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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 152179
Last updated: 8 January 2020
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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:RAF Flying College
Registration: VZ237
C/n / msn: EEP/42864
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Beesby Manor Farm, Alford, 1˝ miles SSE of RAF Strubby, Lincolnshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:RAF Strubby, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:
Engine failure shortly 18-9-1951 after taking off from RAF Strubby, Lincolnshire. The pilot baled out but his parachute failed to deploy fully and he was killed when he struck the roof of a house at Beesby Manor Farm, Alford, 1˝ miles South South East of RAF Strubby, Lincolnshire. Pilot, Wing-Commander Donald Wilfred Steventon DSO, DFC and Bar RAF, killed in a flying accident. According to one published source (see link #2):

"When ‘Steve’ was posted to the RAF Flying College at Manby in Lincolnshire in September 1950 as a flight commander and instructor, he and his wife of three years, Anne, moved to a house in the village of Little Cawthorpe, about 5 miles from the airfield. With the dangers of wartime flying now in the past, ‘Steve’ and Anne were looking to a more stable future and eagerly awaited news about their application to adopt a child as their own.

After breakfast on the morning of Tuesday 18 September 1951 ‘Steve’ waved goodbye to Anne and drove the short distance to Strubby. Little more than a minute after his take-off in a de Havilland Vampire, an explosion caused the Goblin engine to catch fire within seconds. ‘Steve’ radioed Strubby tower to request an emergency landing, and at 300 feet on the downwind leg ‘Steve’ rolled the jet onto its back and baled out. His parachute streamed but did not deploy fully and he was killed when he crashed through the roof of a cottage on Beesby Manor Farm at Alford.

Two months later the Journal of the Royal Air Force College recorded ‘Steve’s’ passing with these humbling words: “’Steve’ was one of those exceptional figures that Cranwell has consistently produced at intervals in its history. In a series of notable appointments his success was immediate and outstanding. He was something of a legend in the Royal Air Force for his acute mind, his personality and the indomitable courage that earned his redoubled decorations”.

Donald Steventon is buried in South Kyme Cemetery, Lincoln. He was 32.


1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings – Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.119 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Last Take-off: A Record of RAF Aircraft Losses 1950 to 1953 by Colin Cummings p 179
3. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT233/68:
4. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 5/31/S2544:

Revision history:

01-Jan-2013 17:10 angels one five Added
19-May-2019 01:05 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
19-May-2019 01:06 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type]
28-Dec-2019 19:25 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Location, Source, Narrative]
08-Jan-2020 20:48 stehlik49 Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]

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