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History Air Crashes of WWII

Allied - Lockheed P - 38 Lightning 2

REF NR: 1946

1. At the end of December 1943 another Lockheed Lightning from 20th Fighter Group crashed while attempting to land at Somerton.The P38 was low on fuel after flying on one of the longest bomber escort missions of the war. It had taken off from Kingscliffe in Northants and had been flying on a mission over Bordeaux on a 1300 mile round trip flight. Many of the mission's aircrafts were now diverting to alternative landing fields as they were all in the same boat - low on fuel and looking to put down.


The pilot, Capt Richard C. Garrett, made an approach and at the last minute decided to overshoot and go round. On pulling up, his luck ran out and the engines cut. This meant he was now heading earthwards fast.


The aircraft came to rest in Ruffins Copse to the west of the airfield. Workmen rushed to the crash scene and helped the uninjured Garrett to clear the aircraft safely before it burst into flames.

It is reported that following this incident, an aircraft from the 20th Fighter Group flew low over the field and dropped packets of cigarettes as a thank you gesture to the men that assisted Capt. Garrett.


2. Garrett was in Red Flight of the 77th; this was Mission no. 3, covering bombers to Bordeaux. "......The long haul left a number of the boys very short of fuel as they came home. 4 landed at Exeter, 7 at Ford in S. England, 3 at Herrington and 2 on the Isle of Wight. Lt. Garrett really sweated out the ride across the channel and actually used his last ounce of gas over the south coast of the Isle of Wight , and crashed in a cabbage patch on the island. He's OK though and should be home tomorrow. "

 Note: All images are merely representative of the aircraft and not specific.