ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 209804
Last updated: 28 November 2021
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Time:21:50 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic ANSN model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Avro Anson Mk I
Owner/operator:ANS RAF
Registration: N5055
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Sea off Summerleaze Beach, Bude Bay, Bude, Cornwall -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF St. Athan, Glamorgan, South Wales
Destination airport:RAF Cleave, Bude, Cormwall
Avro Anson Mk.I N5055, School of Air Navigation RAF: Written off (destroyed) 19/10/39 when ditched into the sea, Bude Bay, off Bude, Cornwall. Engine cut on night navex; lost height and landed in the sea in attempted forced landing on Summerleaze Beach at Bude. Aircraft sank in shallow water; all of the four crew escaped safely, but the pilot was killed (drowned).

Pilot Officer Joseph Wendell Boreham (New Zealander, aged 24) killed (death by drowning)
Pilot Officer Harry James Winch injured
Sgt Peter Chris Cunningham rescued
AC.1 Clifford Douglas Bradbury rescued

According to a recent newspaper article ("Bude Today" 7 October 2015 - see link #6)

"We believe that Joseph Wendell was an experienced pilot, who was re-teaching an old pilot navigation skills when one of the engines on the plane packed in — you can’t fly an Anson on one engine alone, unlike planes like bombers, so they lost altitude.

“Unfortunately it was too low to land at the former RAF Cleave, about two miles north of Bude, so he decided to follow the coast as they do when it’s bad weather, because it was quite a stormy night apparently. On seeing the beach at Summerleaze, he mistook the surf line for the sand, therefore the plane basically just landed in the sea.

Four crewmen survived the landing, they all survived; they went to a dinghy. On getting in it, they noticed they didn’t have a paddle, so Joseph volunteered to go back to get the paddle or some other implement to steer the guys back to the safety of the beach. Unfortunately, when he returned to the plane which hadn’t quite sunk yet, he retrieved the paddle, but as he was coming out, a wave took him and he was never seen again.”

The incident happened just a month into the war in October 1939, making him the first New Zealand RAF member to be killed in World War Two. The other three crew members survived that day, but two went on to be casualties of war, with just one surviving.

The plane itself was discovered in 1991 while sewage works were being carried out in Bude. Local fishermen helped recover the aircraft and it is from there that the engine ended up in the RAF Memorial Museum at Davidstow."


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-N9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1993 page 159)

Revision history:

24-Apr-2018 17:20 Dr. John Smith Added
29-Nov-2018 08:53 Nepa Updated [Operator, Nature, Source, Operator]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description