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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 154081
Last updated: 17 October 2021
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Date:08-MAR-1956
Time:01:30
Type:Fairey Gannet AS.1
Owner/operator:Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm
Registration: XA337
MSN: F9229
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near HMS Ark Royal, SW of Sardinia -   Italy
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Military
Departure airport:HMS Ark Royal
Destination airport:
Narrative:
During Naval Exercise "Cascade" turned to starboard immediately after a night take off at 01:30 local, from HMS Ark Royal whilst operating in the Western Mediterranean Sea south west of Sardinia. The angle of bank increased and XA337 dived into the sea off the starboard bow killing the three crew.

Additional info per eyewitness reports: "Between 8th and 10th March 1956, during the Home Fleet's Exercise Cascade in the western Mediterranean, HMS Ark Royal - so new that her deck edge lift was still with the builders - lost five aircrew in a day, when a Sea Venom went missing and a Gannet, which had just taken off to look for the Sea Venom, banked on leaving the deck and spun in. "

The three crew of Gannet XA337 were:

CLAXTON, John B, Sub Lieutenant (observer)
RAMPLIN, Francis C 'Paddy', Petty Officer Telegraphist (A), JX 646362, (W/Op)
TOOLEY, Leslie M, Lieutenant (pilot)

Per a further eyewitness report: "Tragedy struck early Thursday morning when it was reported that two contacts, one of which was known to be one of our Venoms, disappeared from the radar screen. Nothing was ever heard of the aircraft again although it was later established that the second contact was a Shackleton on which the night fighter had been making a practice attack.

"We turned in our tracks and proceeded to send out our Gannets in search of the missing aircraft but trouble never comes singly. A Gannet, piloted by Lt Tooley, flipped on its back as it was fired from the catapult and washed into the sea. No trace was found. A memorial service was held on the quarterdeck the following evening in memory of the five who lost their lives in these two accidents."

Sources:

1. http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1956.htm
2. http://www.navy-net.co.uk/fleet-air-arm/47253-exercise-cascade-march-1956-a.html
3. https://www.gov.uk/search-armed-forces-memorial-roll-of-honour
4. (Map of crash location): http://www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1956-59GannetCrash.jpg
5. http://www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1956-59.htm


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
14-Mar-2013 16:23 Dr. John Smith Added
14-Mar-2013 16:31 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Country, Departure airport, Narrative]
08-May-2013 18:21 Nepa Updated [Operator]
07-Oct-2013 17:04 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Country, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
08-Feb-2016 18:06 TB Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Narrative]

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