Incident Armstrong Whitworth Whitley B Mk V N1387,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 226029
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Date:Wednesday 17 April 1940
Type:Silhouette image of generic whtl model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley B Mk V
Owner/operator:77 Sqn RAF
Registration: N1387
MSN: AWA.1551
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Grantown-on-Spey, Elgin, Morayshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Kinloss, Morayshire
Destination airport:RAF Kinloss, Morayshire
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley B.Mk.V N1387 (KN-L) of 77 Sqaudron, RAF: Written off (destroyed) 17 April 1940 in an unusual situation. The aircraft left RAF Kinloss at 17:30 hours Local Time on a reconnaissance mission over the Trondheim-Vaernes Airport, Norway. While returning to its base in the night, the aircraft ran out of fuel. The captain instructed his crew to bail out and he attempted to find an open field for an emergency landing.

The aircraft eventually crash landed at Grantown-on-Spey, Morayshire. On touchdown, the aircraft slid for several yards before the left wing hit a tree and was sheared off. The captain and all four other crew members were unhurt while the aircraft was written off.

Pilot: 33028 Sqn Ldr Mark Hastings - Safe.
2nd Pilot: 39562 Plt Off James Arthur Piddington - Safe
Observer: 580866 Sgt Royston Harry Burr - Cracked an ankle
Wireless Operator: 523473 Sgt William Wight - Safe.
Air Gunner: 629822 AC1 Ivon Pacey - Safe.
It was not the first time that Whitley N1387 had been in an unusual situation: on the night of 15/16th March 1940, one of the squadron's crews (in Whitley V N1387 'L for Love' (Flight Lt Tomlin)) performed a feat which probably remained unparalleled for the rest of the war. Having dropped their Nickels (Leaflets) on Warsaw, Poland, they returned safely across Germany and then, because the weather was bad, put down as soon as possible after crossing - as they thought - the Franco-German frontier.

A few words with the local peasantry quickly disillusioned them, but by that time German troops were approaching on cycles. The quick-witted crew promptly dashed back into the aircraft, took off under rifle fire, and landed safely, but rather shaken, at a French airfield!


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft N1000-L9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/159:

Revision history:

10-Jun-2019 17:29 Dr. John Smith Added
10-Jun-2019 17:30 Dr. John Smith Updated [Destination airport]
11-Jun-2019 05:52 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
03-Jun-2022 16:52 Anon. Updated [Narrative]

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