COLLISION OF TWO SPITFIRES
3 MILES SW OF WILLIAMTOWN AIRFIELD, NSW
ON 27 APRIL 1943

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At 0132Z hours on 27 April 1943, two F.VC Spitfires from No. 2 Operational Training Unit (2 OTU) at Mildura, on detachment to Williamtown in New South Wales, collided whilst reforming to do some line astern chase training exercise 3 miles south west of Williamtown Airfield, killing 21 year old pilot, Sergeant Raymond Jack Blackie (403309) when his Spitfire A58-120 (EE676) spun into the ground. Sgt Dudley Albert Grinlington (408842) in Spitfire A58-93 (BS232) was able to land safely and received no injuries.

The RAAF "Preliminary Report (External) of Flying Accident or Forced Landing" showed the Probable Cause as "Carelessness and error of judgement". However Norman Crook who was posted to Williamtown as an Armourer Assistant and was present when the accident happened has a more detailed recollection of the cause of the collision.

Norman explained that one Spitfire went up and over losing power, and then fell backwards toward the ground. The other Spitfire then cut off the falling Spitfire's tail which attached itself to the cannon which both Spitfires had on one wing each. The Spitfire which had the tail attached piloted by Sgt Dudley Grinlington, then landed which Norman said was a miracle in itself.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank John Lever for his assistance with details of this crash. John Lever is the author of a number of books on RAAF Operational Training Units.

I'd also like to that Helen Radford for her assistance with this web page. Her father, Norman Crook, witnessed the collision.

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 3 March 2001

This page last updated 17 June 2017