Wednesday, 22 January 1941

Stradishall – Coventry

The January moon period has ended; the last night on standby was the 20th.

F/Lt Keast flies Whitley P5029 to the Armstrong Whitworth’s factory at Baginton, on the south-east outskirts of Coventry). He takes five crew. (The airfield was built on the site of Whitley Abbey Farm, hence the aircraft’s name; nothing to do with Whitley Bay.)

There is no recorded explanation for the trip. Maintenance and repair/replacement of a Whitley’s normal equipment – engines, etc. – would have been carried out at an RAF base operating Whitleys; 419 Flight uses Abingdon’s facilities. This trip is to fit or modify non-standard kit, such as a shroud to cover the tail wheel (to prevent parachute canopies from snagging), or to modify and test the parachute cable mounting points inside the fuselage. It is also possible that two or more long-range tanks are fitted to extend the range; although part of a Whitley’s range of optional equipment, fitting them is a non-trivial task, well outside the capabilities of the Flight’s ground-crew. It is also unlikely that Abingdon’s fitters would be familiar with the procedure, as theirs is a Training base.

Sources

FJB Keast logbook