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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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Fleet Air Arm Crest
23.09.1939 No 1 SFTS Harvard I P5791 Mid. Casey

Operation: Formation flying

Date: 23rd September 1939 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 1 Service Flying Training School (23 Group)

Type: Harvard I

Serial: P5791

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Netheravon, Wiltshire

Location: Collingbourne Kingston, Wiltshire

Pilot U/T: Midshipman (Air) John Clutha Casey Royal Navy (FAA) Age 21. Killed (HMS Pembroke)

Pilot U/T: AC.1 William Roderick Walter Phillips 534924 RAF Age 21. Killed


During a formation flying practice two aircraft collided. Harvard P5792 flown by 19 year old Midshipman (Air) Roger Malcolm Brennen Kettle (HMS Pembroke) hit P5791 with both aircraft coming down at Collingbourne Kingston in Wiltshire. Sadly, all three crew lost their lives.

Midshipman Casey was the first New Zealand member of the Fleet Air Arm to lose his life in WW2.

Above as described courtesy Nick Brookes, a relative of the pilot.

Burial details:

Midshipman (Air) John Clutha Casey. Netheravon Churchyard (All Saints). Son of John and Florence Casey, of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand.

AC.1 William Roderick Walter Phillips. Liskeard Churchyard (St. Martin) Sec. N. Grave 14. Son of William and Ernestine Phillips, of Addington, Liskeard, Cornwall, England. Grave inscription reads: "While He Rests In Peaceful Sleep His Memory We'll Always Keep. Mum, Dad And Walter".

Midshipman (Air) Roger Malcolm Brennen Kettle. Netheravon Churchyard (All Saints). Son of Ernest Albert and Beatrice Eliza Kettle, of Tiverton, Devon, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 08.10.2018

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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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