Crash Report Libertor A.N.925, 18 February 1942 (1 of 3)

Crash Report Libertor A.N.925, 18 February 1942 (1 of 3)

Crash Report for Liberator A.N.925 on 18 February 1942 (page 1 of 3)

In accordance with orders the ambulance (A.C. Owen in attendance) was on the perimeter track at the eastern end of the East/West Runway

The aircraft commenced the run up at approximately 04.40 hours and while it seemed to take an unusually long run it became airborne normally. The craft appeared to climb rather sluggishly for a short distance, then the engines suddenly cut out and a tongue of flame appeared. The cut out was so decisive as to suggest that all four engines had ceased to function simultaneously. The ambulance was on its way back to Sick Quarters before the unmistakable of a heavy object hitting the ground could be detected, to be immediateley followed by a roseate hue; and later, great lashes of flame which illuminated the dark sky.

Meantime the personnel in Sick Quarters had sensed an impending crush and hurriedly commenced dressing when the noise of the engines so suddenly ceased. A.C. Owen called Flying Officer Claydon who lost no time dressing, and then gave the alarm to the remaining personnel. Literally some seconds later F/O Claydon and A.C. Owen ran around Sick Quarters with the idea of approaching the aircraft from the direction of the path leading to the Communal Site. The stoccato sound of exploding bullets and cannon shells could be plainly heard and it was deemed inadvisable to make the approach from that direction. Turning, they entered the main gate, ran past the Guard Room and F/O Claydon jumped into the 'Morris' ambulance to follow the crash tender up to the Belfast Road. The whole of the staff has assembled and on my instructions embarked in the 'standard' van to follow inthe wake of the vehicles already on the way to the blazing scene.

Sergeant Smith and A.C. Smith remained in the Sick Quarters.

We halted alongside the Communal Site, immediately opposite the burning 'plane, to consider the best manner of approach. A call for the ambulance was heard from lower down the road (towards the aerodrome) to collect casualties. While the two vehicles were turning, Flying Officer Claydon, A.C's Underwood, Owen and myself ran towards the injured. We first encountered Sergeant Mines who was walking; he intimated that further casualties were lying alongside the road. The next to be found was Sergeant White, a walking casualty too. A cursory examination revealed no gross injury, though severe shock was apparent. They were assisted to the 'standard' van by L.A.C. Underwood and A.C. Owen respectively for speedy transportation to Sick Quarters.

Flying Officer Claydon and myself then found Flying Officer Bannister and Pilot Officer Densham lying on the bank obviously injured and suffering from severe shock. While F/O Claydon was injecting tubunic ampoules into P/Officer Densham I signalled the ambulance to stop and procured blankets with the assistance of A.C.'s Gilbert and Maidment. At this juncture, as F/O Bannister was receiving an injection, a terrific flash and violent explosion shook the whole area. F/O Claydon covered F/O Bannister while A.C. Gilbert covered P/O Densham. A.C. Maidment and myself fell to the ground to avoud blast, concussion and falling debris. Fortunately we were successful.

The 'standard' van had negotiated the corner and was shaken and rocketed across the road by the explosion. With good fortune no harm was suffered by the occupants or to the van.

All available anti-shock treatment was given to F/O Bannister and P/O Densham, both being placed on stretchers and loaded into the ambulance. Meanwhile another call had been received to attend to another casualty higher up the road (towards the sites). F/O Claydon and myself proceeded to the casualty, finding Sergeant Wilson lying on the roadside. He received a tubunic ampoule injection, was covered with a blanket and the ambulance summoned. Sergeant Wilson was duly loaded and the ambulance despatched to Sick Quarters with a minimum of delay. A.C's. Gilbert, Maidment and myself were in attendance.

Many thanks to Peter Claydon for sending us these pictures, which belonged to his father, C.W.J. Claydon, who spent much of the war serving as a medical officer with No.120 Squadron at Ballykelly, Northern Ireland.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (17 June 2017), Crash Report Libertor A.N.925, 18 February 1942 (1 of 3) ,

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