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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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RAF Crest
25.05.1946 RAE Farnborough Mustang III KH505 Sq/Ldr. Edward B. Gale

Operation: High speed research

Date: 25th May 1946 (Saturday)

Unit: No. RAE Farnborough

Type: Mustang III

Serial: KH505

Base: RAF Farnborough

Location: Broxbourne, Hertfordshire

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Edward Bagley Gale AFC. C/1618 RCAF Age 28. Killed


Instructed to carry out high mach dives from 40,000 - 20,000 ft for research into handling at at very high speeds. He had undertook similar testing on several occasions up till this date.

Weather: Cloud 9/10 base at 1,500 ft. Wind 15-20 mph. Visibility 10 miles.

Engine type: Packard Merlin No. V. 1650/7 - running time total: 31 hours 35 minutes. (Ground crew reported that they consider it to be the best engine they had ever known having been extremely trouble free) Airframe: Manufactured by North American Aviation, Dallas, Texas. Total Air flying hours: 49 hrs 20 minutes.

The aircraft took off from Farnborough at about 10:55 hrs - the pilot to climb to 40,000 ft and dive the aircraft at 45 degrees to 20,000 ft attaining a mach of about .82. At about 11.10 hrs he was heard in a high speed dive over Broxbourne. It appeared from the cloud base at 1,500 ft diving steeply and was then seen to dive into the ground without any apparent attempt by the pilot to recover or throttle back the engine. From previous attempts made by the pilot it had been calculated that he would have only reached 28,000 ft by this time. It would seem then that when the accident occurred he must have still been climbing.

The aircraft crashed at 11.30 hrs and apart from a few very small pieces of wreckage blown from the crater by explosion after impact, practically the whole aircraft had plunged into the ground to a considerable depth.

Conclusion that through lack of evidence that the pilot tried to pull out of the dive, throttle down his engine, evacuate the aircraft or use his R/T - it is possible that he became incapacitated by some physiological symptoms.

Burial details:

Sq/Ldr. Edward Bagley Gale AFC. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 61.E.8. Born on the 15th December 1917 at St.Cyr, Quebec the son of Leonard L. Gale and Lavina May Gale. Enlisted in Quebec as a Pilot Officer, 29 January 1940. Trained at No.1 SFTS (graduated 13 August 1940. Logged over 2,430 hours - 2,200 of these as an instructor. Grave inscription reads: 'Some Day, Some Time, We Hope To See The One We Love So Tenderly.'

Researched by Chris Bowles for Aircrew Remembered - February 2016. Dedicated to the relatives of this pilot. With thanks to the National Archives for detailed information.

Acknowledgements: 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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', 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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