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


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 News & 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

What’s on at the NAM in April

Here are the special exhibitions and events that are running in April at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, ...

Do you know any WWII veterans?

The travel arm of the Royal British Legion is on a mission to find all surviving veterans of WWII. ...

Isle of Man PO introduces stamps to mark RAF centenary

The illustrious 100 years of RAF history is commemorated through a special collection of stamps. ...

RAF centenary at Cotswold Airport

An Easter programme of events is planned at Cotsworld Airport to celebrate 100 years of the RAF. ...

Other Articles

Life in the trenches

New show for 2018 season from the Combined Ops Reminisce Workshop Group. ...

What’s on at the NAM in March

Here’s what’s coming up at the National Army Museum, based in Chelsea, London in the month of March. ...

Officer’s mess chair

Something for the collector who has everything, a sumptuous chair with a vintage uniform. ...

Forces re-united in Liverpool bunker

A business lunch in Liverpool saw the three services in the wartime bunker for the first time since 1945. ...