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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 154883
Last updated: 8 March 2021
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Date:15-APR-1957
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic CNBR model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
English Electric Canberra B.2
Owner/operator:57 Squadron Royal Air Force (57 Sqn RAF)
Registration: WJ575
C/n / msn: HP162B
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Standing
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:
Narrative:
On 15/4/1957 Canberra B.2 WJ575 of 57 Squadron, was destroyed by fire in the hangar at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire. The aircraft was in the hanger for rectification of a fuel leak and the fire was apparently started by fuel dripping on an unshielded inspection lamp.

A Corporal Brian Murphy of the Fire Section was awarded a George Medal for his bravery while attempting to extinguish the fire. Per a contemporary report in "Flight International" magazine 18/10/1958:

"George Medal Award
2452756 Acting Corporal Brian Murphy, Royal Air Force, 'On 15th April, 1957, a Canberra aircraft caught fire in a servicing hangar at the Royal Air Force Station, Coningsby. Corporal Murphy was in charge of the Duty Fire Crew which was called upon to deal with the fire. One of the aircraft's fuel tanks was alight and apart from the risk of this tank exploding the presence of 800 gallons of volatile fuel in the adjoining tanks made the situation extremely dangerous. Corporal Murphy, however, unhesitatingly led his crew into the confined space of the aircraft's bomb bay, from which, had there been an explosion, escape would have been virtually impossible.

While operating in this dangerous situation, Corporal Murphy and his crew were subjected to further hazard by the explosion of powerful starter cartridges stored a few feet away, which blasted a hole in the fuselage and so caused the fire to spread rapidly in all directions.

Despite this, and the increased risk of the fuel tanks exploding, Corporal Murphy remained at his post, though his overalls and uniform were charred by intense heat. Corporal Murphy displayed courage and extreme devotion to duty, and by sustained effort in the face of great danger he and his crew succeeded in localising and controlling the fire while adjacent aircraft and equipment were removed from the vicinity.'

WJ575 was struck off charge on 15/04/1957 (same day) as CAT 5(C) at No.54 MU Cambridge and scrapped.

Sources:

1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.189 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983 p 60)
3. Category Five; A Catalogue of RAF Aircraft Losses 1954 to 2009 by Colin Cummings p.242
4. Flight International magazine 18/10/1958
5. https://www.rafanddfsa.co.uk/May19.pdf pp.14-15
6. http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=WJ
7. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/41195/supplement/5829/data.pdf
8. https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/spink/catalogue-id-srspi10006/lot-cc9451e0-40bf-42ed-b1a5-a3f800f23551


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
08-Apr-2013 16:12 Dr. John Smith Added
10-Apr-2013 09:08 Nepa Updated [Operator, Location]
03-Aug-2020 17:54 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Source, Narrative]
03-Aug-2020 17:59 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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