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Research into the loss of BEA Comet G-ARCO, 1967

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Research into the loss of BEA Comet G-ARCO, 1967

Old 13th Oct 2017, 16:10
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Research into the loss of BEA Comet G-ARCO, 1967

On Thursday 12th October 1967, Captain Gordon Blackwood, a friend and neighbour of my family, was flying a British European Airways Comet 4B, G-ARCO, which was operating as BE/ Cyprus Airways flight 284 from London Heathrow via Athens to Nicosia.

At 5.25 am, whilst still seventy miles off the coast of Cyprus, a bomb exploded which is believed to have caused structural damage to the fuselage. Eight minutes later, as the aircraft descended in an apparent attempt to land safely, the stresses were too much and the aircraft broke up. Gordon, the six other crew and all 59 passengers, lost their lives.

The investigation into the crash considered the ill-starred history of the early Comet aircraft, which had a poor safety record but bore no resemblance to the later Mark 4 and 4Bs. It was also considered that there might have been a mid-air collision with a Greek Air Force fighter, but this was also quickly discounted. Seat cushions recovered from the Mediterranean Sea bore conclusive evidence of explosive and the trajectory through the cushions of microscopic fragments of the bomb.

The target of the attack was unknown, and no responsibility was ever claimed. It was considered that those responsible believed that either Archbishop Makarios or General Grivas, both prominent though controversial politicians at the time, might have intended to travel.

I am researching the background and full story of this tragedy, which also appears to have been a crime. I would be very grateful if anyone with any information, or contacts who might be able to assist, would drop me a line by e-mail. The book will be wholly objective, but also will ensure that the memory of those lost will be perpetuated.

Thank you.
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Old 13th Oct 2017, 17:12
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think it went down off the Greek island of Kastelorizo (the furthermost Greek island from Athens)
the island is just off the Turkish coast at Kas and near Demre

a chap named Stephen Morrin who is the author of a few accident books namely the BMA stockport 1967 crash the new book is 6 miles from home and the day the sky fell down could be source of some info - he is well versed

i recall the BEA crash - summers 1966 and 1967 were not good years for civil aviation.
speculation that it was either a Greek politician or the Archbishop was the target
I read something else recently about the causes and/or the crash but I'm sorry it escapes me

the next Comet crash was Dan Air G-APDN near BCN 7/1970 which Stephen may start to write about - he lives in the Manchester area

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Old 14th Oct 2017, 08:55
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Thank you Rog. I've dropped Stephen a line.
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Old 14th Oct 2017, 11:08
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I was at RAF Nicosia in 1958 when an RAF Comet 2 had a narrow escape. Checked in baggage was sitting on a set of trolleys near the aircraft prior to loading when a bomb exploded in a suitcase. It was established that the bomb was inside a large box of sugared almonds, purchased from the RAF Nicosia NAAFI. EOKA was the main suspect. Had the timer worked correctly it might have been the end of the Comet.
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Old 14th Oct 2017, 14:15
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I hadn't heard of that incident, brakedwell. I am working on the assumption that airport security was, at best, rudimentary in the fifties and sixties.
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Old 14th Oct 2017, 14:18
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I have added a Facebook community page to assist with the collation and exchange of information.
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Old 14th Oct 2017, 20:05
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Originally Posted by MentionTheWar
I am researching the background and full story of this tragedy, which also appears to have been a crime. I would be very grateful if anyone with any information, or contacts who might be able to assist, would drop me a line by e-mail. The book will be wholly objective, but also will ensure that the memory of those lost will be perpetuated.
You don't make any mention of whether or not you have read the official investigation report (CAP 305). If not, that woud be a good starting point.
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Old 14th Oct 2017, 20:17
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Flighr BEA/CY284

Hallo. My father was on this flight.I too have been investigating it.

Most stange is the fact that the UK probably has the information of what happened but had 2 files classified until 2040.
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Old 14th Oct 2017, 21:32
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Originally Posted by MentionTheWar
I hadn't heard of that incident, brakedwell. I am working on the assumption that airport security was, at best, rudimentary in the fifties and sixties.
The RAF did not use the almost non existent airport. The Naafi, air movements section and passenger handling was all inside the base, which was heavily guarded. Civilian staff were almost all Turkish Cypriots as Greek Cypriots were considered a security risk. My home base was Lyneham and I knew the Comet captain, who was shaken by the incident, unfortunately I cannot recall his name.
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Old 16th Oct 2017, 07:59
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There are 2 classified files on the bombing in the UK Archives which will opened in 2040!

MEPO 2/11089 and MEPO 2/11090

- Metropolitan Police investigation into an explosion aboard BEA Comet G-Argo over the Mediterranean Sea on 12 November 1967 resulting in the death of all passengers and crew. (Please note the change of the file month from October to November)

Why are these files kept secret after 50 years?

if anyone out there has any ability to access them, i believe we will find the answers.

Some facts the US Navy offered to salvage the plane - the British Government rejected why?

The Cyprus Government still officially calls it an ACCIDENT - NOT A BOMBING

If anyone has contact information of the families of the Pilots or anyone else on the plane PLEASE forward them to me.

I have upto now contacted 4 families who lost loved ones and they all want to know why?

Three of these families had children which were born shortly after the bombing or just before. These people are now adults and have never met their father or mother.

October 11, 2014
Open Letter
To Ex. Matthew Kid
. United Kingdom Commissioner in Cyprus
Nicosia

Mr. Kid,

The recent air tragedy over Ukraine has upset the whole planet for the loss of so many innocent people, for unscrupulous for some obvious political reasons. And we firmly agree that the culprits and reasons for sacrificing so many lives have to be explored in depth and revealed, without having any interference with the politics in the Ukraine or anywhere else, and if it is possible to punish the culprits. The UK requires immediate and in-depth research. We agree and welcome.

However, they must first, as they say, Caesar's wife should not only be honest but also appear to be honest. And London has to clear up its own orchard first, to be convinced of what it demands from others.

This case brings to our minds our own tragedy with Cyprus Airways flight CY 284, October 12, 1967, blasting over Kastelorizo ​​(100 miles east of Rhodes), killing 66 people, including the crew.

The airplane was Comet No. British Airways G-ARCO registration. It started from London as a BA flight and in Athens it changed and Cyprus Airways flight CY 284 to Nicosia.

A thorough British investigation was carried out and confirmed that the plane was bombed by a bomb. There is plenty of relevant documents in the British State Archive, which we investigated and published in our research in London's "Freedom" newspaper in two successes. (Also republished in other media). We covered all the details at our disposal from the documents, except the most critical point: Who is responsible for the bomb. The answers are in two files of the British Metropolitan Police which are recorded in the State Archives but censored for release until 2040!

So, if the United Kingdom is sincere in its demands for great light on the tragedy of Malaysian Airlines, it must, first, release and release all the truth about the blowing of the British comet flight CY 284 of Cyprus Airways, who are responsible, reasons and names. It is neither sufficient nor satisfying to invoke various pretexts, which common sense misplaced to keep the answers sealed, with one file closed for 68 years and the other for 71! (A related letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, dated 21.12.2011).

The investigation of Fanoulas Argyrou and Michalis Thomaidis (the son of one of the victims) who seeks, like others desperately, to learn why his father was killed in the links here:
June 30, 2011

Page first and page 22, part one,

7 July 2011 page 17, Part Two.

FANOULA ARGYROU
Researcher / journalist in
London
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Old 16th Oct 2017, 08:16
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The bomb was speculated to be for grivas, not makarios but it is said he never flew at night and on british planes. He himsel was trained by british secret services during ww2. He later lead the revolt in decolonizing cyprus. He was listed by the british s. Services.

It does not make sense.

We know who was carrying the bomb but he had a family and was not a kamikazi. It blow up under his seat. Archives reference to a 'special body'

speculated that glakos clerides (ex raf ww2 pilot) then chair person of cy house of parliament was going to board the plane but did not. The cyprus attorney general mr tryantafilides was going to board in athens and he did not. When asked why he did not board he is said to have said he was scared of flying and returned to cyprus by boat. - he used planes afterwards.

Something does not add up.

P.s i do not care about any politics i only want to know why i lost my father.
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Old 16th Oct 2017, 08:17
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15 October 2017, 18:00

BEA / CY 284, 12 OCTOBER 1967 - 66 DEFECTS

FIRST blew CIVIL AIRPLANE IN EUROPE IN RECENT HISTORY ... IN ACCORDANCE WITH Unchained BRITISH DOCUMENTS CONFIRMED BEYOND ALL DOUBT THAT BOMB MILITARY TYPE responsibility for blowing

Nearly cradle all reports in the British press reported the headlines for days that the objective of the bombing was the assassination of General George Grivas Dighenis, head of the National Guard. It was certain that the General would travel with that flight, but at the last minute he fouled

On October 12, 2017, it was the 50th tragic anniversary of the British Airways British Airways blast, 4B G-ARCO comet. According to the released British documents, it is undoubtedly confirmed that a military-type bomb was responsible for blasting.

On October 11, 1967, the plane took off from London Heathrow Airport to Athens on its way to Nicosia. The London-Athens flight was operated by British European Airlines and from Athens to Nicosia was transferred to CY 284 flight of Cyprus Airways. In a distance of 100 miles east of Rhodes, a bomb exploded in the airplane, resulting in the death of all passengers and crew - a total of 66 people lost their lives so tragically.

The plane took off from Athens on 02.31 and on 03.18 it tried to communicate with the Nicosia Control Tower, but nothing else followed, resulting in 04.40 to run for an airplane from the Akrotiri base. At 06.25 the debris of the airplane was located exactly in the area where it had attempted to communicate with Nicosia. Turkish ships spotted and gathered 19 bodies and another 32 bodies picked up a Greek destroyer, which they transported to Rhodes. The British authorities have requested that the bodies be transferred to Cyprus, but it has not become feasible.
A total of 51 died, with 11 being missing, but dead.

The crew consisted of Captain GD Blackwood, First Officer MP Thomas, First Officer DE Palmer and flight attendants N. Hassapopoulos, Y. Loizou, T. Efremis and K. Fotis.

Surveys

The Department of Commerce of the United Kingdom immediately ordered investigations, for which several departments worked together. At the same time, BEA conducted its own investigations, resulting in the same finding.

The UK Department of Commerce was delivered in April 1968 by the JB Veal Chief Inspector of Accidents and the other by the Chief of Metropolitan Police. The first report / survey referred to the causes of the fall and was published in August 1968 and is released. The second concerns the Metropolitan Police investigations and covers the criminal aspect of the murder of the victims. It is in two files in the British National Archives and remains secret, with a prospect of release in 2040.

I understand that until now the Cypriot state does not confirm that it was a bomb that is responsible and is used to claim that it was an "innocent" crash.

Copies of the Cypriot Government

This is unjustifiable by successive Cypriot governments because the released British documents confirm that the findings of the investigations into the causes of the fall, issued in August 1968 by the British Department of Commerce, were given to the Cypriot Government for the Cabinet briefing (6) copies.

Therefore, there is no justification for denying the truth when it is written briefly in the statement given to six copies:

"Cause - The aircraft broke up in the air after detonation of a high explosive device inside the cabin". (Cause - The airplane was airborne when a large explosive device exploded inside the cabin).

"Research by RARDE (Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment) went as far as researchers are able to say that they are 100 percent sure that there was a high-explosive mechanism." And in a report by RARDE himself - "A high explosion testimony (military or other similar - but not ordinary" gelignite "- gelatin) was found as a result of a detailed examination of a seat cushion of a particular seat ..."

On January 18, 1968, British newspapers wrote that "Undersecretary of Commerce JPW Mallalieu, in his written statement to the House of Commons, said that it was undisputed testimony that a powerful explosive mechanism was responsible for blowing up the airplane ..."
The "Birmingham Post" published a photo of RARDE's VJ Clancey explosive specialist, holding the seat cushion that blew the plane, with a caption that a military-type explosive was used.

The Ministry Internal Affairs refused to give a copy of the police investigations to the Court of Athens.

On August 1, 1968, Of Britain's Home Office informed Falrein Ophis that they would not give a copy of the police investigation to the Public Prosecutor of the Athens Court. They wrote: "The content of the Metropolitan Police officers' report is such that we can not give a copy to the Greek Authorities. The best way to handle the matter is to give them a copy of the head of research report and avoid any references to the police investigation ... "

Abraham Solomou

In the documents, while referring to the relatives to whom the victims' remains were handed over, in the case of passenger Abraham Solomou, and although his wife is marked as the immediate relative, his body is recorded as "F / d of the Cyprus Embassy in Athena". Passenger A. Solomou encountered a problem when he persistently demanded to travel on flight 284 without a ticket, refused to fly another flight and claimed that he was wrong at Nicosia Airport and lost his ticket. The head of BEA PD Antram in a report on January 15, 1968 wrote: "Consider Mr. Solomon's insistence as a suspect. Perhaps he was carrying explosives that he wanted to deliver as soon as possible. "

The goal

Almost initially, all British press reports reported headlines for days that the aim of the bombing was the murder of General George Griva Digeni, head of the National Guard. It was assumed that the General would travel on that flight, but at the last moment he fumbled.

On January 9, 1968, Brixton Prisoner, named P. Georgiades, informed the signatory authorities that he had information to give them a hysterogram saying: "I was present at a meeting when a high-level military person came to this country to discussing a plan to overthrow the regime, "and called them another person who lived in London, whom the English had transferred during the EOKA struggle 1955-59 for protection, that he could also give them information. On February 17, 1968, Evening Standard wrote that the Police had a broom and was investigating "Little Cyprus", Camden Town, asking for information, and that the Police believed that the target was Grivas.

In his book "The Biography of General Grivas", volume 3, the author Leonidas Leonidou wrote that, six years later, a close collaborator of Griva revealed to him:

"I reveal to you that I have valid information that the fall of the" comet "of Cyprus Airways on October 12, 1967 was your target. It is known that you will translate with that flight ... Hold on, because, at the last moment, you have taken the journey. They had a clock. They have been prepared by the Ministry of Interior.

"The deferment of your voyage, which was not awaiting it, and the wrong resettlement of the bomb meant that the plane had fired from the explosion and killed the confidant who had taken the placement, frustrating his own departure if you were on board. Do you know all that? Why are not our newspapers? "

And the writer adds to the book, which involves the assassination attempt with the events in Cyprus and Grivo's refusal to interfere with the National Guard in actions against the Turkish Cypriots:

"These strange details again involve the Cypriot Minister of Interior, Polykarpos Giorkatzis, because the explosion took place under the seat of Abraham Solomou, then the leader of the Foreign Minister Spyros Kyprianou, who was acting under orders of Yiorkatzi ...".

Request for release

In November 2015, the writer submitted an application under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to release the two police files. It was rejected on the grounds that the nature of the crime is so serious that, if the information is released, it will cause great public interest in a new investigation of the crime. That some exhibitions and photographs are so brilliant that they will cause mental disruption to relatives, etc. The police want these details to remain confidential until any hypothetical suspect reaches the age of 100. But at the same time, they do not rule out the possibility of releasing the files earlier ...

FANOULA ARGYROU
Researcher / journalist
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Old 18th Oct 2017, 19:28
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
You don't make any mention of whether or not you have read the official investigation report (CAP 305). If not, that woud be a good starting point.
Dave,

Yes I have a copy. There is no doubt what happened; why it happened and how the bomb was put on board is much less clear.
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Old 18th Oct 2017, 19:33
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Fanoula, I have emailed you about this and would very much like to get in touch.
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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 19:25
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Hello,
I have two relatives who were both also killed in the above incident and I'd also like to understand what happened and why. I have been looking at some of the documents that are held by the National Archives and whilst a few were released last year a number are now subject to a 100 year rule which is an extension on what has previously been in place!

Would very much like to get in touch with others from this thread
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Old 4th Aug 2019, 08:32
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British European Airways Corporation, de Havilland Comet 4B, G-ARCO, accident about 100 miles east of Rhodes, on 12 October 1967
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Old 5th Aug 2019, 10:03
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Thanks for the attachment – it makes interesting reading! For those who would like to dig further, there is a lot more official documentation in the public domain, some of it released as recently as 2018. There are 27 files on this accident which are accessible by the public at The National Archives (TNA):

AVIA 101/208 thru AVIA 101/226, plus:

AVIA 13/1383

AVIA 6/23898

DR 11/51

DR 16/142

HO 287/2146/1

HO 287/2146/2

MEPO 2/11089

MEPO 2/11090

There are a further three TNA files which are closed: HO 287/2146/3 Closed extracts: 271 pages Closed til 01/01/2069 MEPO 2/11089/1 Closed extracts: 478 pages Closed til 01/01/2069 MEPO 2/11090/1 Closed extracts: 292 pages Closed til 01/01/2066 As far as I can see, none of these files are ‘classified’ – even the closed ones (where even ‘unclassified’ would qualify as a classified file). In the case of the three closed files, (whose legal status is “Public Record(s)” they are closed for various periods of time due to a variety of reasons, which include ‘Law enforcement’; ‘Health and Safety’; ‘Personal information where the applicant is a 3rd party’; and ‘Information provided in confidence’. From the above, it would appear that the best effort has been made in making the remainder of the Home Office and Metropolitan Police files accessible to the public and it is apparent from the ‘reasons for closure’ why some of this information might still be best kept from public eyes.
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Old 5th Aug 2019, 10:22
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Files

I too did a foi request for the Trident that diverted on a belfast london flight in 1976 iirc.
In error I recieved an internal reply with grounds on how I might be granted release before the 40 years had expired. Later that day I received another email stating that I must destroy the previous email which I did without taking copies..I am not stupid.
After the 40 years expired I repeated my request and was told that they never had the file and it apparently had never existed.
Dont hold your breath.
It is similar wrt the french resistance files at Kew. My father was a translator for deGaulle and came out with a wild story that the resistance were betrayed to keep france fascist after the war. Now who would believe such a thing!
Met a researcher who had flown over to Kew and was refused access unless he had the death certificates. Slight problem that Auschwitz didnt issue them.
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 10:16
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Originally Posted by Louise1975
Hello,
I have two relatives who were both also killed in the above incident and I'd also like to understand what happened and why. I have been looking at some of the documents that are held by the National Archives and whilst a few were released last year a number are now subject to a 100 year rule which is an extension on what has previously been in place!

Would very much like to get in touch with others from this thread
Hello, I too lost a loved one on this flight, my mother. I have also noticed that the police investigation files have been extended to 2066. It is important to me to see a memorial of some sort to commemorate the 66 innocent lives lost on Flight 284.
I would be happy to be in touch with you and others who lost loved ones.
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Old 1st Oct 2019, 17:14
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Family Contacts

Since my original post I have made contact with a number of families of the victims. I am keen to hear from anyone directly interested in this tragedy.

Based on available material in The National Archives, along with other information and witness accounts, I have established the most likely reason for the attack on the flight. It is now, I believe, quite certain that:
1. The flight was targeted by a rival of General Georgios Grivas, who had been booked on the flight but whose booking was cancelled at the last minute.
2. The bomb was given to an unwitting courier, who was told to take a package to Nicosia from Athens and that it was essential that he travel on that flight in order to do.
3. Grivas was taken off the flight just before he set off for the airport, due to concerns that he would be attacked.
4. There is evidence of a very successful cover-up in order to prevent political ramifications.
5. The police files have been further restricted and will not be released until at least 2066 under the '99 year' rule.
6. Some files that were previously available to the public have now been restricted.

I have published a book based on the documents (some 2,500 pages) and with testimony from direct witnesses, including those working with General Grivas at the time.

The book, 'Bealine Charlie Oscar - The Mystery of Flight CY284', is available from Amazon worldwide.

Last edited by MentionTheWar; 4th Oct 2019 at 11:19.
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