No. 214 (Federated Malay States)
Royal Air Force
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(model unknown) XD812
pieces of cine film taken in the early 1960's by RAF Pilot, F/Lt David Wright,
showing the Vickers Valiant V-Bomber at outstations. (Karachi, Nairobi, Marham)
Included are short flying sequences, and scenic shots of the Alps, Mont Cenis,
Crete and Mount Ararat. The landing at RAF Marham, Norfolk (214 Squadron's base)
is filmed from a De Havilland Chipmunk. Crew: F/Lt Boyd, F/O Ken Snape, M/Sgt
Spear, F/Lt David Wright (last on board) and F/Lt Trevor Hurrell.
film www.amazon.com "Look at Life" Volume 2 Military (Pipeline) shows
same crew flying the receiver tanker Valiant XD812 during Valiant to Valiant
flight refuelling, trailed by 214 Squadron, RAF Marham Norfolk. Filmed by the
Rank Organisation on 23 August 1960, and referenced in F/Lt David Wright's logbook.
Crew of Valiant (model unknown) XD812 consisted of :
Flt/Lt Trevor Hurrell
Fg/Off Ken Snape
Sgt John Spear
Flt/Lt David Wright
Source : Judi Wright
(daughter of Flt Lt David Wright)
Date record last updated : 28 December 2011
(model unknown) XD861
XD861 was in Capetown the same time that Sir Michael Beetham made his historic
flight non-stop from Marham to Cape Town in XD858. It was carrying spares needed
to repair a fault with XD 858's undercarriage.
Crew of Valiant (model unknown) XD861 consisted of :
Wg/Cdr Robert McAlistair
'Mac' Furze AFC
Rowland White, the author of the book Vulcan 607' the epic story of the "Black
Buck" bombing operations against Port Stanley airfield in the Falklands
War and Nightjar Newsletter Winter / Spring 2007
Date record last updated : 30 December 2011
B Mark I XD869
into the ground on takeoff. Crashed 2.5 miles North East of RAF Marham. Night
takeoff on a trip to Nairobi. All 6 crew members were killed.
Andrew states "There were 6 seats in a Valiant, two ejector seats for Captain
and Co-pilot, 3 rear facing seats for 2 Navigators and 1 WOP/AEO. There was
a 'jump seat' that was used by the Crew Chief on the occasions that he was needed
to fly in the aircraft."
to "Vickers Valiant - The first of the V-Bombers" by Eric B Morgan,
(Aerofax 2002) the Valiant was lost for tailplane linked reasons.
XD869 Crash at Marham by Ian Andrew February 2009
"I was serving on 214 Sqdn when this event occurred. I was a 22-year-old,
Cpl. Air Radar technician at the time. I had joined the Sqdn. In February 1959.
Sqdn was engaged in an Exercise Sunspot for 6 weeks. Most of the
A/C and personnel, including myself, were in Malta at RAF Luqa.
XD869 was scheduled to carry out a 'Lone Ranger' flight from RAF Marham to RAF
Eastleigh (Nairobi). This would necessitate in-flight refuelling from the tanker
A/C operating from Luqa.
I was assigned to the night shift that was to pre-flight, see off and then see
in and after flight the two tankers operating from Luqa. I cannot recollect
the time that the shift was scheduled to start, but it was brought foreword
and we were summoned from our accommodation about an hour early. We were told
that this was because the weather at Marham was deteriorating and the schedule
had been advanced to beat the weather.
I was the only Radar Fitter on the shift so I had to do both pre-flights. I
had completed the inspection and signed the F700 of one A/C and while I was
carrying out the 2nd pre-flight, one Cpl Greaves, an Armourer, came to the A/C
to tell us that flying was scrubbed, because of the weather at Marham.
The shift then closed up the A/C and put the bungs in the engines etc.
And we went to an unexpected early night in bed. I believe that this was about
02:00 local time.
The following morning we were awakened by a very noisy day shift. This was most
unusual as day workers normally respected the night workers rest period. They
had heard on the radio that a Valiant had crashed at Marham.
We immediately assumed that this was why our flight had been cancelled,
awaiting an investigation. The
next we knew was when the morning newspapers arrived by civilian airline. The
casualties were named in one paper; this told us that it was a 214 Sqdn. Crew.
The Crew Chief named was Chief Tech Bob Sewell. Bob was the Crew Chief of XD858,
so we assumed that it was this A/C that had crashed.
About mid day, we had a Valiant fly in from Marham and we were assembled for
a briefing where we learnt that the A/C involved was XD869.
All of the above are my recollections of the night, what follows is what I gleaned
later, so I suppose it is hearsay, but it is 1st hand hearsay from other Sqdn.
As was normal for Lone Ranger flights, two A/C were prepared and
two air crews readied. Because of the schedule being advance very close to ETD.
The spare aircrew did the A/C walk around while the prime crew attended
On Lone Ranger flights, where the Crew Chief was flying in the A/C,
another Crew Chief was assigned to do the actual seeing off. In this case Bob
Sewell was the other Crew Chief. The Crew Chief of XD869, whose
name escapes me, was suffering from a heavy cold or flu, so asked Bob
to take his place on the Lone Ranger. Bob went home to his family
in Married Quarters to pack a bag and promised to bring home some pineapples
for his kids. The Lone Rangers to Eastleigh were known as the
know that the person that did the Radar pre-flight was one Cpl Mick Dunn, as
he later told me how worried he was about having done a pre-flight on an A/C
that crashed. Mick later became a navigator and was commissioned. He came from
Officer Commanding 214 Sqdn at the time was Wg. Cdr. Mike Beetham DFC, he later
became Chief of the Air Staff, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham
GCB, CBE, DFC, AFC, DL, FRAaes. He is still alive, albeit now in his 80s."
"The crash of Valiant XD869 occurred almost exactly 12 monthas after I
had left the RAF. It was very sad for me because I was on the groundcrew of
this aircraft working in Chief Tech Sewell's team. Indeed I had flown a couple
of times in XD869, including some of the early air to air refuelling trials
in 1957/58. The morning of the crash I had to travel to Kings Lynn and knew
nothing about it until just passing Swafham off the A47 there were the remains
of a Valiant burnt out in a field. As far as I can remember it was some weeks
after that I found out that it was XD869, my old aircraft".
Date of loss : 11 September 1959
Crew of Valiant B Mark I XD869 consisted of :
Fg/Off Christopher Candy
AFM, 4230039, Air Electronics Officer, Royal Air Force, Nationality : United
Kingdom, KIA 11 September 1959, Aged 22
Flt/Lt Donald Howard AFM,
2238475, Navigator / Radio Operator, Royal Air Force, Nationality : United Kingdom,
KIA 11 September 1959, Aged 31
Flt/Lt Murray Frederick
Hyslop AFM, 3514067, Navigator / Plotter, Royal Air Force, Nationality :
United Kingdom, KIA 11 September 1959, Aged 27
Chf/Tech Robert Vernon
Sewell AFM, 573172, Crew Chief, Royal Air Force, Nationality : United Kingdom,
KIA 11 September 1959, Aged 37
Flt/Lt Thomas Cledwyn Watkins
AFM, 2567833, Pilot, Royal Air Force, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA
11 September 1959, Aged 28
Fg/Off Peter Edward Wormall
AFM, 607747, Co-pilot, Royal Air Force, Nationality : United Kingdom, KIA
11 September 1959, Aged 22
Source : Jock Whitehouse
(Squadron Association Historian) and Armed Forces Memorial and Eric B Morgan
(author) and Ian Andrew and Peter Walker (Squadron Association Secretary) and
old newspaper clippings after the crash
Date record last updated : 9 March 2009
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