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Higginbotham, John Edwards (Leading Aircraftman)

Killed in Flying Accident 1940-November-25

Male Head

Birth Date: 1917 (age 23)

Son of Henry E. and Leslie Higginbotham, of South Orange.

Home: South Orange, New Jersey, USA

3 EFTS- Elementary Flying Training School
London, Ontario, Canada
Leading Aircraftman
Air Chief MarshalA/C/M
Air MarshalA/M
Air Vice MarshalA/V/M
Air CommodoreA/C
Group CaptainG/C
Wing CommanderW/C
Squadron LeaderS/L
Flight LieutenantF/L
Flying OfficerF/O
Pilot OfficerP/O
Warrant Officer 1st ClassWO1
Warrant Officer 2nd ClassWO2
Flight SergeantFS
Senior AircraftmanSAC
Leading AircraftmanLAC
Aircraftman 1st ClassAC1
Aircraftman 2nd ClassAC2
Service Numbers
3 Elementary Flying Training School, London, Ontario. Two Fleet Finch aircraft crashed. Leading Aircraftman Pilot Higginbotham is buried in the family plot in the Rosedale Cemetery, Orange, New Jersey, U.S.A.

This incident involved multiple aircraft:

  1. Finch Finch II Serial: 4528
  2. Finch Finch II Serial: 4499

All the aircraft in the above list are referenced in this report.

Canada Source Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Canada Primary Source Library and Archives Canada Service Files (may not exist)

Google MapSouth Orange, New Jersey, USA
Google MapRosedale Cemetery
Family Plot

Fleet Finch

Fleet Finch Mk. IICanadian Warplane Heritage Museum

The Fleet Finch was the final version of a whole family of light biplane trainers, designed by Consolidated Aircraft of Buffalo, NY and intended for civilian use. Few of these aircraft were marketed under the Consolidated name, as most were sold through Fleet Aircraft Canada, under a range of model numbers. Only the RCAF gave any of these models names, calling the Model 7 the Fawn and the Model 16 the Finch. These aircraft were built from 1930 to 1941, all at Fort Erie, Ontario.

The Finch was developed to meet an RCAF requirement for a fully aerobatic, primary trainer. The RCAF ordered the first batch of aircraft in July 1939 and powered by a Kinner R5-2, 160 hp engine, they were designated the Fleet Finch Mk. I. Most of these aircraft were delivered to the RCAF Central Flying School at Trenton, Ontario by early 1940.

The RCAF placed a further order for primary trainers with Fleet in January 1940. The Fleet Finch Mk. II, powered by a Kinner B-5R, 130 hp engine, first flew from Fort Erie in March 1940. During the following year, over 400 Fleet Finch Mk. IIs were delivered to BCATP Elementary Flying Schools right across Canada.

The Fleet Finch was well liked by the RCAF as it was a rugged aircraft, was relatively easy to fly and withstood the abuse of novice pilots. Some Fleet Finches remained in service with the RCAF until 1947, but most were retired by October 1944. Their role as a primary trainer was taken over by Fairchild PT-26 Cornell. Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

YouTube Fleet Finch

CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
RCAF On Strength (431), RCAF 400 Squadron (3), Canadian Aircraft Losses (34), Canadian Manufactured (1)
last update: 2021-09-07 16:39:39

Finch Finch II 4528

Category A damage on 25 November 1940 while with No. 7 Elementary Flying Training School at Windsor, Ontario.
1940-08-01 Taken on Strength 2019-08-20
1940-November-25 Accident: 3 Elementary Flying Training School Loc: London Airport Names: Higginbotham
1941-01-25 Struck off Strength 2019-08-20

Finch 4499

Finch Finch II 4499

Category A damage on 25 November 1940 while with No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School at London, Ontario.
1940-06-29 Taken on Strength 2019-08-20
1940-November-25 Accident: 3 Elementary Flying Training School Loc: London Airport Names: Duff
1941-01-25 Struck off Strength 2019-08-20
1942-September-19 Accident: 17 Elementary Flying Training School Loc: Stanley Airport Names: Pole

3 EFTS (3 Elementary Flying Training School)

An Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) gave a trainee 50 hours of basic flying instruction on a simple trainer like the De Havilland Tiger Moth, Fleet Finch, or Fairchild Cornell over 8 weeks.Elementary schools were operated by civilian flying clubs under contract to the RCAF and most of the instructors were civilians. For example, No. 12 EFTS Goderich was run by the Kitchener-Waterloo Flying Club and the County of Huron Flying Club.The next step for a pilot was the Service Flying Training School.
NO3 EFTS London 1942

The School was established at London, Ontario. The former school is now the London, Ontario International Airport.

More information on the RCAF Station at London can be found at
  • RCAF Roundel RCAF.Info - RCAF Station London ON

  • General 3 EFTS History

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