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814man
8th Sep 2006, 20:48
Due to a divorce and family feud my wife has only recently discovered that she had an uncle who was in the RAF. The story goes that he was a pilot who was killed in an aircraft crash near Peebles in the early 1960s. His name was Victor Hill and he came from Scunthorpe.
I thought that it would be relatively easy to research the crash element, however so far all we have found from the www.britishwargraves.org.uk site is that there is a Flight Lieutenant VJ Hill buried at Leuchars cemetery and that he died on 21 Nov 61 aged 30. It seems reasonable to assume that this could this be the same person.
Can anyone give me any ideas as to how we can get any further information? It may well be that the family story is just that a story, as I cannot find anything about a crash at that time.

VATCO
8th Sep 2006, 20:52
Hi there good luck with the research. What about writing to the RAF at Leuchars they may well cast some more light on the subject.
Other sites and books about on crash sites of aircraft available, good luck

henry crun
8th Sep 2006, 22:02
814man: Broken Wings, which details all major accidents to RAF aircraft 1945-1999,, has only one entry involving fatalities on 21.11.61.

Canberra B8: XM266: 3 Sqn: 2m E of Tiverton, Devon: engine flamed out at night; dived into canal, 2 fatal.

There were no major accidents in Scotland during Nov of that year.

Atcham Tower
9th Sep 2006, 11:46
Maybe Javelin XA825 of 29 Sqdn, Leuchars, crashed on Bowbeat Hill, Lammermuir Hills, not so far from Peebles on 21/11/1961.

Atcham Tower
9th Sep 2006, 11:47
Whoops, meant to type 1960, not 61!

Atcham Tower
9th Sep 2006, 15:39
Further to me previous posts, the Javelin actually crashed in the Moorfoot Hills rather than the Lammermuirs. My memory was a bit adrift. Map ref is OS 73/295475 and some wreckage still exists.

Topsy Turvey
10th Sep 2006, 22:48
Due to a divorce and family feud my wife has only recently discovered that she had an uncle who was in the RAF. The story goes that he was a pilot who was killed in an aircraft crash near Peebles in the early 1960s. His name was Victor Hill and he came from Scunthorpe.
I thought that it would be relatively easy to research the crash element, however so far all we have found from the www.britishwargraves.org.uk site is that there is a Flight Lieutenant VJ Hill buried at Leuchars cemetery and that he died on 21 Nov 61 aged 30. It seems reasonable to assume that this could this be the same person.
Can anyone give me any ideas as to how we can get any further information? It may well be that the family story is just that a story, as I cannot find anything about a crash at that time.
If others on this site are unable to help, try the Air Historical Branch at RAF Bentley Priory, Stanmore Middx for more info on the crash, or the JCCC Historic Branch for any info on the circumstances of the death of Flt Lt Hill.
http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/WhatWeDo/Personnel/AFPAA/HistoricAndDeceasedEstatesCasework.htm
However, you should note the latter will only disclose details of circumstances of your wife's Uncles death / personal information with the NOK's agrement

814man
13th Sep 2006, 11:21
Thanks to all for the information and help provided. I will now try a few letters as suggested to see what more can be discovered.
TT - I should say that our interest is purely one borne out of curiosity. The main one being that from a family with no background or connection with the forces both Victor Hill, and many years later my wife, both served in the RAF.

Porrohman
24th Jan 2007, 03:00
I was brought up in Penicuik, which is not far from the crash site and I used to go hill walking in the area where the aircraft crashed.

When I was at school, an article about the crash, and a photograph of the crash site, appeared in our Penicuik High School magazine. I don't have a copy of this any more, but I recall that the cause of the crash, according to the author, was an engine malfunction that caused the engines to jam at full power with full reheat.

The problem reportedly started over the Firth of Forth at high altitude. Javelins had recently been fitted with modified engines and the author of the article reported that there had been similar malfunctions with other Javelins at around that time. The pilot had limited control over the aircraft and was concerned that it might crash in a populated area, so he steered it towards the Moorfoot Hills and the two crewmen ejected at low altitude at an exceptionally high speed near Gladhouse Reservoir. I think I remember reading that the aircraft was supersonic prior to the crash. Neither of the crew survived the ejection. A local shepherd witnessed the crash.

The wreckage of the aircraft is scattered over a very wide area and some of it had sunk into the soft peat on the hillside. When I last visited the crash site about fifteen years ago, the two engines were about 1/4 mile apart in the narrow valley of Bowbeat Burn near the top of Bowbeat Hill. Pieces of the airframe were scattered over a huge area about 2 miles long by 1/2 mile wide, high up the hillside and in several gullies on hills called New Moss and Emly Bank which are in the area of Bowbeat Hill and Blackhope Scar. There may be further wreckage at other locations in the area.

There are some photos of the crash site here; http://www.edwardboyle.com/article4.html

Apologies if any of this information proves to be inaccurate. It's based on my recollection of an article that was written over 30 years ago by a senior pupil at my High School, but it sounded like he'd done a lot of careful research.

Regards,

Porrohman.

Porrohman
24th Jan 2007, 19:03
Javelin XA825 was built as an FAW6 variant which didn't have reheat so that casts a little doubt on part of the story as I recalled it.

Were FAW6 variants subsequently modified to FAW8 or FAW9 standard? I can't find any reference to such updates on the www. Or perhaps some FAW6's had reheat added as a trial fit? According to http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/javelin/history.html, "a larger number of each mark were being used in various trials on such basic items as the weapons and engine fits, leading one to believe the Air Ministry had handed the RAF over to Gloster as one big Guinea Pig." So it's still possible that the report was correct.

Porrohman.

Porrohman
23rd Feb 2007, 13:05
In the Javelin, "the Sapphire 204's afterburner could only be engaged at high altitude; due to the limited throughput of the fuel pump system; if reheat were engaged at low altitudes, it would actually cause a loss in thrust." - source; http://www.vectorsite.net/avjavlin.html

The Javelin had a fairly limited reheat capability, yet, around the same period of time, Avons in the Lightning produced massive increases in thrust when reheat was engaged. What prevented the installation of a better reheat system on the Sapphire / Javelin? Was it a case that the airframe wouldn't benefit much from / couldn't cope with any further increase in thrust? Or perhaps that the increased fuel consumption of a better reheat system would have reduced the endurance by too much? Or something else?

Alan90
10th Mar 2007, 16:09
Hi,
From my database I have the crew of Javelin XA825 of 29Sqn as F/Lt's V.L Hill and J.M Knight. The Air Britain serial register gives the cause of the accident as "Flew into hill descending in cloud,Bowbeat Hill, 4m NE of Peebles 21.11.60".

NeilRM
13th Aug 2007, 10:50
My father was the pilot of the Canberra that crashed into the Canal in Tiverton. I have very little information about the crash, if anybody has any information I would like to hear from them.

Canberra XM266 3 Sqn

viking1948
6th Aug 2008, 14:20
I visited the site in July and photographs from that trip have just been uploaded at Air Crash Sites Scotland:

Gloster Javelin XA825 (http://www.aircrashsites-scotland.co.uk/javelin_bowbeat_hill.htm)

Incidentally, I visited Hawick and Galashiels libraries to look at microfilm copies of relevant newspapers including the Borders Telegraph and Southern Reporter from 1960 however these did not contain any mention of the incident - could there have been an embargo on reporting it? Unfortunately, another newspaper, the Peebleshire News, was not available in for that year in three locations which were contacted.

I will look at national newspapers when I get the chance.

roons
2nd Jun 2009, 19:34
Hi Neil,
I can guess what the RM stands for!!!
I was stationed at RAF Chivenor at the time & remember this incident well, as I was involved in the aftermath.. If you want any info please contact me.
roons

sonof613
2nd Oct 2011, 13:41
I saw your post to Flight Lieutenant Moore's son a while back. I walked by the crash site and the memorial plaque again today - something I do often.

So, at the risk of being very inquisitive, I would be so appreciative of anything you could tell me about the crash. for example can you tell me if ditching in the canal was planned or just the way it happened.

My thanks in advance

John Farley
2nd Oct 2011, 17:19
In Colin Cummings listing of RAF Cat five accidents the narrative has to be one of the shortest in the whole book:

"Engine failed at night and aircraft dived into ground"

Does not sound much like a ditching attempt.

JF

redsetter
2nd Oct 2011, 19:23
The "Quarterly Review of Aircraft Accidents and Occurrences, Oct-Dec 61" says:

The aircraft took off for a United Kingdom cross-country flight in the High Low High profile.The pilot climbed to Flight Level 310 and subsequently let down over south-west England under radar surveillance. Contact was lost at 4,000 ft and the aircraft was later reported to have crashed at West Manley. Both the pilot and navigator were killed. Weather conditions at the time were four-eights stratus at 1,000 ft, visibility 3,000 yards with continuous slight rain. Cat 5/Two killed. Provisional Cause Coding - Unknown.

mellyjayne
15th Oct 2011, 13:44
i am wondering if this is the same person we are talking about,as all the facts are the same except for the year of death which was 1960,if its the same person,he was also my great uncle

Grob Queen
16th Oct 2011, 18:25
Topsy Turvey,
As an RAF historian working with the RAF I must correct you i'm afraid. RAF Air Historical branch (AHB) may be able to assist you as they hold some Bomber Command Loss Cards and RAF Accident Cards. however, they do not hold RAF Personnel info. They now live at RAF Northolt, West end Road, Ruislip, Middx.

Also, contact the Department of research and information at the RAF Museum on [email protected] with your enquiry.

There is of course RAF Disclosures located where i'm stationed as it happens at RAF Cranwell. however, they will only provide the Record of Service to teh Surviving Next of Kin and will require proof of this. You will ahev to complete a form and also pay the 30 fee.

I hope this helps.

Bovingdonairfield
19th Oct 2011, 14:41
Hi, I am trying to find out if anyone has any documented proof that they, or anyone they know, has landed on the old Bovingdon Airfield since the 80's? I recently purchased a farm that has part of the old runway, the part closest to the Bovingdon VOR! anyone that has landed on this part of the runway in the last 10-20 years, could you please let me know as I fly a microlite and am having trouble with the council! There has been a chap with a plane that he has kept on the farm since the early 70's so there is established rights, but the more people that can show they have flown in and out of here in the last 10 years at least, will help me prove the established rights. The part of runway that came with the farm has PPR written at both ends, this is the stretch I am talking about! I really would appreciate any help on this matter!
Thanks. Paul.

Chris Scott
19th Oct 2011, 22:56
Hi Bovingdonairfield,

And welcome! See your Private Messages.

613
27th Oct 2011, 22:36
I take your point about the terseness :) - the reason I mention ditching was because that the canal was dredged some 6/7 years ago and they came up with mud soaked in aviation fuel and lots of parts and instruments from the aircraft. I gather the bulk of the aircraft was removed approx 2/3 weeks after the crash

Thank you for your response !

613
27th Oct 2011, 22:40
I thank you for your reply and for the information. Local folklore says that the crew stayed with the aircraft so it didn't crash on the town and thus sacrificed their lives in order to do that. It is very nearly 50 years to the day since it happened and , each time I pass the sight, my thoughts are with the families of the crew!

Wheelwright
27th Oct 2019, 08:06
My father was the pilot of the Canberra that crashed into the Canal in Tiverton. I have very little information about the crash, if anybody has any information I would like to hear from them.

Canberra XM266 3 Sqn
I know little about the accident but am interested as I flew Canberras for many years. I have a piece of wreckage from your father's Canberra. It is the emergency bomb release lever and was recovered many years after the accident by a water engineer working at the site. Please let me know if you would like any more information about it. Best wishes. Mike hawkins

Davidsa
2nd Nov 2019, 22:42
I am very interested to stumble on this thread as in 1961 I was 16 years old and boarding at Blundell's School which is about a mile from the crash site. We very often used to walk, run or bike along the canal (which was unrestored at that time).
I distinctly remember hearing an unusual noise which suddenly stopped. We were in the process of going to bed, so it would have been around 10 pm. I was checking the stash of cigarettes under the loose floorboard under my bed.

Next day we were all called together and told very firmly that the canal was now "out of bounds" for the rest of the term; we should go nowhere near it, and if approached by the press we were to say "no comment". By the following term the wreckage was of course removed.

So far as I recall we were never told officially what had happened indeed the policy of the school was that nothing had happened! Of course there were rumours, including that the pilots had sacrificed themselves to avoid the town. 1961/2 was the winter of the big freeze, so we spent most of the Spring term trying to keep warm, and the events of the previous term long forgotten. There was little or no discussion of the flight or the type of aircraft. At that time we were more into fast cars than planes. Package holidays were only just starting.

It is cathartic even 58 years later to find out more about a dim memory (and find it is not really so dim), and to be able to put names to the poor people who died.