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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 21050
Last updated: 17 July 2021
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Date:08-MAR-1957
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic CNBR model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
English Electric Canberra B Mk 2
Owner/operator:61 Squadron Royal Air Force (61 Sqn RAF)
Registration: WH915
MSN: SH1658
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Wigginton, 2 miles SSE of Tring, Hertfordshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Upwood, Cambridgeshire
Destination airport:
Narrative:
EE Canberra B.Mk.2 WH915. 61 Squadron: Written off (destroyed) 8/3/1957. The aircraft took off from RAF Upwood, and climbed to 10,000 feet over the North Sea off Wainfleet, Lincolnshire. Having achieved this, the pilot called on the R/T to state that he was setting a westerly course. However, the next sighting of Canberra WH915 was RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire, at an altitude of approximately 40 feet above high ground, and flying in very bad weather. The aircraft then struck the ground at Wigginton, 2 miles South South East of Tring, Hertfordshire, and was destroyed on impact: all three crew members were killed instantly.

Crew of Canberra WH915
Squadron Leader Norman Leslie Hartley, RAF (pilot, Service Number 124684, aged 25)
Flight Lieutenant Roger David Riches, RAF (navigator, aged 25)
Flying Officer Leslie Owen Sage Turner (navigator, Service Number 31102506, aged 28)

The cause of the crash could not be determined by the RAF Board of Inquiry, although a variety of possibilities were examined and then disregarded

Canberra B.2 WH915 was involved in an infamous incident at RAF Nicosia, Cyprus, during "Operation Musketeer", the military operations over Suez Egypt on 1/11/56. It is possibly the only recorded incident of a pilot being disciplined for deliberately damaging his aircraft, by retracting the nose wheel on the take off run, in order to prevent him carrying out combat operations. Per a contemporary report in Flight International magazine 25/1/1957:

"Canberra Court Martial
At Nicosia, F/O Dennis Raymond Kenyon, a regular officer of No. 61 Squadron, Upwood, attached to R.A.F. Nicosia, is to be tried by general court martial next Monday, January 28. The charge against him reads: "...on November 1, 1956, when on active service, and when as captain and pilot of Her Majesty's aircraft Canberra WH915 he was under orders to take off from Nicosia and to fly to Egypt in order to carry out a warlike operation in the air, through default, failed to use his utmost exertions to carry such orders into effect by wilfully causing the undercarriage of the said aircraft to be partially retracted before take-off when the said aircraft was stationary on the ground with undercarriage down, with intent to relieve him from carrying the said orders into effect. There are two alternative charges, one of "wilfully damaging" the aircraft, and the other of "negligently damaging" it.

At the Court-Martial, F/O Kenyon was sentenced to one years imprisonment and he was cashiered (per press reports dated 29/1/57). Later, in May 1957, sentence was reduced to six-months imprisonment, but he remained cashiered.

WH915 was repaired at Akrotiri by 103 MU RAF and returned to service after this incident, but was written off on 8/3/1957 as per the above

Sources:

1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.188 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983 p 54)
3. Category Five; A Catalogue of RAF Aircraft Losses 1954 to 2009 by Colin Cummings p.237-238
4. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT233/386: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C424507
5. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 5/36/S2870: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C6578650
6. http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=WH
7. Flight Magazine 25 January 1957: https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarch...0-%200123.html
8. http://simviation.com//lair/casualty1957.htm
9. http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1957.htm
10. https://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/581647-canberra-nose-wheel-collapse-akrotiri.html#post9458677
11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wigginton,_Hertfordshire .


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
13-Jun-2008 10:18 JINX Added
16-Feb-2012 02:02 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Source]
07-Apr-2013 23:43 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
07-Apr-2013 23:47 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
28-Jun-2014 10:14 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Narrative]
03-Nov-2018 09:37 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
23-Jan-2020 20:00 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Source, Narrative]
30-Jul-2020 19:56 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
31-Jul-2020 21:18 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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