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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 21101
Last updated: 17 June 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic CNBR model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
English Electric Canberra T.19
Owner/operator:100 Squadron Royal Air Force (100 Sqn RAF)
Registration: WJ610
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Rougham, 2 miles SSW of RAF West Raynham, Norfolk -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:RAF West Raynham, Norfolk
Destination airport:RAF West Raynham, Norfolk
Per The Times 27th June 1972

"2 die in air crash. Two RAF Officers were killed yesterday when a Canberra aircraft crashed into trees and burst into flames at Rougham, Norfolk. They were Flight Lieutenant Nicholas Whitlock, who was piloting the aircraft and the navigator Flight Lieutenant John Sheran. Both were married

The aircraft crashed into trees and burst into flames at 2 miles south south west of Rougham, Norfolk shortly after take off"

WJ610 was a 100 Squadron machine, and the crew were also on the strength of 100 Squadron, although the aircraft had spent some periods "on loan" to 85 in the weeks prior to the accident. (Hence some incorrect reports that it was with 85 squadron at the time of the crash).

The 100 Squadron Operational Record Book also states that the accident happened "shortly after take-off", and also that it was a T.19 rather than a B.2

The RAF Board of Inquiry into this accident found that on the morning of the 26 June 1972 a pair of Canberras from 100 Squadron were tasked for a sortie over the North Sea. The weather in Norfolk that morning was poor with low cloud and reduced visibility. After a pairs take off at West Raynham, the aircraft entered the low cloud base and started a right turn following the instrument departure.

Shortly after entering cloud, the formation No 2 (Flt Lt Whitlock) called, "gear problem, lost contact" (with his formation leader in the thick cloud) over the R/T. He then continued in the right turn while the leader rolled out and climbed straight ahead. It was assumed by the Board that the pilot whilst concentrating on his, "gear problem" (not locked up?), failed to monitor his flight instruments sufficiently, became disorientated and lost control. The aircraft crashed inverted as described above.

Following this crash, formation take offs by Canberras were prohibited. Only 30 sec stream take offs were allowed.


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain 1983, p.61)


The Aviation Photo Company: Latest Additions &emdash; RAF English Electric Canberrra T.11 WJ610

Revision history:

15-Jun-2008 15:34 JINX Added
17-Jun-2008 10:24 JINX Updated
08-Apr-2013 17:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
08-Apr-2013 17:37 Dr. John Smith Updated [[Cn, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]]
08-Apr-2013 17:39 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Narrative]
03-Jun-2015 07:17 Weeks Updated [Operator, Location]
30-Jul-2015 00:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Embed code]
01-Aug-2015 23:59 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
23-Mar-2021 17:17 Anon. Updated [Narrative]

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