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13/10/1943 P-47D 42-74642 and Mosquito HJ617

Type Serial No Unit Station Duty Crew Passengers
P-47D6 Thunderbolt   42-74642 87th ATC   Warton   Ferry Flight   1   0  
DeHaviland Mosquito   HJ617 No 60 OTU   High Ercall   Training Flight   1   0  

1st Lieutenant Robert L Eckert of the 87th ATC, who was on a ferry flight from Warton to Burtonwood, was circling Speke in his P-47, preparing to pick up his new heading when a Mosquito flew into his line of flight. The propeller of his P-47 nicked the port wing of the Mosquito. Both aircraft landed safely at Speke.

1st Lieutenant Eckert’s account of the accident was as follows

“At 1545 hours 13, October 1943 while making a left hand circuit of Speke Aerodrome, I turned to the East to proceed to Burtonwood. Before turning I looked back and to each side, the only aircraft in sight was a P-47 headed in the same direction as my aircraft. I started to turn and as my left wing came up, another aircraft flew into my line of sight on my left. I nosed down but could not avoid a collision. After collision the engine was very rough and power had to be reduced so much the aircraft would not maintain altitude. I landed on runway 04 at Speke. This was not the duty runway in use, but altitude was being lost so fast I chose runway 04. I was flying P-47D6 No 42-74642. The only visible damage to the P-47 was the propeller. Upon landing I found the other aircraft was a Mosquito flown by F/O PJ Garner. The damage visible to his aircraft was the underside of the port wing outboard the engine and the outboard petrol tank was damaged. This collision took place about two miles east of Speke aerodrome at 1500 feet”.

Flying Officer P J Garner of No 1 Squadron, No 60 OTU was on a routine flying training flight from his base at RAF High Ercall in Shropshire at the time of the incident, his account of the accident was as follows,

“I had been detailed for flying practice from No1 Squadron at No 60 OTU, High Ercall, and I was orbiting near Speke, about two miles away from the aerodrome, preparatory to obtaining a homing to my base. I was at a height of about 1500 feet when I felt a big bump, and looking at my port wing I saw that petrol was streaming from it. I decided to force land at Speke, and gained as much height as possible. I came in on the long runway (080), but noticed workmen on the runway so was forced to go round again. As my engines were apparently serviceable I decided to land on duty runway, which I did. While walking to the watch office, I met a pilot of the USAAF, who said he had collided with me in a Thunderbolt”.

The damage to the P-47 consisted of one damaged propeller blade and the Mosquito had a damaged petrol tank and a portion of the undersurface of the port main plane 6’ x 2’ had been torn away.  

Photograph showing damage to the propeller of P-47 42-74642

Position   Name   Rank   Service No   Age   Status  
Pilot   Robert L Eckert   1st Lieutenant   0-311390   - Ok  
Pilot   P J Gavner   Flying Officer   - - Ok  

Speke Incidents