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Thread: West Raynham 8 Feb 1956

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    Default West Raynham 8 Feb 1956

    Apologies for seeking help outside the normal forum time-frame, but I've been asked for some background on events at West Raynham on 8 Feb 1956 which resulted in the loss of six Hunters. I'm totally in the dark on this one, other than entries in The Times, but they are rather bland. I gather a change in the weather was a significant factor in the 'incident'; there's a couple of references on the Internet (http://www.pprune.org/archive/index.php/t-321792.htm and (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1956_Hawker_Hunter_multiple_aircraft_accident), but I'd appreciate a little more information.

    Brian

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    Basically, aircraft from the Day Fighter Leaders School had been on a dog fighting sortie in their Hunter F1s and eight were diverted to Marham because of the weather at West Raynham was awful.

    The aircraft overloaded the Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) at Marham and only two were able to get down. When the fuel started to run out, the pilots were forced to eject and five did so successfully but a sixth; Sqn Ldr Richard John Tumulty was killed in WW635.

    The pilots who jumped out were: F/L M J Norman 25 in WW639, F/L J A MacPherson in WW633, F/L B Watford in WW603, Lt Cdr N R Williams RN 29 in WT639 and Sqn Ldr W Ives 34 in WT629.

    I have references to another Hunter from DFLS being lost that day and this is WW609 but I cannot explain the circumstances for that one.

    It will be appreciated that the Mk 1 Hunter without drop tanks had fairly 'short legs' when it came to fuel and it is most probable that the formation did not expect to have to divert to another base nor to have to hold off because the GCA controller was overloaded.

    You will find some greatly exaggerated stories about this incident floating around but the bare facts are as listed above.

    Colin Cummings

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    My thanks Colin. I have been doing a bit of digging myself and have just came up with this link:

    http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1956/apr/25/hunter-aircraft-report-of-inquiry#S5CV0551P0_19560425_CWA_74

    It's essentially the same as your advice, but a bit more wordy.

    Brian

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