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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 154356
Last updated: 12 February 2020
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Type:Hawker Sea Hawk FGA.6
Owner/operator:804 Sqn RN FAA
Registration: XE376
C/n / msn: AW6320
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Chanctonbury Ring, Pulborough, West Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:RNAS Lossiemouth, Morayshire
Destination airport:RNAS Ford, (HMS Peregrine) Yapton, West Sussex
Hawker Sea Hawk FGA.6 XE376 (171/-) 804 Squadron FAA RN: Written off 28.7.56 when flew into high ground at Chanctonbury Ring, West Sussex, on the Sussex Downs during a Ground Controlled Approach to RNAS Ford in low cloud. The pilot - Lt Peter George Flower (aged 24) - did not eject and was killed. According to a contemporary newspaper report of the inquest into the death of the pilot ("West Sussex Gazette" - Thursday 4 October 1956)

Statements from naval witnesses now in Malta were read at the inquest at Shoreham Town Hall last Wednesday on Lieut. Peter George Flower (24), of Devizes, a naval pilot with 804 Naval Air Squadron, who was killed when his Sea Hawk jet fighter crashed near Chanctonbury Ring on July 28. The Coroner, Mr. Francis F. Haddock, recorded a verdict of "Accidental death."

Police Constable Clout, of Washington, said he found the wreckage of the aircraft spread over a large area. Lieut. Flower was found dead in his ejector seat which had not been used. There was a heavy mist and visibility was down to five or ten yards. Near the wreckage was a clear mark in a cornfield indicating where another aircraft had sheared the top off the corn. The site of the accident was 730 ft. above sea level.

A statement from Sub-lieut. C. J. Hall, now in Malta, was read by the Coroner. It said that he was pilot of one of four planes which took off from Lossiemouth on July 28 to fly to Ford. They arrived there at about 20,000 ft. then descended to 2,000 ft, when they were taken over by ground control approach and they divided into pairs. "There was thick cloud, and my plane was bouncing about like a yo-yo," the statement said. Suddenly he saw a patch of green and his and Lieut. Flower's planes radioed Ford. They were taken round again and lined up for the final approach. Before this they had received an order to descend by stages to an altitude of 500 ft. Then he saw green again, and had his hand on the radio to warn Lieut. Flower when he saw the plane hit the ground and begin to break up. He climbed and told Ford what had happened.

Commissioned Pilot A. A. C. Allcock. R.N., who was on control duty at the time, stated that he plotted the planes' progress and radioed flying Instructions. He denied having told the planes to fly at 500 ft., nor had he ordered a 1,000ft. height on the second approach. He did not have any heights repeated back to him by the pilot as he should have done.

Lieut.-Comdr. R. H. Clarke, senior air traffic control officer at Yeovilton, said he was a member of the court of inquiry into the crash, and no cause for it had been found."

Note that while most accounts - including the above - give the crash location as "Chanctonbury Ring, West Sussex", the official Naval record states the location of the death of the pilot as "North Farm, Washington, West Sussex". The two locations are approximately two miles apart.



Revision history:

22-Mar-2013 12:45 Dr. John Smith Added
05-Apr-2013 07:42 Nepa Updated [Operator]
12-Feb-2020 23:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Feb-2020 23:23 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]

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