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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 232906
Last updated: 20 April 2020
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Type:Gloster Meteor F.Mk 4
Owner/operator:43 (China-British) Squadron Royal Air Force (43 (China-British) Sqn RAF)
Registration: VT238
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Gumber Farm, Slindon, West Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:RAF Tangmere, Chichester, West Sussex
Destination airport:RAF Tangmere, West Sussex
Two Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4s of 43 Squadron (VT238 and VT276) were destroyed when they flew into high ground on their approach to Tangmere in low cloud and poor visibility on 25 November 1949. These two aircraft were the second pair of a formation carrying out a controlled descent through cloud, but were not in visual contact with the leading paid (who completed their descent safely).

Due to the above two aircraft being in the "wrong starting position" this pair of Meteors were some four miles south of the leading pair, and were "homed in" by ground control incorrectly, descending into trees on a hillside at a height of 850 agl. The ground controller failed to make allowance for a build up or errors in the approach, and gave the above paid of Meteor a turn onto a near bearing too early, causing them to be in the wrong position over high ground.

Whilst most sources give the crash location as being near Slindon, one has suggested that it may have been at Upwaltham. The two aircraft were:

VT238 ["SW-R"] Pilot A.V.Lancey
VT276 ["SW-N"] Pilot R.S.Jefferies

Both pilots were killed. According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Chichester Observer" - Saturday 3 December 1949):

Pilot A. C. Lancey, of Bracklesham Bay, who was stationed at Tangmere, was one of two pilots killed on Friday of last week when their meteors collided in mid-air over Slindon. The 'planes crashed into a wood.

Men working on Gumber Farm, half-a-mile away, heard a "swishing" through the trees and saw birds rise into the air above the wood. Mr. R. Brooks and two other men went to find out what had happened. They drove up in a truck, left it and searched for some time before finding the 'planes. So thick is the wood that the men were unable to find the truck. Mr. Brooks ran home to telephone to the police and R.A.F. authorities, but his father had already notified them.

Pilot Lancey leaves a widow and a small baby. The other pilot was R. S. Jefferies, of Peckham Rye."

Crew of Meteor VT238: Pilot II Arthur Venning Lancey, RAF (Pilot, Service Number 1607384, aged 25).Buried at Bitterne Churchyard, Bitterne, Southampton, Hampshire
Crew of Meteor VT276: Pilot III Ronald Samuel Jefferies, RAF (Pilot, Service Number 3046103, aged 29).

Despite press reports at the time, which over-simplified their accounts of the incident, the two aircraft did NOT collide: they were receiving a Direction Finding (DF) let down through cloud from Tangmere air traffic control. A mistake was made and the aircraft (which would have been in tight formation) were descended too early with the inevitable tragic result. Some sources state that the two Meteors crashed at two separate locations: VT238 at Gumber Farm, Slindon, Arundel, and VT276 at Upwaltham, a village and parish in the District of Chichester in West Sussex, England located twelve kilometres (8 miles) north east of Chichester on the A285 road. It is in the civil parish of Eartham.


1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p. 95 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Final Landings: A Record of RAF Aircraft Losses 1946 to 1949 by Colin Cummings p 557
3. Royal Air Force Aircraft SA100-VZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983 p 84)
4. The Fighting Cocks: 43 (Fighter) Squadron p 324 By Jimmy Beedle

Related books:

Revision history:

11-Feb-2020 22:10 Dr. John Smith Added
11-Feb-2020 22:13 Iwosh Updated [Operator, Operator]
11-Feb-2020 22:17 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
11-Feb-2020 22:18 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
12-Feb-2020 09:02 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Destination airport, Operator]
20-Apr-2020 20:40 Allach Updated [Operator, Operator]

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