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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 20412
Last updated: 19 November 2020
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Date:30-AUG-1954
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic DHC1 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10
Owner/operator:Abingdon SF Royal Air Force (Abingdon SF RAF)
Registration: WB673
C/n / msn: C1/0121
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Priory Close, Bicester, Oxfordshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Abingdon, Oxfordshire (EGUD)
Destination airport:RAF Bicester, Oxfordshire
Narrative:
de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10 WB673: delivered 28/07/1950. RAF service with 5 RFS (Reserve Flying School) and RAF Abingdon Station Flight.

Written off 30/08/1954: PIlot lost control of the aircraft at very low level (too low to recover safely). WB673 Stalled while performing aerobatics, dived into ground and a hit house at Priory Close, Bicester, Oxfordshire. Pilot - Flying Officer Ronald James Cooper (aged 21) - was killed.

According to a local newspaper article (Oxford Mail 10 April 2006) which recalled eyewitness accounts of the incident (see link #4)

"'CRASH PLANE HIT MY HOUSE
David Ferris has vivid memories of the day a plane crashed in Bicester in 1954. He arrived home from work to find his house in Priory Close wrecked.

An RAF Chipmunk training plane, which had been carrying out aerobatics over the town, suddenly plunged to earth. The close, off Priory Road, had six police houses and thanks to the collective efforts of policemen, their wives and nearby workmen, the second pilot, Pilot Officer William Price, was rescued from the burning wreckage. The captain, Flying Officer Ronald Cooper, died in the crash.

Mr Ferris, then 16, had just left Highfield School in the town and had started work as an apprentice carpenter. He recalls: "I came into Priory Road and found it closed off. I had to tell them who I was so that they would let me through."

He has sent in these two pictures of the fuselage embedded in the house, where he lived with his mum and dad, Mary and Fred. After the crash, his parents had to move to Chipping Norton and he had to stay with neighbours for three or four months while the house was repaired.

Mr Ferris, who now lives in Leafield, near Witney, tells me: "I think the aircraft was looping the loop over Bicester. The wings came off as it went between two houses, then it went straight across the road into our house."

His father, a police sergeant, and two fellow officers were praised for helping to save the second pilot.

Air Commodore D.M.T. MacDonald wrote to Chief Constable James Bailey on behalf of the RAF: "When members of the Oxfordshire Constabulary reached the crash, the aircraft was burning and there was a risk of explosion from the petrol tanks. Nevertheless, they and members of their families fought the fire with buckets of water and hoses and succeeded in extricating the second pilot without thought for their own safety. Pilot Officer Price might have been burned to death had it not been for their brave and timely action."

Members of 47 Squadron, then based at RAF Abingdon, later presented a plaque to Sgt Ferris "as a token of our esteem".

Struck Of Charge 10/09/1954 at No.71 MU Bicester and scrapped,

Sources:

1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.152 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Category Five - A Catalogue of RAF Aircraft Losses 1954 to 2009: Colin Cummings p 85
3. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 p.20 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1985)
4. https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/728446.crash-plane-hit-house/
5. http://www.ukserials.com/prodlists.php?type=343
5. http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=WB


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
01-Jun-2008 17:32 JINX Added
07-Jun-2008 22:20 JINX Updated
02-Apr-2020 17:45 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total occupants, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
02-Apr-2020 17:52 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
03-Apr-2020 14:07 Investig Updated [Operator, Operator]
14-Apr-2020 23:39 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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