Second row: Bentley and Causeway
Luca Piancastelli sent me this message before he found the 23 Squadron video I had edited a few years ago.
This is the report on the crash of the Mosquito. Since I worked for the Tribunal on many aircraft crashes in recent years, the result is quite clear. Not only fog but also engine failure.
For the fire I am not sure. If the Mosquito had the covers on ejector exhausts, then the fire is sure. If not the Merlin at high rpm (single enginel operation) made quite long flames.
After looking at the footage Luca had found his answer.
This is what he wrote me…
The grave of the crew has the propeller on it (in very good condition, it was not powered at the impact).
The propeller came directly from the crash site.
Due to the good condition of the propeller, at the moment of the crash the Mosquito had an engine not working (probably with feathered propeller).
The glow seen by the witnesses in the very thick fog is probably due to a fire onboard. The people heard the noise first and then saw the fire.
The Mosquito had covers on the exhaust to reduce signature in night operations, as it can be seen from numerous photographs of the 23 Squadron ( a detachment) that was based near Naples (Pomigliano). The flames from the exhaust very extremely attenuated even at night.
Therefore, the aircraft went down on fire with an engine stopped (no power).
The fog was (only) a collateral (big) problem.
You may correct the cause of the crash.
The crash time was taken from the watch of the Pilot (see the letter in the first doc I sent you). This hour can be clearly seen on the grave and was confirmed by the witnesses.
They were on the route back.
They had full moon.
On 11-12 November 1943 the Full moon was visible: 100%
They may took a hit or they could have had an engine failure. Fire is possible in petrol engines. The same aircraft had a previous aborted mission due to engine failure.
Typically you see the hill of San Marino coming out on a see of fog, if there is enough moon (it happened at night-full moon).
This is a clear reference point for the navigator, clearly visible on the maps.
They may have tried an emergency landing due to the fire (the Mosquito flew “perfectly” on a single engine) or the “wooden wonder” may had a structural problem due to the fire.
DIN University of Bologna
Luca added these images of the funeral of Bentley and Causeway…
Dear all, here is my final report on the accident with new figures and the proof that the Mosquitos of the 23 Squadron at Pomigliano had flame suppressors installed.
I will send it to the ASN aircraft incident Archive to rectify the cause from “fog” to “fog and fire”.
The same Mosquito had a previous full engine stop with aborted mission on de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito FB Mk VI HX869. With any probability the engine has been replaced in that occasion. Standard procedure was to replace both engines to avoid big differences in thrust if the remaining engine is old. Ground and flight tests were carried out for this purpose. Therefore, we do not know if a single engine was replaced or if the two engines were replaced. If the two engines were replaced it is possible that the original Merlin Mark was upgraded or modified due to avaliability.
Therefore, my research on Merlin mark is finished. I will write on my scientific papers only Merlin XX, instead of Merlin 21,23 or 25.
Thank you for your contributions to my work.