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USAF F-84F Crash off Bradwell Bay June 1956

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DavidT
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Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:47 pm
Location: Danbury, Essex

USAF F-84F Crash off Bradwell Bay June 1956

Post by DavidT » Fri May 10, 2019 5:06 pm

Am trying to trace serial number of the F-84F involved in the following crash
Date: 29 June 1956
Unit: 78th FBS / 81st FBW
Pilot: Lt. George O. Dunham (sadly, drowned).
Location: Nr Bradwell Bay, Essex.
Info needed to assist local historian with article on the USAF Dengie Bombing Range, Essex.

Any help would be much appreciated.
Regards
David.

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Mike
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Location: Up North

Re: USAF F-84F Crash off Bradwell Bay June 1956

Post by Mike » Fri May 10, 2019 5:18 pm

The accident isn't mentioned here at all :- https://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/Post55/1956.htm

Is the date correct?

DavidT
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Location: Danbury, Essex

Re: USAF F-84F Crash off Bradwell Bay June 1956

Post by DavidT » Fri May 10, 2019 9:53 pm

Thanks for the reply Mike.
Yes, believe date is correct - Research into Lt. George Dunham revealed that he died on 29 June 1956 in an aircraft accident in England and that he was assigned to the 78th FBS.
This info was published in the findagrave.com website.
The 78th operated F-84Fs and local reports of the time here in Essex recorded that a Lt. George Dunham was drowned when his F-84F crashed near Bradwell Bay, Essex.
The local report gave the incident date as the beginning of July 56 but that doesn't tie in with the findagrave.com info and therefore is probably inaccurate.

Yorker
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Re: USAF F-84F Crash off Bradwell Bay June 1956

Post by Yorker » Sat May 11, 2019 6:52 pm

The Scramble book 'US Crashes 1950-2002' has the following entry which may be relevant

17 April 1956 F-84F 52-6781 78FBS/81FBW Dengie Flats Bombing range UK

Hope this helps.

DavidT
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Location: Danbury, Essex

Re: USAF F-84F Crash off Bradwell Bay June 1956

Post by DavidT » Sat May 11, 2019 9:41 pm

Yes, I know about that one.
Dunham's aircraft looks like it might remain a mystery.
Thanks anyway.

mustang5861
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Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:21 pm

Re: USAF F-84F Crash off Bradwell Bay June 1956

Post by mustang5861 » Mon May 13, 2019 1:51 am

I've had a look at the Find A Grave website. Of the 28 entries for 'George Dunham' headstones, none have a death date of 1956. Are you sure of the death date; and is it confirmed that Dunham died on the day of the crash, whatever date that may be?

I've also worked through a listing of every F-84F airframe and its fate. While there are numerous entries for F-84Fs lost while serving with the 78th FBS and the other squadrons of the 81st FBW/20th FBW while operating in the UK, none has a crash date of 29 June 1956. There are two crashes noted for the Dengie Flats bombing range (52-6551 (79th FBS/20th FBW) on 27/8/57; 52-6781 (78th FBS/81st FBW) on 17/4/56), as well as others for F-84Fs that crashed off the coast and those that crashed (or were lost due to other circumstances) on land. If you want any more info on the crashes in the list I checked, let me know.

Cheers,
M

DavidT
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Location: Danbury, Essex

Re: USAF F-84F Crash off Bradwell Bay June 1956

Post by DavidT » Mon May 13, 2019 9:57 pm

Thanks M,
I will go back to my colleague who is producing the Dengie Range article and check his source of info which stated that the aircraft was an F-84F and that Dunham's body was recovered by the crash boat that launched in response.
The Dunham memorial is listed as: findagrave.com/memorial/14888826/george-oliver-dunham
Are you using the USAF F-84F Aircraft Data Cards as your source material ?

Cheers,
David

mustang5861
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Re: USAF F-84F Crash off Bradwell Bay June 1956

Post by mustang5861 » Tue May 14, 2019 12:25 am

I was working from the individual F-84F entries on the following website:

http://forgottenjets.warbirdsresourcegr ... F-84F.html

Going by the way the entries are laid out and the fact that there is an entry for each individual F-84F, I would say it's odds on that the compiler(s) used the information on the F-84F ADCs. The extent of the information varies, with quite a few having unanswered questions, some of them the result of conflicting information, e.g. dates. Several of the aircraft that crashed in the UK are affected in this way, with at least half a dozen missing either their exact crash date (the day is missing) or with dates that are unconfirmed.

There are four F-84F crashes noted for June 1956, on the 13th, 20th, 22nd and 26th respectively, but the three with details of where the aircraft crashed (the entry for 22/6 just refers to a crash in 'England') are all crashes on land.

It's all a bit of a mystery at this stage!

graham luxton
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Re: USAF F-84F Crash off Bradwell Bay June 1956

Post by graham luxton » Tue May 14, 2019 7:39 am

Hi chaps,
I think you're F-84F is 52-6718 which, according to its Record Cards, crashed on the 29 June'56 while assigned to the 81FBW operating from Sculthorpe. Although the cards don't specify that it was assigned to the 78FBS it was one of their jets bolt holed at Sculthorpe at the time due to runway work at the squadrons base at Shepherds Grove.
Some caution has to be exercised when interpreting USAF Aircraft Record Cards because they can be misleading, as the base which appears on the same line as the crash date, may not be the location where the mishap actually occurred. In this case Sculthorpe appears alongside the date which simply means its the base to which the a/c was assigned when the crash took place. Looking at the Warbirds listing for 52-6718 it suggests otherwise.
Anyway, hope I'm right and this clears the mystery up for you.

cheers,
Graham

DavidT
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Location: Danbury, Essex

Re: USAF F-84F Crash off Bradwell Bay June 1956

Post by DavidT » Tue May 14, 2019 9:23 am

Very many thanks Graham.
I'm pretty confident your analysis is correct.
I only had info taken from Forgotten Jets and also the Scramble publication but even so was staggered at the number (and regularity) of F-84F losses suffered by the 20 FBW and 81 FBW. As for Record Cards, I agree they can be tricky to interrogate. I spent weeks during the 1990s trawling the cards of the B-66 fleet and quickly realised it could never be an exact science.

Thanks again to yourself and to Mustang.

David

mustang5861
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Re: USAF F-84F Crash off Bradwell Bay June 1956

Post by mustang5861 » Tue May 14, 2019 9:29 am

Thanks Graham, much appreciated. Although the entry for 52-6718 in the Forgotten Jets listing does acknowledge the loss of the aircraft, it doesn't include a date for the incident and merely states that it crashed near Sculthorpe, hence I didn't 'nominate' it as a candidate. You live and learn!

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