Missing Flyers Of The 20’s and 30’s – Real Unsolved Mysteries – Flt Lt Day and Pilot Officer Stewart

I’m happy for skeptics to voice their opinions regarding modern day out of the ordinary occurrences, but there have been many, many strange and unexplained occurrences that have defied description in the past, and still remain unsolved. Some of them both eerie and evocative.

Like this one….

Flt Lt. W. T.Day and Pilot Officer D.R. Stewart. RAF.

The above mentioned airmen were based at HQ Mesopotamia, present day Iraq, employed on reconnaissance duties against hostile Arab tribesmen in the region. RAF tactics of the day were to locate itinerant Arab groups and harass them by bombing and strafing.

On the 24th July 1924, both airmen were tasked with a reconnaissance mission over the desert, and were scheduled to return within three hours. They failed to do so.

Fearing their loss to possible small arms fire from the ground, a search was instigated immediately and the aircraft soon found.

It was parked, in good order, on a bed of hard sand out in the desert.

According to reports in the London Sunday Express of September 21st 1924, their was petrol in the aircrafts’  tank, the aircraft was airworthy, and was in fact flown back to its base without mishap by one of the searchers with the flyers water bottles still in situ.

But both men were missing.

As far as could be ascertained, they had encountered no weather conditions that would have led to a forced landing, and there were no marks on the aircraft to indicate it had been attacked either from the air or from the ground.

In the sand around the plane, the footprints of both flyers were clearly visible to the searchers. According to the Express report “they were traced, side by side, for some forty yards from the machine. Then, as suddenly as if they had come to the brink of a cliff, their footprints ended.” (My italics).

At the time the landing of the plane was treated as a normal landing by the search party, probably prompted by seeing something on the desert floor that they felt the need to investigate more closely.

The initial theory put forward to explain the disappearing footprints was that both pilots had been captured by wandering Bedu, who then used twigs towed behind them to mask their tracks, starting at a point forty yards from the plane.

This was countered by others who rightly pointed out a) why not eliminate all tracks and b) somewhere out in the desert the tracks must be found, as no Bedouin could continue brushing indefinitely.

The latter argument held sway and a major search was instigated to find renewed traces of track.

Despite the use of aeroplanes, armoured cars, cavalry and mounted police, no trace of any tracks, other than those that ended forty yards from the plane, were ever found.

A reward was offered to local tribesmen,  who searched for a further four days without success.

Both men had disappeared without trace, and neither evidence nor remains have never been found.

Just what was it down on the desert floor that prompted two experienced airmen to land in the desert and walk away from their craft without their clothing, water or food?And then disappear forever?

Jeff is a keen researcher with a background in both the military and law enforcement with a passion for the strange and unexplained. He merely presents the facts his researches unearth, and leaves the questing to others.

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