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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 153971
Last updated: 11 June 2020
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Date:05-JAN-1956
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic VNOM model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland DH.112 Sea Venom FAW.20
Owner/operator:808 Sqn RAN
Registration: WM551
C/n / msn: 12634
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:2
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Castle Farm, Ilchester, Somerset -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RNAS Yeovilton (HMS Heron), Ilchester, Somerset (EGDY)
Destination airport:RNAS Culdrose (HMS Seahawk), Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall (EGDR)
Narrative:
From 30 June 1955 to 27 February 1956, 808 Sqn, Royal Australian Navy was loaned at least nine Sea Venom FAW.20 aircraft (coded 261 to 269) from the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, all ex-893 Squadron, RN. 808 Squadron was was converting to Sea Venoms at RNAS Yeovilton (HMS Heron) in the UK and the RAN Sea Venom crews had been undergoing training on their aircraft by 'X' Flight of the Royal Navy's 891 Squadron. (891 Sqn, RN Squadron was equipped with Sea Venom FAW.21s or FAW.20s upgraded to the later standard).

Sadly WM551 (265) was lost along with her crew and others on the ground ground when it crashed into buildings and caravans in the ratings' married quarters caravan site in foggy conditions on the 5th of January 1956. The remaining airframes were returned to the RN on the 27th of February 1956 as 808 Sqn returned to Australia with its complement of Sea Venom FAW.53's.

History of Sea Venom FAW.20 WM551 was as follows:
Built by DeHavilland at Broughton, Chester, then flown to DH Christchurch for modifications, but returned 09/10/1954,
31/12/54: Back to Christchurch for completion of "fitting out" & delivery,
08/02/55: Delivered AHU at RNAS Stretton (HMS Blackcap);
12/03/55: Issued to 891 Squadron, RNAS Yeovilton (HMS Heron), Yeovilton, Somerset (Uncoded);
20/06/55: AHU Yeovilton (repaint and quick repairs);
22/07/55: Issued to 808 Squadron, Royal Australian Navy, at RNAS Yeovilton (Coded '265')
19/09/55: Appeared at the RAF Biggin Hill Air Display,
05/01/56: Approx 2 minutes after instrument take off, bound for Culdrose in fog, struck tree, several buildings, two caravans in the ratings' married quarters caravan site, crashed into field and destroyed by fire at Castle Farm on the main Bristol-Yeovil Road, Ilchester, Somerset. Another Account says "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."

Lieutenant Peter Haldane Wyatt, RAN, and Commander George Firthe Spencer Brown (DFC, MiD), RAN were both killed as well as Mrs Grace Beard, her three-month-old son, Geoffrey on the ground. At least three others were also injured on on the ground.
05/01/56: Written off as Cat ZZ and struck off charge
24/01/56: Reduced to spares and produce at AHU RNAS Yeovilton

Sources:

1. http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1956.htm
2. http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?8437-Sea-Venom-crash-5-1-1956
3. http://www.adf-messageboard.com.au/invboard/index.php?showtopic=1803
4. https://www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1956-59.htm
5. http://www.adf-serials.com.au/n4.htm


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
11-Mar-2013 22:07 Dr. John Smith Added
13-Apr-2013 16:46 Uli Elch Updated [Aircraft type, Destination airport, Narrative]
08-May-2013 17:08 Nepa Updated [Operator]
01-Mar-2014 21:06 TB Updated [Operator, Phase, Source, Narrative]
07-Jun-2020 21:09 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
07-Jun-2020 21:18 TB Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Narrative, Operator]
08-Jun-2020 19:53 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
11-Jun-2020 19:50 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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