Where is Flight CW197?
A search for information.

Copyright R. W. Hobby 2002 - 20 Not for further publication or distribution without the authors permission.

Post card, via Ken Sanford

The Mystery

   At sunrise on 1st March 1940 Imperial Airways Handley Page HP42E "Hannibal" departed from its eastern base at Karachi Drigh Road airfield bound for Egypt with eight people aboard. Some six hours later it departed after refueling from Jiwani and while crossing the Gulf of Oman - was never seen again. 

Crew   Passengers 

N. Townsend

Ras Bahdur Sir A. T. Pannirselvam, (13a)
high ranking Indian Government official
First Officer 
C. J. Walsh
Air Commodore Harold. A. Whistler, DFC/, DSO, Chief of Air Staff  RAF India (20)
Radio Officer 
A. H. H. Tidbury

Captain Alf Bryn,  Norwegian. (13a)
Marine superintendent of an American oil company

C. A. F. Steventon
WO1 Henry Hutchison,
conductor, Royal Indian Ordnance Corps.(12)
carrying important documents

Very little reference is made of this event. Limited to quotes such as:- 

"Whilst on a flight with four passengers and a crew of four en route from Jask to Sharjah, Hannibal was lost without trace over the Gulf of Oman."  (1)

"On 1 March, Hannibal , the luxurious trendsetter of the early 1930s, vanished without trace while flying with a crew of four and four passengers over the Gulf of Oman en route from Jask to Sharjah." (2, p122)

The loss on 1 Mar 1940 of the Imperial Airways HP42 Hannibal four engine biplane passenger aircraft, G-AAGX, remains a mystery. Travelling between Calcutta, Alexandria and London.(5) The official report places the aircraft in the Gulf of Oman. Recently discovered flight timings suggest otherwise. No crash site was identified. Does the cloak of wartime secrecy shroud the true location? Was a thorough search too much effort under the demands of wartime? "When the aircraft was reported overdue, a full scale search was made by the RAF, Royal Navy and aircraft on the route." "Neither wreckage or bodies have ever been found."(12)  "There is as much myth as there is hard evidence about this incident!"(4) This page aims to learn what is known. Publicly the event is still a mystery and actual hard facts can be tainted by time, misinformation and opinion. There are also strong indications that the wreckage was found on land and removed for political reasons.

After turning back to Juwani and transferring Hannibal's passengers to an Empire C-class flying boat, the passengers on board were collected at Karachi.(12) 

RAF HP42W 'Hadrian' AS982 in camouflage.
The H.P. 42 had a wing span of 130 ft. and a length of 89 ft. 9 ins. Power was provided by four Bristol Jupiter engines each of 550 h.p. giving a maximum speed of 128 m.p.h. and a cruising speed of 100 m.p.h. (1)


 AN EXAMINATION OF EVIDENCE in notes discovered. (Pencil original)

1st March 1940 Flight CW197 (westward)

G =GMT  L = Local

    0025G = 0554L Indian, left Karachi
    0532G                        at Jiwani
+37m on ground
    0609G                        left Jiwani
    0850G = 1150L msg to Jiwani, over Jask @ 1000ft, 77mph o/g (say 20mph wind)
            turned west

    0921G = 1221L  msg to Sharjah, eta Sharjah 1035
    1010G = 1310L  last msg, to Karachi, gave position & eta
    1035G = 1335L  eta Sharjah, 4h26m from Juwani

Jask - Sharjah 1hr45m for 136 miles @77.6 mph

Last message 25m before eta =25/105x136 =32.4m short of Sharjah

Land Mass from Sharjah towards Jask is 62 miles

So 'AGX into the sea off shore by up to ___ miles. (line crossed out) or:-
               into plains, within 30miles of Sharjah?

From map interpretation

if Ras al Khaima = RAK, then route round straight of Hormuz
from Jask is 3.2cm +3cm = 6.2cm. at 1:50,000 =310km =192 m
and RAK is 150km from Sharjah =93 m

192 miles in 1hr45min would require 192 x 7/4 = 110 mph average

including a 90 deg turn after about 100 miles. (3.2/6.2 x 192 = 100m)

77mph for100 m takes 1hr15m, so would require 90 m in 30m @180mph!

Or, did he meet W coast too far north of Sharjah, such as at RAK? Unlikely view of 7000ft area north of Dibba.

"Wreckage" on shore , 2miles East of Ras-al-Kuh, (The spit of land 30m west of Jask, where the coast turns north)





ground speed


KHI - Jiwani






Juw - Jask






Jask - Sharjah






Jiwani - Sharjah  

87.0 av



74.5 av

last land




Direct route would cross coast between Dibba and Khor Fakkan
20cm on 500000 scale from Sharjah = 100km = 62 M

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