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Handley Page Halifax DG233- 20/05/1942

On the 20th May 1942 Flight  Lieutenant J. R. Palmer (Rootes Chief Test pilot), Mr Rimmer (Rootes Flight Shed Superintendent), Mr Howlett (Chief Rotal Engineer), Mr Goodale (Chief Rolls Royce Engineer/Flight Engineer) and Mr A. Smith (Trainee Engineer Rootes) took off from Speke in Handley Page Halifax No DG233 on a vibration flight test.

After completing the tests with alterations to throttle settings and pitch controls no vibration was discerned and the second phase commenced.  Each engine was to be feathered in turn starting with the starboard outer from which there was no resulting vibration.  As the pilot commenced to unfeather and started to feather the starboard inner the aircraft swung to starboard as the outer failed to pick up.  As the starboard inner feathered both engines failed.  Suspecting fuel starvation Flight  Lieutenant Palmer called for a check on the isolation cock which was reported to be in the off position.  So without power and in bad weather Flight  Lieutenant Palmer broke cloud at about 500 feet and spotted a small field in which he decided to land with the wheels up.  The speed on the approach was high at about 120 mph and to help reduce the speed the pilot deliberately put the nose through a thick hedge which destroyed the nose section.  

The aircraft careered on until encountering a sloping four foot high grass bank which brought the aircraft to an abrupt halt.  The aircraft had landed close to Bryn Faigas Farm, two miles to the south east of Mold, Flintshire and collided with Wat's Dyke.  Mr A. Smith the trainee engineer was killed as he had gone in to the Bomb Aimers position in the nose section without permission.  

The accident was caused by an incorrectly assembled isolation cock that operated to the reverse of the selection.

Rootes Securities at Speke started license production of Handley Page Halifax's with contract 637/C4/C. This was for a Batch of 12 Mark B.II's which were delivered between 01/04/42 and 26/07/42. These were serials DG219-DG230.

Handley Page Halifax No DG233 was subsequently repaired and lost on a raid to Mannheim on the 6th December 1942 whilst serving with No158 Squadron

Speke Incidents

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