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Scenario No. 3... The one I think most likely!

 

Let’s think about the possibility of Barstow’s radio being totally U/S all the way from the Wellington area that was supposedly “confirmed” by S/L Webster..

This would have meant that he was just ‘tagging along’ and would have had no problems so long as he was able to follow the Leader. When they got over Westport and Reynolds pulled away from the others to do aerobatics over the town, Barstow (No.2) would have followed him as he was directly to the right and behind Reynolds ... Reynolds was the one he was following (not Reeve or Sheppard). Instead, he remained with the other two circling the town. One would think then at least overhead Westport, he must have been able to at least “hear?”

As I’ve said previously in this article, I think Reynolds was “stretching the truth” in his following statement and I say this as all the way through the Court of Inquiry, the inference was on the cause of Barstow’s disappearance was due to his radio not working. The ‘statements’ that they all signed (that I quote from), from what I can gather, are actually Court transcripts that were later signed by the respective person as confirmation of a sworn statement.   

Reading through these files, I get the impression that obviously Reynolds was on the defensive as he was on trial. He had got through two cross-examinations in two Court of Inquiries and for a moment, relaxed.... only to be called up a third time to answer further questions. By then he would be feeling things were not going well, and my opinion was that his memory ‘invented’ a last ditch final statement that he originally had no intention of saying, but it ‘slipped out’ under the pressure of the moment! To be honest,  I probably

would have done the same if I was in the same situation.... and then felt guilty about it for the rest of my life!

I think it was a way of expressing his belief  that Barstow was having trouble with his radio and I’m sure that he must have told S/L Webster that he couldn’t recall hearing from Barstow since “round about Wellington,” and hence S/L Webster believed it was “confirmed!”  I think Reynolds was a good man trapped in an unfortunate situation that he had no control over.... what was done, was done, and it was impossible to go back and change it. I sure wish he, Sheppard, or Reeve were still alive as I’m sure they would have told us if they were confronted with it.  I do remember being told by a person that spoke to Sheppard (when he was alive) that they had ascertained that Barstow was having trouble with his radio and had oil on the windscreen via sign language. Maybe this had happened before Westport and so they had communicated via sign language for Barstow to remain circling with the others over Westport?

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