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Cessna UC-78 'Bobcat' 43-32075, 27th ATG, 325th Ferry Squadron, 8th Air Support Command

Ramsbury Airfield

24th July 1944

During the summer evening of 24th July 1944, as a gentle south-easterly breeze was blowing across the open expanse of Ramsbury airfield, a Heston based 325th Ferry Squadron Cessna 'Bobcat' was making its final approach from the west. The pilot had received a green light from the field controller, Pfc. Gerald Theis, clearing him for a landing on runway 08.

Approximately 40 feet from touchdown the controller noticed that the plane's landing gear was being retracted and immediately fired a red flare. Unfortunately the warning came too late and when the 'Bobcat' struck the ground the gear was fully retracted. The plane slid along the runway for about 300 feet before coming to rest on the grass. The pilot and his three passengers quickly vacated the aircraft in case it should catch fire.

Gerald Theis recalls, "There were officers and nurses onboard and I heard rumours that they were coming to Ramsbury for a party. I was called to the crash investigation hearing where the pilot admitted he'd made a mistake."

Two days after the crash the UC-78 had been put back in flying condition at Ramsbury by the 337th Service Squadron, who fitted new propellers and repaired damage to both wheel wells.

Crew Details:
F/O Robert H. Dolbear - Pilot
H. Pearl - Passenger
J. Pearl - Passenger
Kathleen Cullen - Passenger

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© Copyright 2004 Roger Day