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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 21159
Last updated: 14 January 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic CNBR model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
English Electric Canberra B.Mk 2
Owner/operator:231 Operational Conversion Unit Royal Air Force (231 OCU RAF)
Registration: WK136
C/n / msn: R3/EA3/6650
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Little Stoneham, 3.5 miles E of Stowmarket, Suffolk -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:RAF Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire
Destination airport:RAF Bassingbourn
EE Canberra B.2 WK136, 231 OCU, RAF: Written off 26/09/1955 - Tailplane incidence (trim) actuator ran away forcing the aircraft into a half loop. The pilot was able to recover to a steep turn, and ordered that the Canberra be abandoned at 20,000 feet. Crashed at Little Stoneham, 3.5 miles E of Stowmarket, Suffolk. Three of the four crew survived (two ejected, one bailed out).

Pilot/Instructor: Squadron Leader Stanley George Hewitt AFC, OK ejected. He was awarded a Bar to his AFC for outstanding leadership in a dire situation (see below)
Pilot/Student: Flying Officer Bates OK, on rumble seat bailed out.
Navigator/Instructor: Flying Officer D.E. Taylor OK, ejected.
Navigator/Student: Pilot Officer Patrick John Leigh ejected [didn't release from seat] killed.

Patrick Leigh is buried in Trusham Churchyard, near Newton Abbott, Devon. Squadron Leader Hewitt's citation (dated 29/11/55) reads as follows:

"Squadron Leader Stanley George HEWITT. A.F.C. (152251), Royal Air Force.

On 26th September, 1955, Squadron Leader Hewitt was the pilot of a Canberra B.2 aircraft giving a demonstration flight to a student crew. During the initial climb, after take-off from R.A.F. Station, Bassingbourn, a serious technical fault developed which made the aircraft virtually uncontrollable. By superb airmanship, Squadron Leader Hewitt so manoeuvred the aircraft that all the occupants were enabled to leave before he finally abandoned it.

This officer's leadership, in this dire emergency, and his display of coolness and exceptional courage in the face of grave danger, were a fine example to all. Squadron Leader Hewitt has been a Squadron Commander at No. 231 Operational Conversion Unit, Bomber Command, for two years and during this period he has consistently displayed devotion to duty of the highest order."


1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.1 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983 p )
3. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT233/273:
4. National Archvies (PRO Kew) File AVIA 5/34/S2781:

Revision history:

17-Jun-2008 15:32 JINX Added
10-Apr-2013 00:14 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
20-Jul-2014 21:22 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type, Nature, Destination airport, Narrative]
12-Nov-2018 21:27 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
13-Jan-2020 23:03 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Source, Narrative]
14-Jan-2020 19:42 stehlik49 Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Operator]

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