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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 58326
Last updated: 12 June 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic HUNT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Hawker Hunter F Mk 2
Owner/operator:263 (Fellowship of the Bellows) Squadron Royal Air Force (263 (Fellowship of the Bellows) Sqn RAF)
Registration: WN921
C/n / msn: S4/U/2929
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Aircraft missing
Location:Thames Estuary, 5 miles NW of RAF Manston, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Wattisham, Suffolk
Destination airport:RAF Wattisham, Suffolk
Hawker Hunter F.Mk.2 WN921: Delivered to the RAF on 1/10/54 to 5 MU RAF Kemble. RAF Service career in 1955-56 was firstly with the CFE AFDS (Central Fighter Establishment Air Fighting Development Squadron), and then to 263 Squadron RAF coded "S"

Written off (destroyed) 6/3/56: Took off from Wattisham for a night cross country sortie, being routed Wattisham-Tangmere-Manston-Wattisham, at an altitude of 32,000 feet. However, after take off, nothing more was heard. The pilot had apparently intended to carry out an unauthorised flight over a lighthouse in the Thames Estuary and then fly up the coast of Suffolk. It is possible that he flew into the sea, as the last recorded position of the Hunter on radar was over the Thames Estuary, five miles north-west of RAF Manston, Kent. No trace of the aircraft or the pilot was ever found.

Note that the Hawker Hunter F.2 WN904 at the Sywell Aviation Museum is painted on the starboard side as WN921 "S" of 263 Squadron. It is of course NOT the "real" WN921. According to the Museum's website:

"In 2018 we were also contacted by Mary-Anne Andrews, the daughter of a pilot lost in a Hunter F.Mk.2 of 257’s sister squadron at Wattisham – 263 Squadron. On 6th March 1956, 23-year-old Flying Officer Dennis Whiteman took off from RAF Wattisham on a routine night time cross country training flight in Hawker Hunter F.2 WN921 of 263 Sqn. His route was to take him via various light houses on the coast on a ’round robin’, returning to Wattisham within an hour or so. Sadly, he never returned; no distress calls were heard and no wreckage was ever found. He was just 23 years old. It is likely that his jet crashed into the sea, but we will likely never know. Mary-Anne’s story moved us to hatch a cunning plan – we would keep up the tradition of dual squadron markings on WN904 by marking her up on one side as WN921/‘S – Sugar’ – her father’s jet – so that she would be a 263 Squadron airframe on one side, and 257 on the other."


1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings – Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.177 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983 p 81)
3. Category Five; A Catalogue of RAF Aircraft Losses 1954 to 2009 by Colin Cummings p.184

Revision history:

10-Jan-2009 11:55 ASN archive Added
04-Dec-2011 15:51 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
26-Jun-2012 14:24 Nepa Updated [Operator]
30-May-2013 13:59 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location]
12-Jun-2020 23:19 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Cn, Location, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]

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