Flight Lieutenant Jack McPherson RICHARDSON

Service No: 416787
Born: Glenelg SA, 18 February 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 11 September 1941
Unit: No. 16 Operational Training Unit (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 16 Operational Training Unit Mosquito aircraft KB153), Oxfordshire, 28 January 1945, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, Oxfordshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Albert McPherson Richardson and Ruby Ada Richardson; husband of Dorothy Edith Ruth Richardson, of Kent Town, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Panel 129, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

On 28th January 1945, Mosquito KB153 took off from the satellite aerodrome at Barford St John, at 1055 hours. The aircraft was detailed to carry out an exercise known as ‘Bomber Familiarization.’ About two hours later the aircraft was observed flying up the runway in use at about 1,000 feet. White vapour was seen coming from the port engine and the port undercarriage leg was half down. The aircraft then turned to port 180 degrees thus flying downwind and almost immediately the aircraft lost 200 feet in a shallow dive. It then levelled out, but it still lost height, and when almost opposite the downwind end of the runway in use and at about 600 feet, the aircraft started to turn towards the airfield. During the turn the aircraft lost height rapidly, and turned through 90 degrees and at 200 feet yawed violently to port. The aircraft was then seen to do one complete turn of a spin, and it hit the ground at a steep angle with the aircraft catching fire. Both the crew members were killed.

The crew members of KB153 were:

Flight Lieutenant Jack McPherson Richardson (416787) (Pilot)
Flight Lieutenant Leonard Arthur Butcher DFC (132607) (RAFVR) (Navigator)

A Court of Inquiry found that in its opinion the causes of the accident was due to a complete loss of power in the port engine which the Pilot did not or was unable to feather, the port undercarriage in the half up position which increased the drag on the port side and so increased the final violent yaw to port and increased the stalling speed. The loss of the remaining power in the port engine probably occurred on the final turn in to the aerodrome and so initiated the violent yaw which started the incipient spin. The Court also found that contributory factors were “Failure of the Pilot to strap in the aircraft and the Pilot not noticing at the time that the port engine was failing.”

Extracts from the statement by the CO of RAF Station Upper Heyford are as follows: “ I concur in the findings of the Court. Everything possible, including snap checks is being done to ensure that Pilots and Navigators properly adjust the safety harness before take off. The risk attendant upon flying without the safety harness is constantly impressed upon aircrew. Flight Lieutenant Richardson is a relatively experienced Pilot and he must have been fully aware of the necessity to wear the safety harness particularly when coming in to land. I consider it possible that he may have been thrown forward if and when his port engine cut, and he may therefore have momentarily lost control. “

“The final turn in to the aerodrome may have been caused by loss of power on the port engine coupled with the increased drag due to the port undercarriage lowered or a deliberate effort on the part of the Pilot to get down somewhere on the aerodrome surface when he realized that a forced landing was inevitable. I do not consider that the evidence is sufficient to allocate responsibility for the accident to any particular person. On the other hand I do feel that had the Pilot securely strapped in, there is a possibility that the crash might not have proved fatal.”


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/35/450

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