April Fools day 1951

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[SIZE=2] On April 1 1951 an ex RAF light aircraft with three young men on board.Took off from Southend airport,bound for Le Touquet in France.The pilot I believe was RAF trained.He was "Frank Edgar Miller"jnr and was only a few days short of his 25th birthday.One of his passengers was his brother Peter 22. The other passenger was to have been their father "Frank Edgar Miller" snr but he had to do something else in the morning so a friend of the sons` went instead. Frank snr was to have been picked up that afternoon. They never got to France.The aircraft had been bought about 3 weeks before with defective navigation equipment. The weather was almost perfect for the next two days, yet an extensive search found no oil slick or wreckage.Frank and Peter were my uncles.The incident wrecked the lives of their parents.And must have had a profound effect on the lives of their four sisters(my mother never spoke of them again)Frank left behind a young attractive wife and a 7 week old daughter. How can I get more details of what happened especially newspaper and official reports.
Original post
Profile picture for user Chipmunk Carol

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There's a guy on the Historic forum - von Perthes - who appears to have a record of absolutely every wartime crash. Whether his records reach post-war or not, I don't know, but I'll send him a Private Message on your behalf, as you are a newcomer, and alert him to your thread. Do you know what type of aircraft it was? I'll also send a message to YakRider as he has been known to venture near Southend, he may know the addresses of the local newspapers. Good luck and welcome to the forum.
Profile picture for user Auster Fan

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A very sad story. Welcome to the Forum and I hope you find the information you require. Moggy C has links with the media, I believe and maybe be able to point you in the direction of the names of the relevant publications. Have you also tried Flight International and magazines of that ilk for archive material?

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I'm afraid all my records are RAF/Luftwaffe orientated regarding losses, so I can't be of much help here without a military s/n to start from. As the aircraft involved was ex-RAF I don't see why this can't be moved, or the question asked again, over on 'Historic'. Geoff.
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Can anyone on here help out with this query? Easier than the 'Acme 2-Ton weight' competition :D Moggy
Profile picture for user kev35

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This might be one for Flood. (No, I'm not being sarcastic) He has helped me out in the past with serials and the odd aircraft history. Perhaps his library might stretch to ex RAF aircraft? Regards, kev35
Profile picture for user Mark12

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Could it have been a Prentice? I always associate Southend with the surplus Percival Prentices. At one time in the mid 1950's there were several score there, I believe with 'Aviation Traders' but I am not 100% on that. I recall photos in Air Pictorial (?) showing crude British civil registrations applied over RAF Training Command liveries. I suspect ultimately many or most were just scrapped off. Maybe 1951 is too early for the Prentice fleet to have been surplussed. Indeed one of these was the first aircraft I ever flew in; G-APIY/VR249 a pleasure flight out of a field strip at the back of Ramsgate in 1959. It is now I believe at Newark Air Museum. Mark
Profile picture for user YakRider

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After my experience I'm not sure how much you can believe of what's written in Southend newspapers!. The aircraft was more likely a Proctor than a Prentice I would think. I'll ask around at Southend next time I'm down there to see if anyone has any ideas. YR
Profile picture for user paulmcmillan

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From The Times: Tuesday April 3rd 1951 "Channel Search for Missing Aircraft" The search continued yesterday for the Percival Proctor aircraft reported missing on Sunday while on a flight from Southend to Le Touquet. The pilot was Mr. Frank Edgar Miller, 25 a former R.A.F pilot of Barkingside, Essex, and his passengers were Mr. Peter Miller, 23, his brother of Forest Lane, Chigwell, and Mr. John Smith 24 of Cranbrook Road Illford"
Profile picture for user John Cooper

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The only reference to an aircraft 'crash' for the UK for 01/04/1951 was an Airspeed Oxford which crashed near Marham, Norfolk this was a RAF aircraft though killing the 4 occupants on board. I guess that 'aircraft missing' are not included perhaps the AAIB might have records. I have had some success on my Forum at http://www.voy.com/130994/ I will post this on there and if there are any respondents I will get back to you.
Profile picture for user paulmcmillan

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Percival P.34 Proctor Mk. III G-AGLJ (Constructed in 1943 by F Hills And Sons Ltd, C/N H.406) (ex RAF LZ599). Registered 25.8.1944 (another source says 30.04.46) , missing in English Channel 1.4.1951 Photo of aircraft available to purchase here (I am not connected to this site in any way) http://www.ajjcollection.co.uk/agaa.htm see also http://www.ajjcollection.co.uk/details.htm

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I knew 'Historic' would come good. Is there a good website that can be used to seach for incidents like this, i.e. civil aircraft accidents (by date/name/type etc.) say up to the fifties/sixties? I know about G-INFO but what else is there? Geoff.
Profile picture for user JDK

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I'd contact the Air Accident Investigation Branch - [email]enquiries@aaib.gov.uk[/email] website: http://www.aaib.dft.gov.uk/about_us/index.cfm They won't have anything on the web, but a polite enq. should get you pointed in the rightr direction. The local coroner's court may have had an enquiry - an aircraft loss like that might be considered? Agai, enquire at the local court. hope this helps

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14 years 4 months

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There's a guy on the Historic forum - von Perthes - who appears to have a record of absolutely every wartime crash. Whether his records reach post-war or not, I don't know, but I'll send him a Private Message on your behalf, as you are a newcomer, and alert him to your thread. Do you know what type of aircraft it was? I'll also send a message to YakRider as he has been known to venture near Southend, he may know the addresses of the local newspapers. Good luck and welcome to the forum.
It was a Proctor 111. regards Stenjoe