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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 20778
Last updated: 15 November 2021
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Date:22-OCT-1956
Time:
Type:Boulton Paul Balliol T.2
Owner/operator:228 Operational Conversion Unit Royal Air Force (228 OCU RAF)
Registration: WG184
MSN:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:2 m E of Middle Wallop, nr Andover, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Military
Departure airport:
Destination airport:RAF Middle Wallop Hampshire
Narrative:
There appears to be two versions of this accident on this site -

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/web_db_edit.php?id=20778
and
https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=139765

The second, with a commentary by SAC Caffrey, has a closer version of the story.

This is what actually happened.

My father, Miroslaw Wojciechowski, a Polish Battle of Britain pilot with 303 Squadron in 1940, was posted to RAF Odiham on Meteors and then Hunters with 247 Squadron. He was visiting Middle Wallop and missed the crewbus home. An old friend, Sqn Ldr Charles Warren who was commanding 288 Squadron offered him a lift home to Odiham. Neither of them needed 'night flying training'. Both were 20 year veteran pilots. Borrowing line aircraft for unofficial use was common in the RAF at that time.

Just inside the circuit, a Chipmunk flown by Flying Officer Htay Maung of the Burmese Airforce, allegedly on his first solo out of Southampton and hopelessly lost, crashed in to the Balliol at between 1,500 and 1,800 feet.

All three airmen were able to bale out. Sqn Ldr Warren and FO Maung suffered serious injuries but were able to return to flying a year or so later. Charles Warren's career, although he was officially cleared of any responsibility for the accident, was probably blighted by this incident and he left the RAF soon after his recovery. My father's parachute either failed to open properly at such a low altitude or was damaged in the air; he was killed instantly and his body was found close to the aircraft wreckage. It was said at the time that he helped Charles Warren out of the stricken Balliol.

SAC Caffrey was probably right in saying that there was no fuss or bother about my father's death. It's most likely that the RAF wanted to keep this 'in house'.

My father was buried with full military honours in St Peter's churchyard, Nether Wallop.

Of course, it goes without saying that the word 'ironic' does not even begin to cover fact that a distinguished and experienced Battle of Britain veteran, a Polish ace no less, who also survived flying the coffin known as the Meteor [an aircraft with a nearly 50% accident rate that killed 700 pilots in peacetime], who flew spy missions over East Germany and Poland at the height of the Cold War and was known as an excellent, natural fighter pilot, should be killed flying second seat in a Balliol.

For nearly 60 years, the Air Accident report was kept secret under the 75 year rule. I discovered only today that is is now available to read at the National Archives in Kew. I've listed the reference below.

A small slice of history.

In loving memory of a father I never knew and a mother who kept his memory alive for their children until the day she died. It's just a week since my family stood at his graveside, 60 years to the day he died, and gave thanks for the lives they both lived.

Jan Wojciechowski


Sources:

Air Britain RAF Aircraft WA100 - WZ999
http://simviation.com//lair/casualty1956.htm
http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1956.htm
http://web.archive.org/web/20160310233713/http://ejection-history.org.uk/squadron_228_ocu/squadron_228ocu.htm
DHCI Chipmonk G-AMUE and Boulton Paul Balliol WG184, nr Middle Wallop, Hants, 22 October... _ The National Archives


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
07-Jun-2008 21:12 JINX Added
27-Mar-2013 00:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Total occupants, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
05-Mar-2014 08:28 Nepa Updated [Operator, Location, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
30-Oct-2016 09:45 Jan Wojciechowski Updated [Phase, Source, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description