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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 207854
Last updated: 27 November 2021
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Time:early aftern
Type:Westland Whirlwind Mk 1
Owner/operator:263 (Fellowship of the Bellows) Squadron Royal Air Force (263 (Fellowship of the Bellows) Sqn RAF)
Registration: P6975/P6978
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:believed in Foxtor Mires, Dartmoor, Devon -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Aerial patrol
Departure airport:RAF Exeter, Devon.
Destination airport:RAF Exeter
Having taken off for St Eval at 1205 the three-ship section was then re-tasked to patrol off Start Point but, whilst over Dartmoor, low cloud was encountered. Two of the aircraft, P6975 & P6978, possibly collided but both certainly crashed in Foxtor Mires. Both pilots were killed, the first of the two bodies not being found until 9 March 1941 by a horse patrol that came upon the crashed aircraft, the remains being subsequently recovered by 67 MU, Tavistock.

F/L Wynford Ormonde Leoni SMITH (25) and P/O Donald M VINE (23) both killed, both buried in Exeter Higher Cemetery War Graves plot, graves ZK80 & 81.

Currently, a drone survey is being carried out by a Birmingham University on behalf of the Whirlwind Fighter Project to locate the remains of the crashed aircraft, in what is a treacherous marshy area of Dartmoor.


'Tavistock Times Gazette' newspaper 'help' article by The Marches Aviation Society
'Westland Whirlwind' by Bruce Robertson, Kookaburra Technical Publications 1965
263 Squadron ORB
Whirlwind Fighter Project newsletters
Paul Doyle personal files

Revision history:

19-Mar-2018 15:03 paddy Added
19-Mar-2018 18:50 paddy Updated [Source]
29-Apr-2018 07:18 paddy Updated [Aircraft type, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Location, Source, Narrative]
13-Nov-2018 17:56 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
27-Nov-2019 11:07 Nepa Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Operator]
19-Sep-2021 13:24 paddy Updated [Time, Total occupants, Nature, Source, Narrative, Plane category]
04-Oct-2021 14:05 Anon. Updated [Time]

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