30/08/2017
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

RAF didn’t accidentally kill Glenn Miller

48779ce7-d565-45d7-aa1c-9a02e6a58e79

Glenn Miller was a hugely popular entertainer and would perform for the troops to raise morale. On 15 December 1944, he boarded an Eighth Air Force Service Command aircraft at the RAF Twinwood aerodrome in Bedfordshire.  

The destination was Vélizy-Villacoublay in France before heading to Paris to organise a Christmas concert for the troops. The aeroplane never arrived and the official investigation determined that the likely causes were pilot disorientation, mechanical failure and/or the weather. However, in 2001 a TV documentary challenged the official line by reporting that a flight of 139 Lancaster bombers were returning from an abortive mission to Germany and dumped their ordnance over the Channel. One of the navigators is claimed to have said that he saw a "kite", or small aircraft, crash into the sea below as the bombs were dumped.

Spragg’s new book refutes that, claiming: ‘The lowest altitude any Lancaster reported for a jettison was 5,000ft. The recommended jettison altitude was 6,000ft. One mile is 5,280ft. A Norseman flying almost one mile below would have looked like an indistinct flyspeck. Also, it was the obligation of airmen to report friendly aircraft in distress over Allied territory.’

None of the Lancaster pilots and crews filed a report of an incident when they landed. Spragg asserts that the plane was flown by an experienced pilot and it was in working order but crashed due to mechanical failure caused by pilot error and the weather. In other words, what the original report said all along. The details are all in the book titled, Glenn Miller Declassified, available from Potomac Books from 1 September.

 

Catch up on militaria news, order a back issue of The Armourer, or pick up the latest issue, in either print or digital format. Like what you see? Why not take out a subscription, save money and have it delivered to your door.

Back to Articles

30/08/2017 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Book Review: The Home Front

Seeing it through: Arras and Passchendaele ...



Book Review: Bloody Bullecourt

As reviewed in the July 2018 issue ...


Book Review: Spitfire Singh

There’s a quote that comes with this book about Harjinder Singh ...


Other Articles

Book Review: Eastern Front Sniper

The Life of Matthaus Hetzenauer ...


Book Review: U-Boats off Bermuda

Patrol Summaries and Merchant Ship Survivors landed in Bermuda 1940-1944 ...


Book Review: Hawker Hurricane

The Multirole Fighter ...


Book Review: Secret SAS Missions in Africa

C Squadron's counter-terrorist operations 1968-1980 ...