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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 58322
Last updated: 23 October 2019
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Date:17-APR-1956
Time:16:18 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic HUNT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Hawker Hunter F5
Owner/operator:41 Squadron Royal Air Force (41 Sqn RAF)
Registration: WN965
C/n / msn: S4/U/2963
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Barn End Lane, Wilmington, near Dartford, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Biggin Hill, Kent
Destination airport:
Narrative:
On Tuesday 17th April, 1956, Flying Officer J.P.J. Munroe, of 41 Squadron at RAF Biggin Hill, took off in Hawker Hunter WN965 for a sortie to include aerobatics at a height greater than 11,000 feet, followed by a practice diversion and a practice 'flame out' landing back at base. After receiving taxi clearance from the control tower, the pilot took off at 16.14 hours and was seen to behave in a normal manner, turning to starboard on to the 'safety lane' followed by straightening out and climbing away. Two unusual things were noted - firstly that Munroe failed to wait for take-off clearance, and the officer on duty in the tower noted this and resolved to speak to the pilot about the breach on his return. Secondly, Munroe failed to switch to the approach frequency as was expected.

After between three and four minutes from becoming airborne, the Hunter was seen to emerge from cloud at around 2,000 feet in a high speed, steep dive. It struck the ground at Barn End Lane, Wilmington, near Dartford, Kent, killing the pilot instantly.

The investigation that followed showed that the jet had hit at very high speed and had formed a crater 28 feet by 24 feet, and 8 feet deep - the RAF had to obtain a digger from the Maintenance Unit to excavate this further to a depth of 25 feet and 60 feet wide to remove what little remained of WN965. As for Flying Officer Munroe, all that they could recover was barely enough tissue fragments to 'fill a small jar'.

The findings of the Court of Inquiry were extremely vague..

"In the opinion of the Court, the pilot found himself in some sort of trouble and got out of control. It is considered that he did not call up as he would have been too busy trying to recover from his predicament".

The headstone for F/O Munroe at Biggin Hill, and details from the Armed Forces Memorial 'Roll of Honour' are as follows:

Surname: MUNROE
Forenames/Initials: John Philip James
Rank: Flying Officer
Service: Royal Air Force
Service Number: 2485699
Station: RAF Biggin Hill
Date of Birth: 03 May 1932
Age: 23
Date of Death: 17 April 1956
Cemetery Name: Biggin Hill Cemetery
Cemetery Address: Church Rd Biggin Hill Kent
Grave Number: 22

Sources:

http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1956.htm
http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=748.0
https://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?t=106447
http://www.wilmingtonpc.kentparishes.gov.uk/default.cfm?pid=3371
http://www.the-best-of-british.com/PlaneCrazyHeritage/farnborough/Fnb57/Biggin57/BH07.htm
http://www.wilmingtonpc.kentparishes.gov.uk/default.cfm?pid=messages&threadid=1687


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
10-Jan-2009 11:55 ASN archive Added
27-Feb-2011 09:30 Anon. Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants]
04-Dec-2011 16:23 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
31-Mar-2012 17:31 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Source, Narrative]
15-Aug-2012 08:34 Nepa Updated [Operator]

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