Incident Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk IV K9020,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 22146
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Date:Friday 5 January 1940
Type:Silhouette image of generic whtl model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk IV
Owner/operator:78 Sqn RAF
Registration: K9020
MSN: AW.1472
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:RAF Dishforth, North Yorkshire, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:RAF Dishforth, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:RAF Dishforth, North Yorkshire
During the evening of 4th January 1940 the crew of this aircraft were one of two 78 Squadron crews tasked with operational flying on this date. This aircraft took off at around 15.00 hours tasked with a "nickel" leaflet dropping flight over Bremen but on their return to land at base this aircraft made a long and flat approach to land at RAF Dishforth as there was indication that the brake pressure was low.

Flying at night the crew failed to notice a line of trees and they clipped one of these trees on approach to land at Dishforth. The aircraft's starboard undercarriage collapsed after a heavy landing just before midnight. The crew escaped serious injury.

Records made at the time on the file of the wireless operator (AC William Ronald Armstrong) suggested that he was killed in this accident, this error only came to light in 1944 when the airman himself was recommended for Commission and the medical officer examining him found the entry in his records stating he had died some four years previously!

Pilot - Flying Officer Victor Roberton Paterson RAF (37478).
Pilot - Sgt Walter Stanley Hillary RAF (580022).
Observer - Sgt Henry John Davis RAF (580776).
Wireless Operator - AC William Ronald Armstrong RAF (551807).
Air Gunner - AC Bert Llewellyn Henry RAF (551737).

Whitley K9020 was tough aircraft, it was allotted to 10 Squadron on 13th March 1939 but not delivered to them until 16th May 1939 and it was initially coded "PB-L". With the outbreak of WW2 the coding was changed to "ZA-L". The aircraft was transferred to the care of 32 MU at St.Athan on 29th December 1939 but was immediately issued to 78 Squadron at Linton-on-Ouse the following day (possibly as "EY-L"). Following the incident detailed above Cat.R damage was recorded. The aircraft was repaired on site but was probably not used again by 78 Squadron as they ceased operating Whitley MkIV aircraft in February 1940. It next appears on charge with 19 OTU at Kinloss on 3rd July 1940 but was flown to Armstrong Whitworth's on 28th August 1940 for modifications and later returned to 19 OTU. It suffered repairable damage on 9th August 1941 and again repaired on site. It was again damaged on 25th September 1941 yet again repaired on site and returned to its unit on 27th September 1941.

It was again damaged on 5th December 1941 and again repaired on site returning to 19 OTU on 13th December 1941. It suffered an undercarriage collapse at Kinloss on landing on 8th March 1942 and was again repaired and returned to the unit on 21st March 1942. It was damaged on 5th May 1942 and repaired and returned to the unit on 29th May 1942. It suffered a warning light failure and landed with the undercarriage retracted at Kinloss on 2nd June 1942 and again repaired on site and returned to 19 OTU on 11th July 1942. It transferred to 44 MU at Edzell (an aircraft storage unit) on 21st January 1943 and remained there until being struck off charge on 23rd July 1943 and it was broken up and melted down (known as RTP or Returned to Produce). Probably not much of the original K9020 remained by this stage...


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft K1000-K9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1976)

Revision history:

04-Aug-2008 08:37 Anon. Added
19-Jan-2012 14:54 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Destination airport, Narrative]
20-Aug-2013 19:45 JINX Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Narrative]
02-Feb-2015 16:23 Gerrard Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
30-Dec-2015 08:52 JINX Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Destination airport, Narrative]
12-Nov-2018 18:09 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
27-Apr-2019 04:54 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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