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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 138951
Last updated: 26 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic L37 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed Ventura Mk II
Owner/operator:487 (NZ) Squadron Royal Air Force (487 (NZ) Sqn RAF)
Registration: AJ171
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Near Corby Steel Works, West Stow, Suffolk -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Feltwell
Destination airport:
By the late summer of 1942 the Wellington Squadrons, which had been at Feltwell and Methwold for nearly four years, departed. Feltwell would not see the "Wimpy" again until some specials arrived in late 1944. 21 Sqn RAF, the first British unit equipped with the Ventura medium bomber, moved from Bodney to Feltwell in September and helped train two new units, 464 (Australian) Sqn and 487 (New Zealand) Sqn. As the Ventura was to be used on daylight bombing raids, an intensive flight training regime was started over the late summer and early autumn of 1942. To avoid enemy radar detection, the aircraft were required to fly to the target at a low altitude. In this case, low altitude meant a little over 100 feet off the ground! The Ventura had been designed as a medium-altitude aircraft, and this new use resulted in a number of casualties.

January 1943 found the units at Feltwell still carrying out low-level training exercises, but yet again it was to be a bad month for 487 Sqn. Exercises planned for 20th January were to be a mock attack on the steelworks at Corby. Sgt Gerald John Abrey approached the Kings Forest Lodge, near West Stow, Suffolk, in Ventura II AJ171 EG-D. The aircraft caught the top of some trees on slightly rising ground and crashed near the gateway of the Kings Forest Lodge, near West Stow, Suffolk. Abrey and his wireless operator, Flg Off. Frederick Drake RCAF, a 25-year-old Canadian from London, Ontario, were both killed. Sgt Howard Aldridge RCAF (from Toronto, Ontario), the navigator, was thrown clear and escaped with severe injuries.

NZ Serials

Revision history:

04-Oct-2011 23:58 Nepa Added
14-Aug-2013 23:31 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Operator, Location, Narrative]
03-Nov-2013 22:07 Nepa Updated [Operator, Location, Narrative]
05-Jan-2014 02:45 angels one five Updated [Location, Narrative]
07-Aug-2014 04:44 angels one five Updated [Operator, Narrative]
07-Jan-2016 22:29 Angel dick one five Updated [Cn, Operator, Location, Narrative]
02-Jan-2018 15:17 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
12-Jan-2018 06:51 angels one five Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Source, Narrative]

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