 7 crew.

* 1434/47. This was the 1,434th landing by civilian aircraft for the year 1947.
22.05.47 A. Lancastrian B.O.A.C. G-AHMJ Diverted from Luqa to Castel Benito, Libya on BOAC instructions due to weather.
22.05.47       A REQUEST NEWS on Consul G-ANXA was received from Regahaia (French Tunis Control) at 211335 hours. No such aircraft had been under the control of this A.C.C. and no WAR/DEP was received, in short, A.C.C. Malta knew nothing about this aircraft. This control after such signal delay, could get no positive information about the aircraft or its aerodrome of departure. All aerodromes in Tripoli were checked with negative results. A.C.C. Cairo and R.A.F. A.C.C. Egypt were check about this aircraft. A.C.C. Cairo, to an immediate signal sent by A.C.C. Malta at 211930Z, replied at 222307Z. This will give some idea of the difficulty in tracing aircraft when dealing with such controls. By the time this inefficient business was unravelled by this control, the Consul GANXA had changed to Oxford GAHXA and had been nowhere near Tunis. Apparently A.C.C. Cairo had informed Regahaia of the E.T.D. of the above aircraft from the Cairo control area to Tunis (Regahaia). Regahaia had misread the abbreviations E.T.D. for A.T.D. and so started unnecessary news action. A.C.C. Cairo had not carried out correct Air Traffic procedure in-as-much as this A.C.C. had no knowledge of the aircraft movement, impending or otherwise, from A.C.C. Cairo. Cairo should only deal with aerodromes within the Malta A.C.C. area through Malta A.C.C. Total number of signals involved in this business was 19 and the request news actioned was cancelled by Regahaia at 221628Z.
23.05.47       Here we go again.

Regahaia (French Tunis Control) have again requested news on a Consul (GAIDE). No Consul aircraft of callsign GIADE have been under the control of A.C.C. Malta and, upon inquires by A.C.C. Malta, no Consul GAIDE registration was known to operate with any local firm. The aircraft callsign was considered wrong, and that the correct registration was GAIBF. A Consul of registration GAIBF had arrived from Tunis that morning. The question of wrong registration was put to Regahaia and the correct lettering GAIBF given. A reply confirming this error in the registration was received by A.C.C. Malta at 241602Z from Regahaia, and the request news action was accordingly cancelled.
26.05.47 Bristol Wayfarer   VT-CGV Inbound to Luqa from Benina, was forced to return to Benina with engine trouble.
04.06.47 HP Halton B.O.A.C. G-AHDM Aircraft was inbound to Luqa, but forced to divert to Tunis with unknown navigational trouble.
18.06.47 Halton BOAC G-AHDN Flight number 40.M.48. Arrived from Cairo at 05:00. There was the following note in the Customs’ Pratique Deposition form. “Journey log book inadvertently left at Cairo due misunderstanding with traffic.”
19.06.47 Sh. Hythe B.O.A.C. G-AGEW En route from Egypt to Augusta, requested the route weather forecast from Augusta to Poole, UK. Although eventually given this information, the Met. Section filed a report as it was contended that the captain should have obtained this information from the appropriate authorities at Augusta after landing there.
19.06.47 A. York B.O.A.C. G-AGUP Aircraft was inbound from Egypt to Luqa. Crew reported having seen an explosion in the sea at position 3230N 2456E. Relevant authorities in Malta were informed, but no positive results obtained.
20.06.47 A. York BOAC ZS-BRA Air test at 14:36. Arrived from Heathrow, returning to South Africa. No problems listed in the Customs’ Pratique Deposition form. Last seen on the 16th to Heathrow.
26-27.06.47 A. York BOAC MW167 Aircraft, on a UK-Malta-UK training flight wasn’t carrying a log book.
30.06.47 Ai. Consul British Aviation Services Ltd. G-AHRK Aircraft arrived from, and departed again to, Catania between 13:20-14:25, but wasn’t carrying a log book.
12.07.47 Airspeed Consul   G-AIBF Aircraft returned to Malta with engine problems. The source didn’t mention the operator, but it was operating to/from Malta with British Aviation Services between 10-15 July. Other operators included Malta Airlines, Westminister Services, Chartair and Air Malta. Seen in Malta between 20.06.47 and 18.12.50.
16.07.47 A. Consul Trans-Continental Air Services G-AIOX Arrived the previous day at 16:10. Departure of 06:30 put back at 08:30 due to engine trouble. Departed later in the day at 15:15.
03.08.47 DC-3 Mercury Aviation Services ZS-BTN Arrived on delivery the previous day from Blackbushe at 19:05. Departed for South Africa at 07:15, but returned at 09:00 with oil leak problems. Aircraft eventually left Malta on the 5th 05:13.
11.09.47 Ai. Consul Chartair Ltd. G-AIUX Departed for the UK at 06:28, but returned at 08:15 for unknown reasons. Departed again at 09:55.
13.09.47 Ai. Consul Chartair Ltd. G-AIUR  
20.09.47 DC-3 BOAC G-AGKE Arrived from Cairo at 15:40. Its 7 passengers were transferred to Scottish Aviation’s DC-3 G-AIOF which had also arrived from Cairo at 15:25, departing the following day at 07:06. No known reason for passenger transfer given. G-AGKE departed Malta on the 22nd at 06:25.
09.10.47 DC-3 BOAC G-AGKC Arrived from Cairo at 14:45, departing for the UK the following day. Forced to return because of bad weather. Left on the 11th at 05:00.
13.10.47 A. Consul Maltair Ltd. G-AIUR One of a number of Counsuls flying out of Malta to Italy, Tunis and Libya. Departed for Castel Benito, but reported starboard engine vibrations 20 minutes into the flight. Captain returned to Luqa, making a safe landing at 16:00. Next flight out of Malta was on the 20th at 07:00.
17.10.47 HP Halton B.O.A.C. G-AHDX Aircraft on a flight from London to Castel Benito, Libya. Captain failed to contact the Area Control Centre, Malta as he had maintained the radio frequency for Castel Benito.
25.10.47 DC-3 BOAC G-AGKJ Aircraft arrived on the 24th at 16:01, departed at 05:30, but returned for unspecified reasons. Left on the 26th at 05:35.
04.11.47 Ai. Consul British Aviation Services Ltd. G-AIBF Departure time listed as 10:00, but put back to 11:20. Took off on the 5th at 08:15.
13.11.47 A. York Skyways G-AHLV Departed for Almaza, but reported starboard outer engine trouble. Returned to Luqa safely.
13.11.47 A. York Skyways Ltd. G-AHLV Arrived from the UK to Lydda on the 11th, returning on the 13th on three engines, landing at Luqa at 16:30. Departed on the 16th.

The RAF Luqa ORB gives the reg as G-AHLU, which would make it a DH Rapide.
14.11.47 DC-3 Pan African Air Charter Ltd ZS-AYB Arrived from Croydon via Rome on the 13th at 18:35. Departure time for South Africa listed as 07:15. Put back at 10:55.
25.11.47 DC-4 Skyways G-AJPL Aircraft was returning from a flight to the Middle East, having landed at Luqa the previous day. Strong winds at Malta forced a diversion to Libya.
26.11.47 DC-4 K.L.M. PH-TAM Diverted from Rome to Malta due to engine trouble. Departed the following day.
30.11.47 DC-3 BOAC G-AJBG Aircraft had arrived the previous day from Karachi at 15:50. Departure time of 07:00, but put back to 07:45. Took off again for the UK at 09:50.
01.12.47 Lockheed 14H Super Electra 12 Universal Flying Services G-AGBG Listed as delayed, but does not specify if the delay was in the aircraft arriving or departing. Had arrived the previous day at 19:30
02.12.47 DC-3 BOAC G-AGNG Aircraft had arrived on 28th November at 15:35. Departure for Cairo given as 07:05, but put back at 11:20. Flight number 30M618.
03.12.47 DC-4   PH-TBD en route from Rome to Bagdad developed port outer engine trouble over southern Italy. Due to strong cross winds at Luqa, the aircraft was diverted to Hal-Far.
08.12.47 Ai. Consul Transair Ltd. G-AIVA Arrived from Croydon the previous day at 14:25. Departure at 07:40 for Castel Benito, pilot reporting port engine u/s after 25 minutes, returning and making a safe landing at Luqa. Continued for Nairobi with its journey later in the day at 11:40.
08.12.47 A. Tudor The Secretary Ministry of Supply G-AGPF Test flight at 13:45. No problems listed in the Customs’ Pratique Deposition form.
17.12.47 DC-4 Air Charter G-AJPL Aircraft arrived from the UK at 01:42. Pilot reported number 2 engine failure one hour after departing Luqa for Khartoum, but that height was being maintained. Returned and made a safe landing at Luqa.
21.12.47 DH Rapide Olley Air Transport G-AIYE Aircraft had arrived from Cairo the previous day at 17:25. Departure time at 07:45 cancelled, put back. Left on the 22nd at 07:15. 2 crew, no passengers.
30.01.48 DC-3 BOAC G-AGNC Arrived the previous day from Lyyda at 16:42, on flight number 38M83. Departure time of 06:55, put back to 09:25. Finally left on the 31st at 06:45.
30.01.48 DC-3 BOAC G-AGNE Arrived the previous day from Lyyda at 17:07, on flight number 32M72. Departure time of 06:45, put back to 09:15. Finally left on the 31st at 06:30.
22.02.48 DC-3 BOAC G-AGKB Arrived the previous day from Cairo at 15:04, on flight number 30M696. Departure time of 05:25, but put back. Finally left on the 23rd at 10:50.
27.02.48 V. Viking Airwork G-AJFR Aircraft had arrived the previous day at 16:53 on flight SG203 from Khartoum. Departed at 05:00, but back to 07:15, departing for the UK at 09:00.
24.03.48 DC-3 BOAC G-AGKL Arrived on the 23rd at 20:02 from the UK on flight 29M729. Scheduled to depart but put back due to engine trouble. Departed for the UK on the 28th at 05:30 as 30M729.
02.04.48 DC-4 Air Charter G-AJPL c/s WSX 2/26. Arrived from Iran at 03:50, left at 05:00 for the UK. Returned for unknown reasons, eventual departure date/time unknown.
07.04.48 Airspeed Consul Chartair Ltd G-AIKO Struck by lightning between Rome & Malta on unknown date, but landed at Malta. Report on 9 April listed damage to wooden structure of nose & fuselage, complete loss of aerial assembly, aerial connecter cables burnt & other minor defects; approx. cost of repairs £50. Nothing in customs’ files REMARKS column about aircraft damage from lightning, but G-AIKO was the only Consul arriving from Rome in the first nine days of April.
09.04.48 DC-3 BOAC G-AGNC Had arrived the previous day on flight 3 0M743 at 15:55. Departure at 07:55 crossed out, replaced with the 11th at 05:25.
22.04.48 DC-3 BOAC G-AGKA Had arrived on the 21st at 15:50, on flight 37M93. Departure time of 04:35, put back at 09:45, no reason given. Eventual departure day/time unknown.
28.04.48 DC-3 BOAC G-AGNG Arrived from the UK on the 27th at 20:12, flight 29M764. Departure time of 08:46 put back to 10:10 for unknown reasons. Took off at 11:20.
05.05.48 DC-3 BOAC G-AGNK Arrived on flight BO301/4 on the 4th at 16:34. Scheduled departure on this day cancelled for unknown reasons, eventually left on the 6th at 06:25.
07.05.48 Proctor   G-AHWX Arrived from Catania on the 4th at 16:45. Departure of 09:45 put back to 10:45. Departed for Tripoli on the 8th at 04:00. Returned to Malta on the 9th at 14:10. Departure on the 13th at 14:00 put back “due to stress of the weather”. Departure month appears to be June 23rd at 07:55.
12.05.48 A. Consul Chartair Ltd. G-AIUR Scheduled to depart for Tripoli at 15:00, but was “put back due to stress of the weather”. Left the following day at 05:35.
10.06.48 DC-3 BOAC G-AGNK Arrived from Cairo the previous day on flight BO301/45. Took off at 07:05, but put back for unknown reasons. Continued to the UK at 09:30.
13.06.48 DC-3 BOAC G-AGZC Arrived from the UK the previous day as on flight BO300/40 at 18:10. Departure for Cairo at 09:30 put back. Eventually left on the 14th at the same time.
20.06.48 DC-3 Mercury Aviation Services ZS-BTN Arrived from South Africa at 16:54. Departure for the UK at 07:00 put back to 09:10. Eventually left on the 23rd at 06:20.
11.07.48 DC-4 Air Charter G-AJPN Re-fuelling stop between 00:40-02:10, but departure put back to 07:20. Eventually took-off at 10:35.
14.07.48 DC-3 BOAC G-AGKN Arrived from Cairo at 16:49. Departed at 05:30, flight number 303/4, with 4 crew and 2 passengers. Note in customs file 12 says “Lost at sea. All P & C lost.”. See accident report below.

G-AGKN – accident report


The crew had left Cairo for El Adem, Libya at 08:00hrs on the 13th, landing at 11:10hrs. Departed after 30 minutes, landing at Luqa at 15:50hrs. It departed Malta on the 14th at 04:30hrs and was scheduled to land at Marigranne, southern France, at 09:25hrs, departing for the UK at 10:10hrs.

There were no problems into Malta, and a check of the aircraft as regards airframe, engines and radio equipment found everything in good working order.

Departure on the 14th was at 04:35hrs. Five minutes later, the captain reported passing through 7,5000 ft in clear weather on a true tack on 314 degrees. At 05:30hrs, the crew reported being between Sicily and Pantalleria, whilst at 06:42, they were in a position 100 kms from Sardinia. At 07:30hrs, the crew changed frequencies to AIX Area Control (This probably would have been AIX-en-Provence).

Wind speed

The wind forecast at Malta was given variously as varying between 260 and 300 degrees.

In reality the wind, at approx. 18-20 knots, was mostly SW up to Sardinia, SE over Sardinia and again SW up to about 200kms from the French coast. This explains why the aircraft’s arrival time was placed earlier than originally planned. Furthermore, instead of the forecast wind being from ¾ ahead, the crew encountered, without realising it, a beam wind, which caused the aircraft to drift eastwards.

Additionally, a fog bank covered the whole of the coast from Sete to St. Raphael, from sea level up to 2,500 ft in height, and a few kilometers wide.

Navigation - Conjectures

The navigator, described as being very confident, based his navigation on the information received from Malta. At 07:30hrs he must have realised the error/s when he found himself ahead of the time table in the flight plan. For this reason, he sent two revised ETA’s (Estimated Time of Arrival), the first giving an arrival at 09:00, instead of 09:25, and later, at 08:04hrs stating they would be landing at 08:48hrs.

Without consulting radio navigational equipment, the crew transmitted their position at 08:30hrs, placing them 45 kms South of Toulon.

(The above conjecture was borne out by the crew of a DC-3 that left 90 minutes after G-AGKN, and ended up 5 kms to the east of Toulon.)

As the aircraft had still not landed at Marigranne by 09:00hrs, an alarm was issued by the Area Control, and at 11:45 hrs reported came in from fishermen who had heard an aircraft strike Cap SICIE at about 08:30hrs.

The aircraft, subsequently identified as G-AGKN, was almost completely destroyed by the impact and the resulting fires. All six persons on board were killed by the impact. (A wrist watch found amongst the debris showed it had stopped at 08:38:5hrs.)

The pilot.

The captain, acting on the navigators’ calculation, must have believed he was off the coast between Toulon and Marseilles, ten minutes away from the airport. He must have made the decision to make a low approach, descending through what he though was a cloud bank, to emerge in clear weather over the airport.


The aircraft, crew and company were in order as regards regulations in force at the time.

The aircraft was fully serviceable on leaving Malta, and no problems were reported during the flight.

The flight to France passed without incident, in favourable weather conditions.

The weather report from Malta was inaccurate as far as wind direction was concerned. This error was partly corrected by the navigator, who subsequently updated their arrival time at Marigranne.

There was an error of reckoning on the part of the navigator. Overall, the crew failed to verify their position using the navigational equipment on board the aircraft. *

The pilot started his descent below the level of the highest point in the surrounding area, outside a marked axis suitable for descent through cloud, and without verifying the position by a fix on the VHF or by a radio-compass bearing.

This led to the aircraft blindly flying into the obscured cliff face, resulting in the aircraft’s destruction and loss of life.

Cause/s of incident.

Error of navigation, insufficient attention to detail on the part of the crew, aggravated by rash behaviour on the part of the pilot.


Navigation had to always be carried out with the greatest of care, whatever the weather encountered. Dead reckonings especially, must constantly be checked by bearings or positions obtained from ground stations.

It is dangerous to leave the safety altitude when not in visual flight, and without applying the standard procedure prescribed for approaching an aerodrome.

* There is a similarity to an accident that occurred with a Short Hythe flying-boat, G-AGHW, in the Isle of Wight on 19.11.47. As with the crew of G-AGKN, the pilot had all the radio and navigational aids on board the aircraft, but chose to ignore them. A note stated: “Two accidents of this type should not occur to aircraft of the same corporation within eight months of each other, in fact such elementary accidents should never occur to Corporation aircraft.”

24.07.48 Ai. Consul Chartair Ltd. G-AIKO Departure for Rome cancelled due to engine trouble at 09:25. Departed on the 28th at 05:35 for Tunis.
30.07.48 DC-4 KLM PH-TBU Sick passenger was off-loaded and taken to Mtarfa hospital for observation. Aircraft and crew were quarantined and kept in isolation during two-hour stop. Aircraft was en-route to Cairo, perhaps other destination/s afterwards. Aircraft landed at Luqa on its return to Amsterdam on 1st August.
12.08.48 DC-3 BOAC G-AGKJ Had arrived on the 11th at 15:47. Departure scheduled for 07:20. Had “Put back at 07:35” crossed out, departed at 11:00.
05.09.48 DC-3 Field Aircraft Services G-ALCB Arrived on the 4th at 16:15 from El Adem. Departure at 05:45 put back to 08:30 for unknown reasons.
07.09.48 Airspeed Consul   G-AHMC Chartered aircraft departed Le Bourget on the 4th at 09:00z, Lyons on the 5th at 14:25. Landed in Sardinia to refuel, but refused departure until the 7th. Departed Elmas at 05:25, landing in Malta at 08:55. Additional info in the 50 years ago page.
16.09.48 DC-3 BOAC G-AGKE Arrived from Cairo on the 15th at 15:53. Departure at 07:20 put back for unknown reasons to 09:20. Flight number 301/151.
29.08.48 A. York Skyways Ltd. G-AHFI Arrived on the 28th, destination Malaya. Departure on the 29th crossed out with no reason given. Aircraft departed on 1st September. Aircraft christened “Skyway”.
03.10.48 A. York Skyways Ltd G-AHFI Aircraft landed at 15:30, from Singapore to UK. One passenger was described as being a “mental case” and remitted to hospital.
10.10.48 DC-3 Mercury Aviation Services ZS-BWZ Night stopped between 07-08.10.48 on its way to the UK. Note in Custom file 12 states: “No More! Crashed in Sahara on 10.10.48.” Strangely, no return flight is to be found. The only South African DC-3 was ZS-BJZ, which is a different aircraft all together, unless this was a mistake by some official.
17.10.48 A. Lancastrian Skyways Ltd. G-AHBT Arrived on the 16th. Departure on the 17th at 12:15 cancelled. Note in Cus 12: Put Back 6:25pm 17/X/48. Left at 9:50 on 18/X/48. Aircraft christened “City of New York”.
21.10.48   BOAC   The flying boat made an emergency landing at 09:30 as weather conditions at Augusta, Italy, were unsuitable. On taxying for take-off, aircraft went aground. Passengers taken off aircraft and aircraft towed off for inspection, with no apparent damage. Departed the following day.
20.10.48 V. Viking   G-AIXS Aircraft arrived on the 16th. Departure date on the 20th crossed out without any reason given. Eventually left on 11th November.
30.10.48 DC-3 Silver City A/Ls G-AJAV Arrived on the 29th from El Adem at 13:30. Departure for the UK at 07:00 put back 08:05. Left at 12:45.
11.11.48 DC-4 Air Charter G-AJPL Arrived from Karachi at 18:00, scheduled to departed at 19:15, but put back to 20:25. Left for the UK the following day at 05:30.
29.11.48 V. Viking Airwork Ltd. G-AKTV Arrived on the 28th at 16:10. Departure at 08:00 put back to 11:10. Departed at 13:40.
12.12.48 Ai. Consul Chartair Ltd. G-AIKX Arrived from Tunis at 12:40, scheduled departure for Tripoli & Benghazi at 15:25. Put back, departed on the 13th at 09:13.
20.12.48 V. Viking   G-AKTV Arrived from the UK en route to Wadi Halfa between 15/16.12.48, Returned on the 20th at 13:15, scheduled to depart at 14:15. Departure crossed out, aircraft leaving on the 21st at 06:15.
23.12.48 Ai. Consul   G-AJNG Arrived from Benina 16:05. Note in Custom 12: “Crash landed. Perfect Operation!” Departed for Tripoli on the 27th at 06:05.
24.12.48 Ai. Consul Chartair Ltd. G-AIKO Departure for Rome via Naples at 13:40, put back 16:00. Departure on the 26th at 09:20, being put back to 17:35. Departure for Catania on the 27th at 07:00 again put back to 08:30, eventually leaving at 12:30.
10.03.49 DC-3 B.E.A.C. G-AGJW Arrived from Istanbul & Athens at 18:15, departing for the UK on the 11th at 07:20, flight number 941/161. Note in Custom file 12 states: “Kept under police custody.”
12.03.49 DC-3 B.E.A.C. G-AHCZ Arrived at 14:15. Scheduled departure on the 14th at 07:00 put back to 07:45. Flight number 940/163.
24.05.49 A. Lancastrian B.O.A.C. G-AGLT Flight number 75_/056, arrived from Cairo. Scheduled departure 13:50 put back for unknown reasons. Left on 25th at 06:45.
30.05.49 A. Lancastrian B.O.A.C. G-AGLT Flight number 754/57. Landed at 15:19, from the UK to Cairo, scheduled to depart at 16:00. “Put back” to 17:40, but actually left on the 31st at 04:45.
10.06.49 DC-3 B.E.A. G-AGYZ Arrived from Istanbul at 16:40, flight number 902/10. Take-off at 08:00 was put back to 17:15. Actually continued on its journey on the 12th at 07:45.
01.08.49 DH Dove Silver City A/Ws G-AIWF Arrived from Catania on 30.07.49 at 18:15. Nothing under “Remarks” in Custom records to indicate any problems, but departure date/time of 1st Aug at 07:30 replaced by 4th at 06:30.
23.09.49 DC-3 Sivewright Airways G-AGNK Aircraft originally departed Mombasa for the UK, landing at Luqa at 15:00. There was the following note; “No log book on arrival at Malta. This was left behind at Jeddah on 22.09.49.
13.10.49 Ai. Consul Bowmaker Ltd. G-AIKZ Meant to leave for Catania at 02:05, but put back to 15:00. Eventually lift on the 14th at 07:30.
29.10.49 V. Viking Airwork Ltd G-AJFT Flight number SG510/1, landed at 18:04 from Blackbushe & Nice. One passenger became ill on board with a suspected case of appendicitis? The RAF were informed an ambulance requested with an RAF MO in attendance.
07.11.49 DC-3 Pan African Air Charter ZS-BRX Arrived from South Africa for a refueling stop between 11:05-12:20. Remained grounded due to engine problems, leaving on the 8th at 06:05. (Note in Cus 12: Put back owing to engine trouble at 4pm.)
09.11.49 DH Dove Silver City A/Ws G-AKJP Note says departure delayed. Doesn’t state if the given time, 06:32, was the departure after the aircraft had been delayed, or the scheduled departure time and the aircraft left later.
11.11.49 DH Dove Air Malta G-AIWF Crash-landed at El Adem, Libya at 08:57z due to excessive fuel consumption. Wreckage removed to an RAF Hangar. No casualties. Operated for Air Malta from at least 14.07.49 till 28.10.49.
02.12.49 Ca. Argonaut BOAC G-ALHE Originally arrived from London for Karachi on 25.11.49. On its return it had 6 passengers in transit, but departed on the 4th with crew only. Nothing in Custom files about reason for the three-day lay-over.
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