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A FURTHER EXAMINATION OF THE TRANSCRIPT. Independent International examinations on behalf of the Hanley Family include the Rev. Morton's Appraisal and Audit of the Transcript in the USA

The initial recall-based-interaction of question and answer between Mr. McGonigal representing the Captain, and witness Sergeant Thomas was not in the transcript of EI-ACF. That is why the correct attribution of the lawyer's name was crucial in the recall of witness Sergeant Thomas. Having been in court in 1953 I knew the answer but I needed it proved to show that there was testimony missing from the transcript. The kindness of Sergeant Thomas as he replied to Mr. McGonigal changed the atmosphere of the court for the first time. The recall of Sergeant Thomas by Mr. McGonigal was a dramatic moment in court and we too could relax for a few minutes from the tension of the arena. In 1990 I read a letter in "The Irish Times' from a professor in Trinity College, Dublin explaining to readers the good fortune that the Rev. Andrew Morton had taken the case of "The Birmingham Six." The letter went on to say he was a world famous authority on the identification and authenticity of text. It has been said that in criminal law, language, like the hair of one's head, could convict or save an accused individual. In modern forensic science the hair shaft indeed is a valuable tool, and in which also DNA, blood, semen and finger prints may combine in positive identification. Voices have an identifiable trace also, which is unique. No attempted insertion or contamination of a letter or of a speech will go undetected, today. Those days are, we hope, no more. Documents of the case were forwarded to Reverend Andrew Morton. Though the case was, of course, out of time, and also not a 'criminal' one, these were serious considerations. All depended on Reverend Andrew Morton. Time was precious; the Captain was already a very elderly man. Following

examination of the material, painstaking and dedicated work, which I am certain was fitted into his schedule with great sacrifice, Reverend Morton made graphs based on word usage - the question he was asked was answered WITH the order of events in the High Court, NOT INTHE ORDER OF THE TRANSCRIPT. Flaws, whether by accident or design, that is irrelevant now. The consequences were the same. I appreciated the fact the recall could now at last be proved. The presentation forwarded to Rev. Morton consisted of a volume of pages from the "Official" transcript, examples of the spoken words of both men, from crossexamination, and from the end of the case a final address by each lawyer of his viewpoint, an uninterrupted flow of words from each individual. I was generous in the examples of speech chosen of each lawyer, so that a good signature could be extracted from text.


On the eleventh day of the Court of Inquiry. Transcript extract, page 41.

Mr. McGonigal: "Impossible to follow without having the assistance of the day to day transcript which is not in my possession."

Presumably that is why Mr. McGonigal did not discover that his examination of Sgt. Thomas was missing, and in addition the later recall of this crucial witness.

May 29th: Public Inquiry. Senior Counsel for First Officer Whyte, Mr. C. Campbell stated in his submission "the conduct of Aer Lingus was very much in issue in the case owing to the manner in which they conducted the case."

The Hanley Inquiry Reviewed by Rev. A. Q. Morton.

EXTRACT - TEST OF AUTHORSHIP OF LITERARY COMPOSITION A Brief introduction to the technique used by Rev. Morton.

Test of authorship must be statistical because habits of composition are not rigid and unchanging, but flexible and variable. In our speech and writing we rarely repeat ourselves, but continually resemble ourselves. So the description of habits, and the comparison of habits must be in terms of average values, and take into account the variations above and below the average values, a prime use for statistical methods. Statistics may be either in tabular form or in graphical form. For every person who can comfortably read a page of figures, many more can see what a graph shows. The prime advantage of this technique is that the results are presented in a graphical form, a pair of graphs is displayed and the question is - are these similar or are they different? In this judgement, the layman stands on almost the same footing as the expert. Just as in fingerprints, there is an underlying statistical foundation which only an expert can cope with, but the result is a comparison of patterns which anyone, whose eye-sight is not defective, can see for themselves.


The Science of Chromatography. The prime difficulty in this technique is that it requires people to look at very familiar material in a very unfamiliar way. The science of chromatography arose when someone noticed that a blot of red ink spilt on blotting paper had dried out in concentric circles of different colours. The differing chemicals in the ink had travelled at different rates along the paper and when the liquid carrying them dried out, they all stopped at different places. Modern instruments are sophisticated developments of the blotting paper, but the principal is the same. If you want to

identify one blend of Scottish Whiskey, you let a drop fall on a piece of blotting paper, and the different chemical components, normally well over a hundred of them, will be shown with precision. For whiskey drinkers, distillers and salesmen, it is a strange way to treat whiskey, but it does identify the multitude of components with precision. Much of the difficulty in accepting recognition systems lies in the assumption that such systems should do what they cannot. Students of Shakespeare want a system which will not only say this is a play of Shakespeare, but show it is of Shakespearean quality. But no system can mix judgements of value with objective criteria. After all, your fingerprints will pick you out from the rest of the human race, but they do not reveal your age, sex, race, or political preferences, they indicate who you are and nothing more. A considerable benefit of the technique lies in the opportunity it affords to verify judgements by conducting confirmatory experiments, in situations where the decision has grave consequences, but the technique is new to the person who must make the decision, a blind trial can be arranged to resolve any doubts they might have of the reliability of the new method. The first person to establish a scientific test of authorship was a distinguished industrial scientist, W. C. Wake. Soon after Wake, the computer came along to remove the labour of counting and calculating, so making the development of tests of authorship very much simpler. Charts or graphs can be used, not just to examine how a habit runs through one sample, but if a number of samples are joined, the habit can be traced through all of them. Many studies have shown that the most frequent words, the filler words as they have been called, are a reliable guide to authorship. Most of these words, in English and in Greek, are words of two or three letters, and so a single class, words of two or three letters, will represent the frequent words and offer a simple definition. There is little doubt how many letters are in a word. Next I include Figure 4, page 15, from the Rev. Morton's Hanley Inquiry

Review, a Cusim Chart which shows three samples of a writer placed one over the other. What was true of the single sample is true of all three, the charts move in the same direction, and the separation of the two nowhere exceeds the separation of successive points in one or other chart. The conclusion is, the habit runs at a consistent level through all three samples. This illustration - is one of a number of tests which have shown not only that the type of habits used in this study remain consistent over long periods of time, extreme ranges of subject matter and literary forms, they are unchanged by illness or by misfortune. The conclusion drawn from the investigation (having reviewed samples which should cover long periods of time, contrasts of subject matter, of literary form, and of mood and such unconventional operations as imitating other writers or attempting to conceal identity) were, that people do have habits which persist unchanged over time, and circumstance, and by these habits their utterance can be identified. The technique is negative, it can only prove that utterance X is not by Y. This brief introduction explains the technology. THE TRANSCRIPT I culled from it a direct examination - pages of it - then for the same lawyer I extracted pages of speech from his Final Submission to the Court on the last day of the Inquiry, unbroken, uninterrupted speech - a lengthy sample. I compiled this for Mr. George Murnahan, S.C., Counsel for the Company first. Then I went through the same ritual and extracted the same amount of text (used the same witness) and the Final Submission by Mr. Richard McGonigal to the Court, unbroken, uninterrupted speech. If an imprint of each lawyer was made and an imprint of the re-call, the three charts could hopefully then be compared. I knew the answer, having been in Court, but I needed it proved to show there was evidence missing totally from the Transcript. I wrote a covering letter to Rev. Morton, and my friends carried the envelope before Christmas to England, and thence it went to Rev. Andrew Morton. He might not have been able to fit the task in - and I was not going through legal channels usual

for such an endeavour. It was in the hands of the Lord. There was good and justice in the world, and there the question rested with Rev. Andrew Morton.


In dispute is the correct attribution of a series of questions, number 1681 ­ 1691, in the transcript of an inquiry. These were attributed to George Murnahan when it is claimed they are the utterance of Richard McGonigal. SERGEANT THOMAS RECALLED. SERGEANT THOMAS was recalled at this stage and further examined as follows by MR. MURNAGHAN :1681 Q. Captain Hanley will say that from very shortly after you arrived on the scene you brought him to a farmhouse so that he could telephone to Elmdon and make a report? 1682 Q. A. 1683. Q. A. 1684. Q. A. Did that happen? That did happen, sir. He says that happened before you took any of the passengers away? No, sir. Is he right in that? No. The passengers were taken away first when I arrived in the field ­ they were children and some ladies. 1685. Q. So he would not be right if he says that you took him to the farmhouse first and then went back for the passengers? A. No. That would be quite right. The major part of the passengers were taken

on the second journey, sir, when I came away from the farm, sir. The major part of the passengers were then taken to the farm. Sir. 1686. Q. Let us get the sequence of events. What is the first thing you did in relation to either passengers or crew? A. 1687. Q. A. Had the children removed to the farm ­ the first thing I did. Did you go with them? No. I didn't go with them to the farm. I arranged for them to be taken by car there, sir. 1688. Q. A. 1689 Q. A. 1690 Q. A. You sent them in a car? Yes. Then what is the next thing you did? Then I got hold of Captain Hanley and took him in my car. In your car? In my car to the farm. I made contact with Elmdon Airport by telephone from there giving the exact location of the crash and gave them the route to go to the scene and made my report to my headquarters. 1691 Q. A. 1692 Q. A. 1693 Q. A. And then you went back? I went back to the scene again, sir. And did you then take the remainder of the passengers? Yes, sir, the remainder of the passengers were then removed to the farm, sir. How many had gone by car? In the first instance, sir, there were two loads and all the children went in the first car. 1694 Q. A. And then the remainder? Then the remainder.

1695 Q. A. 1696 Q. A.

They went away when you returned? When I returned to the scene, sir. Having left Captain Hanley at the telephone? That is true, sir, and I arranged for a Doctor to see Captain Hanley, sir, in my absence.



So that on the second occasion you would have had something like 16 or 17 passengers?


Q. A.

Wasn't it then that Sergeant Greethead arrived? No, sir, Sergeant Greethead arrived when I took Captain Hanley in the first place.



Captain Hanley will say that there was a period when this plane was completely unguarded by anyone?

A. 1700. Q.

Only prior to my arrival, sir. Did you hear Sergeant Greethead's evidence of what you were doing when he arrived on the scene.


Q. A.

I think the Sergeant said that you were taking passengers out? No. Captain Hanley I was taking out at that time. You were taking Captain Hanley out? Yes.

1701 Q. A.



1. 2.

A. de Morgan, see R. D. Lord, in Biometrika, xiv, 1958, p.282. W. C. Lake, Sentence Length Distributions of Greek Authors, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, vol. cxx, Pt. 3, 1957, pp.331-346


F. W. Mosteller and D. L. Wallace, Inference in Disputed Authorship, The Federalist, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1964. A. Ellegard, Who was Junius? Almquist and Wiksell, Gothenburg, 1961, and A Statistical Method for Determining Authorship, Gothenburg Studies in English, 1961. A. Q. Morton, The Authorship of Greek Prose, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, Vol. cxxviii, 1965, pp 169-233. S. Michaelson and A. Q. Morton, The Authorship and Integrity of the Athenaion Politeia, Proc. Royal Society of Edinburgh, (A), 71, 7, 1971/72. S. Michaelson, A. Q. Morton, and N. Hamilton-Smith, To Couple is the Custom, University of Edinburgh, CSR, 22 78, 1978. S. Michaelson and A. Q. Morton, The Qsum Plot, University of Edinburgh, CSR-3-90, 1990. A. Q. Morton, Literary Detection, Bowker, London and New York, 1978.

When confirmation of the transcript irregularities was told to Capt. Hanley, he said, "It would have been a decent thing if they had taken me out at the back of the Four Courts and shot me there."

A further examination of the Transcript both numerical and visual.

The following Sample pages were selected to reflect each of the various discrepancies revealed in the visual audit of the transcript. This first page is a normal transcript page.

33 Words.

41 Words

59 Words

39 Words

48 Words

28 Words

42 Words

14 Words

40 Words


It was not easy to accept the serious conclusion that Certified Records are not necessarily accurate. In this case it is inescapable fact. No one gives a second glance at a certified record; it is absolute, sacrosanct!


In the history of Inquiries there have been breaches in that certified standard. In the Lusitania Inquiry in England a rogue signal which crept into the Court proceedings was discovered during the hearing of the case. A history exists however infrequently and the intrusion surfaces. Signals, Messages and Transmissions over the decades would seem vulnerable during Inquiries. During the Public Inquiry into the sinking of the Lusitania, a phantom signal was introduced by a Lawyer acting for the Board of Trade. The signal consisted of eleven words, a warning to the Captain of the Lusitania, Captain Turner on May 7th 1915, and prior to the sinking of his vessel. No such message had been sent. Lord Mersey, the Chairman, pounced on the new words uttered, asking the Lawyer, to which was he referring, and where did it appear in the evidence. Lord Mersey had stumbled on two versions in Court of an Admiralty memorandum. The word `translation' emerged in explanation, and was dismissed by the Chairman, hence the rogue signal was swiftly withdrawn.

The Attorney General at that time, Sir Edward Carson, appeared on behalf of the Board of Trade, instructed by Sir Ellis Cunliffe. Sir Edward Carson was assisted by the Solicitor General F.E. Smith, whose misfortune it was to enter the rogue signal audibly into proceedings.

I am indebted to David Ramsey, and his splendid book, "Saga and Myth", for this information.

In any review of a case, the documentation - a certified record would be read and unquestioned. Official Certified Documents in this case include The Transcript. The Radio Transmissions

For ease of reading we have prepared this typed version of the following testimony on Day 2. The facsimile is shown with Other Documentation. REGINALD FRANK PRIOR was duly sworn and examined as follows by MR. O'KEEFE: 740. Q. I think you are Approach Control Officer or you are one of the Approach Control Officers at Elmdon Airport, Birmingham? A. 741. Q. A. 742. Q. That is correct. And I think you were on duty on the morning of the 1st January of this year? Yes. Did you receive from Dublin Airport, from the Operations Officer there, flight plan for aircraft EI-ACF? A. 743. Q. A. 744. Q. Traffic control by teleprinter to us. And that was, I take it, flight plan given which was read out here by the last witness? Yes. Now at about 10.50 I think, you learned from Preston that the aircraft which was expected to arrive at Elmdon about one minute past eleven required clearance? A. 745. Q. Yes, that is right. In fact, I think you could not arrange clearance before four and a half thousand feet at that time? A. 746. 747. Q. A. Q. A. Preston could not ­ no. What? Preston control centre could not ­ no. Now, at 10.57 was that the first direct communication with the aircraft? Yes.



And it is at that stage that EI-ACF called Birmingham approach control on the appropriate wavelength or frequency?

A. 749. Q. A. 750. 751. 752. Q. A. Q. A. Q. A. 753. Q.

Yes. And reported that the aircraft was at Lichfield Beacon? By Lichfield Beacon. It had passed the beacon? Yes. And gave the height as I think 4,500 ft.? Descended to 4,500 ft., yes. Now, did you then instruct him to remain at 4,500 ft. and call you when he was over the field? Yes. And did you give him the weather and visibility and so on at Birmingham according to the latest report you had?

A. 754. Q. A. 755. Q. A. __ 756. 757.

Yes. I think the latest report you had was some two minutes earlier ­ 10.55? Yes. Have you got the transcript of the recorded message available? No, sir. I have not. If he is remembering this, it is a remarkable feat of memory.


MR. O'KEEFE: It is in Court ­ document 54. this is a transcript of the recording of your conversation with ACF, taken on tape recorder?

MR. O'KEEFE: (To the Witness): I understand that

A. 758. 759. Q. A. Q.

Simon film recorder. It is a type of tape recorder? Yes. I understand the actual tape is here ­ you

don't know anything about that? A. 760. 761. Q. A. Q. A. 762. 763. Q. A. Q. No, I don't know anything about that. The message, I think, starts with a time check? Yes. Zero nine two zero ­ that is 9.20 a.m. Is that right? Mine is zero one four two. The next is one zero four two. 9.42 ­ one is zero 10.42. The next thing I have is "Birmingham Approach Aer Lingus Coca Foxtrot" ­ is that a call from the aircraft to you? A. 764. Q. A. 765. Q. A. 766. Q. A. 767. 768. Q. A. Q. A. 769. 770. Q. A. Q. A. 771. Q. Yes. And this is your reply: "Ten fifty seven Aer Lingus" ­ giving the time? Yes. "Ten fifty seven Aer Lingus Coca Foxtrot; this is Birmingham. Yes. Then is the next from you or from the Birmingham Approach ­ "loud and clear"? Yes, it is all one sentence. The next thing is a message from Coca Foxtrot? Yes. "Birmingham Approach Coca Foxtrot by Lichfield" ­ that is just past Lichfield beacon? Yes. At five six? Yes. Descending to four five ­ that is a thousand feet or hundreds of feet? Four thousand five hundred feet. Now then you indicate that you got a message as to its position ­ "Coca Foxtrot Birmingham

Approach Roger"? A. 772. Q. Yes. And then you request to him to call overhead at four thousand five hundred feet, and then you had been just saying before I referred to this document that you gave him the weather? A. 773. Q. Yes. This appears to be what you gave him ­ "here is the ten fifty five weather surface wind; three six zero degrees fourteen knots visibility three yards"? A. 774. Q. Three thousand yards. "Cloud eight eights at eight hundred feet seven eights at six hundred feet QFE nine eight nine decimal two". That is the ground barometric measure? A. 775-776 Q. Yes. And then the aircraft indicated that he had got your message by saying "Roger Coca Foxtrot will call overhead four five"? A. 777. 778. Q. A. Q. Yes. The next is a call from the aircraft to you? Yes. "Birmingham Approach Birmingham Approach Aer Lingus Coca Foxtrot", and then you reply to go ahead? A. 779. Q. Yes. And then he calls again "Birmingham Approach Coca Foxtrot Emergency both engines giving trouble may I commence immediate descent", and you then reply "Coca Foxtrot Birmingham Approach commence immediate descent call me two thousand five hundred feet"? A. Yes.

780. 781.

Q. A. Q. A.

And he says then that he has got your message? Yes. Then he says "Roger Coca Foxtrot" ­ you are calling him? Yes. "Birmingham Approach Could I have your present altitude over", and he tells you "two thousand feet"; and again you tell him to call you overhead?



A. 783. 784. Q. A. Q.

Yes. He is not yet over the airport? No. Then he calls you "Birmingham Approach Coca Foxtrot now fifteen hundred feet both engines out". Then you call him?

A. 785. Q. A.

No, he is still calling. Then he asks you for Queenie Dog Mike ­ what is that? QDM magneto course to reach the station, used in zero wind conditions, not taking in to account the wind.



He has asked QDM ­ "please one two three four five four three two one Coca Foxtrot" and immediately you give him a message, a QDM.

A. 788. 789. Q. A. Q.

That is sent by Homer operator, not by me. And is recorded on the same tape? Yes. And then you get the message ­ "Roger". You get that, and then is there some time lag between that and the next portion?

A. 790. Q.

Yes, he has come down to fifteen hundred feet ­ to seven hundred feet. Seven hundred feet, six hundred feet, five hundred feet ­ and then there is something blurred

apparently? A. 791. 792. Q. A. Q. A. 793. Q. A. 794. Q. Yes, actually he kept on until he got to two hundred feet. It was not all recorded? It was not recorded ­ no. It is a bit faint. The last one is "One one zero four" ­ I think that is four minutes past eleven? Yes. That, I take it, was the time when the last message was received? Yes. I take it that as a result of the message you received from him, instructions would be given to send out fire engines and so on? A. Our own fire engines were brought and we contacted the local fire brigade at Solohill and the local police. 795. Q. On the transcript that you have there of this message, you have some times shown ­ 10.57, 11.01, 11.03, and 11.04, and 10.57 is shown by you yourself recording your first reply to them ­ "10.57 Aer Lingus Coca Foxtrot. This is Birmingham"? A. 796. Q. Yes. And 11.04 is again you, I take it, recording the time of the last message when you said "one one zero four"? A 797. . Q. A. Yes. Can you say where the time 11.01 and 11.03 came from? Yes, the Homer operator has the written log of his messages, and also if possible our messages, and the time. He is on the same frequency and listens at all these frequencies to log bearings and transmissions.


Q. A.

Those two, I take it ­ one one zero ­ are taken from the Homer log not recorded? Yes. The first and last are recorded? Yes. There is also kept at the station a written log of the message ­ there is also kept at your control the written log of the messages received from the air course?

799. 800.

Q. A. Q.


The Homer operator logs them whenever possible.

CROSS EXAMINATION OF REGINALD FRANK PRIOR The WITNESS was then cross-examined as follows by MR. CAMPBELL. 801. Q. This Aircraft was in direct communication with you from about 10.57 until about 4 minutes past 11? A. 802. Q. A. 803. 804. Q. A. Q. Yes. And did the voice go through clearly, and come through clearly and distinctly? Right until he reported contact 700 feet and then it faded. Until 700 feet? Yes. That is after you had given him what you call the "Queenie Dog Mike" ­ it still came clear and distinct? A. 805. Q. Yes. Does it so still appear on the record, if you replayed the record ­ does it still come

clear and distinct? A. 806. Q. A. 807. Q. I haven't heard the record for a long time, But I should imagine it would. When you last heard it, it was perfectly clear and distinct? Yes. The period of time then from when you had given him the "Queenie Dog Mike" and the actual contact or where you come down to One, Zero, One, One, Zero, Four ­ how long would that be in time so far as you can remember? A. I should say roughly about 45 seconds to a minute. The Aircraft was transmitting all the time. 808. Q. The last entry at the time apparently taken from the Homer Log Book is 11-03, and then the final one is 11-04, with only a minute in between the two? A. 809. Q. A. 810. Q. Yes. And there had been quite a number of messages within that minute apparently? Yes. Well, did you actually realise that it was a very great emergency, that there was a likelihood of a crash? A. 811. Q. Originally when he called at 4,500, No. And I suppose it was only when he called to you that both engines were giving trouble that you realised there was an emergency? A. 812. Q. Yes. And apparently as far as we can make out from the entry, if you look at it, apparently that would be a minute past eleven or there

abouts ­ some time after a minute past eleven? A. 813. Q. No, he called me just after 10.57. I am coming now to where he gave you the message that there was an emergency and that both engines were giving trouble. That is almost exactly in the centre of the print I have? A. 814. Q. Yes. And if you go to the right you will see that it is considerably below the one minute past eleven? A. 815. Q. Yes.. I see. So I suppose that would be the first indication that you had that there was some danger or some emergency. A. 816. Q. A. 817. Q. Yes. So that all this was over, apparently according to your records, in less than two minutes? According to this record, yes. And when it was coming down to 600 feet and 700 feet, and 500 feet did you feel any indication or was there anything to suggest that the emergency was very grave? A. 818. Q. Well in what way do you mean ­ from the Pilot's voice? Was there any tensity or something that would make you feel nervous that there was great likelihood of a crash? A. 819. Q. A. Well, with no engines at 600 feet there must be. In other words you knew that things were pretty bad? Yes.



At what stage was it that you communicated with your own Fire Brigade and with the Solyhull Brigade?


Our own fire Brigade was communicated with as soon as the Aircraft called the emergency, "having trouble with both engines". We called the Solyhull Police and Fire Brigade immediately the Aircraft reported that both engines were down.


Q. A. Q. A.

Were you in a position to say anything at all from where you were? No. Could we see the Aircraft you mean? Yes. No.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR. HEAVY. The witness was then cross-examined as follows: by Mr. Heavy. 823. Q. You mentioned something about forty-five seconds in answer to Mr. Campbell ­ I didn't quite catch what it was? A. 824. Q. A. 825. Q. From the time CHAIRMAN: From 700 zero? From 700 to the time the aircraft faded off the air. THE CHAIRMAN: From the time the aircraft notified 700 feet until it faded off say to the end of the communication was about 45 seconds? A. 826. Q. I should say so yes. MR. HEAVY: I also understand you to say in answer to Mr. Campbell that everything happened in less than two minutes ­ should that be less than three minutes? A. Well according to the Homer times it was less

than two minutes ­ you mean the whole sequence? 827. Q. A. 828. Q. A. 829/830 Q. A. 831. 832 833. Q. A. Q. A. Q. It seemed to have commenced on the call of Emergency both engines giving trouble at 11.01. Yes. Is that correct? Well according to the timing here he calls at 11.01. May we assume that 11.01 the time as near as maybe within a few seconds of the Emergency call? Yes. And the last message from the aircraft is 11.04 Yes. Is that three minutes not two? Yes. Now 11.04 ­ not one,one,zero four appears on the bottom of the message ­ that is the message from the aircraft? A. 834. Q. A. No. The last one? One one zero was actually put in by the signal supervisor, not by myself. I put in the last one, 11.04. I had two times actually, one behind the other on the recording. 835. Q. Towards the bottom of the sheet, Mr. Prior, on the first column on the left-hand side there are two figures ­ 11.04 A. 836. Q. Yes. Now again in writing between the two sets of query marks in the last line of messages appear the words "one one zero four". A. 837. Q. Yes. May I take it that these words can audibly be heard on the recording.

A. 838. 839. Q. A. Q.

Yes. In whose voice? The signal supervisor. Was there any significance of interpretating a reference to the time between the two sets of interference and the two query marks?

A. 840. Q.

I have no query marks on mine. My time zero one one four says "coca foxtrot". THE CHAIRMAN: Read out all you have there in the last paragraph.


Roger ­ coca foxtrot ­ now becoming contact both engines out; still 700' 600' and 500' " Then five question marks 100'. Time One One Zero Four; cannot maintain latitude 11.04"



MR. HEAVY: I thought that this was an accurate and exact copy of what you had before you. At any rate the time is put in there by the Supervisor?

A. 842. Q.

Yes. The Time One, One, Zero, Four which now apparently is audible twice on the record - in whose voice is it?

A. 843. Q.

The first one is the signal Supervisor; the second one is mine. May I take it then that you both spoke for the purpose of recording the time of this crash or anticipated crash?

A. 844. Q.

Yes. Now again this may not be exactly the same as you have before you, but this message 11.04 begins ­ "Roger, now become contact".

A. 845. Q. A.

Yes. I think you read out "Roger, Coca-foxtrot now becoming contact". Well, it is in answer to Q.V.M. on Zero 3 Zero Homer because there are three Zeros over here ­ Zero Three, Zero Coca-foxtrot.


Q. A.

That is in the voice, I presume, of the Flight Officer on the aeroplane? Yes. The next words after that ­ in whose voice are they? Still of the Crew Pilot or First Officer - I don't know. Then the word becomes "Contact" came from the aeroplane? Yes. Is that a common phrase? Yes. What does it mean? Breaking cloud. Going through cloud? Yes. May I ask you Mr. Prior where is the Homer Apparatus? On the Airfield. Where were you throughout this conversation? In the control tower. Where is the Homer in relation to the Control Tower? I should say roughly 600 yards away. In a different building on the Airfield? Yes, an isolated building on the Aerodrome itself. And where is the recorder?


Q. A.


Q. A.

849. 850. 851. 852.

Q. A. Q. A. Q. A. Q. A.

853. 854.

Q. A. Q. A.


Q. A.



A. 857. 858. Q. A. Q. A.

The recorder is in the signal room in the Tower in behind us. The next room to you? Yes. Does the Recorder function constantly throughout the working day? No. I am sorry, he does not keep on going. It is switched on by the actual ticking of the Transmittor and it goes off five seconds after transmission is received.


Q. A.

What about the incoming messages? It is actuated as soon as the Pilot speaks on the R.T. ­ it is recorded. The voice from the other end will set it going. Yes. So that actually in the case of broken conversation it would not give one the correct time between the first message and the last to play the record over?


Q. A.



A. 862. Q.

No. Now earlier in the transcription, shortly after 10.57 when you instructed the Aircraft to call overhead at 4,500 feet, you went on to say "Here is the 10.55 weather service; wind 3.6 zero degrees 14 knots"?

A. 863. Q. A.

Yes. What exactly does that indicate in terms of weather? It shows that the wind is blowing from the North at 14 knots.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR. MAGUIRE THE WITNESS was then cross-examined as follows by MR. MAGUIRE:



In reply to Mr. Heavy you stated the voice from the other end started the recording machine ­ it goes on automatically and that starts the machine ­ you stated that it was a silent film recorder?

A. 865 ­ 867. 868. 869. 870 871. Q. A. Q. A. Q. A. Q. A. Q.

A Simon. A Simon? A Simon Film Recorder. Is it a kind of tape recorder? Yes, the transmissions are recorded on the film. Is it on a sound film? Yes. Photo electro? I presume so. From it, I gather that it is not possible to tell the lapsed time because it stops and starts as it is activated, either by the voice from the Plane or the control Tower?

A. 872-3. Q. A. 874. 875. Q. A. Q.

Oh yes. Did you prepare the transcript you have of the conversations on this particular tape? This transcript, no, - I didn't prepare this. Did you hear yourself recording on the tape? Yes. Would you just read over to me the last couple of words which you have there as being what were the last few words spoken from the Aircraft?

A. 876. Q.

"Coca, foxtrot, cannot maintain latitude". Because I was going to put it to you that it went on from that point to the effect 400 feet 300 feet 200 feet 100 feet, zero latitude"?



877. 878. 879.

Q. A. Q. A. Q. A.

Are you sure? Well, I never heard it on the recording. Could it be there and you didn't hear it? Pardon? Could it be on it, and you would have stopped it before it reached that point? No. The tape is here ­ I see Mr. Murphy actually producing the tape. May I put it that the wireless on the aircraft worked right up to the last moment, and in fact carried on speaking commencing "100 feet" and then "Zero" and then "Latitude"?




On the actual receiver I heard the Pilot's last transmission ­ the last transmission that I got from the Pilot was "200 feet" ­ "making an emergency landing". That is not recorded.

881-882 883.

Q. A. Q. A.

Is that not on the recording? No. Is that your own recollection ­ were you listening to the conversation at the time? Yes. And that was your recollection? That is my recollection, yes. THE CHAIRMAN: Wasn't it you that carried on the conversation? No, the aircraft was transmitting. But it was you who were speaking to the aircraft? He was speaking to me, yes. MR. MAGUIRE: Were you speaking to him? Not then ­ No. Were you carrying on to Elmdon Control, the nature of the conversation?

884. 885.

Q. A. Q. A.


Q. A.

887. 888.

Q. A. Q.

A. 889. Q.

Yes. And it was between you and the First Officer on the Plane that the entire conversations took place?

A. 890. Q.

Yes, apart from asking for bearings. Is it your recollection that the last words you said were "200 feet, making emergency landing"?

A. 891. 892. Q. A. Q. B.

Yes. And you heard these? Yes. How did it come that these words were not recorded? Well, I don't really know, but I think if you got something less than strength one, which is very very faint I don't think it starts recording ­ I don't know myself, but I think that is so. It is very very faint. I could just only hear it myself on the microphone.



Perhaps if we heard the recording it might clarify the position, because I understand that the recording as made went down as far as stating "Zero Latitude" and then there was a scratching sound. I presume while the aerial was torn away? It appears to be the ordinary tape, the actual ordinary tape recorded ­ it is not a film recorder?

A. 894. Q.

Our recorder is a film recorder. Could I see it for a moment? (Document produced). This is not the ordinary magnetised type ­ it is not a film?


That is not a film that is used on the recorders. I don't know where that came from, but the film we used is possibly an inch or

an inch and a half wide. 895. 897. 898. Q. MR. MACK: This is purely a master copy you took from your original tape. THE CHAIRMAN: We can have this cleared up later. MR. MAGUIRE: That is not the tape that was on the machine when your conversation with the aeroplane was being carried on? A. 898. 899. Q. A. Q. No. These are recordings in other words? I presume so, yes. THE CHAIRMAN: It is the master copy, I understand, - I don't know whether it is a recording or not. 899A. Q. A. 900. Q. A. 901. Q. MR. MAGUIRE: Do you know by whom was that copy prepared? I don't know. And you don't know the extent of the extracts taken? No. So that there might be more then in the original tape than is here on this tape ­ I suppose that is so? A. It could be, I suppose, but it is done by the Signals Officer. It is done by the Tele-Communications Officer of the aerodrome. 901A. Q. A. 902. Q. What was done? The film recordings are in charge of the Tele-communications officer. Does the Tele-communications Officer still hold the recording that was on the machine from 5-11 until ten past eleven on that date? A. 903. Q. A. I don't know. What? I don't know.

904. 905.

Q. A. Q.

You don't know? No. There is just one further point. If there were two or three aircraft coming into Birmingham at the same time, are their conversations recorded on different machines?

A. 906. Q. A.

On the same frequency, on the same machine. Then is each aircraft assigned a different frequency as it comes in? No, if you get five aircraft working on the same frequency at the same time it is all recorded on the same film.



Then I presume if another aircraft was coming in on that frequency at this time, they also would be heard on this?

A. 908. Q. A. 909. 910. Q. A. Q. A. 911. Q. A.

Yes. Do you know yourself whether there were other aircraft at that time? No. There were no other aircraft? No. So that this particular slice of tape only has the ACF conversation on it? Yes. And you say it is your Tele-communications chief who has the original? Well, I don't know whether he has it, but He was in charge of it.

1 P.M. 2 P.M.


The WITNESS, REGINALD FRANK PRIOR was questioned as follows by MR. MACK: 912. Q. A. 913. 914. Q. A. Q. A. You have before you the transcript of recording coming down to 11.04? Yes. Is there any date on that at all? The date is the 1st January. Now the final paragraph, 11.04 ­ would you just read out what you have on your transcript? Yes ­ you mean from the first time ­ "Roger zero three zero; Roger Coca Foxtrot; now becoming contact both engines out seven hundred feet, six hundred feet, five hundred feet; ????? five hundred feet; time one one zero four; Coca Foxtrot; cannot maintain latitude; 11.04". 915. Q. Well, it does appear that the transcript before the Court and the one before you are different? (No reply). 916. 917-918 Q. Q. THE CHAIRMAN: That is so. MR. MACK: Well, the two are different ­ you don't know how it comes about, I suppose? THE WITNESS: No. 919. Q. MR. MACK: This is the first one taken here and I can only assume that the signal was very weak and they made a master copy and played it back several times. Unfortunately I have not been supplied with a copy of that. The date (duty written over date) of making these transcripts of course does not lie with you? A. 920. Q. A. No, it lies with the Tele-communications Officer. And do you know in fact that the master copy was made of the recording or not? Well, I was told that a copy was made of it;

whether it is a master copy or not I don't know. 921. 922. 923. Q. Probably I could help the Court on that point. THE CHAIRMAN: Is the master copy the first copy? MR. MACK: No sir. With a Simon recorder you cannot play the tape back more than two or three times without its becoming entirely useless. It becomes very soft and scratchy, and the first action in a case like this is to make the master copy from it which could be played back innumerable times, because if you use the original to play back and play back, then it becomes entirely useless and you have no record left, so (the word `of' was written over the word so by the Chairman) what you have recorded, sir (`this' inserted) is the master copy of the original recording. The original recording is still over, (`audible' written above `over') no doubt, but this is a copy. 924. 925 Q. THE CHAIRMAN: How is it got? MR. MACK: By taking another recording from the original. But that is the duty of the station Telecommunications Officer. I don't know if in fact this could be played back, the one we have. Probably there is an instrument here which (`and'), if the Court desires, it could be played back. __ THE CHAIRMAN: Later perhaps we may do so. At this stage, however, I don't know how far this is relevant. If anyone wants it we can have it later. __ __ __ MR. MACK: Certainly if you have have/wish it, we will have the station Tele-communications Officer. THE CHAIRMAN: Someone will want it. MR. HEAVY: I think we may want it. Something may turn on the length of time which elapsed between the cutting of the two engines. Now, that is estimated by reference to the total time of descent. It now seems that possibly the total time of

descent after the cutting of the second engine may be up to four minutes rather than two minutes. For that reason it may be very important to establish the length of time between the cutting of the second engine and the contact with the ground. I cannot say for the moment that it will be necessary, but it may be. __ __ THE CHAIRMAN: The matter may be raised again. We will come to it no doubt at another stage. MR. HEAVY: Yes sir. The WITNESS, MR. PRIOR was then examined as follows by MR. O'KEEFE: 926. Q. A. 927. Q. A. 928. Q. Can you tell us what is the name of the man who certified the transcript you have there? Mr. Kennedy. It is a fresh transcript sent by him? Yes, it is sent by Mr. Kennedy, the Station Telecommunications Officer. You were asked by Mr. Maguire about the conversation with the Homer operator being recorded on this. The Homer operator is, I think you said, about 600 yards away from the tower where you are stationed? A. 929. Q. Yes. I understand that anybody speaking on the same frequency as that used by you and by the aircraft will come in on the conversation which is being broadcast on that wavelength? A. 930. Q. Yes. And the Homer operator will be heard by you in the tower and would be recorded on the recording tape

in the tower, without any action on your part? A. 931. 932. Q. A. Q. A. 933. Q. A. 934. Q. That is correct. You would hear what he said? Yes. But if he were listening, he heard what you said? Yes. And both of you would hear what the aircraft said or what people in the Aircraft said? Yes. And it is all part of one conversation which is recorded automatically on the one recording device? A. 935. Yes; that is correct. the times given in the first column of this Sheet, are they automatically recorded also? A. 936. Q. A. 937-938 Q. No. That is what I thought ­ they are put in by the man who keeps the log? Yes, 11.01, 11.03, and put in by the Homer Operator on his own log. Any time that is given in the message part (the date column of the sheet before us) that is given over the radio? A. 939. 940. Q. A. Q. Yes. And is recorded? Yes. Now it would appear from part of the conversation that you had that the aircraft passed over Birmingham airport? A. 941. Q. No, he did not pass over Birmingham. At any time? QUESTIONED BY THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Prior,

A. 942. Q. A.

No. He had not reached it? Yes; the Homer operator takes the bearings of all transmissions and according to these bearings he seemed to go to the West of the field.

943. 944.

Q. A. Q. A.

The West of the Field? Yes. Perhaps I was wrong in saying that he passed over. He passed by. Passed by? Yes ­ he got to the far side of the air field. Yes. And was he then on his way back towards the field when he descended? No, he was North of the Field, or rather North West of the field, on his first transmission, and then he went for the South West of the Field.


Q. A.


Q. A.



MR. O'KEEFE: I put in document 53 and 53A. I think at the moment that it might be convenient if I read the document without having it proved. If the Witness is required we will endeavour to get the Homer operator over. The log is recorded for him and there is a translation supplied (53A) and you will see the time recorded for the first is 10.57, and it is to the Birmingham approach Control from Aircraft ACF, and the message is that he is over Lichfield, or is by Lichfield, that he has now listened to the message Mr. Prior spoke of where he says he is by Lichfield, and 5600 feet. The true bearing at that stage is

320 degrees. The Homer Operator found the true bearings at 320 degrees at that stage. (document referred to and read).


The lawyer for the State made an intervention by reading out aloud to the Court Document 53A, a so-called "translation", a document which contradicted the immediate previous testimony of the Air Traffic Controller. 947. Q. ** Mr. O'Keefe. "I put in document 53 and 53A. I think at the moment that it might be convenient if I read the document without having it proved. If the Witness is required we will endeavour to get the Homer operator over. The log is recorded for him and there is a translation supplied (53A) and you will see the time recorded for the first is 10-57, and it is to the Birmingham Approach Control from Aircraft ECF, and the message is that he is over Lichfield or is by Lichfield, and he has now listened to the message Mr. Prior spoke of where he says he is by Lichfield, and 5600 feet. The true bearing at that stage is 320 degrees. The Homer Operator found the true bearings at 320 degrees at that stage (document referred to and read)."

** This is an intervention not a question! Though read aloud the document was not recorded in the transcript; we include 53(a) here.



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