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Airspeed Oxford MkII R6388, 15 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit, RAF

Ramsbury Manor

7th June 1943

At 09:10 hrs on Monday 7th June 1943 Sgt. Kenneth Deacon RAAF took off from Ramsbury airfield on a solo 3 1/2 hour cross country flight. During the course of this exercise he landed at Grove airfield near Wantage. Sgt. Deacon's approach had been very poor and the chief flying instructor at Grove took him to one side and pointed out his mistakes.

A short while later Sgt. Deacon too off again and made for Ramsbury where he was next seen approaching the airfield in a shallow power dive. Onlookers felt that he was probably trying to join the upwind leg of the circuit at the regulation height of 1000 feet. During its decent the aircraft suddenly went into a wide steep diving turn to the right with the engines still running under power. After turning through about 270 degrees the Oxford struck the ground killing the pilot and completely destroying the aircraft.

Sgt. 'Bill' Berry RAAF was on the same training course as Ken Deacon and remembers the incident well. "The crash had been observed by another pilot who said that he just appeared to go straight in from about 3000 feet with no apparent flying difficulties, just as though he had suffered a heart attack."

Following examination of the wreckage the port outer flap linkage mechanism was found to be of a very poor fit. This poor fit, coupled with the pilot inadvertently lowering the flaps at too high an airspeed, may have caused loss of lateral control and the subsequent crash that followed.

The remains of Sgt Kenneth Walter Deacon RAAF lie buried in plot H, grave 33, Andover cemetery, Hampshire.

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© Copyright 2004 Roger Day