Pilot Officer David Wood was called up at the start of the Second World War. Wood was one of the first volunteers from the Reserve Force which was inaugurated at Scone Aerodrome in late 1938. He was the star pupil of the volunteer school and became flight commander of Perth 38F Squadron (3rd Scottish), Air Defence Cadet Corps (later renamed Air Training Corps) -the F in 38F Squadron stood for ‘Founder Squadron’. Wood was one of the first two members of the volunteer school to take his commission as an officer in the RAF.
At the time of his death, Wood was attached to RAF No 8 Bombing and Gunnery School at RAF Evanton in Easter Ross, close to the shore of the Cromarty Firth (also known as HMS Fieldfare).
Within hours of each other, two RAF aircraft crashed within a few miles of each other, south of Huntly in Aberdeenshire. Armstrong Whitley Mk V, N1500 of RAF 102 Squadron, crashed during a transit flight at 10.59 hours on 1 May 1940 from RAF Kinloss to RAF Driffield (with an intended stop at RAF Leuchars). The aircraft stayed off course in extremely bad weather and went into the northern slope of the Hill of Foundland, south east of Huntly. The four crew and two passengers were instantly killed, two passengers died later that month from their injuries; only one passenger survived.
The crash site is often quoted as Bainshole on the north side of the Glens of Foundland.
Wood was flying in Hawker Henley Mk III, L3303 when it crashed near Rhynie, eight miles south of Huntly on Wednesday 1 May 1940. The Hawker Henley was a two-seat aircraft used as a fast target tug at RAF No 8 Bombing and Gunnery School.
Hawker Henley Mk III, L3303 crew:
Squadron Leader Wilfred John Francis Bull RAF (32042)
Pilot Officer David Wood RAFVR (73016), age 23.
Bull was from West Cults near Aberdeen and is buried at Allenvale Cemetery, Aberdeen.
Wood was the younger son of David Wood, partner in the firm of Wood & Son, printers, and booksellers and of Mrs Wood, Meadowbank, Pitheavlis, Perth. He was well known in rugby circles, formerly Secretary of Perthshire ‘A’ XV; and was a former pupil of Strathallan School, Forgandenny.
RAF No 8 Bombing and Gunnery School had on strength the following aircraft: 9 Hawker Henley, 11 Armstrong Whitley, 64 Blackburn Botha, 47 Fairey Battle, 3 Westland Wallace, 21 Handley Page Harrow and a Miles Magister.
The Hawker Henley was conceived as a light bomber but rejected and never saw any action. It was derived from the Hawker Hurricane and 200 were built as target tugs. During construction it shared the outer wing panel and tailplane jigs. It also used the Rolls Royce Merlin ‘F’ engine and had a top speed of 300 mph.
Pilot Officer David Wood, Image courtesy of Roben Antoniewicz
ROYAL AIR FORCE COASTAL COMMAND, 1939-1945. (CE 43) Hawker Henley, L3353, of ‘K’ or ‘M’ Flight, No. 1 Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit, parked a few feet from a bomb crater (foreground), at Bircham Newton, Cambridgeshire, following a raid by a single German Dornier Do 17 which dropped seven high explosive bombs on the station. Damage to the aircraft amounted to a small hole in the fuselage, and it continued flying in service until 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205090429
AVIATION IN BRITAIN BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR (RAE-O 784a) A Hawker Henley towing a flag target over an anti-aircraft gun position somewhere on the coast. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205085267