30.07.1962 No. 72 Squadron Belvedere HCI XG465 Sq/Ldr. Watson
Date: 30th July 1962 (Monday)
Unit: No. 72 Squadron
Type: Belvedere HC-I (Also known as the 'Flying Banana'.)
Base: RAF Gutersloh, Germany
Location: 4 miles N.W. Gutersloh at Harsewinkel, Germany
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Bryan Watson 607320 RAF Age 30. Killed
F/O. John Hubert Brundle RAF Age 22. Killed
S/Tech. Roy Mitchell 1927811 RAF Age 26. Killed
Cpl. Dennis Ottewell 589652 RAF Age 23. Killed
Fl/Lt. Colin Kennedy Ross 2662006 RAF Age 29. Killed
F/O. Colin George Crocker 506596
RAF Age 27. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Shortly after take off suffered an engine failure with one of the rotor blades breaking and sheared into the fuselage. The aircraft crashed at around 16.00 hrs in a field between Harsewinkel and Marienfeld in the vicinity of Bruckhager Street, killing all six crew.
A local newspaper reported that eye witnesses reported seeing the crew opening the doors shortly prior to the impact. The aircraft had taken off earlier with two others of the same type from the NATO base at Gutersloh - again eyewitness reports state that they had seen the rear of the helicopter on fire prior to the rotor blade shearing. The aircraft crashed only 50 metres from a house and totally burnt out.
Fire crews from Harsewinkel, Gutersloh and the NATO airfield battled in vain to quench the flames - during this operation a British soldier was injured. A Sikorsky helicopter, of the Bundeswehr was employed to search the area of the crash site to try and identify additional wreckage which may have contribute to the accident. None was found.
The pilot, Sq/Ldr. Watson was due to be posted as commanding officer of 21 Squadron in Aden. S/Tech. Roy Mitchell was also due to be posted in a senior position.
Sq/Ldr. Bryan Watson. Hanover Cemetery. Grave 11.D.01. Grave inscription: ‘Treasured memories of our dear son, of love and duty nobly done’
F/O. John Hubert Brundle. Hanover Cemetery. Grave 11.D.04. Grave inscription: ‘Treasured and loving memories of a dear son and brother, till we meet again’
S/Tech. Roy Mitchell. Hanover Cemetery. Grave 11.D.05. Grave inscription: ‘My dear husband, close to me you will always stay, loved and remembered every day’.
Cpl. Dennis Ottewell. Hanover Cemetery. Grave 11.D.06. Grave inscription: ‘My much beloved husband, always remembered, with much happiness, safe with God’.
Fl/Lt. Colin Kennedy Ross. Hanover Cemetery. Grave 11.D.02. Grave inscription: Treasured memories of a dear husband and father loved and remembered always.’
F/O. Colin George Crocker. Hanover Cemetery. Grave 11.D.03. Grave inscription: He lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved and is loved, rest in peace darling’.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with the hope that relatives are able to come forward with further information and or photographs. With thanks for further information to Dave Kirby for German translation of the Newspapers, Colin Cummings, 'Category 5 RAF losses 1954-2009'. Bob Paulson for grave photographs.