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Old 8th Apr 2013, 12:22
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OUAQUKGF Ops
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NORFOLK UK
Age: 72
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Accident Dakota G-AJBG 1948

Further to my 'Ramble' about Bovingdon I have been searching the net for more information about this accident. I was incorrect in stating that all on board had perished for the First Officer survived the accident. Here is an extract from a local paper:

'May 21 1948.

A Dakota freight aircraft, carrying a load of strawberries and cherries from the South of France crashed in a wood barely a quarter of a mile from Bovingdon Airport in the early hours of yesterday.

Three members of the crew were killed instantly, and the fourth is in the West Herts Hospital with severe injuries.

Although the crash was heard about 2.45a.m., an extensive search failed to reveal the whereabouts of the wreckage. It was subsequently spotted from the air by a pilot just taking off from Bovingdon at about 8a.m.

The plane,a freighter belonged to Channel Isles Air Charter, and was on a normal night run with soft fruit for the London market.

Staff at Bovingdon Airport heard the crash, and emergency crews were turned out immediately.They were reinforced by Herts and Bucks Police and the whole area surrounding the airport was combed, but it was not until relief searchers had been turned out that the plane was found.

Searchers, directed by Police Constable J.D.Lord were led to Bourne Grove Wood, where they found the mangled wreckage. It had been spotted by the pilot of a plane immediately after taking off. He wirelessed the airport the location.

The tail of the plane and rear fuselage remained reasonably intact. The plane had broken its back, the front portion of the fuselage having turned over. The landing wheels, presumably all ready for landing, were pointing upwards.

It was from this portion of the wreckage that the bodies of two members of the crew were recovered after part of the plane had been hacked away. The third body had been thrown almost clear of the wreckage.'

Here is a summary of the subsequent Accident Report from Flight Magazine July 14th 1949:

'The Chief Inspector of Accidents, Air Cdre Vernon Brown, reports that he has been unable to determine the cause of the accident involving Dakota
G-AJBG that occurred at 01.45hrs on May 20th 1948. The aircraft was owned by Air Transport (Charter) (C.I.) Ltd and was on a charter flight from Valence,France to Bovingdon with a cargo of fruit.

While making a circuit of Bovingdon beneath a cloud-base which had lowered to 300ft, the aircraft flew into a wood about half a mile from the airfield and was wrecked. Fire did not break out, but Capt Boalch, R/O T.G.Young and F/E H.Spencer were all killed. The First Officer G.Castellain, was seriously injured.

The Inspector was unable to find evidence of pre-crash failure in the aircraft or its equipment and at the time of the accident the undercarriage was down and the airscrews in fine pitch. The pilot had not requested or obtained clearance before entering I.F.R. conditions in the vicinity of Bovingdon and he had been informed that the cloud-base was 400ft.
This height was below the minimum recommended for the approach procedure adopted by him.

The pilot had not been informed that the cloud-base was in fact 300ft at the time of his arrival, nor that it had been as low as 200ft earlier. The Inspector considered that control of the aircraft from Bovingdon was not carried out with a high degree of efficiency.'


Subsequent to this accident it would appear the Bourne Grove Wood was re-named Strawberry Wood. It can be found just next to the north-western perimeter of the airfield.

Last edited by OUAQUKGF Ops; 9th Apr 2013 at 12:17.
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