Accident Vickers Virginia Mk X J8241, Monday 19 January 1931
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Date:Monday 19 January 1931
Type:Vickers Virginia Mk X
Owner/operator:7 Sqn RAF
Registration: J8241
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:RAF Worthy Down, South Wonston, near Winchester, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:RAF Worthy Down, Hampshire
Destination airport:RAF Worthy Down,
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Vickers Virginia Mk.X J8241, 7 Squadron, RAF Worthy Down: Written off (damaged beyond repair) 19/1/321 when hit building on landing, RAF Worthy Down, South Wonston, near Winchester, Hampshire.The three crew members who died when Virginia J8241 crashed were all in the front cockpit. The Flying Officer in the rear Air Gunners position on the fatal flight was only a "ride along passenger" - he was Flying Officer John Rene Whitley who was later to go on to be Air Marshal Sir John Whitley KBE CBE CB DSO AFC and bar and MiD three times. There is an interesting quote (see link #3) in which details his career - it says:

"Whilst flying as a passenger in a Virginia at Worthy Down, he had a premonition of disaster and chose to sit in the rear gunners position. When the pilot misjudged his landing everybody but Whitley was killed when the tail of the aircraft struck a station building". The crew of Virginia J8241 were:

Flying Officer Walter Sydney Monroe (first pilot, aged 23) killed
Flying Officer John Barton (second pilot, aged 30) killed
L.A/C James Stanley Milner (aged 24) killed
Flying Officer John Rene Whitley (passenger) unhurt

In addition, Nine persons were injured in the station HQ (the building that Virginia J8241 flew into). A Report in "The Aeroplane" of 28/1/31 covers the inquest held at Worthy Down on 21/1/31 into the deaths of the three crew members:

"Wing Commander Pulford said that both Monroe and Barton were officers of great experience. Monroe had 200 hours on the type which had crashed and Barton had 600 hours. Milner was one of the best wireless operators in the Squadron.

F/O Whitley (who was in the rear gunner’s cockpit of the machine that crashed) said that over the aerodrome at a height of about 700 feet the pilot throttled back his engine in order to approach and land. He had turned right which brought the machine over the parade ground and then made a left turn and in doing so his left wing caught the station Headquarters building.

There was a ground wind of between 20 and 25 m.p.h. and the aeroplane was travelling at a normal speed, He thought there was plenty of flying speed. Sergeant Friend of the RAF Police said that when the machine went into a left turn it side-slipped and crashed. He could not say why as the speed was normal. Wing Commander Pulford said that although he did not see the accident, he would say that this was a controlled side-slip. The Coroner said that there was no satisfactory explanation of why or how the accident happened and he recorded a verdict of accidental death.”

The three crew fatalities were all buried at Magdalen Hill Cemetery, Winchester, Hampshire on the same day - 23/1/31


1. Western Daily Press - Thursday 22 January 1931

Revision history:

18-Apr-2018 16:41 Dr. John Smith Added
10-Nov-2018 07:12 Nepa Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Operator]

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