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1948 KLM Constellation crash near Prestwick

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1948 KLM Constellation crash near Prestwick

Old 14th Aug 2019, 08:31
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1948 KLM Constellation crash near Prestwick

I have recently renewed my interest in the accident involving the above a/c. I was looking at a totally unrelated matter and re read some of the internet stuff. I've found quite a bit about it, but I keep coming back to the official inquiry. Now, along with most historical air accidents, it seems that these are not available, or if they are, I can't find them. Does anyone know where full verbatim reports can be found? It seems odd that railway accidents going back to the start of railways are freely available whilst accidents before a certain date are not.
My other inquiry involved a possible book or pamphlet, produced locally (Ayshire) some years ago. It may have had a title along the lines of 'Stars Falling', but I'm not sure. Can anyone help with this?
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 17:12
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The only book I can think of is "Stardust Falling", concerning the crash of a BSAA Lancastrian in the Andes. My copy (2002) is published by Transworld Publishers, of London, but I have no idea where it was actually printed.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 18:36
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Originally Posted by bobdh478 View Post
I have recently renewed my interest in the accident involving the above a/c. I was looking at a totally unrelated matter and re read some of the internet stuff. I've found quite a bit about it, but I keep coming back to the official inquiry. Now, along with most historical air accidents, it seems that these are not available, or if they are, I can't find them. Does anyone know where full verbatim reports can be found?
The National Archives are an obvious place to start:

Accident to Netherlands Constellation aircraft PH-TEN; near Tarbolton, Ayrshire, 20 Oct 1948: investigation and report by Chief Inspector of Accidents

Given your location, it might also be worth trying the CAA Library at Gatwick. They have (or at least, had) lots of historical accident reports and in the past I have found them very helpful.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 19:13
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Thank you gents, I was trying the Nationl archive today, but my e mail addresses repeatedly come back as invalid, so I've not able to register yet. It's rather odd that other than one book, nothing appears to have been written.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 21:05
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I presume you've been here? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_K...n_air_disaster

Thinking about this, there is a book somewhere, but it must e at least thirty years since I read it, so sorry, can't help on that score
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 21:17
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I think you might be right about the title of a book or pamphlet. You presumably have seen this https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/...-falling-star/
I can't find any book with the title "Night of the Falling Star", but it might exist. I presume the "star" bit refers to Capt Parmentier being one of the crew that won the MacRobertson-Miller air race in a KLM DC2
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 22:22
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Originally Posted by Herod View Post
I presume the "star" bit refers to Capt Parmentier being one of the crew that won the MacRobertson-Miller air race in a KLM DC2
You don't think it's just a reference to the fact that the aircraft that went down was a Constellation, then ?
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 22:31
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Could be, but Parmentier was one of the most famous pilots in civil aviation at the time, so he would - in a way - have been a falling star.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 23:07
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I was fairly sure there was a small book or pamphlet that was published locally. I thought the reference was to the burning a/c, but I might be wrong. I know there was a small pamphlet published by a local resident about the G-ALSA crash, might be the same person.
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Old 15th Aug 2019, 01:48
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KLM Constellation PH-TEN

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_K...n_air_disaster

https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarch...?search=ph-ten
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Old 15th Aug 2019, 05:32
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Many thanks for that. Whilst I hadn't seen that particular piece, I had studied the quite lengthy Hansard House of Lords verbatim record as well as the somewhat less detailed House of Commons account. For me, what comes out is the sense of surprise that so much information is spread out in so many 'bits' of information, and no single definitive account appears to exist.
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Old 15th Aug 2019, 07:51
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There's a chapter on this crash in "Disaster in the Air" by Andrew Brookes, ISBN 0-7110-2037-X
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Old 15th Aug 2019, 08:01
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Funnily enough I was sure I knew a fair bit about this accident from somewhere. I'm sure I had the "Disaster I the air" book, but can only find his "Flights to disaster". However, I have moved twice and there are lots of books in boxes. Thanks for that, how detailed is it?
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Old 15th Aug 2019, 08:17
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The chapter is 11 pages, with diagrams from above and in front of how the Constellation hit the power lines before crashing. Photos of Capt. Parmentier at the controls of an aircraft (not a Connie though by the look of it), and of the wreckage in the field.
You can buy the 2nd hand book for a couple of quid here:-
https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Sea...=0-7110-2037-X
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Old 15th Aug 2019, 20:46
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Many thanks for all the input. I haven't been able to obtain a casualty list. I wondered how many air crew Nijmegan was carrying? If it's like the Shannon Connie I suppose it would be Captain, 1/O, 2 x 2nd pilots, 2 F/Es..... maybe a W/O?
I've seen mention that the 1/O Kevin Joseph O'Brien was ex RAF, but more than that I can't find.
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Old 15th Aug 2019, 20:53
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10 crew, 30 passengers. See link in post #5.
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Old 15th Aug 2019, 21:15
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I meant aircrew as distinct from cabin crew. I knew it was 10, it's on every piece of info on the crash.
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 08:01
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Originally Posted by bobdh478 View Post
I meant aircrew as distinct from cabin crew. I knew it was 10, it's on every piece of info on the crash.
Three pilots, two F/Es, two radio operators, two stewards and one stewardess.
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 08:04
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According to the book, the crew of 10 consisted of 3 pilots, 2 flight engineers, 2 wireless operators and 3 flight attendants.
The 3 pilots were:- Capt. Parmentier, 1st Officer O'Brien and 2nd Officer Parks - the latter two being ex. RAF.
Apparently 6 people survived the initial crash, but were all too badly burnt to survive and later died.

The Nijmegen was apparently carrying an under slung 'Speedpak' cargo pod at the time of her crash.
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 09:58
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Thanks for that chaps. I saw the Pathe news clip that said 39, which was obviously made on the morning after the crash.
Even with extra manning it would've been a very tired crew by the time they got to journeys end. What would today's working time directive made of it. Little wonder there were so many accidents.
Just a thought, why with 2 W/Os would one of the pilots be doing the R/T comms?
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