EE Canberra Accident - Bishops Stortford 1954

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Profile picture for user BIGVERN1966

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15 years 7 months

Posts: 1,179

Hi Guys.

Just been asked by my Mum if I knew anything about a RAF Canberra crashing within in the grounds of Bishops Stortford Boys College in the mid 1950's. I've seen something about it in a local histroy book, but no other details about the aircraft or the incident. Not had any luck on web searches, so can any 'Canberra Expert' help out. (Aircraft mark and Serial, Sqn, Base, Crew, Cause and did the crew get out).

Regards

Richard

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Profile picture for user lauriebe

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21 years 8 months

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Could it be this one? Details from "To Fly No More" by Colin Cummings:

11 Jan 54 WH864 Canberra B2 231 OCU One mile west of Bishop Stortford 2

After some trouble starting an engine, the aircraft took off and after acknowledging air traffic control, nothing further was heard from the crew. About 8 minutes later the aircraft dived into the ground in an inverted attitude. The cause was not determined.

Pilot Officer John Leonard HOYLE 20 Pilot
Flying Officer Michael Harry WEBBER Navigator.

Profile picture for user paulmcmillan

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21 years 8 months

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This is definately the one your mum remembers as this particular aircraft crashed on the playing fields of Bishop's Stortford College

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16 years 10 months

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Bloody hell, I worked for 25 years within a couple of hundred yards of that place, had so much imput with the town and it's local inhabitants, actually did surveys and work on the school and houses in the immediate area and yet this is the first I've heard about this. I actually have several books about the history of Stortford and nothing is mentioned on what must have been a catastrophic episode in the history of the town.
Can this be true or do we mean Bishops Auckland, Bishops Waltham or some similarly named town.
I have to say, that considering the description of the incident, the Boys College is to the west of the town centre, probably not as much as a mile though, would it have taken off from Stansted?
Nice to see you again BigVerne, you always come up with something interesting.

Profile picture for user dhfan

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21 years 8 months

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231 OCU was Bassingbourn so very local. I asked some years ago about a Canberra that crashed at Stanstead Abbots a year or two later.

Profile picture for user BIGVERN1966

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15 years 7 months

Posts: 1,179

This is definately the one your mum remembers as this particular aircraft crashed on the playing fields of Bishop's Stortford College

Well the location is spot on, the Boys College is to the west of the town. (My mum was only 11 at the time, and lived in South London at the time, her interest in aviation dates form the late 50's in watching the Black Arrows do their stuff on the south coast (she loves the Hunter), plus the fact that her old man started working for DH Props at Hatfield about then). The reason she asked me last night was because she had been to a Trefoil guild (ex-girl guide leaders) meeting at the college, where the librarian of the college gave the Stortford branch at talk on the history of the school, and the fact that a Canberra had crashed within the grounds in 1954. The librarian didn't know any details, hence the reason my mum asked me. I've been asked to pass them on to the school.

Cheers

Richard.