Flight Sergeant Colin Arthur BRADFORD

Service No: 414754
Born: Southport QLD, 25 September 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 November 1941
Unit: Operational and Refresher Training Unit (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (Operational and Refresher Training Unit Whitley aircraft EB399), Berkshire, 14 March 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, Oxfordshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George Lionel and Winifred Bradford, of Nerang, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Southport QLD
Remembered: Panel 119, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the night of the 14 March 1944, Whitley EB399 took off on a non-operational glider towing exercise and during the exercise the aircraft crashed near East Isley Berkshire. The aircraft had completed four tows, and had taken off on its fifth circuit, when at a altitiude of about 500 feet, it commenced to dive from which it did not recover. The aircraft crashed and burst into flames. Four of the crew were killed and one was injured. The Glider pilot stated that the take-off and climb to 500 feet was quite normal, but that after reaching that height, his airspeed started to increase and he began to lose height until his indicated airspeed was 160 mph. Sensing all was not well he cast off the tow rope and landed safely in a nearby field. A Court of Inquiry into the accident stated: “it must be assumed that one of two things happened: the pilot looked back and watching the airfield lights failed to notice that the aircraft had started to dive until it was too late to recover; or the pilot failed to change over from visual to instrument flying soon enough.”

The crew members of EB399 were:

Flight Sergeant Colin Arthur Bradford (414754) (Pilot)
Sergeant Alan Clarence Edwards (1339917) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant David Hugh Kerr (1588839) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Harold Kilduff (971378) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant K Turnbull (1349478) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner) Injured


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/6/444
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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