Tag Archives: dakota

More news on the Venables brothers

An RAF Dakota IV

An RAF Dakota IV

Some time ago I reported about an air crash on 5 September 1945 that killed two Portsmouth brothers, Flying Officers Arthur and Guy Venables. They were taking off from Istres airfield in the south of France, in the process of transferring to Egypt. 78 Squadron had recently re-equipped from Handley Page Hastings to Douglas C-47 Dakotas.

The Venables brothers were flying in Dakota IV KP235, taking off from Istres in France. The aircraft was taking off at night in poor visibility and a thick mist beyond the end of the runway, the presence of which Flying Control did not warn the pilot. It is thought that the pilot saw the bank of mist ahead and, thinking it to be high ground, pulled the nose of the aircraft up and stalled. With insufficient height to recover, the aircraft struck the ground and was destroyed.

17 men were killed, four of them air crew and 13 ground crew who were being transported to the Middle East. 15 died instantly. One , Corporal Joseph Hutchinson, died the next day. All are buried at Mazargues War Cemetery in Marseilles. The fate of one passenger is still unknown.

Dakota KP235 Roll of Honour

Flying Officer Guy Wilberforce Venables
Flying Officer Arthur Ernest Venables
Flying Officer John Edward Dickson
Flight Sergeant Eric Frank Dean

Corporal Headley Brightmore Archer
Leading Aircraftman Robert Bell
Leading Aircraftman David Briddock
Leading Aircraftman Walter James Chaimberlain
Corporal George Eric Coldwell
Leading Aircraftman Ronald Fulstone Elliott
Leading Aircraftman Victor Robert Haddock
Leading Aircraftman Alfred Edgar Hamshere
Leading Aircraftman George Brice Jones
Leading Aircraftman John Ivor Morgan
Leading Aircraftman Ronald Richards
Leading Aircraftman Edmund Stuart
Corporal Joseph Hutchinson

Pictures of their graves can be found at the The War Graves Photographic Project.

7 men escaped injured: Corporals G W Blewett, G H Orman, E M Lamb, and R W H Williams, and Leading Aircraftmen W Cunningham, E Armitage, and W Graham.

Hopefully we can find out the name of the last ‘missing’ passenger who died on 5 September 1945. Also, I plan to hopefully have a look at the Squadrons operational records at the National Archives, and the RAF Museum at Hendon have records of accidents involving RAF aircraft. Also, was anything mentioned in the local and national press? It would be nice to find out more about the Venables brothers, or even to find out what they looked like.

This crash should serve as a poignant reminder that even though the war had finished, plenty of young men were still serving at home and abroad, and that flying was still a dangerous business.

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Filed under portsmouth heroes, Royal Air Force, Uncategorized, World War Two

Scott Church Creations

C-47 Dakota by Scott Church

C-47 Dakota by Scott Church

I thought it might be interesting to show you all this amazing image that I’ve received recently, of a Douglas C-47 Dakota. This is the plane that my Grandad and thousands of his comrades jumped out of at Arnhem in September 1944. Although I might be biased, I think its also one of the most stunning aircraft in history.

Scott Church graduated from the University of Portsmouth, and is an environmental and visualisation artist. He’s also got a keen interest in history, as you can see from his work.

Have a look at his website for more fascinating arwork:

www.scottchurchcreations.co.uk

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Filed under Arnhem, art, Royal Air Force, World War Two

Updated: Flying Officers Arthur and Guy Venables

78 Squadron Royal Air Force

78 Squadron Royal Air Force

Losing a member of your family in war must be heartbreaking. But to lose two, both brothers, in the same incident? Not only that, but in what seems to have been an accident, after the fighting had finished.

Flying Officer Arthur Venables and his brother Guy, from Hilsea, were both members of 78 Squadron, Royal Air Force. The had been re-equipped with Douglas Dakota transport aircraft and in September 1945 were in the process of moving to the Middle East.

Arthur and Guy both died on 5 September 1945, and are buried at Mazargues Cemetery in Marseille, south of France. That they both died on the same day suggests that sadly their plane might have crashed. Also, the location suggests that they crashed en-route to their new posting in the Middle East.

This is the first possible evidence I have found of two brothers flying in the same aircraft. The details are still a little sketchy, but hopefully I can find out more soon and tell the story of the Venables brothers.

LATEST NEWS:

The Venables brothers were flying in Dakota IV KP235, taking off from Istres in France. The aircraft was taking off at night in poor visibility and a thick mist beyond the end of the runway, the presence of which Flying Control did not warn the pilot. It is thought that the pilot saw the bank of mist ahead and, thinking it to be high ground, pulled the nose of the aircraft up and stalled. With insufficient height to recover, the aircraft struck the ground and was destroyed. The injured were Corporals G W Blewett, G H Orman, E M Lamb, and R W H Williams, and Leading Aircraftmen W Cunningham, E Armitage, and W Graham.

17 men were killed, four of them air crew and 13 ground crew who were being transported to the Middle East. 7 men escaped injured.

I am very grateful to Peter Clare from WW2talk for drawing my attention to this information, which comes from ‘A Catalogue Of RAF Aircraft Losses Between VE-Day And The End of 1945′ by Colin Cummings

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Filed under Local History, Remembrance, Royal Air Force, World War Two