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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 20276
Last updated: 6 May 2020
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Type:Gloster Meteor T Mk 7
Owner/operator:Leuchars SF Royal Air Force (Leuchars SF RAF)
Registration: WA735
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Leuchars Railway Station, Leuchars, Fife, Scotland. -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:RAF Leuchars, Fife
Destination airport:RAF Leuchars, Fife
Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7 WA735, RAF Leuchars Station Flight: Written off (destroyed) 8/7/53. The aircraft began a turn immediately after takeoff, and climbed to about 700 feet agl. The called called to ATC that the hood was open, and the aircraft began to lose altitude, with its wings rocking, as if near the stalling speed. The hood was seen to be open fully at this point, and, at about 200 feet agl altitude, the Meteor flicked over to port, and side-slipped almost vertically into the ground with little forward speed.

The cause of the accident was attributed to loss of control when the hood opened fully while the pilot was trying to land. The pilot was apparently trying to close the hood in flight (although he could have pulled a lever and simply ejected the hood instead). The pilot was killed, and the Meteor crashed alongside Leuchars railway station where a train was standing.

According to an eyewitness report (see link #7):

"One day in 1953 when I was 12 years old the Leuchars Patch was shaken by the dull thump we knew only too well. My mother and I saw a vast pillar of black smoke and flame rising from the railway station about 400 yds away, in those days the Patch was only half its present size and we lived on the corner.

We ran down to the crash site to find two of my friends in hysterics, they had been trainspotting beside the up line when a Meteor crashed vertically across the road from them and no more than 60 feet away. The lunchtime train to St. Andrews was at the station platform, loaded for departure. My friend Alan was blackened by soot from the burning aircraft. Another friend who had been walking to join the spotters said he had seen the Meteor pilot waving and had waved back as the aircraft turned steeply and dived into the ground.

The pilot, Group Captain Norman Bray, DFC, had just been checked out on the Meteor T.7 and was on finals when the hood opened, upsetting the airflow around the tail and contributing to the Meteor spinning in. His 'wave' to my friend was probably an attempt to close the hood although it could have been jettisoned via a lever in the cockpit. Gp Capt Bray is buried in Leuchars cemetery. Two other Leuchars Meteors were lost that year but, as has been said, nobody seemed too worried about it."

Group Captain Norman Arthur Napier Bray DFC, RAF (pilot, service Number 37081) RAF - killed on active service 8/7/53. Buried at Leuchars Cemetery.


1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p 127. ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Last Take-off: A Record of RAF Aircraft Losses 1950 to 1953 by Colin Cummings p 236
3. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983 p 11)
4. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT233/87:
5. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 5/32/S2568:

Related books:

Revision history:

31-May-2008 11:53 JINX Added
12-May-2015 16:40 BlB Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Narrative]
14-Feb-2017 18:02 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
03-Dec-2018 17:52 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
05-Nov-2019 10:43 Nepa Updated [Operator, Location, Operator]
03-Jan-2020 00:50 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
03-Jan-2020 21:41 Dr. John Smith Updated [Phase, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Jan-2020 21:44 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
04-Jan-2020 16:56 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Operator]

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