Nostalgia Page 8
VB885/O-2
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Short Sunderland G.R.V

Crashed near Lee-on-Solent 13th February 1946

In the early hours of February 13th,1946.VB885,an almost new Sunderland GR.V operated by 302FTU,took of from Calshot on a ferry flight to Karachi.Immediately after take off an engine failed and the pilot(Pilot Officer Dollin) decided to return to Calshot.The first attempt at landing was aborted and the aircraft went round for another approach.However ,in the dark and with apparently poor visibility,the pilot apparently misjudged his rate of descent and at 0448hrs, after a flight lasting 22 minutes ,the aircraft crashed into the sea 100 yards from Lee-on-Solent pier and caught fire. All ten crew were unfortunately killed in the crash.

Shown below are images of the official accident Report Cards.These were recently obtained from the RAF Air Historical Branch by Mrs S M Love who is the sister of one of the crew,Flight Sergeant Ian Sandison .As can be seen on the cards,the official thinking was that the aircraft stalled and flew into the sea.

These cards are 56 years old and not everything on them is easy to decipher as they were written in pencil.The yellow highlighted section of text is as follows"Possible error in not feathering so S.O..eng (starboard outer engine) failed after t/o (take off) may be clutch failure in which case pilot correct in not feathering engine. Letters from C.I. cncrs (Court of Inquiry Concurs). "no defect in carb (carburettor) mags (magnetos) or plugs"
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The Aircraft
VB885(coded O-2) was one of the final batch of ten Sunderland GR.V aircraft built at Dumbarton by Blackburn Aircraft and had been handed over to the RAF shortly before the accident.The aircraft,operated by 302FTU, had flown to Calshot from Alness ,en route to Karachi for service with Coastal Command.As far as is known,no photo of this aircraft while in service exists.However,if anybody knows of the existence of such a picture,not only would I like to hear about it,but also,Mrs Love and her son John Love,who kindly provided the information on this page,would be very pleased to see it .The picture above(which was recently sent to me) is "thought" to be VB885,confirmation would be very welcome.

The Crew,to whose memory this page is dedicated

F/Sgt. Hamish Ian Sandison (Mrs Love's brother)

F/Sgt. R.M. Anderson

Sgt. H. Barker

F/O. R.B. Couchman(Second Pilot)

P/O. K. Dollin(Pilot)

Sgt. G. Granger

Sgt. M. O'Donoghue

Sgt. H. O'Keefe

F/Sgt. L.E. Snook

F/Sgt. R.C. Stevens


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