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W/Cdr. A D J Lovell DSO* DFC*

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W/Cdr. A D J Lovell DSO* DFC*

Old 6th Feb 2011, 20:36
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W/Cdr. A D J Lovell DSO* DFC*

Colin Cummings book "The Price Of Peace" states that this officer was killed ,in Spitfire XII EN234, on 17 Aug. 1945 whilst carrying out unauthorised aerobatics at low level - he was not strapped in.
A Google search reveals a few brief details of his wartime career but does anyone know more?
Why would an experienced W/Cdr, highly decorated, act so foolishly? Did he have domestic problems, was he drunk, was he one of those persons who only lived for the excitement of war?
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Old 8th Feb 2011, 22:44
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Having survived a long war, with a DSO and Bar and a DFC and bar, one might easily develop the delusion of immortality. Sadly he wouldn't have been the first, or even more sadly the last, to discover how quickly in an aeroplane joie de vivre can turn into joie de mort.
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Old 9th Feb 2011, 02:00
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Lost height during a slow roll and crashed Old Sarum 17-8-45. Aircraft belonged to 33MU.

Why did he act so foolishly? Antics such as this were par for the course, and still happens. Check youtube for the clips of low flying. Douglas Bader lost his legs doing the exact same thing (slow roll).
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Old 9th Feb 2011, 15:52
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Dangerous aerobatics I can understand but it's the not strapping in first that baffles me - it is as though he had a death wish. Very sad.
There must have been a great deal of talk about it at the time, all now lost in the mists of time unless someone, who knows something, is still around.
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Old 9th Feb 2011, 20:23
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This incident may not be as clear cut as it may seem at first.
One thing's for sure,it does seem to be completely out of character.
Quite a bit of info on this officer's (distinguished) service career is in 'Aces High' by Chris Shores & Clive Williams.This states that "A devout Roman catholic,Tony Lovell had not been a 'party animal' and is not frequently remembered in the accounts of his various contemporaries.He had,however,flown throughout the war,undertaking one of the largest numberof operational tours of any pilot in the RAF"
His descendent's were obviuosly not happy with the official verdict on his demise because I recall press reports a few years back that his daughter (?) was seeking to get it overturned citing,I believe,possible deficiencies with the aircraft.
Be interested to know how she got on
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Old 9th Feb 2011, 23:41
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Nor would he be the first pilot who has taken to the air having forgotten to strap in - done that.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 20:28
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W/Cdr. A D J Lovell DSO* DFC*

An interesting article can be found here - which states that he was strapped in, although a shoulder strap was broken on impact, also that he was removed from the aircraft by a walker or the farmer - Fiennes Gallop

http://www.airfieldaviation.com/Love...%20MinSize.pdf

Allan
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 22:05
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Allan - just what I was looking for. It makes so much more sense now.
Thanks everyone for your responses.
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Old 12th Feb 2011, 09:07
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W/Cdr. A D J Lovell DSO* DFC*

Hi Papajuliet

What is your interest in Tony Lovell please?

I have been in discussion with Steve Brew webmaster of the Pilots of 41 Squadron RAF, 1939-1945 website http://brew.clients.ch/RAF41Sqdn.htm over your request and what is out there on the web.

I commented "My thoughts on the Lovell incident – whilst Peter Brown writes that he believed the aileron controls were reversed what about the fact that the Griffon ran the “wrong” way to usual, thus the torque was different to an earlier mark of Spit? If Lovell was not familiar with the XII he might have been surprised by a swing and overcompensated?"

And Steve, who has met and corresponded with quite a few 41 squadron veterans commented "Yes, very good point re the torque pulling in the opposite direction to usual. Many Spit XII pilots commented on the difficulty of getting used to that. Either way, shame to lose such a talented and decorated pilot."

Steve is currently in the process of writing the definitive history of 41 Squadron in WW2, so if you have anything to add on Tony Lovell I know that it would be appreciated.

Allan
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Old 12th Feb 2011, 12:28
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Thanks Allan
I appreciate your enquiries into this one.
I have no personal interest in this particular accident but, having collected all of Colin Cumming's books, and found them quite fascinating,out of all the tragedies listed in those books, the death of Tony Lovell,a relatively unknown highly decorated W/Cdr, particularly intrigued me having regard to what seemed to be an accident which was totally inexplicable for such a pilot.
The Aeroplane article casts so much more light on it and I shall follow what develops with a great deal of interest. [ I still buy Aeroplane Monthly but disposed of my back copies some years ago - I can't recall the article you posted but, perhaps, it was a month that I, somehow, missed ]
PJ.
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Old 13th Feb 2011, 01:06
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allan raises a very good point. Getting caught out by the torque being in the opposite direction has been mentioned by different pilot narratives of the era. I think Roly Beaumont mentioned in one of his books that he was caught out the first time he jumped into a Typhoon, and survival was near run thing during the take off. Remember to that the rudder trim would have been wound in to compensate for the torque expected ie in the wrong direction.
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Old 13th Feb 2011, 11:58
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W/Cdr. A D J Lovell DSO* DFC*

Hi Brian

Pierre Clostermann certainly mentions it in "The Big Show" for his first flight in a Typhoon.

Allan
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Old 13th Feb 2011, 13:04
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Torque is a well known effect but surely Tony Lovell - an experienced Spitfire pilot - would have been aware of the difference in Merlin and Griffon engine characteristics by that time, if not by personal experience, by word of mouth, I favour the crossed controls theory myself.
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Old 13th Feb 2011, 17:59
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W/Cdr. A D J Lovell DSO* DFC*

I would have thought that crossed controls would have been found in any examination of the wreckage and mentioned at the Inquiry - but, having written that, they seemed to accept the account from Brigadier Hicks, who was one the first people to find him, of him being outside the aircraft and thus not strapped in and not the walker or the farmer who actually released him from the wreckage and dragged him clear! - but perhaps the wreckage was not examined thoroughly?

The truth is out there - but will it ever surface after nearly 66 years

Allan
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