Two crashed planes were one

Dressed in their best Number 8s working dress and black armbands are Jacky Jackson, Paddy Jordan, Tom Coleman and Stokes with Eddie Wardle kneeling in front. They were serving in HMS Ark Royal.

NOSTALGIA: Black day for navy as daily rum ration is scrapped

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I recently wrote about the two planes that supposedly crashed within 12 hours of each another in January 1939.

I have been trying to find out more about the incidents and, thanks to Kate Tame of Portchester, we can finally put the story to bed.

Kate is the senior research editor with Aircrew Remembered and helped me with the research.

It appears that the bomber that crashed off Selsey Bill and the one that disappeared over Spithead were the same aircraft.

The pilot I was seeking information about was Portsmouth-born Pilot Officer Allan Frederick William Miles. An only son, his parents were Lieutenant-Colonel WGH Miles RM Rtd & Mrs Miles of Queen’s Gate, Southsea.

Allan was commissioned on February 19, 1938. With him that day were five other airmen, four from the north of England and one from Bedford.

A service of remembrance was held in Ripon Cathedral on Sunday, February 5, 1939, attended by 150 RAF personnel from Dishforth station and families of the crew.

Despite extensive searches by aircraft from Thorney Island and four destroyers, no trace of the aircraft or the six crew was ever found. Their average age was 23.