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Old 7th Aug 2008, 18:44   #1 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Greenlaw, Scottish Borders
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Scimitar Crash nr Ben Vorlich 10 Nov 1959

Hi all

Does anybody have any information on this? I have a grid reference of
NN620163 and the following from an ejection history website (which appears to have a couple of mistakes - it's nowhere near Aberfoyle, ad as far as I know there's no Loch Cam, but there is a Loch Earn closeby):

10th November 1959
RN Scimitar XD281
'190/11'807 Sqn
Hydraulic failure.
Crashed in hilly country in Loch Cam/Ben Volich area, nr Aberfoyle, Perthshire

Lt. N. Grier-Rees ejected at 26,OOOft came down safely on the 2,300ft snow‑covered Ben Bhreac, then over several days walked 13 miles before reaching a farmhouse at Callander, Perthshire

Last edited by viking1948; 7th Aug 2008 at 19:00.
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Old 8th Aug 2008, 17:37   #2 (permalink)
 
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I suspect that this might be a "Send three and fourpence" type report.

Those co-ords are very close to Lochan a Chroin on the SW side of Ben Vorlich.

Maybe Lochan got miss reported as Loch Cam?

Incidentally there are numerous Ben (or Beinn) Bhreac's in Scotland, including five in this area alone.
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Old 10th Aug 2008, 11:13   #3 (permalink)
 
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Thanks Flap40. There's also two Ben Vorlich's (at least)! I hopew to tey an check out the area in the coming months.
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Old 10th Aug 2008, 14:27   #4 (permalink)
 
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OS Sheet 57/ 620163.
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Old 11th Aug 2008, 14:17   #5 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
then over several days walked 13 miles
Several days, 13 miles! Was no one looking for him? Was he injured?

There should be an interesting story here. Does anyone have any details?
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Old 11th Aug 2008, 17:40   #6 (permalink)
 
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I know an ex-Scimitar pilot, now living abroad -he seemed quite fond of the a/c ( as one becomes ) despite the fact that when I briefly researched the types' history my toes curled !

I'll ask him,

DZ
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Old 11th Aug 2008, 23:04   #7 (permalink)
 
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Lochan a' Chroin is near the summit of a separate Munro called Stuc a' Chroin which is a very prominent mountain 2km south-west of Ben Vorlich and 9km North of Callander. From many viewpoints in the Forth Valley, Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorlich are the most prominent mountains. Ben Vorlich is the more pointed mountain whilst Stuc a' Chroin is a more craggy and irregular shape. The grid reference given for the crash site is on the southern slopes of Stuc a' Chroin about 0.5km south-east from Lochan a' Chroin. There is no "Loch Cam" on the OS map in that area.

This web site; http://www.dundeeopenaward.co.uk/leadersresources/crashsites.htm confirms the grid reference of the crash site and states that there are small remains there.

There's a Ben Bhreac about 6km NW of Callander and 3km south of the crash site. If the pilot walked 13 miles to reach Callander he must have taken a detour but that's not surprising given the nature of the terrain in that area and the likely weather conditions.

Last edited by Porrohman; 11th Aug 2008 at 23:29.
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Old 12th Aug 2008, 07:07   #8 (permalink)
 
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I'm sure you will have seen/considered this...
Scimtar file

Last edited by mustpost; 12th Aug 2008 at 17:58.
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Old 12th Aug 2008, 15:40   #9 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
There should be an interesting story here.
Well, I've just answered my own question. I had forgotten that I had signed up for the (currently) free Times Online Archive.

The story was in The Times on 12 Nov 1959 "Pilot walked 13 miles after baling out" "Sheltered in hut during blizzard" http://archive.timesonline.co.uk/tol...rykeywordText=

You will have to sign up to view the article, but here is the picture of the pilot:



It wasn't several days, just overnight, but I'm sure that was bad enough in the Grampians in November.

He baled out in the afternoon, landed on a ridge in a snowstorm, walked for several hours, sheltered in a hut and then walked out to a farm the next morning. He was wearing an immersion suit, which helped keep him warm. A great stiff-upper-lip quote in the article
Quote:
It was snowing heavily by that time and his leg, which had taken "a bit of a pounding," was beginning to hurt.
An interesting point at the end of the article is that he reported ejecting near Kingussi, but landed 70 miles further south.

The Times Archive is an amazing resource - every article from every issue going back to 1785!

I42
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Old 12th Aug 2008, 19:33   #10 (permalink)
 
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India Four Two

Quote:
The Times Archive is an amazing resource - every article from every issue going back to 1785!
As I've long suspected, you were on the mailing list way back then..

Well done sir - yes a 70 mile float from 26000 seems a 'little' optimistic -any takers?

PS interested as I've either climbed them or waterskied in the low bits - my first involuntary intake of salt tablets as a result of a collapse (age 11 guys) was on said Ben Vorlich. Then trials biked round most of it in the 70's

PS edited to add - doesn't he look (with obviously loaned check jkt) like one of the many 39 Steps Richard Hannay shots?? - and Callander was v close to the fictional/film locations...
"it's a one-horse dorp"....

With all due respect to Lt. N. Grier-Rees (I believe he achieved a much higher rank than that), and his family, naturally..
Mike

Last edited by mustpost; 12th Aug 2008 at 20:02.
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Old 13th Aug 2008, 00:38   #11 (permalink)
 
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Mustpost said;
Quote:
a 70 mile float from 26000 seems a 'little' optimistic
I agree. The problems started at 26,000 ft but the ejection was at 20,000ft according to the Times report. The weather forecast in the Times for the day of the accident predicted a westerly wind, and a strength of fresh to strong. It therefore seems highly unlikely that an ejection over Kingussie at 20,000ft would result in a parachute landing 70 miles south near Callander. Also, the pilotless Scimitar with hydraulic failure would have to have covered almost the same distance southwards, then manage to crash on a steep south-facing slope. I think it's more likely that the pilot ejected somewhere north-west of Callander.

Viking 1948 said;
Quote:
Lt. N. Grier-Rees ejected at 26,OOOft came down safely on the 2,300ft snow‑covered Ben Bhreac, then over several days walked 13 miles before reaching a farmhouse at Callander, Perthshire


My best guess based on the article in the Times, the report referenced above and my experience walking the mountains in that area would be that the pilot landed on Beinn Bhreac, then descended south or south west to the Allt Brhreac-Nic and followed this stream eastwards until he spotted the small reservoir near Arivurichardich where he sheltered in a hut. When the snow eased, he would then have followed track next to the Keltie Water southwards until he reached one of the farms 2 miles north Callander (perhaps Braeleny or Thomasgreen?). The distance is a lot less than 13 miles (more like 5 or 6), but I expect that the terrain and weather conditions would have made it seem like a much greater distance.
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Old 13th Aug 2008, 12:21   #12 (permalink)

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Even if he ejected at 23,000, the seat barometrics would not trigger seat separation and parachute deployment until 12,000, then subtract the 2,300ft of the mountain...
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Old 13th Aug 2008, 22:08   #13 (permalink)
 
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I found this info about the pilot via Google;
Quote:
Nigel Grier Rees, at the age of eleven won a scholarship to Dartmouth Royal Naval College. When on the 'HMS Devonshire' as trainee officer, he won the Queen's sword for the student with most academic and officer like qualities. When Prince Philip arrived to present Nigel with the Queen's sword, HRH asked Nigel to act as his page at the Coronation. In 1953, Nigel co-presented with Richard Dimbleby a programme on the BBC from Nelson's Museum - a case of 'Nelson knew my 3rd great grandfather'. He rose to the rank of Commander for Air, having been Squadron Leader in the Air Branch and also trained the Black Arrows Display team.
(source; Re: James Grier 1753 -1814 - Llanarthney, Wales )

There are some photos of him on HMS Eagle in 1966 on this site; On the flight deck (you'll need to scroll through the photos (scroll right about 20 times), but it's a good site with lots of interesting photos and information).

Also;
RootsWeb: GRIERSON-L Grier-Rees, marriage of 1980, widow of (Commander) Nigel Grier-Rees
807 Naval Air Squadron - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2005
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Old 14th Aug 2008, 08:02   #14 (permalink)
 
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And indeed when comparing photgraphs, this appears to be him standing to the right of Prince Phillip...
http://cache.viewimages.com/xc/33305...5A1E4F32AD3138
Remarkable thing the web - I recently discovered I had an RAF uncle I knew absolutely nothing about.. (no jokes please, Dad's Army and all that)
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Old 14th Aug 2008, 11:28   #15 (permalink)
 
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I also found this site;
Atlas F1 Bulletin Board - Personal photos from the track
which mentions a "N Grier-Rees" winning a 1,172 formula race in 1957 in a Buckler 90. I'm not certain whether or not it's the same chap.

If you're wondering what a Buckler 90 is;
Ford sidevalve Specials Ashley, Buckler, Falcon, Tornado ++
Buckler Cars - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 14th Aug 2008, 20:59   #16 (permalink)
 
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Knew the gentleman concerned. The reason for the ejection was a double hydraulic failure (out of two), hence zero flying controls. The aircraft wouldn't have gone far in this condition.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 02:11   #17 (permalink)
 
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There's another photo of him on HMS Eagle during the period 1970-72 here; http://www.axfordsabode.org.uk/pdf-docs/eagle08.pdf . He's in the photo entitled "Air Department".

Last edited by Porrohman; 15th Aug 2008 at 03:16.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 16:40   #18 (permalink)
 
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He had another claim to fame as this 1959 press cutting shows:

Quote:
What is believed to be the first “ emergency Sea Hawk landing involving the use of the Royal Navy’s nylon rope barrier occurred on February 28, when Lt. Nigel Grier-Rees of No. 806 (“Ace of Diamonds”) Sqn. landed his Hawk on H.M.S. Eagle following hydraulic failure. With the aircraft’s powered controls out of action he returned to the carrier’s circuit and discovered that his arrester hook could not be lowered. Two touch-and-go landings were made in an unsuccessful effort to jerk the hook down, after which the nylon barrier was erected by the flight deck crew in the record time of 2 min 20 sec.



Quote:
As shown in the photographs above, the Sea Hawk was arrested successfully by the barrier and, in the words of an Admiralty announcement, “both pilot and aircraft were undamaged.”
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 17:34   #19 (permalink)
 
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So that's two (well, three) hydraulic failures in one year. He must have been thinking "Oh no, not again" the second time around.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 21:03   #20 (permalink)
 
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India Four Two

Couldn't agree more - my understanding is that the Scimitar was more prone to this sort of problem (or any) than the Hawk - but I look forward to be corrected by someone who flew either of them.
Fascinating little thread - well done viking1948

Ps lovely to see the Hawk displaying again.

PPS
the word 'little' is not appropriate.....

Last edited by mustpost; 16th Aug 2008 at 21:12.
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