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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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st August 1940 22 Squadron Vildebeest IV K6408 P/O. Bailey

Operation: Training

Date: 01st August 1940 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 22 Squadron (motto: Preux et audicieux - 'Valiant and Brave'). Coastal Command

Type: Vildebeest IV

Serial: K6408

Code: OA-?

Base: RAF Gosport, Hampshire

Location: Solent off Ryde Pier

Pilot: P/O. Alfred Bailey 40976 RAF Age 26. Killed

Photographer: A/C 2. E.S. Budd 977714 RAFVR Injured

Obs/Scientist: Harry Dawson Age 32. Killed


The aircraft, K6408, part of the Torpedo Development Flight, was scheduled to drop a torpedo on the range off Stokes Bay and then return to the airfield at Gosport less than a mile away. P/O Bailey approached the range, adjusting his altitude for the optimum height of 50 feet above the waves.

Observers on Ryde Pier noted that the aircraft's nose suddenly dipped, whether as a result of the gusty wind is not known but, with no height to recover, the Vildebeeste crashed into the sea. As with all torpedo drops, the range was policed by various support boats. These boats immediately went to the aid of the sinking aircraft. A/C2 Budd was rescued from the sea and although badly injured, after hospitalisation he recovered. A/C2 Budd was the only member the aircraft's crew to survive.

The civilian scientist and P/O. Alfred Bailey were dragged to the seabed with the aircraft, and were not recovered until 4 days later.

The wreckage of the machine was located by divers, and hauled to the surface. The bodies of the two unfortunate men were at last recovered from the mangled wreckage when the salvage vessel moored up at Priddy's Hard, Gosport.

Burial details:

P/O. Alfred Bailey. Gosport Cemetery (Ann's Hill). Plot 188. Grave 66. Born in April 1914 in Havant. Son of Alfred and Mary Hannah (nee Broadhurst). Husband of Sheila Barbara Valentine of 72 Portsmouth Rd, Lee on Solent, Hampshire.

Harry Dawson. Born on the 31st March 1908. A Retail Photographic Manager. Husband of Irene Dawson (nee Blakey) of 130 Woodcote Road, Reading, Berkshire.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to WW2Talk forum, bcresearcher at 'Find A Grave', Portsmouth Grammar School, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 15-06-2021

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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