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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 154128
Last updated: 14 June 2020
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Date:16-APR-1956
Time:night
Type:Gloster Meteor NF Mk 12
Owner/operator:153 Squadron Royal Air Force (153 Sqn RAF)
Registration: WS694
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:1.5 miles South of RAF West Malling, Maidstone, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF West Malling, Maidstone, Kent
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Gloster Meteor NF.12 WS694, 153 Squadron, RAF: Written off 16 April 1956 - Flew into the ground immediately after a night take off from West Malling, Kent. Aircraft came down one and a half miles south of the airfield. Both crew were killed.

This Meteor crashed about one minute after take off from Runway 25 at West Malling. Constructed in April 1953, it had flown a total of 626 hours. The pilot was aged 23 and held a 'White' instrument rating and his flying assessment was 'Average', and he had logged 478 hours as first pilot including 115 in Meteor NF12's. His night flying experience was good too, with 55 hours logged, of which 44 were in the NF12.

Examination at the scene of the crash showed that the Meteor had been in a very shallow dive with the port wing low as it crashed through a hedge then an orchard. A 600 yard long trail of wreckage it left showed that it had ample flying speed at the time - both engines had been torn off in the crash and it was noted that there was a marked difference in the damage to the rotating assemblies. The starboard compressor and turbine were extensively damaged consistent with high speed rotation at the moment of impact while the port engine, in contrast, showed very little evidence of rotation suggesting that it may have been running down.

All of the evidence pointed to a 'flame out' causing the Meteor to veer sharply, and in fact air tests in NF12's showed that it was almost impossible for an aircraft to veer in the way this one did by using flight controls, but comparable results were obtained by throttling back the port engine. Both of the occupants died in the crash, and the hood was still in place.

Crew of Meteor WS694:
Flying Officer John Charles Langham RAF (pilot, Service Number 585334, aged 23).
Flying Officer Raymond Albert Hollingsworth RAF (navigator, Service Number 584804 ,aged 23)

Both crew were listed as "killed on active service 16/4/56", and both were buried at St Mary's Church burial ground, West Malling, Maidstone, Kent.

Sources:

1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.179 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1985 p.93)
3. Kent & Sussex Courier - Friday 18 May 1956
4. Category Five - A Catalogue of RAF Aircraft Losses 1954 to 2009 by Colin Cummings pp.190-191
5. 153 Squadron ORB (Operations Record Book)(Air Ministry Form AM/F.540) for the period 1/1/55 to 30/6/58: File AIR 27/2762/1 at https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D8429637
6. http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=WS
7. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=963.15
8. http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1956.htm
9. Gravestone of pilot: https://www.gravestonephotos.com/public/namedetails.php?grave=702260&forenames=J%20C&surname=Langham
10. Gravestone of navigator: https://www.gravestonephotos.com/public/namedetails.php?name=1459417


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
15-Mar-2013 23:59 Dr. John Smith Added
16-Mar-2013 00:00 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type]
05-Apr-2013 18:41 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location]
03-Feb-2020 02:15 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
02-Apr-2020 21:57 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
14-Jun-2020 23:51 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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