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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 233688
Last updated: 2 December 2021
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Date:01-APR-1951
Time:day
Type:Percival Proctor Mk III
Owner/operator:P.D.Miller, F.E.Miller & F.E.Miller Junior
Registration: G-AGLJ
MSN: LZ599
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Aircraft missing
Location:English Channel, between Folkestone, Kent and Le Touquet, France -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Southend Airport, Southend-on-Sea, Essex (EGMC)
Destination airport:Le Touquet-Côte d'Opale Airport, Le Touquet, France (LFAT)
Narrative:
Ex-RAF Percival Proctor Mk.II LZ599: First civilian registered as G-AGLJ (C of R 9540/1; C of A 7105) on 25-8-44 to the Secretary of State Air Ministry, Whitehall, London, SW.1 (Aircraft based at Croydon Airport). Re-registered (C of R 9540/2) to the Minister of Civil Aviation, London, WC.1. Registration cancelled/lapsed upon sale 22-2-51. Between August 1944 and February 1951, G-AGLJ was one of a number of aircraft used by the CAFU (Civil Aviation Flying Unit) on communications and radar calibration duties.

Sold on and re-registered (C of R 9540/3) 15-3-51 to Peter David Miller, Frank Edgar Miller & Frank Edgar Miller Junior, Chigwell, Essex (aircraft based at Southend). Written off 1-4-51, just two weeks later, as described below:

On 1 April 1951 Percival Proctor Mk.III G-AGLJ was on a flight from Southend to Le Touquet (and, if one assumes that it was taking the most direct route) it would have flown over Kent and passed over the coast in the Folkestone area before heading out to sea. Thus it would have been somewhere between the Folkestone area and Le Touquet that G-AGLF crashed or ditched into the sea.

However somewhere along the route - probably after passing the Folkestone Area - the aircraft disappeared, and, despite an air and sea rescue search, no trace was ever found of Proctor G-AGLJ or the three persons on board. According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Birmingham Daily Gazette" - Monday 2 April 1951):

"3 in missing Channel plane: B.B.C. appeal
An appeal was broadcast by the B.B.C. last night for news of a Percival Proctor plane reported missing with three people aboard after leaving Southend yesterday morning for Le Touquet. The B.B.C. appeal asked for information from anyone who saw the plane cross the coast.

Air-sea rescue services in the vicinity of the plane's route were alerted, and lifeboats and naval launches were standing by late last night. All French airports have been asked to keep a look-out.

The pilot is an ex-R.A.F. pilot, Mr. Frank Edgar Miller, a garage proprietor, of Ilford. His passengers are his brother, Peter David Miller, and Mr. John S. Smith".

The first two named were joint owners of Proctor G-AGLJ, and Mr. Smith was a "family friend". It should be made clear that "Frank Edgar Miller" was the "junior", son of Frank Edgar Miller Senior (who died 30-4-61, aged 69, and was thus NOT aboard Proctor G-AGLJ).

Registration G-AGLJ cancelled by the Air Ministry 1-4-51 as "disappeared during a cross-channel flight"

All three occupants were recorded in Wills and Probate of 1952 as "died on or since 1 April 1951 at a place unknown", so presumably their loss remains a mystery. No one knows what happened to them or where the aircraft crashed.

Sources:

1. Birmingham Daily Gazette - Monday 2 April 1951
2. El Tiempo 2 April 1951, p8
3. Safety Was No Accident: History of the Uk Civil Aviation Flying Unit Cafu 1944-1996 By James Fuller
4. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-AGLJ.pdf
5. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=15766.0
6. https://www.cafuhistory.com/1944---49.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
07-Mar-2020 17:08 Dr. John Smith Added
07-Mar-2020 17:09 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator]
16-Jan-2021 17:18 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]

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