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Author Topic: Sub Lieutenant Keith Langford  (Read 137 times)
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« on: May 03, 2017, 16:19:53 PM »

Keith Langford.
Sub Lieutenant
Fleet Air Arm - HMS Peregrine

Died on Saturday 25th February 1956

Buried in the churchyard of St. Mary's at Clymping, Ford, West Sussex which is close to what was RNAS Ford - HMS Peregrine.

This post has two purposes.

Firstly - I have photographed Sub Lieutenant Langford's headstone which is getting severely weather-worn and quite soon will not be legible.  Although he rests in what is referred to as the "Commonwealth War Graves" section of St. Mary's at Clymping, his is not a CWGC burial and as such I don't think that the CWGC would consider replacing his headstone.  The headstone is in the form of the CWGC pattern but with the small shoulders.  If we have a couple of bad winters his inscription could be totally illegible.

The inscription, as far as I can make out, reads :

25th FEBRUARY 1956  AGED
                 (his age is illegible - I think it says 30 years)

The family inscription at the foot of his headstone reads :


Secondly  - I would like to know a bit more about the incident which led to the death of Sub Lieutenant Keith Langford.

The only internet reference I have access to is the Naval History Net which shows :

 Saturday, 25 February 1956
 LANGFORD, Keith A, Sub Lieutenant, died

I've searched the newspaper archives with no success and likewise with the National Archives index at Kew.  Any help would be appreciated.

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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2017, 16:29:20 PM »

Regarding the headstone itself, I would suggest contacting the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre. A small quote from them below, which seems to apply in this case..

"The MOD offers to maintain headstones marking the graves of those who have died in military service (since 1 January 1948), provided the individual receives a service funded funeral. The grave is marked by a military pattern headstone and any deeds are held by the JCCC."

Littlehampton Gazette - Friday 02 March 1956

The driver and conductor of a Southdown bus left their vehicle when they saw a jet aircraft crash in a field and burst into flames near Bilsham Corner, Yapton, on Saturday. The bus crew ran across two fields and leaped two ice-bound ditches in an attempt to save the pilot, but he was dead when they reached the wrecked plane.

The passengers on the No. 31 bus travelling from Littlehampton to Bognor watched the plane stall and then bury its nose four feet into the ground and explode in a great cloud of smoke.

The pilot was Sub-Lieutenant Keith Alan Langford, aged 23, of Bristol. The plane, a Sea Hawk, was one of a number making dummy aircraft-carrier deck landings at Ford Royal Naval Air Station. It broke into three main portions as it cut a long furrow in the ploughed land and fragments were spread across two fields. The fuselage hurtled to the edge of one field and burst into flame. The pilot had made a last-second attempt to escape by his ejector seat.

The crash occurred only 600 yards from the main Littlehampton to Bognor road on Loveys' Farm, Bilsham, and three-quarters of a mile from the western end of the airfield's main runway.

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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2017, 18:12:11 PM »

Thank you John,

I will contact the JCCC and see what they can do.

I'm also grateful for the BNA newspaper archive article.  I hadn't searched that far ahead.  I was more used to the pre-war years when someone died and they held the Coroner's Inquest that day or within a day or two.  I'll do a wider search next time.

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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2017, 22:00:29 PM »

Keith Allan Langford

Born 21.8.1932, Romsey District, Hants

6.6.1951. On SS Wooltan from London to Brisbane. Keith aged 18 in the RN. Home address 261 Ilchester Crescent, Bristol.

22.6.1953 On SS Maloja* from Brisbane to London Aged 20 in the RN. Address 21 Abbots Way, Bristol

From a Public Tree, Ancestry:-
“Keith was killed in an accident when he was taking part in a practice exercise flying for the R.A.F. out of R.A.F. Lossiemouth in Scotland. He ejected from his jet but he was too low for his parachute to open.”
(was this exercise from Lossiemouth to Ford??)

His Father George in WW1—“ 1915: 15 November: entered war theatre 1: Pte 8610 Army Cyclist Corps; Pte 162568 Machine Gun Corps; Pte 25565 Cameroonian (Scottish Rifles)”
His father changed his name from George Crockford to John Langford in 1929, at birth of 1st child with his 2nd wife.

* the earlier SS Maloja subject of separate post

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