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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 225254
Last updated: 2 December 2021
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Type:Handley Page Hampden Mk I
Owner/operator:16 Operational Training Unit Royal Air Force (16 OTU RAF)
Registration: L4156
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:3
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Bristol Channel, off Ilfracombe, North Devon -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Stormy Down, Port Talbot, South Wales
Destination airport:
This Hampden was assigned to 16 OTU. The unit was normally based at RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshure, but was on attachment to RAF Stormy Down, Port Talbot, South Wales for flying training over open waters. On 27th May 1940, the aircraft was in collision with another Hampden L4158 and crashed into the Bristol Channel, off Ilfracombe, North Devon. There were six known fatalities, three in each aircraft :

Pilot Officer (Pilot) Thomas Arthur NIXON, RAF No. 42518 in L4158
Leading Aircraftman Thomas BAIRD, RAFVR No. 745904 in Hampden L4156
Leading Aircraftman Robert Stuart AITKEN, RAFVR No. 751854 in Hampden L4156,
Leading Aircraftman Hugh SHARPE, RAFVR No. 751718 in L4158
Leading Aircraftman (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) James WHYTE, RAFVR No. 745909 in L4158
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Neil George DRYBURGH RAFVR No. 76164 in L4156

However, it has not yet proved possible to completely identify which crew was in which aircraft. It is known P/O George Dryburgh was the pilot of L4158 (so, presumably P/O Nixon was the pilot of L4156).

NOTE: Several published sources mis-identify the other Hampden involved as L4148 and not L4158. L4148 was destroyed in a crash between Souldern and Fritwell, near Banbury, Oxfordshire on 22 April 1940 - almost a month earlier


1. Halley, J J, 1979, Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000 to L9999, p 24.
3. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/2168:
6. Air of Authority

Revision history:

19-May-2019 19:08 Dr. John Smith Added
19-May-2019 19:30 Dr. John Smith Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Source, Narrative]
19-May-2019 19:31 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
25-May-2019 10:40 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
05-Jan-2020 17:01 Anon. Updated [Source, Narrative]

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