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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 153851
Last updated: 13 October 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic VAMP model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland DH.100 Vampire F Mk 1
Owner/operator:203 Advanced Flying School Royal Air Force (203 AFS RAF)
Registration: VF308
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Kirkburn, near RAF Driffield, North Yorkshire, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:RAF Driffeld, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:RAF Driffield, North Yorkshire
On the 17th October, 1950, a pair of Vampires F.1s, VF270 and VF308, both of 203 AFS collided at Kirkburn, near Driffield, North Yorkshire. The aircraft was one of a formation of five, aligned in echelon port formation, prior to a circuit before landing back at RAF Driffield. At 1,400 feet Vampire VF270 collided with the starboard tail boom of Vampire VF308, went out of control and spun into the ground. Both pilots were killed in each aircraft.

Crew of Vampire VF308:
Sergeant Reginald Marshall WILLIS (pilot) RAF - killed on active service 17/10/1950

The Coroner's Inquest was reported in the Hull Daily Mail of October 25th 1950:

One of the pilots in a formation of five Vampire jet aircraft described to the East Riding Coroner, Mr. H. W. Rennison, last night how two of the formation collided in mid-air over Kirkburn village, near Driffield, and crashed, one in Kirkburn churchyard and the other in a field, killing both pilots.

P/O Harold Roy Radford, who was No. 5 in the formation, told the Coroner that all the pilots had formation flying experience, but they had not previously flown together as a formation of five. After flying in formation for some time, they approached Driffield airfield in echelon starboard formation, which was a normal approach preparatory to breaking and landing.

"I heard the leader give the order, 'Prepare to break, break,' and saw him peel off with the next two following suit, but the first two came into collision," said witness.

Flt. Lt. Peter Smith, who saw the accident from the air traffic control office at Driffield RAF Station, told the Coroner..."I heard the leader give the order to break formation. The leader made a climbing turn to port followed by the rest of the formation. No. 2 appeared to break fairly quickly after the leader overtook him and struck him from below and on the starboard side. The aircraft separated and dived towards the ground."

The Coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure."

The reported crash location of Kirkburn is a small village and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is situated about 3 miles (5 km) south-west of Driffield town centre and is on the A614 road, at approximate co ordinates 53.983095N 0.504899W


1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.107 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Royal Air Force Aircraft SA100-VZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983)
3. Last Take Off; A Catalogue of RAF Aircraft Losses 1950 to 1953 by Colin Cummings p.91
8. RAF Driffield Operations Record Book: 1 Jun 1947 to 31 December 1950: National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 28/

Revision history:

07-Mar-2013 19:08 Dr. John Smith Added
28-May-2015 15:35 Oezil 007 Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
10-Jan-2020 20:29 stehlik49 Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Nature, Operator]
03-Jan-2021 22:30 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Jan-2021 22:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
03-Jan-2021 22:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Source]
03-Jan-2021 22:36 Oezil 007 Updated [Cn, Operator, Source, Narrative, Operator]
04-Jan-2021 20:13 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
04-Jan-2021 20:20 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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