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Historic England Research Records


Hob Uid: 1328627
Location :
East Sussex
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : TQ8241008870
Summary :

1940 wreck of British Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mark V bomber, which ditched off Hastings Pier after catching fire during an aerial battle over Germany, disabling the engines. The crew were able to nurse the aircraft as far back as the south coast, when they were forced to abandon it: one source states that the aircraft had also run out of fuel. There was no loss of life and all five crew were picked up. Parts of the aircraft have been recovered from the sea off Hastings Pier and are now in the Robertsbridge Aviation Society Museum. 

More information :

[Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk.V heavy bomber; one of a batch of 148 delivered between August 1939 and April 1940 to Contract No.75145/36] Ran out of fuel returning from Schwerte and ditched off Hastings Pier, Sussex, 20.6.40. (1)

Whitley N1476 was on ops to Wanna-Eickel when attacked by enemy aircraft. The crew returned fire but the port engine caught fire disabling the aircraft. They nursed the aircraft back to England but were forced to ditch off Hastings. All five crew survived and were picked up, and subsequently all were decorated for this incident.

The joint citation, which is quoted in full on this website, states that the aircraft was hit by repeated flak then directly attacked by an Me109, which was destroyed by the Whitley's return fire. However, the engine was disabled in this action. The target was successfully bombed, after which the crew set their return course for England, losing height as they went and crossing the North Sea at 400ft but kept going despite their own personal injuries. The crew prepared to abandon the aircraft and did so off the south coast. (2)

Whitley N1476 was built to contract 75147/38 by Armstrong Whitworth Ltd. at Baginton and was awaiting collection on 3rd January 1940. It was first allocated to 97 Squadron, based at Driffield, but did not see service until being transferred to 77 Squadron, also Driffield, on 20th May 1940. (2)

Parts of the aircraft, including a tyre and a nut, have been recovered and identified at different times from the sea off Hastings Pier and are now on display at Robertsbridge Aviation Society Museum. (3) 

Built: 1939-40 (1)
Builder: Armstrong Whitworth (1)(2)
Where Built: Baginton (2); Coventry (1)
Squadrons: first allocated to 97 Squadron, in use by 77 Squadron at the time of loss (1)(2)
Crew: 5 (2)
Owner: RAF (1)(2)

Date of Loss Qualifier: Actual date of loss

Sources :
Source Number : 1
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Source details :
Page(s) : 121
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Plates :
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Source Number : 2
Source :
Source details : < http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/yorkshire/york40/n1476.html > accessed on 23-AUG-2013
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Source Number : 3
Source :
Source details : Ex. inf. Trevor Woodgate, Museum Manager, Robertsbridge Aviation Society Museum, by e-mail correspondence, July 2020
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Lost 1940
Monument End Date : 1940-06-20
Monument Start Date : 1940-06-20
Monument Type : Whitley
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Find

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Admiralty Chart
External Cross Reference Number : 536 17-08-73
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Admiralty Chart
External Cross Reference Number : 2451 08-02-91
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 80 NW 112
External Cross Reference Notes :

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