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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 22784
Last updated: 16 October 2019
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Time:c. 22:00 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic hpvi model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Handley Page Victor K.1
Owner/operator:TTF (Tanker Training Flight) RAF Marham
Registration: XH646
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:3
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Kelling Heath, Holt, Norfolk, 27 NM NE Marham -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:RAF Marham, Norfolk (KNF/EGYM)
Destination airport:RAF Marham,
On 19/8/1968 Victor K.1 XH646 of TTF Squadron, RAF collided in mid air with RAF Canberra B(I)6 WT325 of 213 Squadron, RAF at Kelling Heath, Holt, Norfolk, 27 miles north east of Marham

The last message from the Victor's pilot was " I am at 13,500 feet and climbing ..." The Canberra was based at Bruggen in Germany and was returning there after carrying out a practice bombing run on a bombing range in England. The weather was bad at the time with a thunderstorm in the area.

Witnesses on the ground reported seeing a huge fireball in the sky and then aircraft wreckage began to rain down on the town of Holt. Contributing to the tragedy was the poor performance of the surveillance radar in use. At the time of the collision both aircraft were in the ' overhead ' or blind spot in the radar coverage.

Per eye witness account:
"My pal and I were travelling towards Holt in his ancient Morris Minor on the night of the incident. We were about 5 miles from Holt after Cowleys's finest had just managed to get us up one of the highest and steepest hills in Norfolk (about 300ft !) in second gear. Once at the top, we turned Westward into a dark and dismal night, even at this early hour of the night,with constant rain and drizzle.

Suddenly, the whole landscape was lit as daylight in a steady bright sodium type light such that we could clearly see each others puzzled faces. We stopped the car and got out and discussed what it could be. Innocently and foolishly, we thought it might be a nuclear first strike or an accidental explosion and if we would be able to see the mushroom cloud above the cloud base!! It should be remembered this was a short while after the Cuban Crisis and we were still deep into the Cold War. Additionally, just beyond Holt lay the USAF SAC base at Sculthorpe, the Bloodhound missile base of West Raynham and a bit further on RAF Marham. Behind us lay RAF Coltishall.

This 'daylight' lasted, to us, a very long time and there was an eerie silence to go with it until suddenly a lone bright flare like light spiralled down through the highlighted cloud base. Then was a gradual localised increase in the light over the Holt area, accompanied by an ever increasing roaring that reached a crescendo as a very bright flaming mass,accompanied by smaller but equally bright objects, broke through the cloud base and a few seconds later reverted the area back to blackness and silence.

We thought that because of the size of the 'asteroid' type fire, it may have been an airliner and we drove on towards Holt until we reached the outskirts of the town at a hamlet called High Kelling. Here we could see many pieces of smouldering wreckage and as mad as it seemed now, we picked up some with ref numbers on them and took them through the far side of Holt to the local small Police Station ! (We had left some 'cylinders' that were laying around as they looked menacing - anyway they didn't have ref numbers on that we could see. ) The station desk was being manned by one poor PC who must have thought WWW3 had started on his shift as the phone was going crazy and we were not the first to turn the station into Steptoe's backyard. Despite the mayhem all around him, he very politely declined our offer to bring him more wreckage in and advised all that we should leave all where it lay, go home and only report any casualties along the way.

It was amazing that as far as I am aware no one on the ground was seriously hurt but the whole area was shocked at the scale of the loss of life."

Crew of Victor K.1 XH646 consisted of :

Sqn Ldr Michael Thomas Doyle, 504369, Navigator. Aged 39
Flt Lt William Anthony Gallienne AFM, 3132036, Senior pilot/Aircraft Captain. Aged 36
Flg Off Roger Stanley Morton, 4232298, Co-pilot. Aged 26
Flt/Lt Kenneth John Peacock, 5061994, Navigator. Aged 31

Crew of Canberra WT325
Flt Lt J Slabber
Flg Off S Cowie
Flg Off J Woolnough



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Revision history:

11-Sep-2008 04:08 angels one five Added
11-Sep-2008 05:48 angels one five Updated
12-Aug-2011 06:39 Brug 213 Updated [Other fatalities, Source, Narrative]
22-Aug-2011 08:54 Uli Elch Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
07-May-2012 13:57 harro Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
17-Oct-2013 20:33 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
18-Oct-2018 15:16 Nepa Updated [Time, Operator, Destination airport, Operator]
29-Jan-2019 20:56 kcw Updated [Operator]
12-May-2019 19:07 Anon. Updated [Narrative]

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