Thursday, 1 October 2015

November Newsletter

                                                                                                Welcome to this edition of the monthly news from the Whirlwind Fighter Project.

As many of you know we have been running a Crowdfunding donation page to help raise funds for the project as of to day we have had pledges of £1051.00 towards the build, with only 2 days to go can we add any more? I have had several comments as to why just £5000.00? are we building the airframe out of fibreglass and I would like to put the record straight, what we decided to do was to raise funds for each part of the build as we go along that way we wanted to keep the total cost of the build under control so as not to waste your hard earned money.

The Aircraft Restoration Group which is run by Mike Eastman and is the company who are building the Whirlwind have had to relocate to Fishburn Airfield near Durham. The airfield will be holding its anual wings and wheels day on the 3rd of October entry fee £5.00. The Whirlwind fuselage will be available for viewing along with the only example of the Tawney Owl.

Can you please also support Mike on his Facebook page...

Team profile

My name is Gunnar Olsen. I live in Norway, in a small municipality called Siljan. It is located in the southern part of Norway, close to a hundred miles west of our capital Oslo.

I have as long as I remember been interested in airplanes, and the WW2 period in particular. It started with my father and a shared interest in plastic model kits. The first one was a Westland Whirlwind from Airfix. (I was early damaged) Since then I developed a solid interest in airplanes, although I never got to the point of a PPL-A certificate, all types from small plastic kits to large radio controlled ones has been made. The Whirlwind has always stuck with me as a special plane, not only because it was the first one. I find it both fascinating and quite beautiful, a design far ahead of its time. I didn’t know then how involved I would be in creating a full size Whirlwind “model”.

I have always liked to draw, both freehand and the more technical related. Eventually, I ended up with an education as a Technical Draftsman. I started working with pencils, pens and drawing boards, but soon headed out in the computer age with an early AutoCAD version. I enjoyed the simplicity and possibilities of working with CAD, and went soon from working as a Mechanical Engineer to work as Application Engineer at a CAD software reseller. Today I work as Technical Manager at a SOLIDWORKS reseller, CCS, a company I’ve been working at for the last 18 years and been a part owner for the last 12. I have worked with support and training, consultancy and construction, rendering and animation and now as project leader and department manager. In my line of work I have been involved not only with mechanical construction, but also structural FEA analysis and CFD- or flow analysis. This is a great help in my current involvement with the Whirlwind project.

I discovered the efforts of recreating a Whirlwind many years ago on the internet. Not a lot came out of it then, and it disappeared for a long while. 3 years ago it eventually turned up again with different persons and seemingly, more seriousness. I hoped it would be possible to get more information made available of the Whirlwind, so I made contact to the group, offering my help and CAD experience to the project. It was kind of a shock to discover how little information that actually existed. Some GA drawings, a parts list and two original construction drawings. Luckily one wind tunnel model drawing was discovered, and saved what seemed like a hopeless project. 3 years later, a lot of hours and hard work have been put into the project, a replica Whirlwind has started appearing from sheet metal. We have a great project group, and I’m sure we’ll see a Whirlwind in a museum near you not too far into the future.

The artical below is reproduced with the kind permission of Phil Harding and taken from the Saltford Station Archive.

Whirlwind fighter aircraft explodes on impact with
Saltford station yard

eyewitness account
During the 1940s, Saltford was a quiet small countrySomerset village with less than2,000residents situated between the cities of Bristol and Bath.It had its own railway station onthe main GWR line between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads. This was animportant means of transport for residents and visitors alike.
It was a sunny autumn day in October 1941 andSaltford longterm residentDaveTaylor,then nine years old was standing onthestation platform watching with a friend the steam trains passing through. These included King,Castle, Halland Manor Class locomotives

Dave was hit by burning flying debris when a Westland Whirlwind fighter aircraft crashed into the station yard’s weighbridge and exploded on impact This factual account includes Dave’s graphic eyewitness version of what happened relayed to the author of this article,Phil Harding,70 years later

There is no photographic record of Dave at age 9. Here he is pictured 6 years later as a Saltford Boy Scout in 1947
Saltford station–an important transport facility for the community

 As a young lad in the 1940s, Dave Taylor often used to catch the train fom Saltford station to Oldfield Park in Bath so that he could visit his grandparents.The station was lit by gas lamps and was in constant use by those travelling to and from work or by many others visiting the River Avon that flows through Saltford to enjoy the local countryside and leisure facilities.

In addition to walking and cycling, other popular modes of transport for villagers during the war years were the buses and trams. The Bristol Omnibus Company ran green single decker buses with large bags on their roofs containing gas that was an alternative fuel used to preserve petrol supplies. As an alternative to going by bus, villagers also walked to the Globe Inn from where they could catch a tram that ran down the A4 into Bath.
The station railway sidings and yard were used for handling coal deliveries, a commonly used fuel then for heating homes. The station had a weighbridge between the main station building and the A4 road for weighing the truck loads of coal that were transferred between

rail and road.

9thOctober 1941

Nine year old Dave was spending the morning of a sunny October day at Saltford station with one of his friends (also called Dave). The sky was clear blue, without a cloud in sight.

Dave often liked to stand on the platform to watch the steam trains bound for London or

Bristol rushing through or watch them stop to allow passengers to get on or off. On this particular day, they were both standing on the extended wooden platform on the “up” side; that is the Bath and London-bound platform that is closest to the river Avon and furthest from the A4 road. Quite a few people were on both platforms; as it was close to midday these were mainly day trippers who were either arriving or departing from visiting the river to enjoy a relaxing morning or afternoon in the glorious autumn sunshine


Suddenly, a man standing on the footbridge that crossed the two platforms shouted out “Invasion!” and he pointed east towards Kelston Roundhill. Both boys looked towards the Roundhill and Dave saw a single parachute descending in the distance. Within seconds there was a deafening sound. It was the high pitched scream of an airplane making a sharp dive.

As Dave turned his head towards this frightening noise he could see the stricken twin-engined airplane was heading straight down onto himself and his friend!

With no time to do anything else, Dave instinctively swung round as he crouched down and crossed his arms over his head to protect himself.
Almost instantly there was an almighty crashing sound as the aircraft smashed into the weighbridge in the station yard behind the other platform opposite to where Dave was crouching. He turned and looked back across the track to the other platform. All he could see in front of him was a huge and overwhelming fireball with black bits of aircraft and parts of the weighbridge flying out in all directions from this fiery mass of billowing orange flames. The station’s ticket office was silhouetted black by this huge curtain of fire. Dave felt a sharp burning pain in the muscle of his right leg as a small piece of burning hot metallic debris embedded itself into his flesh.
Parts of the aircraft crashed onto the track between the two platforms. Dave and his friend ran towards the end of the platform, tumbled down the steps onto the side of the railway track as fast as they could they ran away from the scene, going up the track in the direction towards Bath. Dave was in such a rush he thought nothing of the injury to his leg.

Saltford Station with crash site marked out.

Some 20 minutes later they started to make their way back. They crossed the fields back on to the A4 road and headed towards Saltford. When they reached close to the station yard, thick black smoke was still billowing up from the crash scene and ammunition from the mangled and burnt out wreckage was popping as it exploded. Two fire engines were in attendance. Dave and his friend made their way home and Dave’s leg was attended to.

A shocking aftermath for a nine year old boy...

Two days later Dave re-visited the scene. He stood and watched as cranes picked up the four cannons from the aircraft that had become embedded in the ground from the impact of the crash. As Dave looked around him he was horrified to see the pilot’s severed hand that had been recovered and placed on a piece of slate roof tile.

The shock of seeing the pilot’s hand made a deep impression on Dave; the realisation that he had witnessed that man’s death sunk in. That and the crash itself have stayed with him constantly throughout his adult life.

The crash was caused by the mid-air collision of two RAF Westland Whirlwind fighter aircraft that were out on flight exercises. They were in a group of six returning to base when the last two Westland Whirlwinds collided.
Mercifully there was just the one fatality that day, the pilot of the Westland Whirlwind that crashed into the weighbridge pit in the station yard. His name was
Pilot Officer Ormonde Hoskinsaged 26 of 263 Squadron, flying
Whirlwind P6968, operating out of RAF Charmy Down, situated just north of Bath. He died instantly on impact. Pilot Officer Hoskins’ remains were buried at Laverstock, Salisbury.
The other pilot involved in the collision was Flight Lieutenant Humphrey Coghlan.

F/L Coghlan bailed out at 5,000 feet and it was his parachute that our eye witness,Dave Taylor,saw descending from the sky. He landed in Weston High Street (on the West side of Bath). His Westland Whirlwind (P6999) crashed at Kelston.

F/L Coghlan

One of Saltford Environment Group’s first community-wide activities since it was established in early 2011 was to initiate a campaign for the re-opening of Saltford station. In the course of investigating the old station’s past important role within the community of Saltford this article was produced for SEG by Phil Harding. Phil is very grateful to Dave Taylor and his son Rob for their assistance in helping him produce this short publication .
Whirley Stories


Joined 263 Squadron as HE-H on the 22nd of December 1940 and was abandoned by Tom Pugh on the 19th of January 1941 near Middlemore, Devon.

Operational hours 19:00

There is no link to the shop in this issue as we have run the stock right down and await the arrival of lots of new goodies for you all to buy for Christmas.


Copyright WFP 2011/2015.



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