Incident Westland Whirlwind HAR.4 (S-55T) XJ725, 11 Oct 1961
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 165538
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Type:Westland Whirlwind HAR.4 (S-55T)
Owner/operator:22 Squadron Royal Air Force (22 Sqn RAF)
Registration: XJ725
MSN: WA/96
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:English Channel, off Pegwell Bay, Ramsgate, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Manston, Kent (MSE/EGMH)
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
On 11th October 1961, a Royal Air Force Westland Whirlwind (XJ725) from No.22 Squadron was carrying out exercises in conjunction with the Ramsgate lifeboat off Pegwell Bay. On completion of the last part of the exercise and after flying satisfactorily for 40 minutes, the pilot applied climbing power and the navigator moved up into the second pilot's seat. The navigator had sat down and plugged in his intercom, but had not managed to fasten his harness, when the engine cut out, picked up for a moment, and then cut completely. The pilot ditched the Whirlwind successfully and he and the crew were picked up by the lifeboat - which was luckily still nearby - and none of the crew were seriously injured in the incident

After XJ725 had been recovered from the sea by the R.A.F. salvage vessel 'Rangemoor', it was taken to the Inner Harbour at Ramsgate and from there made its way by road to Manston. The fire section gave it a wash down and it was then given a brief initial inspection - one thing was glaringly obvious, and that was that the main fuel cock switch in the cockpit was in the "Off" position.

All of the evidence suggested that when the navigator climbed up from the cabin into the cockpit he accidentally caught the fuel cock switch with some part of his body. Oops! The switch was sited between the two crew members and vulnerable to careless movement by crew or equipment - the AIB recommended that a suitable spring-loaded guard should be fitted over these switches in future.

After completion of AIB procedures, the wreckage of XJ726 was sent to 71 MU RAF Bicester, where it was reported as having arrived by 10/12/1961 for scrapping

Pegwell Bay is a shallow inlet in the English Channel coast astride the estuary of the River Stour north of Sandwich Bay, between Ramsgate and Sandwich in Kent.


1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings – Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p. 206 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Daily Herald - Thursday 12 October 1961
3. A Detailed History of RAF Manston 1945-1999 By Joe Bamford
4. Royal Air Force Serials XA100-XZ999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 2001 p.49)
6. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 5/40/S3019:


Revision history:

16-Apr-2014 20:27 Dr. John Smith Added
14-Nov-2018 06:49 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
14-Feb-2020 21:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
14-Feb-2020 21:03 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
22-Feb-2020 00:51 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
06-Aug-2022 23:17 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative, Category]

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