Accident Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2d 5761,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 220662
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Date:Tuesday 2 January 1917
Type:Silhouette image of generic be2 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2d
Owner/operator:66 Sqn RFC
Registration: 5761
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Filton, Bristol, Gloucestershire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RFC Filton Aerodrome, Filton, Bristol, Gloucetershire
Destination airport:RFC Filton Aerodrome, Filton, Bristol, Gloucetershire
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
2.1.1917: Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2d No.5761, 66 Squadron, RFC, Filton, Bristol, Gloucestershire. Written off (destroyed) when stalled and nose dived, near Filton, Bristol, Gloucestershire. Both crew - 2nd Lt Francis Ronald Bissicks (pilot, aged 27) and 2nd Lt Joseph Ernest Townsend (observer, aged 25, on attachment from 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment) - were killed.

Second Lieutenant Townsend was killed and his observer was severely injured in a flying accident in Gloucestershire: The aeroplane when at a considerable height suddenly swerved and dropped nose downwards to the ground, the machine appearing to side-slip when banking during a turn. Second Lieutenant Townsend was dead when extracted from the wreckage; the observer (2nd Lt Bissicks) was taken to hospital in critical condition and died the next day (January 3rd) of injuries sustained. According to the aircraft accident record card for B.E.2d No.5761 (see link #4):

"Court of Inquiry 87/9236
Flying accident. Nose dived from 200 feet. The Court of Inquiry is of the opinion that the pilot, attempting to turn in the mist, lost flying speed, stalled, and nose dived into the ground. The machine was in good order before flight."

According to a contemporary report in "Flight" magazine (January 11, 1917 page 33 - see link #6)

"Fatal Accidents.
A SECOND death in connection with the fatal accident at Bristol on January 2nd, recorded in our last issue, has occurred, Lieut. F. Bissicks, R.F.C., dying in hospital from his injuries. At the inquest on the other officer, 2nd Lieut. J. E. Townsend, it was stated that he was undergoing instruction on a dual control machine at the time. The evidence showed that Mr. Townsend, who was under instruction, had had sufficient experience to fly alone, and he was navigating the machine, and Mr. Bissicks was a trained pilot. There was nothing either in weather or engine conditions to explain the accident. Verdicts of "Accidental Death" were returned in both cases

Note that several sources (see links #2. #5, and #7) state that 2nd Lt Bissicks was a member of 48 Squadron, RFC.


6. Flight magazine (January 11 1917 page 33):

Revision history:

09-Jan-2019 19:14 Dr. John Smith Added
09-Jan-2019 19:14 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
13-Jan-2019 13:19 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

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