View Full Version : Scimitar Crash nr Ben Vorlich 10 Nov 1959

7th Aug 2008, 18:44
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 1959http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/WEB-GIFs/flags/UK.jpg
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

8th Aug 2008, 17:37
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.

10th Aug 2008, 11:13
Thanks Flap40. There's also two Ben Vorlich's (at least)! I hopew to tey an check out the area in the coming months.

10th Aug 2008, 14:27
OS Sheet 57/ 620163.

India Four Two
11th Aug 2008, 14:17
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?

Double Zero
11th Aug 2008, 17:40
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,


11th Aug 2008, 23:04
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 (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.

12th Aug 2008, 07:07
I'm sure you will have seen/considered this...
Scimtar file (http://www.condor49ers.org.uk/scimtar_file.htm)

India Four Two
12th Aug 2008, 15:40
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/viewArticle.arc?toDate=1959-11-15&fromDate=1959-11-10&currentPageNumber=1&resultsPerPage=10&sortBy=default&offset=0&viewName=&addFilters=&removeFilters=&addCat=&queryKeywords=scimitar&sectionId=1040&currPgSmartSet=1&pageId=ARCHIVE-The_Times-1959-11-12-12&articleId=ARCHIVE-The_Times-1959-11-12-12-010&xmlpath=&pubId=17&totalResults=1&addRefineFilters=&removeRefineFilters=&addRefineCat=&next_Page=false&prev_Page=false&date_dd_From=10&date_mm_From=11&date_yyyy_From=1959&date_dd_to_range=15&date_mm_to_range=11&date_yyyy_to_range=1959&date_dd_from_precise=10&date_mm_from_precise=11&date_yyyy_from_precise=1959&isDateSearch=false&dateSearchType=range&refineQuerykeywordText=

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 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!


12th Aug 2008, 19:33
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..:D

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"....:E

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

13th Aug 2008, 00:38
Mustpost said;

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;
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.

13th Aug 2008, 12:21
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...

13th Aug 2008, 22:08
I found this info about the pilot via Google;
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 (http://www.genealogyboard.com/grier/messages/436.html) )

There are some photos of him on HMS Eagle in 1966 on this site; On the flight deck (http://www.condor49ers.org.uk/on_the_flight_deck.htm) (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).

RootsWeb: GRIERSON-L Grier-Rees, marriage of 1980, widow of (Commander) Nigel Grier-Rees (http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/GRIERSON/2004-10/1096870141)
807 Naval Air Squadron - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/807_Naval_Air_Squadron)
2005 (http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/project/YEAR_Pages/1959.htm)

14th Aug 2008, 08:02
And indeed when comparing photgraphs, this appears to be him standing to the right of Prince Phillip...
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:O)

14th Aug 2008, 11:28
I also found this site;
Atlas F1 Bulletin Board - Personal photos from the track (http://forums.autosport.com/showthread.php?postid=2571203)
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 ++ (http://www.oldclassiccar.co.uk/ford_based_specials.htm)
Buckler Cars - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckler_Cars)

14th Aug 2008, 20:59
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.

15th Aug 2008, 02:11
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".

15th Aug 2008, 16:40
He had another claim to fame as this 1959 press cutting shows:

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.


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.”

India Four Two
15th Aug 2008, 17:34
So that's two (well, three) hydraulic failures in one year. He must have been thinking "Oh no, not again" the second time around.

15th Aug 2008, 21:03
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:ok:

Ps lovely to see the Hawk displaying again.

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

Brian Abraham
16th Aug 2008, 01:29
when I briefly researched the types' history my toes curled
DZ, be interested to hear an elaboration. Know little of the type and its peccadillo's.

16th Aug 2008, 05:23
In a Scimitar had a single hyd failure in the circuit followed by the second failure a foot or two above the ground, controls seized but was on the runway. Firing all four guns generally lead to a single failure so two guns only was the norm. Never had a failure in a Sea Hawk although flown for less hours.

16th Aug 2008, 12:33
Speechless Two - You are almost right except that Bush actually ejected and lived for around 24 hours; he ejected so low that he and his parachute passed through the fireball of the crashed Hunter which fused the canopy cords together before the chute was fully deployed. His arrival on terra firma was therefore such that although he survived the ejection - and in the process became the only Fleet Air Arm pilot (and probably the only pilot) to have ejected three times he subsequently died of his injuries. RIP.

Nigel Grier- Rees also ejected from a Hunter at Brawdy,having previously dead-sticked another from Lossie with a fuel problem at a disused airfield nearby during which he managed to avoid a practising learner driver adjacent to and concrete blocks scattered on the runway before tensioning the barbed wire fence at the end of the runway with his nosewheel door. No damage to man or mount.

He died whilst pruning a tree in his orchard. RIP also. A very nice guy with whom I had the pleasure to serve. Married a friend of my wife's.

16th Aug 2008, 21:06
Many, many thanks guys for the poignant and 1st hand memories of our recent history - no I'm not writing a book/making the programme, but my late uncle had a senior position with EE designing the Frightning. My family tales have always included this sort of thing. Some day more work will have to be done to preserve memories like this.
Keep 'em coming...
Kind Regards

19th Aug 2008, 23:46
For those still interested there is a book published by Air Britain called the 'Scimitar file' - its got the lot! I bought my copy at the Museum shop at Yeovilton.

Regards to all the ex Scimitar drivers still around.

Lower Hangar
20th Aug 2008, 14:34
My first squadron ( I was an engineer) after completing apprentice course was 736 Sq which I joined in April 1962. I thought it was an awesome machine ( my contemporaries went to 738 & 764 -Hunters -paah !). I recall seeing Lt Cdr Grier-Rees name painted on the cockpit of one of the aircraft and the most recent additions to this thread brings to mind attending Lt Skrodski's funeral at the cemetery on the Milltown road. - not a week went by at Lossie ( as I recall) but something somewhere didn't spear in on approach/takeoff or on some hillside in Scotland .

Sleeve Wing
24th Aug 2008, 17:26
Fascinating discussion on a very important aeroplane, from the point of view that it was the RN's first supersonic, nuclear-capable aircraft.
If I may add to the topic, I first flew the Scimitar (XD228. '613' 736 Sqdn.) on the 13th.September, 1963. I was 24.

To deal with a couple of points, firstly the aircraft used to lose fuel when parked because of the construction of the integral wing tanks. Basically the wing skin was lined with fuel-proof fabric. Constant movement/flexing led to the continuous weeping of fuel through the wing skin and looked like condensation on the outside. This just dripped all over hangar floor.
The second point concerns the hydraulic systems. The problem was that they operated at a much higher pressure (2500/4000psi) than I think ever before. Even the EMC motor /pump unit (PTO) operated at 4000psi. This of course led to numerous leaks and failures and, as has been mentioned, eventual failure of both systems led to control system failure. The highest operating pressure that I ever encountered subsequently, in a civilian aeroplane, was in the Douglas DC9. This was 3200psi but, in this case, always automatically idled at 1500psi when not in use.

The aircraft itself for a young pilot was amazing. The acceleration was astonishing after the Hunter and the rate of climb (at that time) with just inboard drops was initially about 15000ft/min.; time to 40000, about 4 mins.
Therein lies the rub with the Scimitar though - same engines virtually as the Lightning but no reheat. As the Americans were perported to have commented, "Who could have built an aircraft with all that power that wasn't supersonic in level flight" !

Oh, just a quick question for INDIA 42.

When NG-R went in, wasn't it nearly dark ? Hence the reason for ejecting over land.
If the situation was such that a safe landing could not be achieved, SOPs were normally to eject just off the coast if poss. for heli rescue.
If the sea temp.was ridiculous or daylight was running out, then Dava (spelling?) Moor was recommended as more survivable ?

26th Aug 2008, 08:36
I tried searching for some video of a Scimitar. I can't find any on YouTube at the moment but I found this flight simulator footage which is much better quality than I expected. It's worth a look; YouTube - AlphaSim Supermarine Scimitar F.Mk.1 (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Su7Q_JCrVFA)

India Four Two
26th Aug 2008, 09:00
Sleeve Wing,

The article says that he baled out "in the afternoon". He is quoted as having walked for four or five hours before taking shelter in a hut, but it is not clear how much of that time was in the dark.

Since he had a double-hydraulic failure, with no manual reversion, I expect his choice of ejection location was limited to wherever he found himself in the next few seconds ;)

Sleeve Wing
27th Aug 2008, 10:45
> Since he had a double-hydraulic failure, with no manual reversion, I expect his choice of ejection location was limited to wherever he found himself in the next few seconds <

Yep, IF2, I'll go with that.
Seem to remember though that it was just a gear problem and gear up landings on the concrete were not recommended. Hence positioning to find somewhere to leave the aeroplane ? I'm open to other options though. :ok:

India Four Two
27th Aug 2008, 14:21
Sleeve Wing,

The article states that the problem occurred at 26,000' and the ejection was at 20,000'. If correct that doesn't really sound like a gear problem.

Slight thread drift, but since you are an ex-Scimitar pilot, you may be able to answer my question. At Farnborough in the early 60s, I remember seeing a buddy-tankering demo, which I think involved Scimitars. Did Scimitars have this capability, either tanker or receiver?


27th Aug 2008, 16:46
Did Scimitars have this capability, either tanker or receiver?
One of the guys on my CFS course was RN (a Rhodesian called Hayden Thomas), who was recently off Scimitars (Skymeeters in Yarpi). From his accounts the aircraft did considerable duty as a tanker, one drawback was that it was possible to c**k up the switchery and give ALL your fuel away.:ugh:

28th Aug 2008, 08:20
Vixen pilots name was Tarver. Observers name was Stutchbury, I did some of his training.
There are/were some videos of Farnborough of the fifties and sixties that have Scimitar footage on them. 800 and 804 Squadrons feature. I occasionally watch them and have a little cry into my Scotch.

28th Aug 2008, 12:56
Does anybody remember my ex – best mate Graham “Stumpy” Faulkner? Sadly he died 20+ years ago in a car accident but he used to regale me with tales of the Scimitar whilst we spent every day off for 4 years building a boat in the early 80s. Rumour had it he was involved in an ejection in the Indian Ocean but since his name doesn’t appear in the list of ejectees on the Project Get Out and Walk website I may have this confused in the mists of time.

Stumpy was a larger than life character – the life and soul of every party and a stalwart of the BA BAC 1-11 flight in Berlin where he supplemented his income by relieving all and sundry of their allowances in the hotel crew room of an evening at the interminable poker games.

I have seen a photo of him being presented to the Queen Mum at the recommissioning of a carrier (Ark Royal?) in Birkenhead (near where he was brought up) in the early 60s as a baby faced sylph shaped midshipman pilot – ten years later he was as wide as he was tall but a giant sized character and an excellent friend, long gone now but never forgotten. His funeral was the biggest piss-up I ever attended, as he would have wished, along with dozens of others and conducted by the RC padre from his time at Lossie.

Mech one
11th Mar 2009, 05:09
I was on 807 at Lossie at the time the Grier-Rees incident happened. Think it was only a day before we heard of his recovery. Double hydraulic failure usually associated with the pumps but more likely a leak somewhere which emptied the systems (two pumps on each engine cross linked for single engine performance).
Lt Grier-Rees was a nice bloke who came back to a bit of a cheer from the lads as I recall.

Mech one
11th Mar 2009, 05:31
Bit suprised no mention yet of the incident involving the Scimitar landing by Cmdr Russell (803) and his untimely death following the wire failure on the Victorious. I was on the flight deck at the time and felt like jumping in to get him out. It seems the rating dangling from the rescue chopper was unable to help not knowing how to eject the hood at the time.

david parry
11th Mar 2009, 12:48
Remember when the Scimitars Disbanded at Lossiemouth 65/66?? and were locked up in the hangar next to ours, 809 buccaneers. Use to sneak in for a look. Awesome sight I thought for a junior Pinkie. The Tankers had a beer foaming tankard painted on the Tail:ok:

Mech one
17th Mar 2009, 06:46
For all its little niggles the Scimitar was a great aircraft and has a soft spot in my memories.
I joined 700X Sqdn at RNAS Ford in November 1957, the Scimitar trials unit. We worked in shifts around the clock at a pace for six months. The CO was Cmdr Innes (brother of Hammond Innes) and he kept a 'personal' Sea Vampire in the hangar as a run around when he wasn't in a Scimitar. I believe he had a reputation as a bit of a hard man from a pilots perspective but was a right gent to the ground crews. Sadly, he died in a road crash at the Devils Punchbowl, as I recall, just before 803 Sqdn formed up.
On the 28th May 1958 we all traipsed off the Lossiemouth and were redesignated 803 Squadron. Cmdr Des Russell became the CO and Lt Cmdr (E) Titford, who was also ex-700X, continued as the AEO. There were some great characters amongst the jockeys. Lt Cmdr Higgs (Senior 'P') become CO when Des Russell died after making a text book landing on the Victorious only to be let down by the ships arrester system.
Legendary flyers such as 'Ali' Barber, Ted Anson, Casperd, Beyfus, Beard and Leece all gave us plenty to do and talk about.
In February 1959, as the birth of my daughter was to coincide with the squdron going off to the US, I was given a 'pier head' jump to 807 Sqdn to continue sorting out the 'beasts' for a further year before transferring to the 764 Sqdn (Hunter) comfort zone !
The leaks we all remember, the drip trays the dustbins, etc., were mainly caused by small defects in the PRC coating inside the wings. When built in the factory the hollow wings were put on a tumbler rig and hot PRC injected into them and tumbled until all the inner surfaces were deemed to have been covered...or not ! I recall changing the stbd mainplane in 'C' Hangar on the Vic whilst the rest of the squadron went off to Malta for a jolly....the ultimate attempt to cure a fuel leak!

The Scimitar was certainly an aircraft built to test the skills of all who were brave enough to take them on.

david parry
17th Mar 2009, 08:19
Ah the forever Serviceable Hunters. We had 738 sqdn (Peagasus?) In the next hangar to ours at Lossie 809 Buccs. The tractor driver had all the A/C ranged on the line every morning "S" about 12 A/C. Max we ever did was 5!!! mind you we only had 8?

david parry
17th Mar 2009, 12:07
Scimitars Beer foaming Tankard:ok: http://usera.ImageCave.com/scouse/Unlikely_to_see_this_again!(1).jpg

5th May 2010, 16:43
Apologies for being so late to this thread.

Returning to the original subject, I knew Nigel G-R in 1961-62 at Lee when he was Flag Leutenant to FOAH and used to drive the Admiral's barge around, a four engined version of the Dove (Devon?).

Porohman's mention of the Buckler 90 almost certainly referred to Nigel. When I knew him he owned a Lotus 11 sports racing car which he used to compete in club races with me as his mechanic. Although outclassed by the later Lolas he usually gave a good account of himself.but this finally ended at Goodwood when he broke a stub axle going into Madgewick and did a 180 into the boondocks.

I concur with the previous opinions, he was a gentleman and a smashing chap to boot.

We sent the bits to the lab at RNARY Fleetlands for analysis and they reported back that it was a fatigue failure, so that spelled the end of the Lotus.

Nigel then bought a 1952 Formula 2 Alta from a brewery owner who lived about 10 miles north of Fareham. Marvellous piece of machinery; rubber suspension that pre-dated the mini by ten years, sit-up-and-beg leather armchair and a dope engined four cylinder two litre engine machined out of a solid block of aluminium. My lasting impression is that the owner (very civil, drew us a pint apiece from his own cellars) introduced Nigel to his wife as "Lt Rear-Grease"!!! Collapse of stout party!

We towed the Alta back to Lee behind my 105E Anglia. On starting off I checked the rear view mirror to see Nigel waving furiously, I of course stopped to see what was wrong, so did Nigel as he ran into the back of my car. No brakes.

I could ramble on but there seems to be no point, I was so sad to read of his death. Strange that someone who lived life to the full should have met such a mundane end. There again, it's well known that apple trees are more dangerous than Scimitars.

5th May 2010, 22:45
four engined version of the Dove (Devon?).

That would be the Heron

6th May 2010, 16:25
Yes of course, thank you.

Further apologies for not being able to spell "lieutenant".

6th May 2010, 19:38
Flightwatch - Just seen this thread. Stumpy and I were on 360 at the same time in the sixties - indeed he and I married on the same day - not to each other I hasten to add. I remember a photo in his log book of a Scimitar with its wing cut through to the main spar by a high tension cable that had crossed a fjord in Norway. Stumpy and Dave Moore (who sadly died in the RR Spitfire) also had an incident in a Canbera T4 involving a practice EFATO in a Canberra, which all went to worms and Norman Lake ejected, but unfortunately without the hatch going first, and was killed. As I recall, Stumpy was usually at the centre of any party.

7th May 2010, 22:57
The history of the Scimitar shows that close to fifty per cent were lost in accidents of the total built. There wasn't even a war on!

Ex Driver

david parry
8th May 2010, 10:42
Is that as bad as the Sea Vixen ??

7th Nov 2017, 15:22
Hello all,

I've just seen this posting from 2008, and I wish I could help you, because the pilot was my father's 2nd Cousin.

I had heard that Nigel had ejected over the Highlands of Scotland in 1959 and that he was missing for 3 days, in awful weather. But I don't know the whole story and none of our remaining family seems to have the full story.

I did hear that he died years later, after falling from an apple tree, but again that story is vague.

Any other information would be gratefully received.


Malcolm Grier Samuel.

4th Dec 2017, 03:48
RIP Stumpy, a great shipmate and friend. As far as I recall he did bang out of a Scimitar in, I think, 1966. This was in Ark and was 803's last time at sea. The Air Group disembarked in June just in time to watch England beat Germany in the World Cup. In my seven months on board I think 803 lost eight aircraft but I could be wrong. Two for Bush, one for Stumpy and I can't remember the others. However, no pilots were lost. Great days. Great flying. GW

Genghis the Engineer
4th Dec 2017, 11:03
I've not a lot to add to this, but it's interesting.

Genghis Sr (my dad, who is still very much alive and well) did his apprenticeship at South Marston building Scimitars, then went into the drawing office where he worked on late in life mods to the Attacker. Every few years I have to take my brother's kids to Yeovilton to see the Scimitar there as it's "the aeroplane that Grandad built", although Dad tells me that the exact serial number isn't one of his - it's close enough.

These histories and connections bring it all alive don't they?


6th Dec 2017, 19:05
Does anyone know if Nigel Grier-Rees went on to fly further RN combat aircraft following the retirement of the Scimitar & I have researched material without success.

I was fortunate to see a Scimitar displayed on the deck of the USS Intrepid in New York around five years ago and thought of Nigel , but apparently XD220 is no longer seen as suitable for display and has been transferred to a land based collection up river, a shame as it made the types final flight in RN service.

I can’t figure when looking at the Intrepid’s ensemble how a naval Scimitar has become an unwanted black sheep, maybe it would be better with a U.K. collection?

3rd Sep 2022, 17:31
He was CO of 738 Sqn in early 70’s.