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.


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



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

3 responses to “Updated: Flying Officers Arthur and Guy Venables

  1. Tony Hibberd


    I am extremely interested in gaining as much info on this accident as possible.I am the current History Officer for 78 Sqn (now at RAF Benson, Oxfordshire)

    If you discover the names of the rest of the crew it would be of great assistance as this was the the first post war loss suffered by 78 Sqn. The full details of all our losses from 1945 > onwards are very hit & miss to research as the CGWC records STOP on 31/12/47. The records now held by the National Arboritum, Alrewas, Staffordshire) which run from 1/1/48 > only record service NOT individual units!

    The only info I have (so far) on this loss is the entire crew were killed along with 11 PAX. A further 9 were seriously injured – two of these later died

    Thanks in advance for you co-operation


    Tony H

    “Nemo Non Paratus”-“Nobody Unprepared” (78 Sqn Motto)

  2. James Daly

    Hi Tony, thank you for dropping by!

    As the accident took place in September 1945 it should be possible – by a process of elimination – to work out who the crew were. Those who were killed in the accident will be buried in the same cemetery I would have thought, but the two who died of injuries might be elsewhere.

    Hopefully I can help piece together some names for you. I will post this on ww2talk, there are a few aviation specialists there who may be able to help



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