Lancaster RF139 was being utilised for a training flight (formation flying) on 19th July 1945.
Its crew comprised:
- GA Henderson
The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “During a training flight when several aircraft were flying in formation, two of them collided, presumably due to bumpy weather conditions. The aircraft RF139 and NG485 landed quite safely without injuries”.
AM Form 78
- To be obtained from RAF Museum
The AM Form 1180 shows “In flight, aircraft No. 1 of formation VIC was struck by prop of Lancaster NG485 flying as No. 2”
Bernard Humphreys, who was navigator of NG485, recalls:
“Two Lancasters (NG485 and RF139) were involved in the formation flying exercise which was to be followed by a fighter affiliation exercise with a Spitfire. The navigator of RF139 had a camera and he had decided he would swap places with the rear gunner for a while so that he could take some photographs when flying in formation with our aircraft.
He told us that our port wing tip had twice tapped the rear turret and then we made the more damaging contact with our propeller.
Diagram showing the position of the two aircraft
On landing, the aircraft taxied to the same dispersal so that we could all see the damage. The propeller blades of our port outer engine were crinkled and the starboard tail fin of their tail assembly had a vee shaped notch cut out of it, from memory it was about two feet deep.
…… in summary …… it was too close for comfort!