USAF F111 crash nr Newmarket - 1970s - 1980s

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Thanks for posting! We rarely get a first-hand account of an incident. I can imagine that the events must have stayed with you so vividly.

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Welcome Tom.

Do stick around, I am sure you could contribute a great deal here.

Moggy

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Many thanks Capt Bergam for your post, my son in law received the attached cutting from a friend in Newmarket.But it is great to hear it straight from someone involved and did such a great job in avoiding loss of life.
Tony K

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Many thanks Capt Bergam for your post, my son in law received the attached cutting from a friend in Newmarket.But it is great to hear it straight from someone involved and did such a great job in avoiding loss of life.
Tony K

Ah, the newspapers love it when a crashing a/c misses a school...

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I recall reading this article in the paper the next day as my pilot Jerry and I were in the hospital recovering. Thanks for sharing.

Many thanks Capt Bergam for your post, my son in law received the attached cutting from a friend in Newmarket.But it is great to hear it straight from someone involved and did such a great job in avoiding loss of life.
Tony K

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Definitely will stick around. Thanks for the invite.

Welcome Tom.

Do stick around, I am sure you could contribute a great deal here.

Moggy

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This picture was just posted on the 'Old Newmarket' Facebook page. I thought it would be worth sharing here!

 photo 10609_425139460917823_1296449151_n.jpg

The 1987 F-111 crash near Bury Rd.

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That's the aforementioned "orange ball of flame" all right. Well and truly alight pretty much from one end to the other. An obvious conclusion to draw is that ejecting the crew capsule had punctured the forward fuel cell and set that alight, in addition to whatever damage was suffered further back in the collision. (I assume collision damage has to be further back, else the capsule ejection wouldn't have been viable.) Does anyone know if that was 'normal'? One might think that once the crew have taken the decision to leave the aircraft the fate of the rest of the airframe is immaterial, but with three fuel cells and the weapons bay just behind the capsule a fairly large bang could happen pretty quickly...

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What a dramatic photo. Great find Mike.

Rob

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Reading this suddenly reminded me of the 1987 event.
I was making my way from Six Mile Bottom to Bury St Edmunds in my Luton van.
I'd just come through the high street and could see column of thick black smoke up ahead, but had no clue as to what it was.
Anyway, As I approached the traffic light junction where the road splits off towards the A11 one way or Kentford/Bury the other with a horse crossing, it was clear that there was a fire on the left at the junction which I thought was a house.
When I reached the junction, I realised that it was not a house, but an aircraft.
The bulk of what I saw of the aircraft miracuously seemed to be in this little gap between houses with some/most of it seemingly leaning up against a telegraph/electricity pole and was well alight.
I seem to remember It was right next to the house on the left side of the gap, but the house did not seem to be affected as I recall, (lord knows how).
Having had a good ogle for a few minutes, I then carried on with my journey.
The local TV evening news then told us it was an F-111 that had crashed and that the pilots had ejected in their capsule which landed elsewhere, which we now know was bury hill.

Just my little take on the event

Looking at the scene today with the houses and a pole still being present, you'd never guess what had happened there.

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Hi Tony,
The aircrash in newmarket near (not at) Newmarket Paddocks School (on Scaltback estate) was most certainly an F-111. It actually came down behind Norfolk avenue approximately 1 kilometere from the school. The entire population, especially those with children at the school, thought the worst, that indeed it had come down on the school. Fortunately, there was no structural damage to the houses nearby and the pilot and co-pilot came down on the Heath (Racecourse side) and sustained minor injuries.

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It's the first time that I've seen this thread, and interesting in as much as, not long after my parents moved to Watton, a chap and his wife moved in close to them.
He was with the USAF at Lakenheath, and worked on the F-III safety equipment, which included the escape capsule.
He also had a couple of flights in the F-III

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Hi everyone. I realise I have come to this thread quite late, but just in case anyone is reading it several years later like I am, and a bit confused, there were actually two F111 crashes at Newmarket, ten years apart (1977 and 1987). The first crashed near Scaltback school as has been mentioned here, and the other crashed at the edge of Newmarket near the Bury Road. I grew up in Newmarket and although I didn't know much about the first crash, I remember the second one very well. A friend and I were outside at the time but bizarrely saw and heard nothing, but my friend's mum saw the aircraft descending to earth on fire. I grabbed my sister's camera, jumped on my pushbike (being a plane-mad schoolboy at the time) and cycled to the scene. Took quite a few photos of the crash site, the escape pod, the USAF Hercules circling low over the town and the RAF Sea King that came to get the crew from the escape pod (I'm pretty sure it was an RAF one although I distinctly remember it was grey - can only surmise it was still in a Falklands detachment scheme as they were grey at the time iirc) which landed on the side of Warren Hill where the escape pod landed. In what has truly grieved me ever since, my sister had trouble removing the film (no digital in those days!) and fogged the whole thing!! I have three small pieces of zinc oxide coloured metal still which I intend to mount with a model of the aircraft. My friend found a section of airframe with an aerial in it in the woods on Warren Hill but some nice policemen 'liberated' him of it!! I believe the Escape pod of this aircraft is now at Duxford so I guess the pod that someone mentioned at Dumfries is from the earlier 1977 crash (just had a look at some F111 info on the internet and it seems several UK-based F111's crashed in Scotland so chances are it was a pod from one of these that ended up at Dumfries?). Wonderful days - and no-one killed or badly injured in either crash as far as I know.

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For all those curious about the F-111 crash in Newmarket in December of 1977, I was the Weapons System Officer on that day. My pilot, Capt Jerry Kemp and I, Capt Tom Bergam experienced hydraulic failure which caused the aircraft to pitch straight up and then into a spin. We ejected and our first and foremost concern was for the safety of those on the ground. Thank heavens, no one was injured. Although the accident occurred more than 30 years ago, I still remember it vividly.

Tom Bergam later at Beale??

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I’m hoping that Capt Bergam might still be here and see this message. I have come acquired a series of photographs from the crash in 1977 including one of Capt Kemp being assisted away from the capsule. If you are still here Capt. Bergam please do message me and I will forward copies of the images on.

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_Mike_ I live pretty close to Newmarket and would love to see any photos that you’d care to share. 

In 1979 we had an F-111 crash even closer to us near Harlton, not far from Cambridge. I can still remember the bang of the capsule jettisoning - and the helicopters flying around looking for the crew. I would of been around twelve years old at the time!

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I remember an F-111 diverting into Lossiemouth, sometime in  the early 90's, that had an engine poblem.

During it's sortie, parts of it's port (left) engine decided they had enough of spinning at high speed, and left the airframe in a  rapid manner. Fortunately for the crew, the bits exited "stage left", laving a large gaping hole in the rear fuselage, rather than exiting "stage right" and upsetting the other engine. The resulting damage was quite impressive.