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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 1650
Last updated: 25 November 2021
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Type:Boulton Paul Defiant Mk II
Owner/operator:256 Squadron Royal Air Force (256 Sqn RAF)
Registration: V1116
MSN: 611
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Off Lytham Pier, Lancashire, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:RAF Squires Gate
Destination airport:
On 7 February 1942 the Defiant II V1116 JT-H of 256 Sqn RAF took off at 1610 hrs from Squires Gate airfield to practice low flying attacks on British coast defences. At 1635 hrs it crashed into the sea off Lytham after its wingtip hit Lytham Pier during a simulated attack on a coastal battery. Both crew were killed. The pilot, Plt Off William John Paterson Olney, was never found and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The air gunner, Sgt Stanley Wheatley Greenwood RAAF, is buried in Haltemprice (Hessle) Cemetery.

The conclusions of the Court of Inquiry for this accident was that the accident was due to an error of judgement by the pilot when carrying out a steep turn at a very low altitide which was in direct contravention to local flying standing orders and the specific verbal instructions of the officer authorising the flight. The pilot was judged experienced and well qualified to carry out the exercise. The Group Commander of 9 Group agreed with this conclusion and ordered that 256 Sqn would not be permitted to take part in such exercises in future.

Casualty file of Stanley Wheatley Greenwood, available online on the Australian National Archives website (

Revision history:

06-Feb-2008 23:28 JINX Added
24-Jan-2012 13:20 Nepa Updated [Operator, Narrative]
31-Jan-2018 21:30 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]

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