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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 231935
Last updated: 4 January 2020
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Type:Gloster Meteor F.Mk 4
Owner/operator:JCU Royal Air Force (JCU RAF)
Registration: VT290
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Littey Wood Farm, Bradley, Staffordshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:
Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4, VT290, JCU (Jet Conversion Unit) RAF: Written off (destroyed) 17/8/53 when flew into the ground at Littey Wood Farm, Bradley, Staffordshire. Pilot killed.

The pilot is believed to have suffered from the effects of anoxia (oxygen starvation) at 40,000 feet on a sortie from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire. His aircraft then descended in an uncontrolled dive (with the pilot having passed out) until it reached an altitude of 2,000 feet, when the pilot partially recovered from his anoxia, and then initiated violent control movements in an attempt to recover the aircraft from its dive.

However, the aircraft struck a hedge at high speed whilst low flying in poor visibility, and it crashed at Littey Wood Farm, Bradley, Staffordshire. The aircraft then flew into a haystack, setting it on fire. Thr Meteor disintegrated during this impact, and the pilot was killed instantly. He was:

Air Vice Marshal William Arthur Darville Brook CB CBE, RAF (Service number 16029, aged 52)

(CB = Companion of the Order of The Bath. CBE = Commander of the Order of the British Empire). Air Vice Marshall Brook was probably the highest ranking RAF officer ever to be killed in a flying accident in peacetime. At the time of his death, he was AOC (Air Officer Commanding) No.3 Group. RAF. It had already been announced that he would assume the post of Vice-Chief of Air Staff from 1 September 1953 (some two weeks after the above fatal accident) with promotion to the rank of Air Marshal.

The official Coroner's Verdicts into the incident was that AVM Brook had sustained "death by misadventure". However, a number of fatal crashes were caused by Meteor pilots suffering from anoxia, passing out and losing control of their aircraft, and this could not be ruled out.


1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.149 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Last Take-off: A Record of RAF Aircraft Losses 1950 to 1953 Colin Cummings p 402-403
3. Royal Air Force Aircraft SA100-VZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1985 p 86)
4. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT233/166:
5. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 5/32/S2647:

Related books:

Revision history:

04-Jan-2020 22:40 Dr. John Smith Added
04-Jan-2020 22:47 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Operator]

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