25.01.1944 27PS/7PRG Lockheed P-38 F-5A 42-12979 1/Lt. Connor Location: Near Fernhurst, West Sussex, England.
Mission: Photo reconnaissance.

Date: 25
th January 1944

Time: 10.45 a.m.

Unit: 7th Photo Group/27th Photographic Squadron.

Type: Lockheed P-38 F5-A

Serial: 42-12979

Location: Stanley Farm, Linchmere, near Fernhurst, West Sussex, England.

Pilot: 1st Lieutenant. Thomas M. Connor. Q-726335 Baled-out.


(Source: U.S. Report of Aircraft Accident).

Lt. Connor crossed out on an Operational Mission at St. Alban's Head at 10.35. He was over 10/10ths cloud. At the time the left engine would only reach 15 lbs. manifold pressure and became rough in about eight minutes. Pilot turned back and anticipating single engine operation tried to descend through a hole in the overcast, but at 18,000 feet the hole closed. Pilot started to climb again but at 22,000 feet the left engine quit and the aircraft went out of control. Lt. Connor cut both throttles and attempted to recover, but was unsuccessful. He thinks the airspeed was about 300 mph when he released his canopy. Pilot had difficulty in clearing the ship but estimates he freed himself at about 10,000 feet while still in cloud. Parachute shroud lines apparently struck Lt. Connor in the face causing superficial cuts and swelling. He also suffered a strained shoulder. Pilot does not know wether he went over or under the tail.

(Source: Local Police Report).

At 10.45 hours an American Lockheed Lightning fighter aircraft attached to Mount Farm, Station 234, crashed at MR:301495, 200 yards in a wood East of Stanley Farm, Linchmere and was wrecked. The wreckage caught fire and was destroyed. The pilot Thomas Connor, an American baled out and landed in the same place. He was slightly injured and in consequence was taken to the King Edward Sanatorium, Eastbourne. Guard for the wreckage was provided by the 144th A.A. Battery, Fernhurst Camp. Tangmere RAF was informed by the district Police. The guard afterwards carried out by 2847 Squadron, Dunsfold.

The remains of this aircraft were recovered by Mike Croft and Melvin Brownless during 1995. MOD Licence No.1111

(1) Connor crash site
Crash site discovered by Melvin Brownless & Mike croft during 1995 investigation (Croft)

(2) Connor Supercharger wreckage
One of the engine turbo superchargers recovered at the crash site (Croft)

(3) Connor engine turbo close up

(4) Connor Aircraft serial number
Aircraft serial number 42-12979 stamped on this piece of aluminium (Croft)

(5) Connor stanley fm
This tree which is near the crash site we found had been engraved "RAF Regiment 1944" into its bark (Croft)

(6) Thomas Connor 1943cc(7) Thomas Connor 1998
Lt. Thomas Connor 1943 (Croft) and right 1998 (Croft)

Researched by Mike Croft and Melvin Brownless in1995 - updated 2014.

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