'We crashed into a minefield': RAF Canberra navigator recounts crash

Former RAF Canberra navigator John Hyde recalls the time his jet suffered a double engine failure after dark in the tale of a rumble seat, a very annoyed officer, and a mine field!

It was March 6, 1958. I was a 25-year-old navigator/observer with 35 Squadron flying with my usual crew – pilot Flt Lt Arthur Desmond ‘Kiwi’ Ashworth from New Zealand and nav plotter Fg Off Brian Dockar – in Canberra B.2 WK125. At the time, I was a flying officer and we were on detachment to RAF Luqa in Malta from Upwood in Cambridgeshire.

RAF Canberra
The extent of the damage to Canberra B.2 WK125 only became apparent the following day
All images via John Hyde

We had been authorised for a day/night bombing sortie on the range near RAF El Adem across the Mediterranean in Libya. After dropping eight visual practice bombs that morning and another eight smoke/flash rounds after dark, we headed back to Luqa, about 600 miles to the northwest. Having been lying prone in the nose dropping the ‘bombs’, I climbed back into my ejection seat as we turned for home.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all KeyAero content
  • Exclusive in-depth articles and analysis, videos, quizzes added daily
  • A fully searchable archive – boasting hundreds of thousands of pieces of quality aviation content
  • Access to read all our leading aviation magazines online - meaning you can enjoy the likes of FlyPast, Aeroplane Monthly, AirForces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation News, Airports of the World, PC Pilot and Airliner World - as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below