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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 58255
Last updated: 26 September 2021
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Date:07-JUN-1957
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic HUNT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Hawker Hunter F Mk 6
Owner/operator:111 (Treble One) Squadron Royal Air Force (111 (Treble One) Sqn RAF)
Registration: XF525
MSN: S4/U/3371
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Epping-Ongar Railway Line, North Weald, Essex -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Demo/Airshow/Display
Departure airport:RAF North Weald, Essex
Destination airport:RAF North Weald, Essex
Narrative:
Mid-air collision between two 111 Squadron Hunters during an aerobatic display rehearsal near RAF North Weald, Essex. One of the damaged Hunters involved limped as far as Stansted where it managed to land successfully on the long runway; the other crashed onto the Epping-Ongar railway at North Weald. (The eastern end of the London Underground Central Line, which closed in 1994). The pilot Flying Officer David Campbell Garrett (Service Number 4034662, aged 27) was killed.

The track was badly damaged by wreckage and a steam train was derailed. Three of the 20 passengers were slightly injured and the driver, Arthur Green, who operated out of Stratford Depot, was commended for his actions. Wreckage from the jet could be seen in the area for many years afterwards.

As for the other Hunter involved (XE621) - it survived but finally crashed in a separate incident on 30/1/62

The crash of Hunter XF525 was one of three Hawker Hunters (XF525, WN969 and WT700) which all crashed on the same day (7 June 1957). A contemporary local newspaper combined the three accidents into one article: (Birmingham Daily Post - Saturday 8 June 1957)

"THREE HUNTERS IN CRASHES
Exploding Jet Fighter Derails Train
A TRAIN was derailed on lines buckled by the blast from an exploding Hunter jet fighter when it crashed 400 yards away after a mid-air collision with another Hunter at R.A.F. North Weald, Essex, yesterday.

The pilot was killed. None of the passengers was injured. The aircraft was one of the famous aerobatic team of five Hunters of No. 111 Squadron which performed at the Paris Air Show last week. It collided with another of the team as they practised high-speed wing-tip manoeuvres. The other Hunter landed with the rest of the formation at R.A.F. Stansted. Essex. The pilot was uninjured.

As the Hunter crashed the train driver braked and had almost stopped when the leading coach was derailed. It remained upright. Three passengers were treated at hospital for shock. Wreckage was scattered over a wide area. Some damaged a bungalow.

EJECTION ESCAPE

It was the third of three Hunter crashes yesterday.

The first was at Downe, Kent, soon after the aircraft had taken off from Biggin Hill. Flames belched from the aircraft's rear as it left the runway, and three minutes later the pilot, a South African, pulled his blazing machine at rooftop level above farmhouses before using his ejector seat at 800 ft. He landed by parachute unhurt. The Hunter crashed into a field, killing a horse as it exploded.

The second was on sand flats near R.A.F. Chivenor, North Devon. A wing was torn off when the aircraft made a crash landing, but the pilot walked several hundred yards to the aerodrome. The aircraft was later covered by the tide."

According to an eyewitness report from Andrew M. Ockenden, one of the RAF ground crew of 111 Squadron’s Black Arrows, who knew and worked with Flying Officer Dave Garratt:

"I knew Flying Officer Dave Garratt when I was a member of the ground crew of the Black Arrows aerobatics team from 1956 to 1959. Many times I strapped him into his aircraft before he took off with the team either for a display or in practise. He was a very popular pilot amongst us ‘erks’ and his career in the RAF is also one which would have inspired many young men to pursue their dream to become Fighter pilots. He started his career after training, as a sergeant pilot, and became commissioned a few years later.

I believe I may also have known Roy Bell. As you may know those with the name of Bell were always nicknamed Dinger! The Dinger that I knew at North Weald all those years ago was, I believe what we called a safety and surface worker. Some worked on safety equipment whilst others, and I think Roy was one, who painted the aircraft, and certainly their busy time was when the Hunters were painted black (Cellon Docker paint), instead of their previous camouflage paint scheme.

The accident which claimed the life of Dave Garratt was the result of two aircraft touching wings. The aircraft were pulling out of a loop in V formation, and it was the pair on the left of the formation which collided with each other. Dave Garratt’s aircraft was the outermost aircraft at that side, and he had no chance to recover, considering the direction in which they were going towards the main road to Epping from North Weald. It is a miracle that the aircraft did not crash into the hangar nearest to that road, in which case there may well have been many casualties. In those days it was the hangar of ASF (Aircraft Servicing Flight), the hangar in which the aircraft were normally painted with their colour scheme.

The aircraft which collided with Dave’s aircraft went to land at Stansted. With 3 other members of the ground crew I was sent by Land Rover to Stansted to examine the aircraft for damage and to bring back the pilot who was in a state of shock. The poor man could hardly speak and never flew again. I later met him when he had become a Wing Commander doing administrative duties.

I was a member of the Guard of Honour at the funeral at the St. Andrew Church in North Weald and with another member, who is a good friend, we visit when we can get together to pay our respects to him."

Sources:

1. Chelmsford Weekly News Feb 18 1999
2. Birmingham Daily Post - Saturday 8 June 1957
3. http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=XF
4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/2566441733/in/photostream/
5. The Panama American (June 09, 1957 p3): http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00010883/02250/3j
6. http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1957.htm
7. https://downthetubes.net/?p=30185
8. http://www.nwamuseum.co.uk/HurricaneSummer2016.pdf

Other occurrences involving this aircraft

6 Apr 1973 XG135 45 Sqn RAF 0 2 miles E of RAF Wittering, Cambridgeshire (EGXT) w/o

Media:

Two 111 Squadron Hawker Hunter F.6s (in the Black Arrows colour scheme) being refuelling at RAF North Weald, Essex in 1957 THE ROYAL AIR FORCE, 1950-1969 THE ROYAL AIR FORCE, 1950-1969 © IWM (RAF-T 232)

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
10-Jan-2009 11:55 ASN archive Added
20-Mar-2012 09:20 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
20-Mar-2012 09:24 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
30-Mar-2012 14:52 Dr. John Smith Updated [Embed code]
31-Mar-2012 04:27 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
31-Mar-2012 04:58 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Embed code, Narrative]
17-Aug-2012 01:15 Nepa Updated [Operator, Embed code]
04-Aug-2013 13:26 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Narrative]
18-Mar-2015 19:26 TB Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
08-Dec-2015 16:52 TB Updated [Source, Narrative]
27-Jan-2020 22:02 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Source]
27-Jan-2020 22:35 stehlik49 Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Nature, Operator]
18-Jul-2020 21:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
18-Jul-2020 21:44 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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