Incident Armstrong Whitworth Whitley B Mk V N1384,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 227676
 
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Date:Tuesday 21 May 1940
Time:night
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: N1384
MSN:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Abbeville, Somme -   France
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Driffield, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:RAF Driffield, North Yorkshire
Narrative:
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk.V N1384 (KN-G) 77 Sqaudron, RAF: Written off (destroyed) when lost (failed to return) from combat operations on the night of 20-21 May 1940. All six crew survived uninjured. According to the official Air Ministry file on the incident: "Whitley N1384 crashed at Beauvais, France, 21 May 1940. Warrant Officer A C Thompson, Pilot Officer A C Meigh, Flying Officer D D Pryde, Pilot Officer A W Dunn, Aircraftman 1st Class T B Kenny and Aircraftman 1st Class F Crawford, safe"

Airborne 20:36 on 20 May 1940 from RAF Driffield, North Yorkshire. Target: a communications base at Hannapes. Reported to have forced landed near Abbeville (Somme), France, after the Whitley was severely damaged by flak/AAA and on fire. As the loss was officially posted as 21 May 1940 (=next day) it is presumed that the aircraft came down after midnight on the night 20-21 May 1940. The crew were all uninjured, and soon returned to RAF Driffield to resume their operational duties.

The pilot of Whitley N1384, Flying Officer David D. Pryde was granted a Short Service commission in the RAF as Acting P/O on probation on 8th March 1937, he was graded as Pilot Officer on 21st December 1937, and rose to Flying Officer on 8th September 1939. He was awarded the DFC on 11th June 1940, the Citation for the award reads..."On 20th May 1940, this officer was detailed for a collaboration operation involving an attack on the communication centre at Hannapes.

Despite difficult conditions, he succeeded in identifying the target from a very low altitude. Although his aircraft [Whitley N1384] was hit heavily, Flying Officer Pryde climbed to 3,000 feet and executed a successful bombing attack. His aircraft subsequently caught fire, but he continued flying and when height could no longer be maintained, the entire crew landed by parachute. Flying Officer Pryde has completed sixteen operational flights during six months of war flying and has displayed considerable courage and determination."

He was promoted to F/Lt on 19th November 1940 and to S/Ldr on 16th December 1941. S/Ldr David Pryde DFC was killed on 9th June 1942 flying with 77 Squadron in Whitley BD195 when their aircraft was shot down off Brest. His body was never found and he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

According to some published sources, one of the crew - Warrant Officer A C Thompson - bailed out over enemy held territory, and was captured, being taken as a PoW, and was interned at Heydekrug PoW camp as PoW No. 1252 (see links #6 & #7)

Crew:-
Pilot: 39564 Fg Off David Douglas Pryde (Canada) - Safe (Commission Gazetted : Tuesday 28 December, 1937)
2nd Pilot: 41685 Plt Off Andrew Woodrow Dunn - Safe (NCO:271039 Commission Gazetted : Friday 27 October, 1939)
Observer: 581052 Sgt Albert Cuthbert Thompson - PoW/Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug/Stalag 357 Kopernikus PoW Number12752.
Wireless Operator: 551620 AC1 Thomas Brendon Kenny - Safe.
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: 620421 AC1 Frank Crawford - Safe.

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft N1000-N9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1977 p 7)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/448): https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14502119
3. http://francecrashes39-45.net/page_fiche_av.php?id=5722
4. http://www.epibreren.com/ww2/raf/77_squadron.html#202105
5. http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/yorkshire/york39/n1373.html
6. http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?13227-A-C-Thompson-77-squadron-and-Stalag-357
7. http://www.rememberjd371.be/pertes77sqd.htm
8. http://warmemscot.s4.bizhat.com/viewtopic.php?t=2686
9. http://baaa-acro.sindev.ch/crash/crash-armstrong-whitworth-aw38-whitley-v-near-abbeville
10. Rob Davis Bomber Command Losses Database

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
27-Jul-2019 22:44 Dr. John Smith Added
28-Jul-2019 04:23 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
15-Jun-2022 19:19 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
16-May-2024 06:45 Rob Davis Updated [Source, Narrative]

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