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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 231758
Last updated: 11 September 2020
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Date:30-APR-1951
Time:10:50
Type:Gloster Meteor F.Mk 4
Owner/operator:615 (County of Surrey) Squadron Royal Air Force (615 (County of Surrey) Sqn RAF)
Registration: VT102
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Badgers Mount, mile north of Knockholt Station, Kent, -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Biggin Hill, Bromley, Kent
Destination airport:RAF Biggin Hill, Bromley, Kent
Narrative:
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4 VT102, 615 (County of Surrey) Squadron, RAF: Written off (destroyed) when crashed at Badger Mount, mile north of Knockholt Station, Kent. Pilot killed

On 30th April 1951 two Meteor Mk.4 fighters from No.500 Squadron at RAF Biggin Hill were practicing Battle Formation over the Kent countryside. The lead aircraft was flown by a Sergeant Smith and his No.2, in VT102, was 25 year old Flying Officer William Eric Tubb (Service Number 180390) rated as an 'above average' pilot.

Flying Officer Tubb was detailed to carry out Battle Formation as No.2 of a section. This exercise was completed and the Section Leader, Sgt. Smith decided to carry out a controlled descent through cloud. This descent was carried out normally until 6,000 feet when the No.2 lost his leader in the cloud and thereafter the two aircraft completed separate controlled descents. Both were brought under control until they rejoined the circuit. The Section Leader carried out a normal circuit and landed. Flying Officer Tubb having once called downwind in cloud Angels 1.5 subsequently called downwind in cloud request G.C.A., D.A.T.C.O. acknowledged this request and passed the aircraft over to G.C.A. Director who established R/T Contact and gave Flying Officer Tubb instructions to fly on a course of 060 at Angels 2.5. This direction was acknowledged. He was further directed to check his gyro on 060. This was also acknowledged. G.C.A. Director then instructed him to change frequency to Channel H - How. Communication was established on this frequency. Subsequently the Director instructed the pilot to check his Q.N.H. This instruction was not acknowledged and no further communication was made between the aircraft and the ground.

On completion of the exercise Sgt. Smith decided to carry out a controlled descent through cloud, this was carried out normally until 6000 feet when Tubb lost his leader in the cloud and thereafter the two aircraft completed separate controlled descents. Both Meteors were brought under Ground Control until they rejoined the circuit, and Smith carried out a normal circuit and landed without incident. At 1500 feet, Tubbs called to request CGA which was granted, and he was given a course to steer. Further instructions were acknowledged, but suddenly contact with VT102 was lost.

A witness on the ground, Sidney Fox, made the following statement;

"On the morning of the 30th April 1951 just before 10.50 hours GMT I was standing outside my garage when I looked up and saw an aeroplane, which I knew to be a Meteor, flying level in a North Westerly direction. Due to the close proximity of my garage to Biggin Hill I am constantly observing aircraft flying overhead and have done so for the past four to five years. I continued to keep this aircraft in sight because it was flying at such an unusually low level. A matter of a second or so later I noticed that it banked slightly to the left. Almost immediately after the aircraft started to bank it very suddenly changed attitude and dived vertically into the ground. The time was 10.50 hrs GMT. It was cloudy at the time but I was able to observe the aircraft from the time it was overhead to the time it crashed. It was not raining at the time and had not rained in the previous hour."

The weather had been bad though, a heavy hailstorm had swept across Biggin Hill that morning but Sgt. Smith had reported that, although the descent through cloud was dark, it wasn't bumpy. VT102 crashed into heavy clay ground about a quarter of a mile north of Knockholt Station - examination of the recovered wreckage didn't reveal structural or mechanical failure, and the cause of the crash was never fully determined.

Sources:

1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.113. ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Last Take-off: A Record of RAF Aircraft Losses 1950 to 1953 by Colin Cummings p 132
3. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT233/46: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C424167
4. The Coroner's Inquest Into the Death of the Pilot: Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser - Friday 11 May 1951
5. http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=VT
6. https://www.rauxaf.net/page157.html
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badgers_Mount
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knockholt_railway_station


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
28-Dec-2019 16:27 Dr. John Smith Added
28-Dec-2019 16:29 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
28-Dec-2019 16:30 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
28-Dec-2019 16:30 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
28-Dec-2019 20:49 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Operator]
18-Jul-2020 21:08 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
18-Jul-2020 21:08 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]

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