Meteor Crash Mid 1950s

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During the mid 1950s (54/55?) I witnessed the crash of a Gloster Meteor over Stoke on Trent. There were two aircraft performing aerobatics over the city when one went into a dive and flew into a flock of birds and broke up in mid air. I believe that the pilot was killed.
Can anyone add more information, such as pilots name aircraft serial No. and squadron?

Regards
Peter Clare

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Profile picture for user Alan Clark

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No Meteors that I am aware of, there's a Canberra that dived straight out of cloud and a venom that also did the same, I'll have another check though the various books.

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I have been through 53, 54, 55 and 56 and there were three crashes in that area of Staffordshire. The only likely one is Harvard Mk.IIB KF713 off 6 FTS which broke up in mid air and dived into the ground on the 17th Feb 1953 killing the pilot, it is recorded as 1 mile SW of Meir.

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Hi Alan,

Thanks for the reply.
I'm quite sure that the aircraft in question was a Meteor. the Harvard crash would be to far from the city, the main part of the aircraft came down in Wolstanton cricket ground.

Regards
Peter

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Hi Alan,

Thanks for the reply.
I'm quite sure that the aircraft in question was a Meteor. the Harvard crash would be to far from the city, the main part of the aircraft came down in Wolstanton cricket ground.

Regards
Peter

Peter,

Following info from Air-Britain's 'Broken Wings' and Colin Cumming's 'Last Take Off':

2 October 1953; Meteor F8; WE856; 19 Sqn; Porthill, Wolstanton, Staffs.

The aircraft had been undertaking aerobatics over Newcastle under Lyme for about 10 minutes when it dived into the ground.

The pilot, Plt Off P R Boulton, was killed in the accident.

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Hi Lauribe,

Many thanks for the details, I knew we would get there in the end.

I understand that the pilots family and girlfriend lived in the area and he was showing off. As I said I witnessed the crash. I had just got off a bus from school and was watching the 'show' the aircraft was putting on when it went into a flock of birds, the forward section, including engines crashed into the cricket ground, the rest ended up about a mile away alongside the London / Manchester railway. Very shocking at the time.

Regards
Peter.

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HI Bit late in the day but take a look at this. On 17 August 1953 52 year old Air Vice-Marshal William Brook, the AOC of 3 Group, took off from RAF Coningsby in a Gloster Meteor, and crashed into a Dutch barn at Bradley, Staffordshire.

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Staffs Crash

HI Bit late in the day but take a look at this. On 17 August 1953 52 year old Air Vice-Marshal William Brook, the AOC of 3 Group, took off from RAF Coningsby in a Gloster Meteor, and crashed into a Dutch barn at Bradley, Staffordshire.

Is this between Stafford (South of) and Penkridge??

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During the mid 1950s (54/55?) I witnessed the crash of a Gloster Meteor over Stoke on Trent. There were two aircraft performing aerobatics over the city when one went into a dive and flew into a flock of birds and broke up in mid air. I believe that the pilot was killed.
Can anyone add more information, such as pilots name aircraft serial No. and squadron?

Regards
Peter Clare

I saw this crash, I was 9 at the time, the aircraft peformed a roll and one of the wings detached, (can't remember if it was port or s/board), this wing landed in the grounds of Wolstanton grammer school and the bulk of the aircraft crashed on the Wolstanton cricket pitch ground where I believe there is a commemorative plaque, I lived right between these two crash sites and I and hundreds of people ran towards the cricket ground observing the huge pall of smoke. The pilots relatives lived in nearby Milehouse lane.

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It was the starboard wing which detached, though that was fairly late on in the break up, it began with the inboard leading edge on the starboard wing (between the engine & fuselage) detaching in an upward direction. After that the aircraft lost its tail and suffered complete break up of the rear fuselage up to forward of the trailing edge of the wings (level with the forward end of the dive brakes which were on the wings). During that break up the starboard wing was over stressed and failed under downward load and it also detached. The centre and forward fuselage together with the entire port wing and starboard wing to outboard side of the engine (minus the inboard leading edge) were together at impact.

According the maps, and photographs, in the accident report the wing came down just outside the school fence, but very close to it.

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Meteor crash, Staffordshire, Aug 17th 1953

Is this between Stafford (South of) and Penkridge??

GCS recollects that it was a lovely summer's day, just right for preparing a field of wheat for the binder. Dad was the incumbent stockman at Coppenhall (sometimes called New) Farm, some 2 3/4 miles ESE from Stafford town center, one of the farms belonging to James Bostock, the co-owner with his brother Godfrey of Lotus Shoes.This field was on the right of the road which went past the church then our farm, down a dip and over a stream, then up to a dog left-right, with the entry before a pond on the right: the road beyond the field came to a T-junction, the left road going past Butterhill Farm and on to Levedale. The binder was attached to the left of a tractor, so a tractor-width swathe was scythed around the cornfield to avoid the waste which would occur if the tractor ran over that corn. Dad did the scything while I, eleven years old, and my two sisters of 10 and seven gathered the cut corn, tied it into sheaves and created 'shocks'. It was glorious, with white fluffy clouds clouds. We were about 1/2 way along the right-hand boundary when we heard banging coming from among the clouds: 'is that planes firing at each other?' I asked dad, 'unlikely' said he, just as the unmistakeable shape of a Gloster Meteor appeared beyond some clouds overhead (it would have been flying almost southerly): it was descending quite rapidly, disapeared from view over the hill near Butterhill Farm, just 1/2 mile away, then a blinding flash of light followed by a huge dark grey mushroom rose above the sky-line, then came an enormous bang. Dad dropped the scythe and started running to the gate, telling us to go home. Dad reached the field entrance and immediately ran up the road: I reached that entrance in time to see him clamber into the rear of a landrover (Frank Madders?) and decided I would run to the scene also. I went through Butterhill Farm and across the fields, being met by a terrible sight of a blazing barn on a neighbouring farm, with a section of hedge leading to the farm very mangled. I was stopped from going near that hedge and skirted the blazing barn, where farm implements and stored hay were well alight, into the field beyond. This field contained a herd of cattle, some of which had been injured by articles from the explosion, and bits of aeroplane, barn, implements and, horrifically, the pilot, were strewn around. I recall coming across the parachute pack with the name 'Brookes' on it. Fire engines eventually arrived - it was an awkward farm to get to - as did 'authority', and we were ushered from the scene, though not until I witnessed the one cow that had been very badly injured put down by the vet. I have no recollection of seeing dad there, nor of getting home, but do recall that the crash made the National News - on radio and newspaper - probably because the pilot was an Air Vice-Marshall. I was told the reason people were kept away from the destroyed hedge section was because that was where the Meteor hit the ground prior to bouncing up into the barn, and that the front undercarriage was there, together with the lower torso and legs of the pilot. I had many sleepless night afterwards.

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The likely cause of the accident involving AVM Brook was anoxia. He had been briefed for a climb to 40,000ft but crashed 20 minutes after take off and the oxygen system was set to 'Normal' and not 'High Flow' as it should have been. It was also thought that the pressurisation had failed, or the pilot had failed to pressurise before the climb, as with normal oxygen and pressurisation it is unlikely that he would have been rendered unconscious.