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Glenn's Last Flight


 

 

The derelict Control Tower, pre 1999 At 'Twinwood Farm' war time RAF Station

 

Twinwoods Farm Bedford. England Glenn Miller had to make final arrangements in Paris before the band was due to arrive. It was Don Haynes flight originally but Glenn had the orders changed for him to go instead. While in a Red Cross Officers Club, Bedford,a Lieutenant Colonel Norman Baessell told Glenn that he was flying to Paris the next day (15th Dec.44) from an RAF airfield at Twinwoods Farm, 3 miles north of Bedford and he was welcome to join him on the flight. Don Haynes, Glenn and Baessell had dinner that night and then played poker with a couple of other Officers. Next morning the 15th December Bedford was heavily fogged in and Don Haynes phoned colonel Baessell to find out if the flight was on. Baessell told him that the fog was forecast to lift about midday and they would take off after lunch. The pilot of the aircraft which was to take Glenn and Colonel Baessell to Paris was Flight Officer Johnny Morgan an experienced pilot who had flown this trip many times. The aircraft they were to fly in was a Norseman UC-64-A.

 

 


 

During lunch Colonel Baessell received a call from Johnny Morgan to tell him he would fly in to Twinwoods airfield within the hour. Heavy fog still hung around the strip as Glenn and Colonel Baessell arrived , cloud was down to 200 ft and there was a steady drizzle. Baessell checked at the control tower as to Morgan's progress and then reported back to Glenn who was waiting outside in the car with Don Haynes. He told Glenn that the aircraft would soon arrive so all three men then went into the control tower to look out for the aircraft. The temperature was 24oF. Glenn made the comment that Morgan would not find the field as " even the birds were grounded". Then suddenly as they looked into the fog they heard the sound of an approaching aircraft. The aircraft was heard to fly over the airstrip turn and then appear through the cloud. Morgan then circled the airstrip once more and then landed. Glenn Haynes and Colonel Baessell then left the control tower and drove to the waiting aircraft. The door opened and Flight Officer Morgan apologised for being late. As Glenn boarded the plan he was heard to say "Where the Hell are the parachutes", to which Colonel Baessell replied "What's a matter with you Miller, do you want to live for ever". With the door closed the engines revd and rolled down the runway gathering speed, it was soon airborne and vanished into the low cloud. Haynes watched them disappear and drove away.

 

What happened to Glenn shortly after that moment has been the subject of speculation for the last 55 years. There have been many theories some totally wild and outrageous that makes his loyal fans angry at the very utter of such statements, others sound more reasonable, that this event was just an unfortunate accident.

It may have been a wrong judgement in taking the trip on such a day. But the most likely and more acceptable is the one where a series of miscalculations, over timings in the reports that followed Glenn's disappearance which lead us to the likely cause of this unfortunate event.

 

The possible likelihood that his take off time (actual) put the aircraft in the flight path of a squadron of Lancaster bombers making a return flight back to the UK. After an aborted bombing raid to Germany, they were required to jettison their bombs consisting of incendiaries as well as 4000lb (Blockbuster) bombs. Most of the Lancasters carried 8000lbs of 4lb incendiaries bombs in 500lb containers, a combined total carried by this returning squadron of 100,000 incendiaries. The bomb jettison area of the channel that was officially a danger area to be avoided by all aircraft, was known as the South Jettison Area. It has been calculated that with the official timing s of the aircraft not being realised after this event, due to British double summer time coming into the equation and the possibility that if Glenn's aircraft was just 10 mile off course as it crossed the channel then the likelihood it was the aircraft that was seen by several RAF crewmen of one of the Lancaster's who saw a high winged aircraft flip over and dive into the see below them just as the Lancaster's were jettisoning their bombs. The possibility of a small incendiary bomb or in fact several could have easily passed through the Norsman aircraft causing severe damage or even killing one or more of the occupants. An unfortunate and terrible coincidence of events that deprived the world of one of the best loved band leaders the world has known. What it didn't do however was to deprive us of the music of this man which has lived on in our lives now for over 60 years.


Today Glenn Millers music is being played all-round the world by many bands who recreate his music to the thrill of millions.

 

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