Flying Officer Paul Flewelling was a Canadian who had already demonstrated his courage when he won the Distinguished Flying Cross with the RCAF during the Second World War. In the summer of 1949 he was serving as a flying instructor at No 2 Flying Training School in South Cerney, Gloucestershire. When the Flying School first moved to South Cerney in April 1948 it was equipped with Tiger Moths and Harvards but in June 1949 the Tiger Moths were replaced by Prentices. It was one of these new Prentices that Paul Flewelling was flying that morning when he hit a 6,000 volt high tension cable, somersaulted over a main road and crashed into a field of clover.
The motorist, a Mr Stevens from Coventry, took Flewelling to the Cross Hands where, having calmly ordered his beer, he phoned his base at South Cerney to report the crash. Meanwhile the Sodbury Fire Brigade had been summoned but, as only a small amount of fuel had leaked from the plane, their services were not needed. Within an hour of the crash, engineers had arrived to repair the cables whilst the Western Daily Press interviewed the witnesses. One of them, a farm worker called Wyndham Perks from Hawkesbury Upton, who was a rather good looking young man, even got his photograph in the paper.
1. This story is based on an article published in the Western Daily Press on 6 August 1949 and now available on the British Newspaper Archive website.
2. Information about the RAF's No 2 Flying Training School at South Cerney comes from the page about Flying Training Schools on the Air of Authority website.
3. According to the book To Soar With the Eagles by Sidney R Bolick, Paul Flewelling was from Moncton, New Brunswick. He was a Sergeant Pilot with the RCAF in the summer of 1942.