** NEW ** The 1969 Army helicopter barracks crash B.E.M. for gallantry service medal pair consisting: British Empire Medal EIIR for Gallantry with oak leaves emblem to 23733801 L/Cpl. Malcolm C. Sindall, R.E., Campaign Service Medal EIIR with South Arabia & Northern Ireland clasps to 23733801 L/Cpl. M.C. Sindall, R.E.

Malcolm Charles Sindall was born in Ilford, Essex in 1944, he was awarded the BEM For Gallantry whilst serving with 12 Royal School of Military Engineering Regiment, Royal Engineers at Chattenden Barracks, near Rochdale, Kent when two Army helicopters collided and crashed on the morning of Wednesday 14th May 1969. One helicopter carrying Brigadier David Allott to a Royal Engineers demonstration at the Barracks burst into flames. Sindall who was sat in the Junior Ranks Club adjacent to the field, immediately rushed to the scene and assisted by two others extracted all three men from both helicopters. He was in danger of receiving severe burns whilst doing so and the fuel tanks of the burning helicopter were in danger of exploding at any second. He showed complete disregard of his personal safety in full knowledge of the dangers. Despite all efforts to save life it was soon established all three extracted from the two crashed helicopters were dead.

B.E.M. For Gallantry London Gazette 7th Oct 1969:
“On Wednesday 14th May 1969 at about 0926 hours, a helicopter taking off from the sports field of Chattenden Barracks collided in mid air with another helicopter coming in to land. Both crashed to the ground, one in a mass of flames. Lance Corporal Sindall was sitting in the Junior Ranks Club near the sports field. He heard a terrific bang, looked up to see a helicopter falling in flames, immediately dashed out of the Club and ran to the burning helicopter.
Assisted by another soldier, Sapper Pedley, and a civilian Mr Percival, he began to extract the occupants from the burning wreckage. During this time and before fire fighting appliances were brought to bear, there was considerable danger of the rescuers getting very badly burnt as well as a real risk of the helicopter fuel tanks exploding. All three acted in complete disregard for their personal safety in removing the two occupants from the wreckage and in extinguishing their burning clothing. By the time the three men had dealt with the occupants of the burning helicopter, others arrived on the scene to help them extract the occupant from the wreckage of the other helicopter, which had not caught fire. It was soon established that all three occupants were dead, but there is no doubt that Lance Corporal Sindall, in company with Sapper Pedley and Mr Percival did everything humanly possible to save life. Lance Corporal Sindall acted with the utmost speed and resolution and with complete disregard for his personal safety in the face of obvious danger, in accordance with the highest traditions of the service”.

From the Local Newspaper:
A Brigadier and two pilots were killed today when two helicopters collided in mid air over Chattenden Barracks, near Rochester, Kent. The crash happened when a Sioux helicopter carrying Brigadier David Allott, 17/21 Lancers aged 44, to a Royal Engineers demonstration at the barracks was coming into land. It was in collision with a Scout helicopter taking off from the sports field at the barracks. Brigadier Alott, Commandant of the Royal Armoured Corps Centre at Bovington was one of 200 senior officers attending the demonstration together with Mr Boyden, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence for the Army. Brigadier Allott was married with a son and two daughters. One of the pilots was Warrant Officer Class 2  H A J Jones, aged 38, of the Army Air Corps. He was married with two daughters and lived in South Wanston, Hampshire. The other pilot was Sergeant David Rogers, aged 25, of the Third Royal Tank Regiment Air Troop. He was married with a son. The demonstration went on as planned while arrangements were made for an immediate enquiry into the cause of the crash”.


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