Hastings TG602 crashed on
January 12th 1953 at Shallufa Egypt after taking off from RAF Fayid, if you have any information regarding this crash would
you please contact me via the header board email address
The following Hastings were all
write-offs (Cat 5) between 1946-1977
02/10/1948 TG519 Undershot Dishforth airfield, undercarriage torn off.
TG534 Caught fire on engine start up at Schleswigland.
16/07/1949 TG611 Crashed on take-off at Berlin Tegel,
incorrect tail trim, 5 died.
26/09/1949 TG499 Underslung belly pannier torn off and hit tail, crashed in Wiltshire,
31/07/1950 TG583 Crashed on final approach at Dishforth.
20/12/1950 TG574 Propeller flew off hitting
fuselage, couldn't make Benghazi, Libya, 5 died. (See story below)
19/03/1951 WD478 NO ACCIDENT RECORD CARD EXISTS.
12/04/1951 TG552 Crashed on landing at Negombo. No record exists. (See story below)
TG562 NO ACCIDENT RECORD CARD EXISTS.
B J Davison sent me this in June
2007. I was on
duty in Air Traffic Control at RAF Fayid, Egypt on 14/03/1952 when this aircraft crashed, on take off. The skipper that
evening was F/lt. Pryzlucki and they had two jet engines (Vampire engines, I think) being taken back to U.K. for major
overhaul. Thankfully there were no casualties.
16/06/1952 TG603 NO ACCIDENT
RECORD CARD EXISTS. I have sinced received information that this aircraft was 'Blown Off the Runway' at RAF Luqa, Malta and
that there were no survivors, understand that Elevator Bolts could have sheared off.
16/09/1952 WD492 Flew too low
over Greenland icecap, wing hit ground, still in situ.
12/01/1953 TG602 Elevator problems over Egypt, crashed 9 died.
Received January 22nd 2006
My name is Robin
"Ernie" Berkshire I served at RAF Fayid Egypt On (at that time 204 Sqdn, shortly after to become 84 Sqdn) and remember
this crash well, The aircraft was part of the 'Hastings Flight' that was on detachment at Fayid for the Mau-Mau emergency.
One of my non-trade tasks was as a member of 'RAF Fayid Permanent Funeral Party' and I remember this funeral well.
In 2002 I went back to the Canal
Zone with the Suez Veterans Association, and we visited Fayid Cemetary, I found it very emotional looking at those 9 graves,
I have photographs of the headstones if any one would like a copy of one or all. I might comment that both Fayid and
Moascar cemetaries are beautifully kept.
(See story below)
Further to the above re TG 602
B J Dawson sent the following through
I was in Air Traffic
Control at Fayid and a colleague and I had arranged to go on an air test with this aircraft - at the last minute we
were called to the Air Traffic Tower and missed the flight. The Hastings took off from Fayid and lost its elevator
etc. near to RAF Shallufa, where it finally crashed killing the nine people on board.
22/06/1953 WJ335 Stalled
on take off at Abingdon, 6 died with what was thought to be the elevator locks still in or that had been reapplied.
Updated 13th March 2010 an email
in from Peter King who writes:
WD483 HastingsC2 Ataq, Aden 9th
About the same time there was
trouble up-country in the area around Ataq and for the first time in years an army infantry detachment came to Aden. At first
they had to sleep on beds placed on the verandahs of the barrack blocks (and for the SNCOs in our mess) but eventually a tented
camp was started on empty land inside the main gate - in years to come to house a Transit Hotel for aircrew. Most of them
soon disappeared up-country and then, as we started a night shift we were told to unload a Hastings that had was night-stopping,
en route from Cyprus to Eastleigh, so that it could be used to transport a Ferret Scout Car to Ataq the next morning. Now
this must mean there was trouble there as a Hastings had never landed there before, neither had our shift loaded a ferret!
Well we set up the heavy-duty
loading ramp, a steel structure like a large sloping platform that was wheeled up to the side of the aircraft and then steadied
with legs that were wound down while two long trackways were attached to complete the slope up from ground level - and all
at an incline of about eleven degrees! Two hour later, after much sweat mixed with exhaust fumes as the army driver slowly
inched it forward while we ensured that it was held by a couple of chains all the time, just in case the engine stalled -
an eleven degree slope is dangerous when you have a few tons of scout car on it! We wondered how it was intended to get it
off at Ataq since this would usually be with air-portable ramps, not so robust as our steel monster, but we knew there were
none in Aden. Then a party from Station Workshops appeared and, as soon as we moved the ramp away from the aircraft they began
dismantling it into component parts, each small enough so that we could then load these to go behind the ferret. Apparently
it was intended for this party to accompany the aircraft and re-build the ramp at Ataq so seats were then fitted for them
and the army driver. We were told that the AQM (air quartermaster) would release the chains at Ataq so no Movements staff
Our shift was due to finish at
seven and a Valetta was due to go to Ataq at that time with a load of soldiers, about an hour before the Hastings (possibly
they would help with the unloading). I was curious just how it would be done and I happened to know the air signaller so I
had a word, he spoke to the captain and I was taken as a spare crew member. So we landed at Ataq, a rough, stony strip at
about seven thirty. Now I hoped the Valetta would wait for the Hastings but the captain had other ideas and wouldn’t let me wait to come back on the Hastings since I didn’t have a rifle so,
reluctantly, I flew back to Khormaksar.
Probably this was as well since
ten minutes later the Hastings approached and flew over the strip for the captain to look at it before attempting the first
Hastings landing there. He came in and within seconds of the undercarriage touching the stony surface one leg collapsed and
the aircraft slew to one side, settling on the wing, with the propellers on that side buckled as they hit the ground. Shortly
afterwards it burst into flames from fuel that was escaping from a ruptured wing tank. The crew and passengers escaped through
a parachute door on the opposite side to the fire but the flames had taken hold and the aircraft, together with our labours
of the night was destroyed. So we lost our loading ramp!
Mid February 2009 update from Brian
Collins, he writes:
On 22nd June 1953 was ready
for take off at RAF Abingdon with a crew of six onboard. It has been stated that WJ335 rose to approximately 300' when it
stalled and crashed with the loss of the six crew.
The report suggests that the elevator control locks had been in the engaged
position or reapplied after release, there had been an apparent modification to prevent this from occuring.
these two emails from Brian Collins this week mid February 2009
Dear Mr Cooper,
I believe that I can correct the brief report on this
crash that you include in your website. I was a newly commissioned Army Second Lieutenant at the time. I had volunteered for
service in Airborne Forces and in June 1953 was a member of a class of about 30 soldiers on the Parachute Course at RAF Abingdon.
On 22 June we were scheduled to make our first jump from an aircraft and while we were waiting in the "Sweat-box",
a hut on the edge of the airfield, the RAF Officer in charge of our course came in and told us that there would be a short
delay because "a Hastings from Lyneham was on its way to pick us up"
Sure enough, a few minutes later, he came
back and told us to line up outside the hut and watch the plane arrive. I clearly remember seeing the Hastings come in low
from the West, and it seemed to land heavily tail wheel first. It then cart-wheeled forward over onto its back and burst into
The RAF Officer, with amazing coolness said something like "Sorry about that, chaps, but we will have
another plane here for you soonest". He was quite right, a second Hastings arrived very quickly and we emplaned, took off
and all jumped safely at RAF Watchfield.
You will see therefore why I know that the reason that you give for
this accident, namely "crashed on take off" is incorrect. The plane crashed while coming into land.
me know if I can help further.
.....a further email in response to my reply
Thank you for your response.
certainly was a day to remember, especially as I had never flown in a plane before (our two previous jumps had been from a
balloon). I can also add that we were told that three of the fatal casualties were a spare crew that was hitching a ride from
Lyneham to Abingdon. The narrative in the link that you gave me is a puzzle. It certainly does not tally with what I saw on
that June morning. Please use my account if you wish.
Further update July
2009 from Gordon Clack, Hastings Pilot
I can give an eye-witness
account of the Hastings crash at Abingdon on 22 June 1953. I was then serving as a co-pilot on 53 Squadron at Lyneham
and three Hastings had left Lyneham that morning to collect parachutists from No 1 PTS (then at Abingdon) and to drop them
on an exercise. All three crews were from 53 but the aircraft were pooled for the Lyneham Wing comprising 53, 99 and
We arrived at Abingdon
but were told that the wind-strength was too high for dropping the paras so we waited for a while in the hope it would decrease.
After some time we were told it did not seem to be decreasing and we may as well return to Lyneham. There
was a little rivalry between Lyneham and Abingdon where 24 and 47 (Hastings) squadrons were based so the three captains agreed
to take off in turn but to form up into a V overhead and do a pass over the airfield before returning to base.
Hastings took off (captained by Flt Lt Geoff Bolton and co-pilot Fg Off Don Butterworth) and circled overhead.
The second aircraft (WJ335) captained by Flt Lt Jimmy Dodds and co-pilot Sgt Mead) started to roll
down Runway 18 as we (TG610, captain Fg. Off Angus MaClean and self co-pilot) lined up behind, so we had a clear view as it
left the ground. Alarmingly, it commenced a steep climb, seemed to hesitate and then stalled into the ground opposite the
Fire Section. There was an explosion followed by a fire and it was fairly obvious that no-one would be able to get out although
we heard later that the engineer was found on the wing-root, having presumably managed to escape from a hatch but did
At the time
it was common knowledge that although the control-lock lever could be released, unless the control-column was pulled right
back ("Full and Free controls check"), the weight of the elevators prevented the locking bolt from coming out.
It was therefore possible that the control-lock lever to be released but the elevators still locked in a slightly "up"
position, in which case the aircraft would immediately go into a climb with airflow over the elevators.
Hope this may add something
to the sad story. I later served with No. 6 AEF (Chipmunks) at Abingdon and whenever I lined up on Runway 18 I
was reminded of the earlier sight of the plan-view of Hastings WJ335 just before it stalled.
Gordon "Nobby" Clack
Flight Lieutenant, RAF/RAFVR,
22/07/1953 TG613 Three
engines failed, forced to ditch in the Mediterranean, both wings ripped off.
Patrick Duncan wrote on 30th June 2010
I was an Air/Sig on 47 Sqn in the briefing room at Lyneham about to depart on the 'Fayid Slip' on
20th July 1953. I recall a FltSgt (?) Nav arriving in a rush having been called out from his married quarter to take over
from the original Nav who had gone sick. He had just acquired the necessary Air Almanacs to cover UK to Changi, quite a large
bundle tied up with lashing tape.
From my log book I see we departed for Luqa at 1515hrs, obviously with the usual delay! We returned
to Luqa from Fayid on 23rdJuly and I have memories of the NCO crew of 613 arriving in the Transit Mess, flying suits, hands
and faces glowing bright orange from the fluorescine dye marker used in the life jackets. We had quite a party, there was
always a large number of slip crews at Luqa whilst the slip service was operating. I said to the Nav that he need not have
bothered to acquire all the Air Almanacs after all! He said his most vivid memory was of climbing into the dinghy to be confronted
by the AirCmdr with his hat on and the 'scrambled Egg' on the peak glinting in the bright sunshine!
In addition to the 'gulping' problem, at the time the Hastings engines were also prone to 'coring'
but this could be overcome by feathering the affected donk for a short time then restarting it. 613 lost oil pressure and
temps off the clock, it would have resulted in fire if the engines were not feathered. The pilot did a great job
and fully deserved the AFC.
This shows the ill-fated TG564 at El Adem 14 July 1953 having to divert
into El Adem while en route Idris - Habbaniya with loss of oil pressure. On "dropping" the filters, chunks of metal
were found which meant an engine change and an unplanned stop of four days before continuing Habbaniya, Bahrain, Mauripur,
Negombo and finally Changi with the previously described hair-raising approach. TG564 with Sid Judd as captain, crashed
at Kai Tak a day or so later.
at what was then Air Ministry or HQ Transport Command, had decided on running the Hastings fleet on reclaimed oil, the idea
being to save money!! The end result was that Hastings were strewn all over the world awaiting engine-changes as metal
was found in the oil-filters. The story was told at the time of a Hastings arriving back at Lyneham from a trip to Changi
with four different engines from the ones it started with! How true this is I am unable to say. Knowing how things work,
the guy responsible probably received a medal!
I have stumbled across
the website with details of the various Hastings crashes, including the one involving TG564 at Kai Tak in 1953. I see
that there is a photograph of '564 burning on the ground shortly after it "landed".
I was a co-pilot
on 53 Squadron at the time and had brought '564 from Lyneham to Changi where most of 53 were on a detachment. On our approach to Changi, my skipper (the legendary Fg Off "Tiny"
Topham) and I had great difficulty in raising the port wing on our left-hand turn onto finals but managed to make the end
of the runway with rather white knuckles! Needless to say, there was much p...taking by our colleagues but nothing
untoward was found wrong with the aircraft on inspection. Next
day, Flt Lt Sid Judd with Fg Off Bill Davies as co-pilot took it to Kai Tak where apparently the same thing happened with the now known result.
I am in touch with Sid
Judd and would like to print the photo of '564 burning on the ground at Kai Tak as I have another of it at El Adem having
an engine change on the way out to Changi (another story!).
09/09/1955 NZ5804 RNZAF written
off on take off from RAAF Darwin Australia, all 25 on board survived.
Lin M Hall has sent this in from
Queensland, Australia, my thanks to Lin for allowing me to add this piece on 11th August 2012:
The aircraft was taking off from Darwin on a regular flight to RAF Changi at the time.
The pilot blamed a flock of birds for the accident in which at least one engine was said to have lost power. The aircraft
broke through the Darwin city's water main, pushed the railway line off the causeway on which it lay and ended up straddling
the main (only) road connecting the city to the rest of Australia.
I was a trainee engine mechanic at the time of the accident and did not get any more about the issues until I was on
a fitters course in 1958. Air New Zealand was, then, the overhaul contractor for Herc 735 and 737 engines. The RNZAF was going
through a long period of troubles with both of the engines. The AirNZ training staff engineer told us that the engines from
this crash did not exhibit the expected intake-full of bird debris and they thought it may have been pilot-induced closed
throttle. I have no idea what the SOR said about the accident.
Your article also mentions "gulping" and "coring". for those engines. In case you didn't know gulping is where
the engine's scavenge-venting system (crankcase breathing system if you like) became pressurised - no reason was ever found
- and the breather would spew the oil out into the atmosphere. Until it either fixed itself or ran out of oil. This happened
on both Hastings and Bristol Freighter. Coring(1) is where the oil preheating box (a cylindrical device within the
oil tank) malfunctioned in that it failed to preheat the rest of the tank's cold oil and the few gallons of oil in the preheater
became overheated because it was too little an amount to cool properly. The proper purpose for the device is to allow quick
start-up heating of (some) cold oil and a slow introduction of the remainder into the lubricating stream as the whole tankfull
warmed up and could join the regular flow through the metering slots in the bottom of the preheater. Coring(2) is where
the oil coolers get too cold (during cruise) and the flow through the coolers is disrupted by congealed oil. This can lead
to overheating engine oil and engine failure if the aircraft is forced to climb to a higher altitude or on the application
of power during descent and approach to landing.
In RNZAF service we used certain transit points to apply or remove shrouds from the front-centre of the oil coolers.
For example Darwin was a remove shrouds going northward and install going south. Both Hastings and Freighters suffered from
inadequate design of the oil cooling system and inability to operate in both tropics and temperate zones without auxiliary
management devices. You can guess that the shrouds, four per aircraft, were carried in the engineer's box of goodies, for
each aircraft, and there was no Sec/Ref numbers for them!
Thanks for your web site. It will be useful forever.
13/09/1955 TG584 Overshot
runway at Dishforth, crashed 5 died. (See story below added 4th June 2005)
09/04/1956 WD483 Undercarriage
collapsed on landing at Aden. Received from Chris Campbell on 22nd January 2006
Just mooching through your
Hastings site and found the item about WD 483 on 9th April 1956.
This happened just before
I arrived in Aden where I joined Aden Protectorate Communications & Support Squadron on 22 June 1956. We were using Valettas
and used many up-country airstrips from Khormaksar - of which ATAQ was one. If memory serves, WD 483 was trying to land &
deploy some sort of light armoured car at Ataq but, for whatever reason, did not make a good landing and the undercart collapsed.
No one on board was injured severely &, in fact, the flight crew were all OK but S/L Coote and F/L Casey were both injured.
Casey belonged to APCSS and continued flying for some time after that. However, no further attempts were made to use Hastings
on up-country Aden strips. When I first landed at Ataq in a Valetta on 26 June 1956, the Hastings was still there - obviously
damaged - but was gradually cannibalised over the ensuing months. Unfortunately, I was not into cameras in those early days
and never saw any photos of poor old WD 483.
Update 12th May 2004 I have
had an email from someone from 55 Company who should have been on this flight as an Air Despatcher, his role was changed to
go to the drop zone at Seletar, if anyone wants to make contact with him please let me know
07/03/1962 TG508 Crashed on landing and caught fire at Thorney Island.
Updated 27th December 2004
My father, George Bish, was instructor
Engineer on TG508 on this aircraft when it crashed and a student Flight Engineer was in the chair for the landing. My father
has also asked me to inform you that the reason this and TG610 crashed at Thorney (Island) was due to the terrible crosswinds
and the size of tail plane of the Hastings. The runway was parallel to the hangars and the wind used to blow fiercely from
the west between the Hangars and across the main runway. Two of the hangars were angled in the form of a funnel that channelled
the wind and therefore caused a crosswind to the runway.
The crews of both these aircraft
tried in vain to correct a lift to the wing in direct line of the funnel but unfortunately were not successful. TG508 just
missed the control tower whilst TG610 hit the Radio Servicing Flight Workshop at the end of the runway causing severe injuries
to the personnel inside.
Hasting Squadrons my father was attached
to are as follows:
511 – RAF Lyneham 1956/57
48 – RAF Changi 1957/60
242OCU – RAF Dishforth 1960/62
242OCU – RAF Thorney Island
........and coincidentally this came
through from Glyn Ramsden within 24 hours of George's missive above:
I was an engine fitter and worked
on Hastings from October 1957 - April 1960 at Nicosia in TASF. On return to UK I worked on Hastings with 242 OCU at Dishforth
and then Thorney Island. In September 1964 I was posted to Wittering on Victors.
One other Hastings crashed whilst
I was at Thorney TG52? in 1964. This was a very poor landing with the aircraft swerving from side to side of the runway until
one undercarriage leg was torn off. The aircrew said a tyre burst but when we recovered the aircraft both wheels were inflated
although the wheel on the leg torn off was as bald as a coot. This aircraft was repaired although it was not finished when
I left. HP changed the main spar in one of the hangars at Thorney. The first if not only time this was done away from Radlett.
Updated 12th May 2004, Ron
Gibson has sent this through to me:
Based at RAF Dishforth
1954/5 she "belly flopped" at then RAF Middleton St George, now Teeside Airport.(recalled are the appalling
weather conditions of fhat period of winter).
508, was regarded as a
jinx kite since the sum of her digits made the un-enviable total of Thirteen.
Part of the
team who re-established her airworthiness and flew with her back to Dishforth to prove
good faith and confidence, I would be interested in news of her "finals" since I have rumour she was later written
off after another prang.
07/12/1962 TG610 Crashed on landing at Thorney Island.
06/07/1965 TG577 Elevator
failed shortly after take off from Abingdon, 41 died. (There is an entry on my guestbook from Matthew Flory dd 04/08/2002
if anyone can help with this) Also see story below.
04/05/1966 TG575 Undercarriage collapsed on landing at El Adem.
See story by John Brignell below added 16th July 2004
09/06/1967 WD491 Crashed at West Raynham, Norfolk. No accident
record card exists. Added 21st September 2004 see story below by eye witness Dave Curnock
One further Hastings was
written off, a Royal New Zealand Air Force serial number NZ5804 crashed at RAAF Darwin in 1955.
There were several
other Hastings accidents and incidents, these were repaired in due course. It is worth noting that TG522 crashed twice on
04/04/1949 at Tegel airport during the Berlin airlift and again tragically, at Khartoum on 29/05/1959 where # 1 & 2 engines
cut on take-off. Strange too that some Form A1180 Accident Record Cards are missing. July 2008 I have obtained the Accident
Report in negative format, I also have been contacted by one of the survivors on board, you can view the story and report
There are three crashed Hastings
which have not been salvaged, one on the Greenland Ice Cap, one in the sea just off Gan in the Maldives and one 140 miles
in the sea off Castel Benito (Idris) in Libya, minus its wings!
Of a total of 152 Hastings built (inc RNZAF)
the C-1 type with a TG prefix 23 of the 102 built were written off (22.55%)whilst the mark C-2 with a prefix of WD or WJ lost
10 of the 46 built (21.74%)and of the RNZAF NZ5801-5804 lost one of its four aircraft NZ5804 (25%).
I estimate that
in 20 years of flying (most aircraft were withdrawn from service in the late 1960's leaving just a few specimen aircraft)
that the Hastings workhorse had achieved over 265,000,000 miles flown the equivalent of flying around the world about 10,000
times. This in itself is a remarkable achievement, it is regretted that 116 died in 34 accidents but it is a testament to
the durability of the aircraft, its design team at Handley Page, the craftsmen who constructed it and to all the crew who
flew 'the beast'.
THE CRASH OF TG574 IN LIBYA
by Flight Lieutenant Keith Murphy DFC and Bar (Written up by John Cooper)
In June 1950 I commenced my duties as an exchange officer with 511 Squadron from The Royal Canadian Air Force and attached
to RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire, England. My duties was that of a Navigator.
511 Squadron was a long range transport squadron flying from the UK to Singapore and my first such long trip was to Singapore
and return to Lyneham in June 1950 followed by a second trip on the same route without incident. However my third such
trip was in Handley Page Hastings TG574 a Mk C1 aircraft where we had a slipping schedule to Singapore and return, leaving in
November 1950 (slipping/slip crews was a method of delivering troops and freight to a distant destination by having a fresh
crew taken on board at each stop to take the aircraft ahead whilst the troops/freight remained on board the aircraft) our
outward journey was viaCastel Benito (Libya), Fayid (Egypt), Habbaniya (Iraq), Karachi (Pakistan), Negombo (Ceylon) and finally
arriving at RAF Changi in Singapore.
Whilst in Karachi I met an RAF Officer who was painting a set of china for the wife of the Prime Minister of Pakistan
and when I admired his work he said he would have a similar plate to give to my wife on my return to Karachi from Singapore.
Upon our return we picked up a fresh crew at each stop and dropped off the previous crew and whilst at Karachi, as promised,
a plate with a painting of a sailing ship was awaiting my collection, this was then carefully packed into my suitcase.
On two legs of this trip I flew as crew navigator and as a passenger on the others, from Habbaniya to El Adem (Libya)
I was a passenger. We did the usually refuel turnaround service and was airborne at 2000 hrs heading to Castel Benito, whilst
flying over the Mediterranean Sea at about 8000ft a propeller flew off from Number 2 engine (Port inner), this was thought
to have detached from the blade root, shortly after the propeller flew off the engine detached from its bearers and fell
away into the sea, presumably having oversped.
The pilot on this leg was Flight Lieutenant Tunnadine together with his co-pilot Flight Lieutenant Bennett, Tunnadine
sent Bennett to the crew quarters to rest shortly after take off from El Adem and a member of the slip crew Squadron Leader
James took over Bennetts position as co-pilot. Unfortunately for F/L Bennett the prop blade flew directly into the crews quarters
where he received severe injuries. This also caused untold damage to the port side of the aircraft as the elevator, elevator
trim and rudder controls were all severed when the prop impacted. A MayDay message was immediately picked up by Benina, an
airstrip close to Benghazi and the aircraft was headed in that direction, control of the aircraft by Tunnadine and James was
almost impossible, fuel had to be jettisoned and more amazingly the 34 passengers and some baggage had to be moved around
the fuselage to balance the aircraft.
A Senior Medical Officer, Squadron Leader Brown was on board as a passenger and came forward to comfort the severely
injured Bennett and despite repeatedly being told to return to his seat, Brown stayed with and comforted Bennett. (Both survived
By the light of a bright moon Tunnadine decided to attempt a landing, flares lit up the runway, amazingly 574 looked
as if it was going to make the landing at Benina however just before the threshold of the tarmac there was a hump of rocks
and sand unseen by the crew. 574 hit this hump and the aircraft flipped over on to its back, crushing the cockpit and killing
7 of the crew (I have since read 5 crew JC). It is almost unbelievable that all the passengers survived and fell on their
heads when they released their seat belts but thankfully no passenger received any serious injury, this can probably be put
down to the aircraft having rearward facing seats. A Flight Engineer escaped and was found sitting on the ground some distance
from the aircraft and not knowing how he got there or got out of the wreck.
Four days later another aircraft arrived to take us back to the UK but this developed problems and had to return to base
for rectification, from Keith's log-book it states '24/12/1950 Flying Officer Perrin (pilot) flying TG526 (Hastings) flew
the survivors from Benina to Castel-Benito but had to return to CB due to technical problems but on the 25/12/1950 Flight
Lieutenant Wood flew the survivors to Lyneham, my suitcase was intact and upon unpacking this the plate given to me in Karachi
was intact without a chip or a scratch on it'!
I later met the Great Man Sir Frederick Handley Page at a cocktail party and also received a letter from a movie company
asking my permission to allow an actor to play my part in a film regarding this accident, I never did get to find out if this
film was ever made, if anyone does know please contact me here.
TG552 12th March 1951, some four months after Keith Murphy's first accident described above on the Hastings
Bangs and Prangs page, he was involved in a second accident fortunately without loss of life this time. This second accident
happened at Negombo where the co-pilot was flying the aircraft (Keith was Navigator on this trip), the co-pilot was not authorised
to fly passengers and there were passengers on board, his landing was a disaster and the aircraft crashed. One of the wings
broke off and in the excitement of vacating the aircraft the engines were left running and the propellers were a threat to
decapitate anyone heading in that direction! This is one story that no one seems to know about as the Form A1180 (Aircraft
Accident Report) is one that went missing, one wonders why! A photo exists of this accident and I believe it is on the
sleeve of Colin Cummings book "To Fly No More", I will confirm this in the near future as I have read this book. (Some additional information and photos will be posted here shortly 07/01/2003)
Thank you Keith for your very interesting articles, without these the SECRETS would remain forever and a day.
The Crash and Write-off of Hastings TG580 at RAF Gan 3rd July 1959
How about this for a remarkable coincidence two Hastings aircraft, both from 48 Squadron Changi, consecutively numbered
TG579 & TG580 both flying from RAF Katunayake to RAF Gan both crash with 8 months of each other, both crash in weather
related conditions, both have their undercarriage legs torn off on impact and both end up in the sea 1700 miles from
their home base and both having no serious casualties!
The TG579 story is told on the HOME PAGE what follows is the story of TG580 as told by Eric Sumsion, a passenger on this
aircraft and others that were on Gan on the 3rd July 1959.
Flight Lieutenant Bernard (Bernie) Saunders was being sent from the UK to RAF Gan to command the Marine Craft Unit
already established on Gan, to counter an uprising started by the Maldivians in the Northernmost islands (I was detached from
Katunayake to Gan at this time but saw and heard nothing). Also on board was Eric Sumsion who had arrived by RAF Comet from
Lyneham at Kat a few days before embarking on TG580 for Gan, Eric's job was working on the Radio Transmitter Section
as No. 8 Radio Fitting Party, most of the work on the Transmitters at Gan was about complete and Eric was mainly to be based
at Hittaddu two islands away from Gan where the the rest of the transmitters were to be positioned.
Eric recalls "How would the Hastings landing at Gan differ from the Comets landing at Kat after all the flight to Gan
was uneventful, we saw out of the windows the white stripe of the runway running down the centre of the island, the pilot
made his approach in the normal manner when there was one very large bang when we touched down, through the window I saw a
wheel of the undercarriage go bounding along at 45 degrees to the runway. I think I was sitting facing the tail with the
window to my right , next the aircraft was rocking so that alternate wing tips touched the runway. When this happened sparks
could be seen coming from the underslung wing tip tanks and luggage was falling from the racks above our heads. The runway
had looked so small from the air but it seemed an age before we came to a halt, we had done a complete u-turn (groundloop)
as we came off the runway settling into a mixture of soil and coral and instead of looking out to the seaward side I was now
looking towards the lagoon side of Gan!"
"As we came to a halt, nobody that I recall moved or spoke, the silence was broken by one of the crew coming down towards
the tail, who pulled an emergency handle on an exit door and shouting 'get out', we were ushered some distance from the aircraft
where we could watch what was going on including the arrival of the fire engine. The firetruck stopped some distance behind
the tail and fire hoses were run out and foam was sprayed around the aircraft, but the truck was too far away and had
to be moved closer to spray foam on the aircraft engines and fuel tank areas."
"Whilst we we were watching this going on somewhere to my right one of the passengers decided to have a smoke to
calm his nerves, I have heard some shouting and bawling in my time but this poor passenger type was treated to the longest
tirade I have ever heard as to why it wasn't a good move to smoke around a crashed aircraft, he being an LAC and the shouter
a Warrant Officer".
"The aircraft stayed where it was for some months being stripped and then dumped into the sea". Eric was unsure
of the date that this accident happened but by sheer coincidence he received my e.mail referring to this accident on July
3rd 2002 exactly 43 years to the day of the prang. There were no serious injuries, Saunders carried on with his duties and
quelled the uprising. TG 580 was attempting to land in a crosswind in excess of 23 knots (There were no diversion airfields
for hundreds of miles and no other available 'into wind' runway), a Hastings could not land in such conditions and in wind
speeds less than this literally had to be 'bounced onto the runway' with sometimes very hard rudder control to counter the
crosswind. By clicking on to the photo links at the foot of this page will take you to photographs of this crashed aircraft.
Harry Stanley was stationed on Gan at # 8 Radio Fitting Party and witnessed the crash of TG580 'One side of the undercarriage
collapsed on landing and it spun round to face the opposite direction and the propellers were distorted after coming into
contact with the concrete. Corporal Dando was on that plane (aerial rigger) but I can't remember anyone else...........as
I remember there weren't any injuries and Dando didn't even know it had spun round'.
Ken Gibbs was a Flight Engineer on an Avro Lincoln bomber aircraft flying around the Canal Zone, Egypt on the morning
that Hastings TG602 crashed on 12/01/1953. 'We had passed TG602 several times as we were flying West of Shallufa to take photographs
of an aircraft that had crashed, debris was spread over a wide area but unfortunately our photographer had failed
to remove the cover on the camera lens.'
'Witnesses on the ground stated that they had seen the aircraft doing a tight turn and then parts of the aircraft
started to fall off and it crashed into the ground at an angle of approx. 45 degrees. On the previous day we had visited
the NAAFI Club at Ismailia with some older regular aircrew friends, we met the Hastings crew who were known to the older Lincoln
crew members, the crew with a second crew and some passengers were on the Hastings that crashed'.
Sadly nine died in this accident, thought to be caused by elevator failure.
The crash of Hastings TG577 at Little Baldon, Oxfordshire
Information kindly supplied by David Rayner on October 20th 2003 (June 2005 David Rayner has recently started his own website
page on TG577 so if anyone can help click here http://www.aaahs.org.uk/crash1965.html )
RAF Handley Page Hastings C1 TG577 crashed at Little Baldon, Oxfordshire at 1600hrs GMT Tuesday 6th July 1965. All 41 passengers
and crew on board died. The aircraft was based at RAF Colerne Wiltshire.
An RAF Board of Inquiry was opened at RAF Abingdon to establish the cause of the crash into a barley field of 100 acres
at Little Baldon.
Many eye witnesses saw the aircraft in difficulties, which was full of parachutists heading
for a drop over Weston-on-the-Green, the pilot radioed that he was in some sort of troubleand
apparently avoided missing the nearby village of Berinsfield. The first ambulance arrived from Didcot but the plane was an
inferno.There were no survivors, an all night guard was placed around the scene of the crash with
many sightseers jamming the local roads.
One lady eyewitness thought the Hastings was performing stunts whilst a male farm worker who
had arrived on the scene thought he saw that some soldiers had deployed their parachutes.Apparently
Hastings TG577 had landed upside down in the field.
Salvage experts were concentrating on checking the elevator tail bolts connected to the tail plane, the BoI had later determined
that the cause of the accident was due to metal fatigue of two of the elevator bolts, this put stress on two more bolts that
failed. The Hastings climbed steeply out of control, stalled and crashed into the field. It was trying to return to Abingdon
and I understand that a Beverley aircraft was already at the end of the runway preparing to take off, but TG577 couldnt make
it back to Abingdon.
This in effect grounded all Hastings aircraft and only a few Hastings carried on in service being replaced by the C130
Hercules. The elevator bolt fatigue was an ongoing problem with this type of aircraft and several Hastings crashed due to
this design fault since it first flew in 1946.
An Inquest was held at The Guildhall in Abingdon with a verdict of accidental death, all victims died from multiple injuries,
the aircraft was reported as recently being serviced.
At this point in time this was the worst peacetime accident involving any passenger aircraft of the Royal Air Force.
Received from David Barrott on July 3rd 2004:
Reference the crash of TG577. As I recollect, (being in close contact with several RAF and Parachute Regiment personnel
at the time) .
Shortly after takeoff the pilot requested a priority landing at RAF Abingdon as he was experiencing
some stiffness in the elevator controls. He was asked if he was declaring an emergency and requesting emergency clearance
but declined. Shortly after the aircraft assumed a nose down attitude. The pilot corrected this, but the elevators went
hard up and locked there. The aircraft went to near vertical before stalling and dropping to land inverted. The altitude at
the commencement of the manoeuvre was approximately 5000'. The First vehicles on site were the ambulance and fire tender
from UKAEA Culham Laboratory, who's drivers were subsequently reprimanded for leaving their base without permission although
their CO was in Reading at the time. They had reached the crash site cross-country by breaching the fence of the Culham
Naval Stores depot and a bill for replacement of the fence was received within a month.
Added on 4th November 2004 by Ch/Tech Ray Bunce ex RAF Benson via Doug Adams
One specific that I have been provided with some additional comments for are your article
about the Hastings TG577 tragedy in July 1965. Most of the comments serve to complement
or supplement the fuller details already printed.
is Ray Bunce who, as Chief Technician R.A. Bunce, was NCO in charge of the
RAF Benson Duty Crew on that fateful evening, and took the call to attend the scene.
The crew travelled to the crash site, a barley field it is reported, travelling in the standard
3 ton Bedfords provided. The crew arrived after about an hour, presumably after the
chaps from Culham mentioned in your main article. The severity of the crash was
already known or generally anticipated as they travelled expecting only to assist in the
recovery of bodies.
On arrival at the scene the only recognisable
piece of aircraft was the (upside down) tail unit.
Already at the scene, presumably called from his local base or home, was the Inspector
from the CAA who straightforwardly advised that he had no doubt of the cause, fatigue in the
elevator attachment bolts and was looking for these bolts to satisfy himself this was the
case. On finding the two broken parts of one of these bolts, he reassembled it for the crew to
look at, to show how difficult this fatigue was to detect visually. (My own comment but, given all that had been said and
documented about these bolts
failing in other situations, why
had an effective correction not been made before more crashes and
Hastings TG575 crashed at RAF El Adem. Libya on 4th May 1966 as told by John Brignell:
Can't be sure exactly when this occured, but sure it was AFTER the mod, programme to re-inforce the outriggers
(On the elevators after the TG577 disaster J Cooper) for the elevator hinges. A/c was on approach over the escarpment as I
got off the bus from Tobruk to start my shift at TASF. By the time I had dropped my bag off in the office and gone out to
see it in, the fire trucks where on their way out to put out the flames!!!!
As the a/c had landed the R/H gear had fractured and folded up, thus spinning the a/c onto it's belly across
the bondu and retracting the L/H gear, engines, being what they are, caught fire on the R/H side and looks like no.2 bearers
let go and the engine took on 'a different slant'. . R/H gear eventually broke off, as you would expect.
Fire was put out very quickly as pax departed at the run. Only injury, as I recall, was a broken ankle. Eventually
the a/c was towed up to 'Lazy-Lane' and left there for a while. Handley Page requested various items from the R/H wheelwell.
I was tasked with 'trac-jacking it up again and removing said parts. Then lowering a/c and removing trac-jacks, only to be
told several days later, H.P. wanted some other bits as well. Jacked it up again, did the business and lowered it again.
Don't know when you might need the tac-jacs in a hurry.
The Flt/Comm. said 'What you need are some railway sleepers - I'll get you some' Hello ! Libya - El-Adem -
miles from any railway. A few days later up rolls a Queen-Mary, loaded with ----- You guessed it perishing railway sleepers.
Umpteen of 'em. 575 jacked up again, sleepers applied, de-jacked and Bobs' your uncle.
It was still like that when I went home in Oct/Nov 1966
Don't know what happened to the a/c in the end, probably broken up and thrown away. Perhaps some later El-Adem'ites
can finish the story ?
Also recall that I left a broken Beverley behind as well, nose wheel bearing seized and it took far too long
to fix it. Gozome Comet was more important.
Went back on a Britannia many months later and I think both a/c had gone by then.
May 2008 Further to John's report above I have received information that it was TG575 that hit the sea and
bent the inboard props back [see home page for photo and story]
Added 21st September 2004
By Dave Curnock Sergeant Engine Fitter 24 Squadron RAF Colerne
My limited recollection of the above incident follows.
I was, at the time, a Sergeant (Engines) on 24 Sqdn.
Aircraft WD491 was returning empty of pax or freight from Germany during an exercise
in which we had been using West Raynham as our detachment base. This was to be the last trip prior to our return to Colerne,
so we were quite glad to see it arriving downwind to land. My attention was diverted elsewhere during the final stages of
the approach but everything seemed normal at that point. On touchdown, which was unseen by me due to the presence of a large
grassy bund between our detachment HQ (TENT!) and the runway, there was a loud bang followed by a scraping noise. The bang
had attracted my attention just in time to see the tailfin of the Hastings appear above the top of the bund. Being quite surprised
by this, I joined the rush to see the resulting damage. The aircraft was standing on its nose, on the grass between the runway
and the bund.
The crew had exited the aircraft via the starboard flightdeck escape hatch - except for
the AQM (Loadmaster these days) who had left via the port para door using the escape rope. There was no fire and the only
injuries were to (I think) the co-pilot, whose fingers were rapped against the panel when the control column was slammed forward
as the nose hit the deck, and the flight engineer (Dave Hughes ?) who claimed somebody had stood on his hand as they made
their exit out of his escape hatch!!. He had remained at his post to complete the 'After Crash Checklist' - Power off,
Fuel off, clear off .
It transpired that the starboard mainwheel casting / rim had failed - the subsequent
rapid deflation of the tyre causing the severe swing off the runway, and then jammed in the wheel arch causing the 'nose down'
on the grass. Several prop blades were slightly bent as they hit the ground - the underside of the nose was flattened and,
I believe, the cross-shaft between the control columns was distorted.
The ground crew eventually made it back to Colerne after a road trip to Mildenhall, from
where we were collected by another Hastings. I made a return to West Raynham some days later, after 491 had been returned
to its more usual 'tail down' attitude, with a small party to remove V&A inventory items from the aircraft. There was
quite a smell on board - a mixture of Racasan and the contents of the Elsans from the rear bogs which had been decanted throughout
the freight bay. The aircraft was deemed 'beyond economical repair'.
Please feel free to use any of the above.
Dave Curnock - Ex 24 Sqdn 1965-67
The crash of Hastings TG584 at RAF Dishforth 13th/9/1955
Gordon 'Josh' Whiting forwarded this information in June 2005:
The crash I remember
at about this time killed all the crew, I can't remember the number. There was a parade for funerals a few days later.
It was said that
a farmer or some one got to the crash to see if he could rescue anyone but on getting in saw many boxes marked ammunition
or something such like and started to throw these out thinking there would be an explosion. That was until one
burst open showing it full of rocks and soil. By then the fire had got too strong to rescue any one.
The boxes were usully
lashed down near the back as ballast. There was an instruction after that they had to be painted so the same mistake
wasn't made again!
Updated 10th April 2008
Hastings WD484 C2 crashed on take-off at Boscombe Down on 02/03/1955 the elevator locks were 'in' the aircraft stalled
and crashed. The crew of 4 died [some reports suggest 2 died]
Rex Browning writes:
Just to say I was working on Hunters re their 4 pack experimental 30mm Aden guns at the start end of main runway as
the Hastings in question taxied around us, a couple of the crew waved to us and took off, I watched it all the way to its
stall, fell to starboard crashed close to bomb dump and caught fire. Never never forget.
Added as sent in by Eddy McQueen February 2016
I was an ALM on No 36 Sqn at RAF Colerne. On the morning of 5 Jul 1965, a Monday morning as I recall, I arrived on the squadron
and was informed that our crew, with Fg Off Jeff Wiles as our captain were required to go over to Abingdon to carry out trainee
para dropping sorties. We were "crewed-up" in those days with a regular crew complement, an arrangement which I always welcomed.
The case against it was that familiarity bred contempt and led to dangerous familiarity; the example quoted was the Thorney
Island Hastings which had a permanent crew on board with a stand-in air engineer. They were doing "circuits and bumps", on
touch down Captain called "cut 3" engineer cut 3 engines instead of No. 3 - aircraft careered off the runway into a radio
shack killing a ground crew airman! Anyway the duty Bomber Command Standby crew normally positioned for the week at Abingdon
for the trainee para support drops. They had been called out over the week end and we were slotted in. So we took-off at
09 25 in TG 577, a 36 Sqn aircraft that I had flown in many times before. The time at Abingdon Parachute Training School was
always chaotic: load trainees, 20 mins to the drop zone, get them out, 20 mins back preparing back end for next sortie. We
only did two drops, the last being at 16 30 because the wind was out of limits after that. As it was the final drop of the
day the jump instructors jumped out after their trainees. I had left the dispatching to the guys at the back, their trainees
were comfortable with them in control. Actually I recall going down into the nose position under the crew compartment floor
and looking up at the flying control cables and realising that they were bicycle chains connected from the upper column, via
a spigot onto the lateral cables running to the rear. As we left the DZ, Jeff Wiles suggested to our signaller that he call
up Colerne Tower and see if we could go back and get our night-stopping kit. We assumed we were there for the week and didn't
fancy scrounging stuff in our respective Messes. We thought we were on a hiding-to-nothing as no one valued such considerations.
However, the Tower came back, the BC Standby crew had just landed, bring TG 577 back and they would take the aircraft off
us. We happily did as we were told, I handed my bits over to Pete Timms, who also happened to be our ALM leader on the Squadron.
We spent the next day in the Squadron and late in the afternoon we were told not to leave. Finally we were allowed to go
home at 17 45 having been told that TG 577 had crashed with no survivors and that we were to say nothing as the families had
yet to be informed. I lived in Married Quarters and my wife knew I had been at Abingdon the previous day and would have assumed
that as I was late home I was till over there. My immediate concern was that the crash would be announced on the radio on
the 6 o'clock news and she would fear the worst. As I walked through the door the announcement was made.
The next few days were awful, we would go to work, have a session on getting our wills in order and sent home. I felt angry,
angry that we were adept at handing aircraft emergencies in the air with a chance of survival but no-one prepared us for elevator
bolts shearing off, plunging the aircraft into the ground. The information filtered through, after taking the aircraft from
us, the crew had bedded down for the night at Abingdon and on the next lift with trainees John Akin, the captain had radioed
that he had control problems, requesting an immediate landing on the next runway (which was refused because there was a Beverly
transport on a compass swing) but in any event he lost control. The crew were affectionately known as the "casevac" crew
(casualty evacuation) because the captain was John Akin, co-pilot was Chris Payne and the Engineer was Jonny Boyles (Aching,
pain and boils). The next thing was the funeral, I was coffin-bearer for my colleague Pete Timms. There were other casualties
from RAF Colerne who had volunteered to undergo para training and it was a large scale formal military funeral with muffled
drums and gun carriages up to the village grave yard. Being 5 foot 9 inches tall I was standard coffin-bearer height and
had been engaged in several of these sad events. It was the union jack with the individual's service hat on the coffin that
used to upset me. These days with the military various conflicts in progress we are all too familiar with the spectacle but
at that time they were thankfully rare events.
As it happened the elevator bolts were replaced and the Hastings (rhapsody in rivets) lived on for a few more years, my final
flight was on 11 Aug 1972 at AA&EE Boscombe Down but I along with the rest of Jeff Wile's crew have the last log book entry
for TG 577.
Sent in by Cecil Irvine on 8th February 2006 re WJ335 which crashed on take-off at Abingdon on 26th May 1953
I was stationed at Abingdon when this crash occured. I was a lowly engine Fitter and was on the parking ramp that morning.
I watched as WJ335 began it's take-off run. About halfway along the runway it began to lift off. It's attitude at that
point halfway between straight and level and the parked attitude.(nose up) Almost immediately the nose-up attitude increased
until the aircraft was vertical hanging on the props. It then nosed down and hit the runway, the landing gear collapsed and
it slid along the airfield on fire. I offered my eye-witness account to the subsequent enquiry but I never found out the result.
My own theory at the time was that the pilot had taken off with the elevator control locks engaged. When the elevators
were locked they were parallel to the ground and not in neutral. On reflection I remembered that the internal control lock
lever engaged with the inboard throttles so full throttle couldnt be obtained.
Further reading of your articles brought to light that there was an elevator problem with the Hastings.
I hope this sheds some light on the crash which as you say was a stall prang.