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Remembered Today:

DH4/DH9 File


Lyffe
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Bit of a coincedence, I was looking to see whether my favourite bookshop in London has it in stock earlier! From the description it seems like it does - if I find it tomorrow i'll let you know for definite and do a look up for you if interested

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Brian

The excellent book has histories of all DH 4, DH 9 and DH 9A aircraft, plus histories of most US DH-4s.

Gareth

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Thank you gentlemen. My interest is in two RAF DH9s, E9005 and H4219. I know both were on the strength of the RAF Meteorological Flight in February 1919; E9005 crashed on 23 April 1919, but H4219 remained on its strength until July 1919. What I'm after is their histories before February. I appreciate such detail is unlikely, but anything would be of use.

Brian

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Brian

There's not a great deal on the aeroplanes you're interested in, but this is what's there:

E9005 was a DH 9 built by Airco (ordered 23.03.18); No 1 Aerial Ranges by 18.12.18; Meteorological Flight 91 Wing Berck-sur-Mer, crashed 25. 04.19 (Capt C K M Douglas & Sgt Williams); and

H4219 was a DH 9 built by Airco (ordered 14.08.18); with the Meteorological Flight from 24 .02.19 to 21. 07.19.

I hope that this is useful.

Gareth

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That's extremely useful Gareth as it means I can date E9005 to almost certainly joining the Met Flight during Jan 1919 (it was on strength on 1 Feb).

The crash date is incorrect - the accident happened at 6.10 pm on 23 April, not the 25th - that comes from the Meteor Flight Log in the National Archives. Although I have no confirmed details I think it must have suffered an engine failure whilst taking off for the evening met flight. There was a light N'ly wind at the time, and the aeroplane finished up resting against some huts in the north corner of the airfield (see photo).

The photo comes from the pilot's son - not very good quality so I've had to work on it.

So far as H4219 is concerned that made its last flight with the unit on 31 July (not 21st). It was F1225 that finished its time with the Met Flight on 21 July (again, from the Meteor Flight Log.)

Brian

post-42511-1255081044.jpg

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The date of the 25th for E9005 came off the Cas Report - that's the date I've got recorded too. Interesting that the squadron record puts it back two days - though it wouldn't be the first 1919 incident to have contradictory dates for it. I think they were getting a bit more relaxed about sending off their reoprts - you can't blame them!

Regards,

Trevor

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Trevor,

I obtained the information from AIR1/1921/204/237/6 (Meteor Flight, RAF; Log books). These are simply two grubby exercise books maintained by the ground crew that list the hours flown, and why, from 1 Feb to 28 Aug 1919 (that was the last ascent - the unit had disbanded by 3 Sept. Unfortunately there are no earlier logbooks - a pain really as I'd like to know what happened to the AW FK8s (3626 and 8441) the unit flew during 1918.

Each entry is also accompanied by the names of the pilot and passenger, the duration of the sortie and any mechanical problems. It's just as well; the pilot on this occasion(Douglas) was very lax in maintaining his pilot's logbook by this time, simply listing the number of hours flown per month - not surprising really as the unit's task was making to ascents to 14000 ft daily (early am and late pm) recording temperatures. Because of that he makes no reference to this little incident.

I've checked the date on three separate visits to the NA so there's no doubt.

I think I've got the history fairly well nailed down although my interest is really in the meteorological aspect.

Brian

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Brian, I'm sure you're right. I meant to say as much in my previous email. That AIR1 file sounds quite interesting - a lot of files like that seem to have been weeded out over the years, worse luck.

Those FK8s would be C8441 and C3626 - neither of them are in my records, I'm sorry to say.

Regards,

Trevor

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No problem Trevor - I didn't intend to imply I was disagreeing with you, but I did wonder if I'd made a mistake and misread the date.

I've been fortunate in tracing the descendents of the three Met Flight pilots who flew with the unit for much of its existence, only one log book, but one had some excellent photos of one of the early FK8s (B870). On my sharp copy the wings and tail of C8441 can be seen on the other side.

The shooting star emblem respresents a meteor.

Brian

post-42511-1255116462.jpg

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Brian,

FK8 B870 does manage a Cas Rep in the Depot Casualties AIR1 file - but only to say it's a bit old and tired, and needs to be retired. This file was dated 30.8.1918

When you say your interest is in the meteorological side, how do you mean? Have you been correlating weather with respect to the battles/times of 14-18, or is there another slant? Just interested.

Regards,

Trevor

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Not really Trevor. Won't bore you too much with the history of the project, but some time ago I realised the history of the RAF Meteorological Flights had never been researched. Since then it's just something that's developed in parallel with other met stories I'm researching.

The first Met Flight was the one at Berck - there's very little in Met Office literature about it, but what is written is considerably in error. As a retired forecaster I just felt it was something to be corrected, to stop the myths being repeated. Although the story is aimed at meteorologists I've tried to write it so there is something of interest to aviation historians as well.

Happy to copy it to you as a sort of background story of what went on behind the scenes so to speak.

Brian

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