Lait logo Hurricane Z3166 - Tarleton

3rd April 1941

Updated on 10.01.2004

Hurricane MkII - Similar to Z3166

 

Type Unit Base Duty Crew Passengers
Hurricane MkIIB? No.1 Ferry Pilot Pool Langley Ferry flight 1 -

The crash site of this aircraft on farmland close to the village of Tarleton proved to be another that had been visited by enthusiasts on a number of occasions in the past, yet little research had been carried out and it remained unidentified. Only a handful of locals recalled the crash and although those interviewed gave graphic and non-conflicting accounts of the circumstances, none could recall a date or even a year. However a brief metal detector search did at least pinpoint the impact point and confirm that very little remained, as well as providing at least one piece with a Hawker inspection stamp. Referral to Francis Mason's standard work on the Hurricane proved fruitless and although we had already trawled through Air Britain's serial listings we decided to do so again. At the same time, David Earl pointed out an apparent anomaly he has spotted in the listings - a Hurricane crashing at "Tankerton, Lancashire" which was clearly incorrect, but we had previously dismissed this, thinking that it was the named County that was the mistake. We decided to double check and a letter to the Air Historical Branch requesting details of the fate of the pilot named, soon brought a reply stating that their records in fact noted the place of the incident as being Tarleton, Lancashire.

On 3rd April 1941, 1st Officer of the Air Transport Auxiliary, John Kenneth Bodinnar, attached to No.1 Ferry Pilot Pool, was detailed to collect a new Hurricane from Hawker's airfield at their factory at Langley, Buckinghamshire. It was to be flown to the RAF Silloth aerodrome, Cumbria which had opened in June 1939 as a Maintenance Command station, storing new aircraft. There it would be handed over to No. 22 Maintenance Unit, until it was required for operational use.

Crash site of Z3166 at Tarleton - The aircraft came from behind the figure, clipped a tall tree which stood in the hedgerow and impacted where I am standing - wreckage was strewn across the field.

As the 35 year old pilot made his way North, the weather began to deteriorate and by the time he reached Lancashire it had completely closed in - Locals in the Tarleton area remember the day as being "awful" and the whole area being completely fog-bound. A Mr Abraham recalled hearing the plane overhead but not being able to see it at all, then the engine began "cutting out" and the plane could be heard diving. Other witnesses confirmed that the plane came in at a very shallow angle out of the very low cloud, it narrowly missed some trees and a power cable and then completely disintegrated as it hit the field, scattering parts for some considerable distance and leaving wreckage blocking a nearby road.

Name Position Status
1st Officer John Kenneth Bodinnar Pilot K.

Sadly 1st Officer Bodinnar was killed instantly and is buried in Maidenhead Cemetery (Sec. D. Row L. Grave 7). The cemetery is close to White Waltham Airfield, which was the HQ for the Air Transport Auxiliary and many A.T.A. burials lie together in a War Graves plot here. He was the son of Sir John Francis Bodinnar J.P. who was the Commercial Secretary and Head of the Supply Dept. of the Ministry Food throughout most of the war. The investigators comment on the RAF Form 1180 is brief and to the point - "Pilot persevered too long in bad weather" an epitaph, which could probably apply to many of the brave pilots who lost their lives "doing their bit" in the ATA.


Acknowledgements:

RAF Form 1180, Russell Brown, Mr Abraham - Tarleton, David Earl.

 

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