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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 55302
Last updated: 17 October 2019
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Type:Silhouette image of generic hpvi model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Handley Page Victor SR Mk 2
Owner/operator:543 Squadron Royal Air Force (543 Sqn RAF)
Registration: XM716
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Near former RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire, England. -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:RAF Wyton, Huntingdonshire
Destination airport:RAF Wyton
The aircraft crashed, killing the crew of 4:
Squadron Leader John Anthony HOLLAND Captain
Flying Officer Harry WALSH Co‑Pilot
Flight Lieutenant Royston Arthur NORMAN Navigator
Flight Lieutenant Kenneth SMITH Air Electronics Officer

According to two witness accounts:
1) "I was an eye witness. I was returning to RAF Wyton in a Coles crane after unloading some equipment from Huntingdon station. As we were driving up the hill approaching the Wyton cross roads I saw the Victor XM716 take off. After taking of it turned sharply and started to fly back in the direction of take off, when it began to break up in mid-air approximately over the village of Warboys. As we were in the Coles crane we were directed immediately to the crash site.
Flight Lieutenant Royston Arthur NORMAN Navigator was not the scheduled navigator on this demonstration. He was there with his wife Marie and daughter, Gisella, 11, and only boarded the Victor after the scheduled flight navigator became acutely ill just before takeoff.
The aircraft crashed in a field just beyond the village where after hitting the ground it appeared to have further broken up and the cockpit area looked to have broken off and rolled for several hundred yards from the main fuselage. There was film of this accident taking place as it was a press day at RAF Wyton and I seem to recall seeing the crash on the TV news that evening. Has any one got copies of this film ? The aircraft actually did a circuit of the airfield before breaking up, myself along with other ground crew were outside the hangar watching we were all witnesses at the investigation and helped at the crash site. The aircraft flew over the hangar at nearly 90 degrees of bank and covered in shock waves."

2) "I was a groundcrew member of No 543 Sqn at the time of the accident, which happened during a televised display to show the Sqn being declared Operational. The brief was for the aircraft to take-off, do a circuit & fly back down the runway for the benefit of the TV cameras. A practice had been carried out previously in which Sqn Ldr Holland had apparently been cautioned by the Station Commander for an aggressive performance.
The Nav Radar , I believe, had tooth-ache which prevented him from flying. Sqn Ldr Holland took off rapidly and had so much power on in the RH circuit he was unable to line-up on the runway, veering off at about 45 degrees & passing over the Squadron HQ with shock waves covering his inner wings - one Sqn pilot threw his hat on the ground & shouted 'He's Overcooked It'. The aircraft headed out towards Warboys after Sqn Ldr Holland radioed the tower admitting that he'd 'cocked it up' and requested another try, but the Stbd outer wing detached rapidly followed by the tail assembly & then the pressure cabin.
At the accident site the fuselage substantially intact lay in one field with the tail, still joined to the fuselage by wiring harnesses, in an adjacent field & the outer wing in another. The Pressure cabin had totally disintegrated, although the undamaged door sat on top. There had been no escape attempt by the crew, the Co-Pilot was still in the wreckage & Sqn Ldr Holland sat dead in his seat to one side."


1. Eyewitness report above
2. Air Britain: RAF Aircraft XA100 - XZ999, published 2001

Related books:

Revision history:

13-Aug-2011 00:35 stew 47 Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
22-Aug-2011 07:59 Uli Elch Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
07-May-2012 13:57 harro Updated [Source, Embed code]
09-Sep-2013 04:15 Dr.John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
27-Oct-2013 17:33 Voltige Updated [Narrative]
14-Feb-2014 20:00 Peelite Updated [Narrative]
25-Jul-2014 11:43 angels one five Updated [Location, Narrative]
06-Jun-2015 16:10 Angel dot comma Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport]
11-Sep-2019 16:34 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
11-Sep-2019 16:36 harro Updated [Narrative]

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