Military aircraft accidents UK 1956

Date Type Serial No Unit Base Fatalaties Location Details
5 January Sea Venom FAW.20 WM551 808 Sqdn RAN

HMS Heron

(RNAS Yeovilton)

BROWN, George F S, Act/Commander, RAN

WYATT, Peter H, Lieutenant, RN

Castle Farm, Ilchester

Took off in poor weather during flying trials of the new carrier HMAS Melbourne in England. The aircraft clipped a chimney in Yeovilton village during its ascent and crashed into a nearby caravan park. Both crew members killed in crash along with a mother & baby in the caravan park.

20 January Meteor NF12 WS661 238 OCU RAF North Luffenham F/O Leonard Charles Mitchell STOATE, Pilot

F/O Alistair Walter PATERSON, Navigator
Wadhurst High Street in East Sussex Took off for a sortie in the local area within 60 miles of base. Aircraft subsequently seen at Wadhurst where the pilot's parents lived. The pilot flew past the family home in a steep banked turn to port and struck two bungalows. Crew & 2 civilians killed
23 January Meteor T.7 WS112 728 Sqdn/IF Flight Hal Far HAYES, Michael L, Lieutenant 1 1/2 miles S/E of Hal Far Short of fuel crashed into sea
25 January Seafire XV PR404 766 NAS Lossiemouth SHIRRAS, Ian G, Lieutenant   Stbd tyre burst swung off runway & tipped on nose
2 February Vampire FB.5 WG803 7 FTS RAF Valley
Off Cemaes Bay, Anglesey Crashed into sea during aerobatic practice.
24 February Canberra T.4 WJ871 RAF 231 OCU RAF Bassingbourn
2 miles W of Stilton, Huntingdonshire Tailplane actuator malfunctioned, dived into ground.
8 March Gannet AS.1 XA337 824 NAS HMS Ark Royal CLAXTON, John B, Sub Lieutenant
RAMPLIN, Francis C 'Paddy', Petty Officer Telegraphist (A)
TOOLEY, Leslie M, Lieutenant
Hal Far, Malta Turned to stbd after free take off. Dived vertically into sea.
18 March Firefly FR.6 WJ108   Peregrine WALES, Christopher B, Sub Lieutenant On edge of Ford airfield Spun off loop. Struck ground inverted.
26 March Sea Hawk FB.3 WM997 811 NAS HMS Centaur HAILSTONE, Brian W, Lieutenant
East of Lei U Mun, Hong Kong In low formation with WM990 over HK Harbour. Low cloud obscured hillside. Crashed into low lying ground. Exploded on impact.
26 March Sea Hawk FB.3 WM990 811 NAS HMS Centaur LOWSON, Roger A, Lieutenant Devil's Peak, New Territories, Hong Kong In low formation with WM997. Crashed & exploded.
6 April Vampire FB.5 WA104


RAF Middleton St George
3 miles SSE of Middleton, St. George. Co. Durham Inflight fire & dived into ground.
15 April Chipmunk WD351 Liverpool UAS RAF Woodvale
Down Holland, nr. Lydiate, Lancashire Dived into ground off turn
19 April Vampire FB.5 VV601 7 FTS

RAF Valley

ARMITAGE, Robert M, Midshipman

HMS Goldcrest (RNAS Brawdy)

Un-named ridge to the east of Llyn Eigiau on the eastern edge of the Carneddau. Snowdonia Dived into the ground during training flight from RAF Valley.
17 April Hunter F.2 WN909 257 Squadron RAF Wattisham
Colne Engaine, Essex Engine cut and the aircraft went into a dive.
Pilot ejected but separated from harness and was killed
22 April Meteor F.8 WE895 609 Squadron RAF Church Fenton Flt. Lt. William. S. Campbell Cawood, 4 miles NW of Selby, Yorkshire Control lost, abandoned in dive. Pilot ejected  but had problems releasing from seat and was killed
7 May Canberra B(I)8 WT328 B Squadron A&AEE Boscombe Down

F/O Michael R. Alston (P)
Flt Lt V.D. Hall navigator

English Channel 3 miles south of Shoreham, Sussex Runaway tailplane actuator
11 May Valiant B1 WP202 RAE Farnborough

S/Ldr. K. Orman,
F/tL. K. E. P. Evans
Mr. A. Knight an M.o.S. technician.

Southwick, Sussex

Control failure
Flt. Lt. C. D. Preece ejected safely

22 May Wyvern S4 WP339 [830 NAS] HMS Eagle SMITH, John P, Lieutenant NK Lt Smith joined Eagle's carrier circuit, and downwind at about 400ft ejected for some unknown reason. There was no radio call. Sadly he was not recovered & the aircraft was lost.
25 May Sea Hawk FGA.6 XE373   Goldcrest (RNAS Brawdy ) HAKESLEY, David G, Sub Lieutenant 11 miles west of airfield Orbiting airfield at 2,000 ft waiting for leader. Rolled to stbd & dived into ground
25 May Firebrand EK634 759 NAS Culdrose COOPER, Terence J G, Lieutenant   U/C retracted after landing
31 May

Sea Venom

WW224 890 Squadron HMS Bulwark

JOHNSON, Eric L, Lieutenant
NICHOLS, Gerald M, Lieutenant

NK Catapult failure. Crashed into sea inverted.
31 May Meteor T.7 WA649 28 Sqdn Hal Far WILSON, Brian McC, Lt   Radar calibration exercise with Jamaica. Contact lost. Wreckage found off Malta.
4 June Sea Venom FAW.21 WW262 890 Squadron

HMS Bulwark

BREWER, Peter S, Lieutenant Commander
MASSEE, Ernest E J, Lieutenant

NK Stalled just short of roundown. Hit safety net. Crashed into sea.
12 June Javelin FAW.1 XA570 46 Squadron
RAF Odiham Pilot Wing Commander Frank Edward Walter BIRCHFIELD OBE AFC Navigator Flying Officer Brian CHAMBERS
Odiham Crashed on GCA approach
19 June Sea Hawk XE452 804 NAS Fulmar HAWARD, John R, Lieutenant   Dived into sea during test flight from Lossimouth. Pilot ejected but killed, probably too low.
25 June Attacker FB.2 WK328  

(RNAS Ford)

WYATT, Jack S, Lieutenant Crashed 400 yards north east of main runway. Practising mirror landings at RNAS Ford
28 June Meteor F.8 WH355 FWS RAF Leconfield ?
2 miles S of Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire Dived into ground after control lost in cloud.
1 July Avenger TBM-3E XB323   HMS Gamecock
(RNAS Bramcote)

BARKWAY, Raymond C, Lieutenant (A), RNVR
CAPPS, Gordon H, Lieutenant, RNVR

Whitechurch, Pembrokeshire, Wales Crashed during exercise with Army Air Corps.

S/Lt CC Hutchinson injured.
27 July Vampire FB.5 WA200 8 FTS RAF Swinderby Lt A. Ahmed
Royal Iraqi AF (Pilot: Under training with RAF)
Swinderby, Lincolnshire Became airborne after landing & sideslipped into ground - DBF
28 July Sea Hawk FGA.4 XE376 804 NAS

HMS Fulmar
(RNAS Lossiemouth)

FLOWER, Peter G, Lieutenant Chanctonbury Ring, West Sussex En route from Lossiemouth to Ford
Struck high ground in fog
4 August Sea Balliol WL726 727 NAS

(RNAS Brawdy )

MITCHELL, John M, Lieutenant Brawdy Air Day Hit ground during air display. Exploded on impact
10 August Sea Hawk FB.3 WF303 738 NAS Fulmar MANSON, William I K, Sub Lieutenant 3 miles north of Hopeman. Elgin Crashed into sea at night during practice bombing run on approach to Tain ranges
16 August Sea Hawk FB.3 WM919 897 NAS Brawdy WHITE, John G, Sub Lieutenant   Dived into sea at night.Lost control & broke away from flight to Eagle landing circuit
23 August Vampire FB.5 WA142 RAF 63 Gp. CF  
Bala, Merioneth Dived into ground after pilot overcome by anoxia.
24 August Gloster Javelin FAW Mk 4 XA644 Gloster Aircraft

Moreton Valence, Glos

Test flight

Mr E.B. Smith, Gloster Aircraft TP Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

Mid-ar collision with Hunter F.4 XF980 at 10,000ft. Pilot and navigator involuntarily ejected by impact. Navigator survived. Shroud lines were severed on Smith’s seat.

26 August Meteor F.8 WH280 615 Squadron [RAF Biggin Hill]
7 miles N of Ipswich, Suffolk Collided with WH853 & crashed.
26 August Meteor F.8 WE853 615 Squadron [RAF Biggin Hill]
7 miles N of Ipswich, Suffolk Collided with WH280 while joining formation & crashed.
4 September Wyvern S4 WN327 831 NAS


(RNAS Ford)

SANDISON, Robert E, Lieutenant Sutton, nr Pulborough West Sussex Pilot lost control of the aircraft at low altitude Unfortunately he ejected too low (and sideways I believe), and was killed.
5 September Sea Hawk FB.3 WN113 802 NAS Fulmar MADAN, Patrick L, Lieutenant 6 miles E of airfield Dived into sea during night training flight
11 September Meteor F.8 WK787 RAF CF Turnhouse
Turnhouse, Midlothian Dived into ground after high speed stall recovering from loop.
20 September Canberra T.4 WE189 RAF AIEU Martlesham Heath
Martlesham Heath, Suffolk Engine lost power & control lost on approach, rolled into ground
27 September Sea Hawk F1 WF156 1836 Sqdn
RAF Benson JACKSON, Michael I H, Sub Lt North Farm, Berwick, Oxford Crashed on joining circuit. Pilot ejected but was killed. Possible drogue chute malfunction
28 September Vampire FB.5 WG845 7 FTS RAF Valley
Valley, Anglesey Engine failed after take-off, lost height & hit ground
28 September Canberra T. 4 WE189 Blind Landing Experimental Unit Martlesham Heath Flt Lt L.A. Coe, BLEU TP
Mr J. Birkle, BLEU FTO
Martlesham Heath, Suffolk Attempted to climb away after undershooting in misjudged approach but port engine stalled and aircraft turned inverted before diving into ground
1 October Vulcan B.1 XA 897 230 OCU First production Vulcan on world tour Squadron Leader Stroud, Squadron Leader Eames, Squadron Leader Gamble, and Mr. Frederick Basset (Avro) Heathrow Airport Struck ground 700 yards short of runway in bad visibility.
Squadron Leader D.R. Howard, with Air Marshal Sir Harry Broadhurst as co-pilot ejected safely
4 October Sea Hawk FGA.6 XE405   HMS Bulwark MEREDITH, Gordon J, Sub Lieutenant A/c crashed nr Malta Pilot ejected following fire warning light killed following Possible manual separation from parachute.
5 October Meteor F.8 WL137 19 Squadron. RAF Church Fenton
9 miles SW of Worksop, Nottinghamshire Control lost in cloud during practice attack, dived into ground
7 October Sea Vampire T.22 XA168 831 Sqdn Blackcap (RNAS Stretton) TANNER, Henry G, Lieutenant Commander Willington Cheshire Test flight after mods. Came out of cloud & crashed into ground.
9 October Vampire FB.5 WA226 229 OCU RAF Chivenor
8 miles E of Barnstaple, Devon Hit trees in forced landing after running out of fuel
9 October Vampire FB.9 WF230 RAFC Cranwell
  Stalled on attempt to overshoot & hit ground
10 October Neptune MR.1 WX545 36 Squadron. RAF Topcliffe
Mull of Kintyre During October 1956, No.36 Sqn. took seven aircraft to Ballykelly on their annual visit to JASS. On 10 October, WX545 flew into a hillside on the Mull of Kintyre, with all nine crew being killed.
13 October Meteor F.8 WA855 41 Squadron. RAF Biggin Hill
Rectory Lane, Sidcup, Kent Abandoned after engine failed & crashed.
22 October Balliol T.2 WG184 228 OCU RAF Leeming
2 miles E of Middle Wallop, Hampshire Collided with civilian Chipmunk in circuit at night & crashed.
24 October Hunter F.4 XF999 CFS  
3 miles east of Kemble

Undercarriage jammed partly down. Aircraft rolled & abandoned inverted

24 Octobe Venom NF.3 WX907 89 Sqdn RAF Stradishall
1/2 mile ENE of Stradishall Engine failed on approach. Hit hedge & caught fire
29 October

Sea Venom

XG636 819 NAS

HMS Heron
(RNAS Yeovilton )

CRAVEN, Ralph E, Sub Lieutenant
HOLTHUSEN, Jon N L, Lieutenant

off Portland Bill, Dorset Ditched in Portland Harbour
2 November Sea Hawk FB.3 WM933 895 NAS HMS Bulwark HALL, Christopher J, Sub Lieutenant (Suez crisis) Landing from strike. Hook broke.
Went over side into sea.
21 November Vampire FB.5 WA121 229 OCU RAF Chivenor
6 miles SW of Porlock, Somerset Flew into high ground in cloud.
22 November Canberra B.2 WJ615 50 Squadron RAF Binbrook
Sagairt Mor, 6 miles SE of Braemar, Aberdeenshire Flew into mountain at night.
24 November Skyraider AEW.1 WT984 849 NAS HMS Eagle

BEALE, Ivor L, Sub Lieutenant
CONNOLLY, Patrick J, Sub Lieutenant
ELLIOTT, Ian G, Lieutenant

Mediterranean Crashed into sea while performing loop.
7 December Shackleton MR.3 WR970 Test Flight Woodford Sqn Ldr J.B. Wales OBE DFC TD, Avro senior production TP;
Mr G.A. Blake, Avro flight engineer;
Mr C. O’Neill, Avro FTO;
Mr R.A. Greenhalgh, Avro FTO
Foolow (Eyam), Derby Aircraft intentionally stalled with bomb doors open and radome fully extended but it suddenly flicked, inverted and spun into cloud. It emerged under some control but the engines would not respond owing to oiling-up and flooding so aircraft continued to descend, finally stalling and hitting the ground after attempt to turn to port