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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 15041
Last updated: 18 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic VAMP model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland DH.100 Vampire FB Mk 5
Owner/operator:208 Advanced Flying School Royal Air Force (208 AFS RAF)
Registration: WA251
MSN: EEP/422..
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:RAF Merryfield, Ilton, Ilchester, Somerset, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:RAF Merryfield, Ilton, Ilchester, Somerset
Destination airport:RAF Merryfield, Ilton, Ilchester, Somerset
de Havilland DH.100 Vampire FB Mk 5, WA251, 208 AFS (Advanced Flying School), RAF: Delivered 31/10/1950. Written off (destroyed) 19/11/1953: Crashed during a roller landing at RAF Merryfield, Ilton, Ilchester, Somerset.

Although the pilot was very experienced in flying piston engined aircraft (with a total of 238 flights on that type of aircraft) this flight was his first solo flight on a jet aircraft

As the Vampire took off from RAF Merryfield, following a "Roller landing" (a "roller landing" is one where the aircraft touches down on the runway, and without stopping or slowing down, immediately takes off again) the pilot applied a burst of power, and pulled back the control column somewhat "too far and too fast", leaving the Vampire to assume a "nose-up attiude", with the tail booms scraping the runway

The Vampire then lifted off the runway at RAF Merryfield, climbing to approximately 30 to 40 foot in a dangerously "nose high" attitude, before stalling. The port wing then dropped, struck the runway, and the Vampire cartwheeled onto its nose, and then onto the starboard wing. The pilot was thrown from the aircraft, and sustained fatal injuries

Crew of Vampire WA251:
Pilot Officer (2560624) Martin Jackson (pilot) RAF - killed in service 19/11/1953

There was a strange sequel to this incident; the pilot was rushed by Ambulance to Taunton Hospital, where he was pronounced "dead on arrival". However, during the ten-mile "mercy dash" from RAF Merryfield to Taunton Hospital. the ambulance driver drove at maximum speed, and collided with two parked cars in Taunton en-route. The Ambulance driver - Leading Aircraftsman John William Burdett - was initially charged with "driving without due care and attention". However, when Taunton Magistrates heard the full facts of the case, it was dismisssed in February 1954


1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.152 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Last Take-off: A Record of RAF Aircraft Losses 1950 to 1953 by Colin Cummings p 430
3. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1985)
4. Wings Over Somerset: Aircraft Crashes since the End of World War II By Peter Forrester
5. 208 AFS ORB (Operations Record Book)(Air Ministry Form AM/F.540) for the period 1/11/1951 to 31/5/1954: National Archives (PRO Kew) flie AIR 29/2147 at

Revision history:

02-Mar-2008 00:55 JINX Added
17-May-2015 07:18 MiG21 Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Source]
09-Jan-2020 21:11 stehlik49 Updated [Aircraft type, Nature, Operator]
19-May-2021 23:49 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
19-May-2021 23:49 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
22-May-2021 23:32 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Narrative]
22-May-2021 23:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
23-May-2021 12:23 MiG17 Updated [Operator, Location, Narrative, Operator]
23-May-2021 12:23 MiG17 Updated [Operator]

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