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.
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