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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 154150
Last updated: 28 July 2020
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Date:22-AUG-1955
Time:day
Type:Hawker Sea Hawk FGA.4
Owner/operator:806 Sqn FAA RN
Registration: WV848
C/n / msn: AWA6093
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Kingston Gorse, near Rustington, Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RNAS Ford, Arundel, West Sussex
Destination airport:
Narrative:
The Queen's Commendation has been Awarded posthumously to Lieutenant Martin Warren Winfield, R.N., of No. 806 Sqn., F.A.A., who lost his life at Kingston Gorse, Sussex, after his Sea Hawk suffered engine failure. Lt. Winfield, realizing that he would be unable to make an emergency landing at Ford, headed towards the coast. He remained with his aircraft until it had cleared a built-up area and people on the beach, and then ejected at 100 feet. He subsequently died from his injuries.

COMMENDATION POSTHUMOUS to Lieutenant Martin Warren Winfield, Royal Navy, No. 806 R.N. Air Squadron.

Operating from the R.N. Air Station at Ford, near Arundel, 24-years-old Lieutenant Winfield was piloting a Seahawk aircraft in a test flight when his engine failed at 8,600 feet. Realising that he would be unable to make an emergency landing at Ford, he directed his aircraft to the coast with the intention of baling out over the sea. He lost height rapidly, passed over a built-up area on the coast and crashed into the sea five hundred yards from shore at Kingston Gorse, Rustington. He operated his ejector seat at one hundred feet when he had cleared the built-up area and holiday makers on the beach, and subsequently died from his injuries.

It is considered that Lieutenant Winfield, whose home was at Beckington, near Bath, remained in his aircraft and delayed his ejection until he was certain that heavy loss of life and damage to property had been avoided and in so doing sacrificed his life.

It is relevant to recall the statement of the Coroner at the inquest on Lieutenant Winfield: " I am certain that had he chosen to operate the ejector seat earlier, he could have saved himself. That might have meant a calamity in the Kingston Gorse neighbourhood. To avoid the possibility of it, he sacrificed himself for those people and died gallantly and in the best and highest traditions of the Service to which he belonged."

Sources:

1. FLIGHT 30th December 1955 p. 983
2. Littlehampton Gazette - Friday 2 September 1955 (Report of inquest into death of pilot)
3. Northern Whig - Tuesday 30 August 1955
4. http://web.archive.org/web/20160423024448/http://www.ejection-history.org.uk:80/Aircraft_by_Type/SeaHawk.htm
5. http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=WV
6. National Archives (PRO Kew) File ADM 1/31090: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14588542
7. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=10968.0
8. https://www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1955.htm
9. https://www.kingstongorse.com/blog/seahawk-crash-kingston-gorse


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
17-Mar-2013 01:45 Dr. John Smith Added
08-May-2013 17:06 Nepa Updated [Operator]
29-Sep-2013 18:21 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Registration, Cn, Source]
07-Feb-2020 21:47 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Location, Departure airport, Source, Damage]

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