Meteor WF700 Crashed Benfleet, Essex, 1952

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Called in at our local bus museum today and part of their display included some pictures of the damage caused by a Meteor which crashed in Benfleet, Essex in 1952. The gent who showed me around was about 6 years old at the time of the accident and although the aircraft crashed literally 60 feet or so from him the only casualties were some chickens.
I said I would try to find out more about the aircraft and have managed to track down that it was Meteor F8 WF700 from 41 squadron at Biggin Hill. Pilot was Sqdn Leader J Miller who ejected with minor injuries after an in flight fire. Accident date was 12 April 1952 and the aircraft was described as damaged beyond repair (you can say that again!).
I wondered if anyone on the forum has a more detailed report of the accident and better still a photo (or source for a photo) of WF700 which they would allow me to copy for the museum.
Any help would be appreciated.

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WJ244

I asked a similar question some time ago, because my Dad, who was also 6 at the time saw the aftermath too, having cycled there with his brothers. He distinctly remembers chickens being up on a telegraph wire...an unusual situation for a flightless bird!!

Which bus museum? He'd love to see the photo...

http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showthread.php?t=78411&highlight=benfleet
http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/PROJECT/YEAR_Pages/1952.htm#apr

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I notice that Minibushire popped into the 'Sarfend' forum to advise that a topic there is also being discussed here, so I thought it only fair to post the link.
http://www.sarfend.co.uk/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1148642301

NB: Benfleet is further 'up' the road from Westcliff, or Vestecliff, as we knew it when I was a lad in 50s Southend.

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I must have missed the original post about this accident.
The posts on the Southend forum refer to a completely different incident which occured a few roads away from Southend United football ground at Roots Hall which is not too far from the town centre. I remember that there used to be an original newspaper cutting about the Westcliff accident in the entrance foyer at the Historic Aircraft Museum.
The photos of the Benfleet accident are in the Castlepoint Bus Museum in Point Road, Canvey Island.
http://www.castlepointtransportmuseum.co.uk/index.htm

Sorry but I don't know the name of the gent that showed me round who had witnessed the accident but if it is any help his wife runs the museum shop.
Can anyone help with a photo please preferably of WF700 but any 41 Squadron Meteor F8 would be better then the T7 picture they have on the board now.

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The Meteor crash was at Westcliff-on-Sea, nowhere near to Roots Hall.

Are you now suggesting the possibility of three separate accidents in a similar timeframe in that area, Westcliff, Southend and Benfleet?:confused:

I draw your attention to Old Fart's post in the earlier thread on this subject:

Old Fart
Rank 5 Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Southend-on-Sea, Essex
Posts: 678
I have extensively reseached the accident:

Monday September 10th 1951: RAF Gloster Meteor F8 VZ519 of 84sqn flown by Pilot Officer Lionel Millikin broke up in mid air over Westcliff, fuselage crashing onto Hainault Avenue, 88 Beedell was destroyed, wreckage was strewn across Ramaz Drive & Brightwell Avenue as well, the Pilot was attempting to get to Southend Airport when the aircraft broke up his body was found 20p minites after the crash still strapped in his seat.

An engine was recoverd from near Southend Pier. Those killed on the ground were: Mr S Smith & Mrs A M Gilbert with Mrs F Sydenham dieing later in Southend Genreal Hospital. The accident also injured Mr H Duck.

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I think there is some confusion here. The Meteor which crashed in Westcliff fell onto Hainault Avenue and the surrounding roads including Beedell Avenue, Ramuz Drive and Brightwell Avenue. These are maybe half a mile or less from Roots Hall as one end of Roots Hall stadium backs onto the rear gardens of the houses in Shakespeare Drive - a road which runs parallel with those where the aircraft came down. I just used Roots Hall as a nearby landmark which would help anyone who didn't know Southend too well to get an idea of the area of the crash site. If I misled anyone into thinking there were 3 seperate incidents then I apologise.

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Meteor Crash

Hello All.

I have looked at this site on and off for a few years now. I actually saw that meteor fall apart.
Although only four years old, I can still remember the pieces of wreckage falling from the sky, some were spinning, some seemed to float down. We looked in that direction because of the unusal noise, I can't remember exactely what noise, but my Mother turned first.
My Mother with my Sister and I were returning from ordering some coal.
We lived in Ramuz Drive #89, When we got to the bottom of our road, I remember my Mother getting worried as we saw a house burning which, from the bottom of the road looked as though it was ours, A nieghbour coming down the hill, told her that it wasn't our house that was hit. I also remember a few days after, seeing the round RAF symbol on a piece of wreckage in another garden in the street next to Ramuz Drive. I had a tricycle and in those days kids could go out for rides. I havn't been back for years, I have lived in Canada since 1976.

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And by coincidence the two accidents mentioned in this thread (S/L John Miller of 41 Sqn and F/O Lionel Millikin of 263 Sqn) feature in a new book on the Meteor due to be released in September.

Peter

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A brief mention in The Times on Monday 14 April 1952

[ATTACH]184697[/ATTACH]

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Profile picture for user paulmcmillan

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I have VZ510 for 10 Sept 1951

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Cheers Paul, you just bbeat me to the edit :)

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I knew about the Ramuz Drive crash, but not about the Benfleet one.

Whereabouts in Benfleet ?

I'm sure I also remember (many years ago) reading about an RAF pilot who ejected from a Meteor in the vicinity of
Southend. Not connected with either of these I imagine ?, not the Ramuz drive crash anyway.

Seems they must have flown in this area quite a lot. My Brother in Law told me how he got a flight down to Southend in a
Meteor while he was doing his National Service. The pilot letting him fly it back to Norfolk.

Question: Did all 2 seat Meteors have dual controls ?

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Two-seat Meteors

Yes, up until the advent of the night fighter Meteors, all two seaters (T.7's) had dual controls as they were Meteor trainers.

Anon.

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http://www.benfleethistory.org.uk/page_id__159_path__0p4p.aspx

This could well be the incident referred to in post 13 where the pilot ejected. One of the people who helps run Castlepoint Transport Museum witnessed this crash as a boy and I managed to find out more about it for him.
As a result of my original post I received a PM via this forum from the pilot as below:

I have recently joined this Key Publishing forum and seen your comments about the above crash. I am John Miller, the pilot of that Meteor. As you know the crash occurred near Southend. I was taken to Southend Hospital. I recovered from my inuries and subsequently went on to fly Hunters, Canberras, Valiants and Vulcans. I left the Royal Air Force in 1969.
The cause of the accident was a turbine disc failure in the starboard engine which disintegrated and set fire to the fuel tanks. The fire was the cause of my hasty exit.
Dusty Miller

Thanks again to John Miller for bothering to get in touch. I printed out your posting and passed it to Keith at Castlepoint Transport Museum who was very surprised and pleased to get the pilots account of the incident.

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Thanks for the info, that clears another story up.

I think I may have read about John Miller's ejection, in a copy of
readers digest, a long time ago.

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Thanks for the info, that clears another story up.

I think I may have read about John Miller's ejection, in a copy of
readers digest, a long time ago. I may be mixing this up with a different story,
but I seen to remember his ejection being at high altitude ?

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[QUOTE]I think I may have read about John Miller's ejection, in a copy of readers digest, a long time ago[QUOTE]

Were you at the Dentist at the time ?

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Good work WJ

and the post on the sarfend site 2 years ago was my doing :/

Jamie