Aviation Historian 28
T.Jupp - Everything Must Go
Tantalisingly wearing no discernible serials or codes, the Barracuda is seen here parked on the hardstanding at Dale before its terminal descent. The photographer is evidently standing on the lip of the cliff. The numerous vehicles, including a Ford 10 h.p. mobile NAAFI van, suggest that it was something of an occasion.
The first catastrophic damage - the port wing has evidently connected with a rock hard enough to rip the outer section off and spin the Barracuda round 180°, smashing the nose. The white circle shows the Merlin engine flying out of the airframe.
The Barracuda slides tail-first into a V in the rocks before tumbling backwards.
The aircraft is pushed to the cliff-edge, where it is recorded by a second photographer, probably standing down the cliff from where Photo No 1 was taken. Apparently Merlin engines, propellers and spinners were not in short supply, as the Barracuda is still fitted with all three for its very short final journey.
Over she goes! The Barracuda has been tipped over the cliff-edge and has begun its descent, with a crowd of spectators just visible on the other side of the aircraft. If it was for an instructional film, where is the motion-picture camera equipment?
And stop. The Barracuda’s final resting place at the foot of the cliff. The tail has been torn off and what might be the port aileron or part of the severed port Youngman flap stands almost vertically beside the rear fuselage. The torpedo/divebomber’s main structure seems to have survived the punishment remarkably well.
The Barracuda well on its way down the cliff, probably at a good speed given its angle of more than 45° from the horizontal (note the tilt of the horizon). The distinctive pointed rock stacks in the middle distance provided vital clues as to the location for Tony Jupp.
Now descending at an angle of around 70°-80° and still largely intact, the aircraft has started rolling down a "rock ramp" that will take it straight into the rocks below.
Sub-Lieutenant “Dax” Dashfield’s cartoon of a Barracuda forms part of a barrack-block mural at Dale, other types including Grumman Wildcat and Hellcat nightfighters. Could it have been inspired by the cliff-diving Barracuda, the only example of the type known for certain to have visited Dale?