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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 158787
Last updated: 9 October 2020
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Type:Gloster Meteor F Mk 4
Owner/operator:A&AEE Boscombe Down (Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment Boscombe Down)
Registration: RA382
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Heatherlea Farm, Figsbury Ring, Salisbury, Wiltshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Boscombe Down, Wiltshire (EGDM)
Destination airport:Farnborough Airfield, Farnborough, Hampshire
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4 RA382, Gloster Aircraft Co. Ltd. After modification by Gloster to become (in effect) the Mark 8 prototype, the aircraft was returned to Farnborough for various tests, after being modified to take a 0.76m additional section between the existing centre section and the front fuselage. This involved a forward shift of the armament bay and its 363kg of ammunition. As the latter was gradually expended by the firing of the guns, so the nose became progressively lighter, leading to the pitch instability of the aeroplane.

Control with the existing Meteor tail became difficult but by one of those strange fates that sometimes occur in aeronautical development, it was found in the R.A.E wind tunnel that the tail of the Gloster single engine E.1/44 fighter, a project that never entered production, suited the case admirably.

Accordingly, a substitute installation of this tail was made on RA382 and the handling trials were instantly successful, the new tail giving the necessary control. Although contracts had been placed for the old "ear shaped" tail assembly, a decision was made to equip all F.8s with the E.1/44 type. so much better was the aircraft in this form. Only minor modifications were needed, one being the replacement of the wooden upper component of the E.1/44 fin (to take a suppressed radio aerial) by a metal assembly

RA382 was written off (destroyed) on 5 March 1949: Group Captain Cooper took off at 2.30 pm for a weather and stick force G tests in 8/8ths cloud layered to 20,000 feet. A high priority test of the newly modified jet which had problems with its artificial horizon, visibility on the ground was four to five miles with rain changing to snow. Group Captain Cooper lost control of his Meteor in cloud.

The jet crashed into the ground 60 yards from Heatherlea Farm - narrowly missing two houses - close to the Iron Age Figsbury Ring north-east of Boscombe Down, near Salisbury, Wiltshire. He had been in the air for just nine minutes.

Group Captain Thomas Bruce Cooper OBE DFC, A&AEE Superintendent of Flying - killed

Group Captain Cooper - RAF number 01580 - lies buried in the Boscombe Down section of the Durrington village cemetery on the Amesbury to Netheravon road. His funeral - with full military honours - took place in All Saints Church at Durrington. Grave No. 887 reads:

"Group Captain Thomas Bruce Cooper OBE, DFC, RAF. Born March 6th, 1908. Killed in a flying accident on March 5th, 1949. Greatly beloved "

Group Captain Cooper died just one day short of his 41st birthday

The reported crash location of Figsbury Ring (grid reference SU188338; Coordinates 516′11″N 143′51″W) is an 11.2 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest near Salisbury in Wiltshire. It is owned and managed by the National Trust.


1. Halley, James (1999). Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents. Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.86. ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 5/29/W2443:

Related books:

Revision history:

21-Aug-2013 20:52 Nepa Added
16-Jul-2019 06:31 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type, Narrative]
03-Dec-2019 19:04 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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