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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 232036
Last updated: 4 April 2020
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Date:21-JAN-1954
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic VNOM model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
De Havilland DH.112 Venom NF.Mk 2
Owner/operator:23 Squadron Royal Air Force (23 Sqn RAF)
Registration: WL828
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:South Wootton, 2 miles NE of Kings Lynn, Norfolk -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Coltishall, Norfolk
Destination airport:
Narrative:
De Havilland Venom NF.2 WL828, 23 Squadron, RAF: Written off (destroyed) 21/1/54 when crashed at South Wootton, two miles north east of Kings Lynn, Norfolk. Instruments failed while flying in cloud, aircraft dived into the ground out of control. There was low cloud and drizzle when the aircraft was seen to climb and then to dive into the ground from a height of around 600 feet. Both crew killed.

The aircraft took off from RAF Coltishall, Norfolk on a "weather recce" sortie. It was seen flying in and out of cloud, with the pilot flying VFR (Visual Flight Rules) at low level, and relying on his local knowledge of the area instead of his compass or any other on board navigational aids (e.g. altimeter).

When the aircraft began to climb, and the pilot reverted to using his instruments, he may not have noticed that they were not working until it was too late. The pilot therefore lost control of his aircraft, which dived into the ground. The instrument failure was probably caused by a defective inverter.

The pilot was very experienced, having been awarded a DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) in November 1945, after a tour of duty with 47 Squadron. He was appointed as Commanding Officer of 23 Squadron based at Coltishall in Norfolk in December 1951. In 1953 the squadron re-equipped with the Venom NF2 night fighter and, due to a shortage of ferry pilots, Anthony Jacomb-Hood collected the first aircraft from 48 Maintenance Unit at Hawarden on the 5th of November 1953.

Crew of Venom WL828:
Squadron Leader Anthony James Jacomb-Hood DFC, RAF (pilot, Service Number 135501, aged 32)
Pilot Officer Arthur Elwyn Osbourne, RAF (navigator, aged 21)

Note that the official Air Ministry file into the accident (File BT 233/197 - see link #3) gives the serial number of the aircraft involved as "WL838" [sic]. That serial number was never used - it was part of an unallocated "black out block" of unused serials between WL833 and WL845.

Sources:

1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.154 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983 p 76)
3. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT233/197: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C424318
4. Category Five; A Catalogue of RAF Aircraft Losses 1954 to 2009 by Colin Cummings p.29
5. http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=WL
6. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/dh/_DH112%20prodn%20list.txt
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Wootton
8. http://www.hambo.org/lancing/view_man.php?id=360
9. 23 Squadron ORB (Operational Record Book) (Air Ministry Form AM.F/540) for the period 1/1/51 to 31/12/55: File AIR 27/2603/1 at https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D8423807


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
09-Jan-2020 17:33 Dr. John Smith Added
09-Jan-2020 20:58 stehlik49 Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Operator]
04-Apr-2020 00:56 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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