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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 263423
Last updated: 16 September 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B17 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing B-17F Fortress Mk II
Owner/operator:521 Squadron Royal Air Force (521 Sqn RAF)
Registration: FA703
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 8
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Atlantic Ocean, 500 miles SW of Lands End, Cornwall, England. -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Chivenor, Barnstaple, Devon
Destination airport:
Boeing B-17F Fortress Mk.II, FA703, 521 Squadron, RAF: Written off (destroyed) 8 January 1946 when crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, 500 miles south west of Lands End, Cornwall, at approximate co ordinates 48'30" North, 18'40" west.

The aircraft was engaged on a meteorological recce sortie from RAF Chivenor, Barnstaple, Devon, and was over the Atlantic Ocean, 500 miles south west of Lands End, Cornwall, at approximate co ordinates 48'30" North, 18'40" west when the incident took place.

At around 01:30 hours, an engine failed, and the pilot took the appropriate action to feather the failing engine. However, the pilot feathered the wrong engine in error, and the resulting asymmetric forces caused the pilot to lose control of the aircraft. Before a safe recovery could be made (restarting the incorrectly feathered engine, and feathering the correct failing engine) the aircraft crashed into the sea.

Of the eight crew on board, three survived, and were rescued by a passing ship. The other five were killed. As their bodies were never found and thus not recovered, their names have been recorded on the Runnymede Memorial.

Crew of B-17F Fortress Mk.II FA703:
F/O P M Williams (pilot) RAF - survived and rescued
W/O P W Collett (RAF) - survived and rescued
F/Sgt V C Taylor (Flt/Eng) RAF - survived and rescued
F/O (56649)Reginald George Cummings (WOp) RAF - killed in service 8/1/1946
Sgt (3031563)David Thomas Brown (Met.Obs.)RAF - killed in service 8/1/1946
W/O (1331073) Edgar Stanley Newark (WOp) RAF- killed in service 8/1/1946
F/Sgt (1435458)James Kendal Thrower (WOp) RAF - killed in service 8/1/1946
F/O (164868) George Boyd Sharp (Nav.) RAF - killed in service 8/1/1946


1. Halley, James (1999). Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents. Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.28 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Final Landings: A Summary of RAF Aircraft and Combat Losses 1946 to 1949 by Colin Cummings p.28
3. Royal Air Force Aircraft FA100-FZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain)
4. 521 Squadron ORB (Operations Record Book)(Air Ministry Form AM/F.540) for 1-31 January 1946: National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 27/1995/25 at
5. FA703 was previously "T" of 59 Squadron:

Revision history:

30-May-2021 21:38 Dr. John Smith Added
30-May-2021 21:38 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
30-May-2021 21:40 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
30-May-2021 21:42 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
31-May-2021 09:02 Anon. Updated [Operator, Location, Narrative, Operator]

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