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Thread: Sea Venom crash - 5-1-1956

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    Default Sea Venom crash - 5-1-1956

    Hello,

    If I may beg the indulgence of the Forum, just this once, with a post-war RN/FAA query.

    On 5-1-1956, Lt. Peter Haldane WYATT RAN (Pilot), and Cdr. George Firth Spencer BROWN DFC,MiD, RAN, took off from NAS Yeovilton in an unidentified Sea Venom, clipped trees and houses, and crashed into a caravan park at Castle Farm, Ilchester, Somerset, killing Mrs Grace Beard, her three-month-old son, Geoffrey and injuring several others.

    I have full biographical details of both, Wyatt and Brown, what I am lacking is the Sea Venom unit/serial.

    Can anyone assist,

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 24th May 2010 at 06:32.

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    Col,

    From Sturtivant's FAA Fixed-Wing Aircraft since 1946 (note: some slight variations to your account):

    DH Sea Venom FAW.20, WM551

    ... 808 Sqn RAN Yeovilton ('265') 22.7.55; Approx 2mins after instrument take-off for Culdrose in fog, struck tree, several buildings, 2 Caravans in ratings married quarters caravan site, and crashed into field, DBF, Castle Farm on the main Bristol-Yeovil road, Ilchester, Cat ZZ 5.1.56 (Lt P H Wyatt RAN & Cdr G F S Brown RAF both killed; also 2 killed & 3 injured on the ground); RSP 24.1.56 [TFH 236.40]

    Errol

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    Errol,

    Thank you for "Clearing the decks", on this one. If Sturtivant quotes Cdr Brown as RAF, then he is wrong, Brown was definitely RAN*. He was on the staff of the RANLO, as SO(Air). Wyatt was attached to 808 Squadron, Brown being along as a passenger, but there is no record that I know of, that shows WM551 as being on RAN strength. All RAN Sea Venoms were recorded as FAW.53s (there remains the possibility, that WM551 was on loan).

    Most of the references that I have consulted state the Sea Venom was from NAS Yeovilton, HMS "Heron". 808 Sqn was working up on Sea Venoms at the time.

    There is an account of this accident in - The Times. January 6, 1956. p.4

    * http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/ItemDetail.asp?M=0&B=5404103

    Corrections to above most welcome. RN/FAA, really not my territory.

    Thanks once again for that serial, a long time coming!

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 24th May 2010 at 08:56.

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    Col,

    Sorry, my keyboard made an error - Brown should have read RAN, not RAF.

    For your info, earlier part of the history of this aircraft as given in Sturtivant is:

    "(c/n 12634) Built Chester, then flown to CHristchurch, but returned 9.10.54; Back to Christchurch for completion & delivery 31.12.54; Deld AHU Streeton 8.2.55; 891 Sqn Yeovilton (uncoded) 12.3.55; AHU Yeovilton 20.6.55 (repaint and quick repairs; 808 Sqn RAN" etc

    need for 'repairs' not explained.

    Noted also that WM548 was with 808 Sqn RAN for a time (12.8.55 - 22.11.55, when damaged in accident)
    Also WM549 ('267') 12.8.55 - 23.2.56, (for 'recon & mods')
    Also WM550 ('266') 30.6.55 - 19.9.55, when involved in an accident, then to RNAY Belfast 27.2.56 (recon & mods)

    There may be others but too many entries to check through. The above caught my eye as they were in close proximity to WM551.

    No code number for WM548 but interesting to note that the other three were coded 265, 266, 267.

    Errol

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    Errol,

    A good tradesman never blames his tools!

    Now, The answer might lie here:

    The RAN Sea Venom crews had been undergoing training on their aircraft by 'X' Flight of the Royal Navy's 891 Squadron at NAS Yeovilton in Somerset. 891 Squadron was equipped with Sea Venom FAW.21s or FAW.20s upgraded to the later standard.

    See:
    Sea Fury,Firefly and Sea Venom in Australian Service.
    Wilson,Stewart
    Weston Creek:Aerospace Publications,1993.
    p.128

    My excuse: RN/FAA not my territory. Much the same thing really.

    Col.

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    Col

    Another FAW.20 with 808 was WM512 '263'. According to Sturtivant the squadron was equipped with 8 FAW.20's 261-269 (sic, I make this 9 a/c). BTW Squadron was formed with crews from 891X Squadron.

    regards

    DaveW

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    Gentlemen,

    It seems clear (to me) now, that 808 Sqn RAN, had at least 8 FAW.20/21s on charge. One of them being WM551

    Errol/DaveW. Thanks for your help on this one.

    PS. On returning some books to my shelves, l noticed in fact that I have a copy of Ray Sturtivant's, The Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm! I quote: (p.191)

    "No.808 reformed at Yeovilton, again as an RAN squadron, on 10 August 1955 with crews from No.891X Squadron, equipped with eight Sea Venom FAW.20s.

    Aircraft equipment: Sea Venom FAW.20
    Period of Service: Aug 1955 - Feb 1956
    Example: WM512 (263)."

    ODL, give me the strength.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 24th May 2010 at 18:56.

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