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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 21030
Last updated: 15 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic CNBR model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
English Electric Canberra B.2
Owner/operator:1323 Flt Royal Air Force (1323 Flt RAF)
Registration: WH738
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Between Momote & Kwajalein -   Pacific Ocean
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Momote, Admiralty Islands
Destination airport:Kwajalein
1323 Flight RAF deployed to the Pacific under Operations Bagpipes/Likewise, which was the detachment of the four Canberras to Australia to cover the CASTLE series of US hydrogen bomb tests in the south Pacific, scheduled for the Spring of 1954.

In January 1954 the Flight received a further two Canberras (WH738 and WH881) for a second commitment known as Operation Dogstar. This task was particle sampling of the radio-active clouds produced by the US hydrogen bombs at the invitation of the US military. Both the Operations Likewise and Dogstar Canberras were fitted with extra navigation and radio equipment (twin TR. 1936 VHF and STR18B HF RT) for overseas flying during the January tests

On 11 February two officers and five men left Wyton for Darwin in support of Operation Bagpipes/Likewise followed on 14 February by the ground party for Operation Dogstar comprising five officers and 14 men. The two Dogstar Canberras followed on the 15 February taking the route Idris-Habbinaya-Mauripur-Negombo-Changi-Darwin.

From Darwin the next leg of the journey for the two Dogstar aircraft was to Momote in the Admiralty Islands (to the North of Papua New Guinea), then a long hop across the South Pacific to the US test site at Kwajelein.

While flying in loose formation en-route to Kwajelein on 23 February WH738 drew up alongside WH881 and the pilot gave the "cut throat" signal indicating a loss of radio or electrics, before turning away and descending.

Sadly WH738 and its crew of Flight Lieutenant Garside (pilot), Flying Officer Naldrett (navigator) and Flight Sergeant Dormer (passenger) were never seen again, presumably lost after ditching in the Pacific. Such was the importance of Dogstar that one of the Operation Bagpipes/Likewise Canberras, WH697, was then fitted out for particle sampling and dispatched from Wyton as a replacement for WH738 on 28 February.


Revision history:

13-Jun-2008 01:33 JINX Added
07-Mar-2009 07:44 Pamela Dormer Updated
05-Apr-2013 16:52 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
06-May-2013 14:50 Nepa Updated [Operator]
03-Jul-2017 13:15 paultheshots Updated [Narrative]

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