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Author Topic: Hunter 4 (WT762) crash, Fleet, July 1955  (Read 403 times)
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John
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« on: January 12, 2014, 09:50:51 AM »

Hawker Hunter WT762, from No. 247 Squadron at RAF Odiham, came to grief on the 7th July, 1955. Piloted by Flying Officer C.G. Price, the aircraft had flown, with others, to Farnborough on the previous day prior to taking part in a planned mass take off and flypast to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Royal Aircraft Establishment. On the day of the celebration, however, tragedy intervened and F/O Price perished.

The formation started up at 15.12 and three minutes later, after taxying out and lining up on the runway, the leading section commenced to roll with successive sections following at five second intervals. Price, in WT762, was 'Black 2' in the fifth section of three. Alternate sections took off 'high' but Black 2 whose section pulled high was seen to remain low and break away to starboard, his undercarriage remaining down. Black 3, who noticed this, informed his leader. Immediately following this Black 2 called "Gone into manual after take-off." Black Leader replied, "Go over to Odiham and if you can't rejoin I will get one of the spares up." Black 2 acknowledged, "Alright".

Hunter WT762 was seen to climb away slowly to an altitude of about 400 feet under power and with the undercarriage still down. About two miles from the airfield boundary, the aircraft commenced a turn and roll to port - shortly after the commencement of this turn, the canopy was seen to jettison as the Hunter continued to roll and lose height. Flying Officer Price ejected, but there was insufficient height for the full cycle of his seat to occur before it struck a tree, killing the unlucky man.

Photographs below show the remains of the rear fuselage of WT762, and a cannon which penetrated a stable wall.

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John Cooper
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2014, 10:08:12 AM »

Colin Cummings book Category Five states
The probable cause was loss of aileron control caused by failure of the hydro booster selector
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 07:23:10 AM »

Some of the recovered parts of WT762 laid out for examination.

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Craggs
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2017, 09:44:22 AM »

I was trying to find out more details about Flying Officer C.G. Price ( full name, burial details etc) when I came across this article :

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 08 July 1955

Princess sees jet fighter crash.

PRINCESS MARGARET saw thick black smoke pouring skywards after a Hawker Hunter, one of Britain's latest supersonic fighters, crashed near Farnborough, Hants, yesterday.  The pilot, believed to be Flight Lieutenant Price, of Odiham (Hants) was killed.

The Princess, who had just taken her seat in the Royal enclosure at the Royal Aircraft Establishment flying display, looked towards the mushroom of smoke, then quickly turned her head away. 

No announcement was made to the crowd and the display, by some of Britan's oldest as well as her latest jet-age planes went on.

Flew in formation.

Only seconds before the crash, the Hunter, one of a formation of 17 had flashed across the airfield in perfect formation.  Then it plunged to earth, apparently with the port wing down.  Two helicopters waiting to take part in the display immediately went to the scene and officials hurried to the crash in cars.  They found the wreckage in a wood at Fleet. 

Tearing through the trees the plane uprooted some and left deep craters, scattering debris over a mile of rough woodland.  The engine, breaking away, fell on some stables, shattering part of the building and setting it ablaze.

Horse blown from box.

Two horses were injured, one being blown from its box into the stable yard.  A piece of engine tore through an empty caravan. 

The pilot, in his ejector seat, was alive when found by a search party but was dead on arrival at Fleet Hospital.  It was believed that the plane was too low for his parachute to be effective.

The Princess was shown some of the secret guided weapons.  In an enclosure shut off by partitions she saw equipment still on the secret list and the RAE's impression of things to come.  With her were Sir Arnold Hall, Director of the RAE, Dr. H.M. Wilson, head of the Armaments Deprtment, and Mr. W.H. Stevens, head of the Guided Weapons Department.

'Plane of the future'

The Princess was presented with a table lighter, depicting a pencil-like futuristic aircraft, by Mr. Charles Wilshire, 72 year old joiner, of Canterbury  Road, Farnham, who has been at the establishment for 45 years.  Sir Arnold commented "It is our idea of an aircraft of the future.

Highlight of the show was the fly-past by the secret English Electric P-1 supersonic fighter.  The silver dart-like plane flashing over the airfield three times, rolling as it turned, and then passed at a lower speed with the undercarriage down.
_____________________________________________________________

Does anyone have any details of Flying Officer Price please ? -  his full name and where he is buried ?
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John
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2017, 14:47:15 PM »


I found the following details on the AFM Roll of Honour website, which is a good place to search for post-WWII casualties:



Surname   PRICE
Forenames/Initials Charles George
Rank Fg Off
Service   Royal Air Force
Service Number   4115391
Station   RAF Odiham
Date of Birth 03 December 1934
Age 20
Date of Death 07 July 1955
Cemetery Name White Waltham Cemetery
Cemetery Address Maidenhead
Included on Armed Forces Memorial Yes
Included on Roll of Honour Yes
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Craggs
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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2017, 15:48:04 PM »

Thank you John,

I do like going back over 'old posts' - especially those created before I joined the Forum.  I also like seeing if there is a headstone or memorial in our Forum area that refers to an incident.  In this case there probably is a headstone or memorial but not in our Forum area.

I'm grateful for the " AFM Roll of Honour website" information.

This particular topic was very interesting but I couldn't resist trying to find out the proper and full details of the unfortunate pilot and I was struggling.....  so thank you.  I went back through all of the newspaper archives and found many reviews about the flying display and the Hawker Hunter formation flying - but the coverage of the sad loss of Flying Officer Price was woefully lacking, albeit the incident happened in front of thousands of spectators at the air display.

Noel
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John
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2017, 14:12:20 PM »

.

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