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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 21278
Last updated: 3 July 2020
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Type:Gloster Meteor F Mk 8
Owner/operator:500 (County of Kent) Squadron Royal Air Force (500 (County of Kent) Sqn RAF)
Registration: WK805
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Little Poplar Farm, Ulcombe Road, Headcorn, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF West Malling, Maidstone, Kent
Destination airport:
Gloster Meteor F.8 WK805,["W"] 500 (County of Kent) Squadron, RAF: Written off (destroyed) 7 November 1953. Sergeant Pilot William Keith and Pilot Officer P C S Cockell, both of 500 Sqn, based at RAF West Malling, and flying Meteor F8s WF640 and WK805 respectively, collided one mile north north west of Headcorn, Kent. Pilot - Sergeant Pilot William Keith - was killed and Pilot Officer P C S Cockell fractured his ankle.

According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Yorkshire Evening Post" - Saturday 7 November 1953):

One pilot was killed and another baled out when two Meteor jet fighters collided near Headcorn (Kent) today. The pilot who baled out and landed near Sutton Valence, was Flying Officer Cockell. He was taken to hospital with a fractured leg. The pilot who was killed was found strapped in his ejector seat, several miles away.

Eighty-two year old farmer William Sharp missed being struck by a hurtling 18ft. piece of fuselage by only a few seconds, said his sister, Miss Emily Sharp. He was walking by an oak tree near his farmhouse, Poplar Hall, Headcorn, when the wreckage crashed down, missing a barn near which men were working, and tearing large boughs from the tree."

Meteor WF640 was acting as the target aircraft in a tailchase/camera gun exercise with Meteor WK805 as the pursuer. The pilot of Meteor WF640 commenced a series of barrel rolls around Meteor WK805. The two aircraft collided, with Meteor WF640 losing its tailplane, and its fuel tanks exploded."

The above newspaper report gives the crash location as 'Poplar Hall, Headcorn', which is presumably Little Poplar Farm, Ulcombe Road, Headcorn, which is several miles from where the other Meteor came down near Pluckley


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. Last Take-off: A Record of RAF Aircraft Losses 1950 to 1953 Colin Cummings p 426
3. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1985)

Related books:

Revision history:

19-Jun-2008 09:36 JINX Added
14-Jun-2013 18:26 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
03-Feb-2020 22:03 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Feb-2020 22:05 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
03-Feb-2020 22:14 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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