View Full Version : PI Staines (HS121 -3C)

11th Jul 2003, 16:32
Question from BA staff at Cranebank LHR. Is there a memorial plaque at Staines in respect of PI. We believe there is but if so where is it actually located. Thanks

Trinity 09L
22nd Jul 2003, 15:42
To my knowledge as a past resident of Staines, there is no memorial or plaque of any description at or near the site, alongside the A30, (Crooked Billet).

Personally I think there should be. Many other disasters, ( and albeit lesser in scale), in the UK and elsewhere have had memorials established.

I actually saw that aircraft depart, and shortly after leaving LHR, unaware of the accident drove close by. Thereafter, I was a resident on the estate close by.

I do hope that this topic can start the momentum for a memorial.

May all those souls that perished, rest in peace.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
22nd Jul 2003, 17:57
Is the area where it crashed still open ground, or has it since been built on?


22nd Jul 2003, 18:37
Still open ground, I believe. See the following photo, the A30 runs across the bottom left corner. I believe the crash site was between this road and the bottom of the photo, about 2 inches from the left.

Trinity 09L
24th Jul 2003, 17:07
The photo/map shows the exact location. It is still open land, though now under the ownership of Thames Water. If you stand at the first lay by on the on the A30 westbound past the Crooked Billet r/bout the field on your left is the site.

The memorial could quite easily be situated at this lay by.

In Barbados I saw a similar memorial for a Cuban DC8 that crashed offshore, and likewise in an earlier thread there is one for the Air India 747 off the Irish coast.

24th Jul 2003, 18:11
I was working on London Departures (as we called it then) at LATCC the afternoon of June 18th 1972 when Bealine 548 departed. I heard Captain Stanley Keys last transmissions. On the way home I had to drive pass the crash site. No M25 or M3 then. There were thousands of ghouls looking. The wreckage was clearly visible from the A30. The site now has flats built on it. Every time I pass I still think about that day.

Mr G.

Trinity 09L
24th Jul 2003, 19:00
Mr G.

Your experience in this tragedy is unique.

However, I hope I can correct the exact location. The site of the crash is between the flats/houses ie Moormede Est, (where I was a resident) and the A 30. The foundations of the estate were laid, and it was suggested that this area was used for the makeshift mortuary, and command area.

To use the comment of the first PC on the scene, (called by the nurse) 'they didnt tell us about this 'crash' exercise,' then it sunk in.

24th Jul 2003, 19:31
Just a reminder of two relevant reference sites:


Much is made about the "ghoulish" sightseers, but it is interesting to see the AAIB comment on thatThe field was sufficiently inaccessible to prevent all but the most persistent sightseers from reaching it. The police were successful in controlling spectators, and contemporary reports that members of the public had impeded rescue services by their presence near the scene are not borne out by the facts.

28th Jul 2003, 05:29
It is good to see such interest, I will check whether there is any memorial in St Georges Chapel at LHR. The mortuary was on the North side of the airport in an old hangar that would be forward I believe of the current Visitors Centre. I was a PC in the BAA Constabulary and spent two days assisting at the post mortems. It is not commonly known but one passenger survived for a day or so my memory fails as he a male passenger was brought to the mortuary some two days after the crash and I can recall that the deceased was trussed up like a mummy with only a small area of face visible. Which ever hospital he had been taken to had actually put two lengths of wood along his legs and back for support as so many of his bones had broken on impact. As stated if there is not a memorial than perhaps there should be.

Pom Pax
28th Jul 2003, 08:04
There were thousands of people returning from the coast, it had been a fine weekend.
I was on the M3 at about 7.00 p.m., we came to a halt about 2 miles from the then end of the motorway(the present junction 3).
There certainly would have been some ghouls but most were just going home.

28th Jul 2003, 16:22
HZ123, there may actually have been 2 survivors. A young girl who, according to the BBC report, died at the scene, and a Dublin businessman who died at Ashford hospital. I believe this was evidence from the retired nurse, who was alerted to the crash by the 13yo boy and, according to the AAIB reportShe was one of the first on the scene and she made heroic efforts amidst the wreckage to help any of the victims who were still alive. Her actions cannot be praised too highly.

Trinity 09L
29th Jul 2003, 05:30
Just after I first joined pprune I emailed Danny with a suggestion of a post on this subject, but I did not further it.

I hope that it can gain momentum.

HZ123 I think we may know each other from 'northside' can you if you email you may pick up my name. The portacabins were hot in the late 70's

30th Jul 2003, 06:35
I think a memorial to all those lost on 'papa india' is an excellent idea. I drove past the site and though about what happened there only the day before HZ123's original post. Do any pieces of 'PI' still exist? If they do, perhaps they could be melted down to form part of a memorial in the same way that many WW2 monuments have been made...

30th Jul 2003, 06:49
The tail section of a Trident which I believe to have been 'PI was visible on the dump at Farnborough the first few times I went there - presumably ex AAIB. It was sitting there in a manner most reminiscent of the terrible photos I remember of the crash at the time.

But IIRC, a clear out happened more recently - mid 80s? -and most of the wrecks there went to the smelting pot.

31st Jul 2003, 06:46
Are there any Farnborough guys reading this who can confirm Tread's memories are correct?

31st Jul 2003, 15:20
Memory of the Trident tail section is right, whether it was definitely 'PI or not is quite another matter! So far as I can recall it was the last BEA scheme: this was probably 1977 (I visited on a Sunday afternoon just in time to see Neil Williams (?) give his Jungmann an airing!) so some of the other 1cs may have been scrapped by then.

3rd Aug 2003, 05:24
Perhaps the best memorial to PI and its many occupants, is the MOR scheme introduced into the UK on the recommendation of the public enquiry which followed the tragic PI accident. The purpose of the scheme being that we should all learn from the experience of others in this industry.........Just a thought

Trinity 09L
4th Aug 2003, 04:32
This topic has achieved a good/vote rating, so I will seek opinions on this suggestion.

I propose to write to;

Spelthorne Borough Council, ( the local borough for Staines)
Thames Water, (on whose land PI fell)
British Airways ( can anybody help with the best person)
British Airports Authority

and canvas opinion/sentiment for the establishment of a memorial at the site.

I will do so as a private individual, but would also seek support from this forum, if forthcoming.

(One of the current councillors at Spelthorne was a former Police Officer at Heathrow at the time, and may be able to assist).

7th Aug 2003, 23:29
Iím a little reluctant to post, but could someone please tell me I dreamt this. Iíd not long left BEA Engineering (Hangars) at Heathrow when PI went in. I was then working in Singapore and picked up a Daily Telegraph. Iím certain that the photographs inside the DT included one of the cabin, with passengers still strapped in their seats. I vividly remember one shot. It was a youngish black guy, 30 something, in an aisle seat. He was wearing a tie and striped shirt. What Iím not certain of was the photograph caption. I seem to recall it said he was still alive: at the time.

On the one hand I canít believe this happened, but on the other Iím certain it did. Anyone from the DT able to confirm this.

8th Aug 2003, 00:35
Your description of the Daily Telegraph's photograph of the Staines crash is correct, and I believe it caused a controversy at the time . The photographer was ,I believe, Yugoslavian, and one of the first people on the scene. He may well have been a Freelance photographer or on detachment to the Daily Telegraph at the time of the accident. He was criticised in some quarters for not assisting in the rescue attempts rather than taking photographs of the devastation.
The photograph ,once seen , could never be forgotten.

8th Aug 2003, 00:44
Thanks Sabredog, So I wasn't dreaming - and I certainly haven't forgotten. But who in the DT would authorise such photographs?

11th Aug 2003, 21:07
Those of us that watched the air traffic programme last night will have seen the memorial to pax that died at Milan. A tree for each victim in decorative gardens.

I have been impressed to on entering the dual carriage way into Canvey Island where once again trees are plannted either siide to commemorate the loss of life in the floods. Last time I went there each tree had a yellow ribbon attached.

Trinity 09L
16th Sep 2003, 04:31
Further to my earlier post on letters to interested parties, I have received the following response/s

Councillor John O'Hara of Spelthorne Council has canvassed the Council and found support both financially and in co-ordination strategically. In turn he has spoken to the local newspaper, the Staines & Ashford News who published an article on 10th Septemebr 2003, seeking views from local residents on the possible site for a memorial.

I also rececived a personal letter from Rod Eddington of BA, expressing support for the memorial, and surprise that no memorial was at the site of the crash. He has asked that I contact his Head of Community Relations, which wil be done jointly by myself and Joh O'Hara.

I am very conscious that this is a very sensitive subject within aviation history. I will also be writing in due to BALPA for their input, and hope that BA can reach out to retired staff for further information.

I would be grateful if others who read this post, and wish to assist, to contact me so a degree of independence can also be added to any efforts in the establishment of a memorial.

Trinity 09L
14th Mar 2004, 05:34
Recently published in the Staines & Ashford News, a memorial stained glass window is to be dedicated at St Marys Church, Staines, Middlesex on 18th June 2004.

It is also anticipated that a memorial garden will be established at Moormede Park, close to the actual site of the crash.

This will be funded by contributions from BA, BAA, Spelthorne Boroí Council, and Thames Water.

I will keep updates posted.

14th Mar 2004, 10:56
Very well done. Nearer the time I am sure we can get the article covered in the BA news as well, as I am sure many serving / retired BA staff remember this sad event. Best regards.

14th Mar 2004, 13:03
Good work Trinity 09L it's refreshing to see something positive happening :ok: :ok:

Dr Illitout
17th Mar 2004, 08:09
As an Ex- Farnborough lad I can confirm that in my time at the R.A.E. (1978-1985) there were no bits of Papa India left.
Also as an aside some body in B.A. does think about things as when B.A. operated the A.T.P. thier registrations were G-ATPA to G-ATPH and then G-ATPJ, It seems that somebody couldn't bear the thought of another Paper India in the fleet.

Eric Mc
18th Mar 2004, 21:42
The Irish survivor mentioned was one of a contingent of 11 Civil Servants who were on their way to Brussels as part of an Irish government delegation prior to joining the EEC. One of the members of this group was the brother of an Irish language teacher in our school in Dublin.

An accident which seems to have disappeared into the bowels of history is the fatal crash of the BEA Vanguard near Ghent - which only occured a year previous to the Papa India disaster.

19th Mar 2004, 12:17
Dr Illitout the CAA never allow re-issued of a registration regardless of the circumstances of it's cancellation so it's nothing to do with BA I'm afraid.

19th Mar 2004, 12:26
Only the last two were the same - the Trident was G-ARPI, the ATPs were G-BTPA, etc... when they were registered (anorak on, sorry), I wondered why they'd missed out G-BTPI - is that gospel Dr Illitout?

Shaggy Sheep Driver
19th Mar 2004, 14:01
An accident which seems to have disappeared into the bowels of history is the fatal crash of the BEA Vanguard near Ghent

It was well reported at the time IIRC. Corrosion of rear pressure bulkhead due chemicals etc from toilet area led to explosive decompression at altitude. Pressure released into the tailcone and blew the skins off the tail section. I think it went in just about vertically.


19th Mar 2004, 14:51
Sticks in my memory, SSD, because my wife and I had flown Heathrow-Le Bourget in 'PEC a few weeks previously.

Trinity 09L
19th Mar 2004, 21:04
I have not ignored or forgotten the other crashes that have been referred. I was also around when the BOAC 707 returned to LHR, and an Argosy incident at LHR - details unsure. None are forgotten.

My interest in PI was personal.

I have been contacted by the first police officer who arrived on scene, and he wishes to be present in June.

I hope this post remains at the head of this formum.

Dr Illitout
20th Mar 2004, 06:08
Yes Tredigraph, it's gosple, but it wasn't the kind of thing that was advertised by the airline.

Rhys S. Negative
24th Mar 2004, 22:21
There is also no 'Papa India' in BA's A319 fleet, which otherwise includes the batch G-EUPA to 'PZ. I'm sure this is for the same reason.

As a resident of Staines, now but not then, I have been following this thread with interest.


Trinity 09L
7th May 2004, 21:24
I have received the following information from Councillor John O'Hara of Spelthorne Council.

Work is to commence on a memorial garden close to the site of the crash, on common land.

A stained glass window is to be installed at a local church, I believe St Marys. This glass will be of a dove, crossing a light beam surrounded by 118 stars, ( to represent the number killed).

The cost of these memorials is being met by Spelthorne Council, British Airways, and British Airports Authority, equally.

The church service of commeration will be on 18th June this year.

A reception will be held afterwards.

Since publication in the local newspaper, a number of individuals have come forward. These include the first person on scene, a midwife living nearby, the first police officers, and local residents.

It is hoped the more press interest will be generated nearer the date.

I understand that internal notices will appear in BA & BAA publications.

If I receive further information, or view press features I will up date.

Trinity 09L
23rd May 2004, 20:45
I can now confirm that a service will be held at St Marys Church, Staines, Middx, to dedicate a stained glass window, to Papa India, on 18th June 2004. The Bishop of Kensington will officate.

A memorial garden is also under development at the rear of Moor mede Avenue, Staines close to the crash site. All has been funded equally by Spelthorne Boro Council, British Airways and BAA.

I understand that relatives of crew victims have expressed an interest to attend. The local newspaper Staines & Egham News have been running regular articles.

Any further information can be obtained from Spelthorne Boro Council.

7th Jun 2004, 05:54
Can you confirm the time as well . Thanks

Trinity 09L
7th Jun 2004, 21:10
The order of events on 18th June 2004 are as follows:

10.00am The garden/quiet are is to be opened at the end of Moormede Drive, Staines, close to the site of the crash.

11.00am Service of dedication of the stained glass window at St Marys Church, Staines.

18th Jun 2004, 13:04
Just returned from the Papa India memorial service and dedication of the stained glass window.

A full house with press in attendance.

Memorial window is superb; it pictures country life and a skyscape with 118 stars in the surrounds. One star for each life lost.

Well worth a visit if you are in the centre of Staines (St Mary's Church).


Trinity 09L
18th Jun 2004, 17:49
I was also present, as usher, and can confirm the description of the window.

Lord Marshall, Capt Bannister, other senior pilots (forgive no names to record here), and uniform cabin crew were present, together with relatives of those who perished.

The memorial garden is also in situ nearby, close to the crash site.

BBC TV may transmit details on London news tonight.

19th Jun 2004, 16:51
BBC London News carried an item about the memorial during the lunchtime news on Friday 18th.

BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/3818031.stm)

No comment
30th Jun 2004, 09:09
From the 'Staines Guardian':

Service held to mark air disaster
By Louisa Biswas

A SPECIAL memorial garden has been opened, in Staines, to commemorate the Trident plane crash 32 years ago.

The quiet seating area and garden, in Moormead Recreation Park, was landscaped by staff from BAA Heathrow and Spelthorne Borough Council earlier this month.

The circular garden, which is close to where the incident took place, adjacent to Staines by-pass, was officially opened with a small church service by Rev Rod Cosh, priest of St Peter's and St Mary's Church, and Bishop Michael Colclough last Friday (June 18).

The garden has been designed to provide a peaceful area for reflection by friends and relatives, following an appeal from the community, to see a permanent record to remember the people who lost their lives.

At 11am, a memorial service was held by Rev Cosh and Bishop Colclough, at St Mary's Church, in Church Street, Staines, where a new stained glass window has been installed, to commemorate the tragedy, which was co-funded by Spelthorne Council, BAA Heathrow and British Airways.

The window was designed by Artemis Decorative Glass and depicts a dove, to represent peace, soaring over a landscape of trees.

The window is framed by stars, which are symbolic of the 118 souls of the victims.

All passengers and staff on board the British European Airways flight 548, from London Heathrow to Brussels, died when the plane crashed on June 18, 1972, just two-minutes after take-off.

Rev Cosh and Bishop Colclough then joined church leaders from west London to tour Spelthorne, in a special event to meet residents.

The event, which was organised by Churchlink, had commenced in the morning with a visit to Canaan Christian bookshop, in High Street, Staines, before visiting Staines Preparatory School, in Gresham Road, to take part in an assembly led by Christian organisation F.A.C.T. (Faith Awareness in Children Trust), which was hosted by Simon Shutt and Peter Shields.

The next part of the programme took the leaders to Staines Methodist Church, in Thames Street, to visit an art exhibition presenting the Christian Gospel on silk, by artist, Anne House.

The leaders then visited the West London Boiler Room, in Fairfield Avenue, Staines, which is run by the East to West Christian organisation, to help young people join together for 24-hour prayer, seven days a week.

Thereafter, the party moved onto the Salvation Army Hall, in Woodthorpe Road, Ashford, for lunch with residents, and to listen to a talk by Rev David Coffey, one of the presidents of Churches Together in England, and other leaders representing churches from all over the borough.

The day concluded with a visit to Ashford Hospital, in London Road, where the leaders met the chaplaincy team and spoke to dozens of patients.

1st Jul 2004, 23:18
Can I record my appreciation to the efforts of those who arranged for this long-overdue memorial to the souls aboard Bealine papa india.

Does anyone recall another Vanguard accident, namely G-APEE, which I believe went in while landing on R28R at LHR on a foggy night in 1965 on a flight from EDI? I only remember it because a schoolfriend was due to travel on the flight, but fortunately decided to cancel his reservation and travel by train instead.

No comment
2nd Jul 2004, 09:32
I'm ashamed to have to post this so soon after the other news story but some things never ***ing change:

Vandals target Trident plane crash tribute
By Louisa Biswas

HEARTLESS youths have vandalised a memorial garden, created in memory of the victims of the 1972 Trident plane crash, in Staines, less than a week after it was officially opened.

The new seated area and landscaped garden at Moormead Park, in Staines, was covered with racist and other abusive graffiti within a week of its dedication last Thursday (June 24).

A Staines resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, was appalled at such a callous and mindless action.

He said: "I went to visit the memorial garden this morning Friday and I was shocked to see the benches covered with graffiti, including racist comments.

"It looks like the vandalism took place yesterday Thursday, as the writing is marked with Thursday's date, but I am appalled that, within a week, this horrendous and thoughtless action has occurred.

"Whoever caused this damage should feel ashamed and should be punished for their actions."

On Friday, June 18, in a ceremony at the park, a group of residents, relatives and friends of those who died in the Trident air crash, met to commemorate the 118 people who lost their lives in the tragedy.

Spelthorne Borough Council, together with British Airways and BAA Heathrow, co-funded the memorial, which included a stained glass window, in St Mary's Church, Staines.

The memorials were a direct result of the community's wish to see a permanent record to those who died in the last aeroplane disaster to depart Heathrow.

However, within six days of its opening, the garden was vandalised and council workers were forced to repair and remove the graffiti on Friday afternoon.

Frank Davies, council leader, said: "I cannot believe that this mindless behaviour has taken place within a week of the dedication service.

"It is vital that we drive this sort of behaviour out of our community, and I would ask local residents to work with us and help us find those who are responsible for this disrespectful and pointless act of vandalism.

"We must make every effort to ensure it does not happen again."

His views were echoed by David Wilshire, Spelthorne's MP, who added: "This mindless vandalism will deeply hurt those who were involved with the disaster and appall all local people, except the sick few who caused this mindless damage to this brand-new memorial to 118 people.

"Yobbism and vandalism are the two issues that figure most at my surgeries, and in my post bag.

"Clearly, the policy cannot stand guard over every target site in Spelthorne.

"We need to look to schools and parents to teach respect for other people and other people's property."

Trinity 09L
4th Jul 2004, 21:46
I was unaware of the recent damage, but can confirm on a visit at 11am 2/7/04 it was it was, as commissioned. This venue was chosen, both as the best location, and least opportune for vanadalism.

21st Jul 2004, 13:57
As I was in the area a few days ago I decided to see if I could find the outdoor memorial - unfortunately I didn't have internet access to hand so I was unable to look at pprune for the details that would have been a considerable help. I spent about 2 hours trying to find the memorial without success! I asked about 10 people if they knew where the memorial was - all had heard about a memorial being unveiled nearby - but alas, none knew exactly where it was..Some thought it would be next to the reservoir, (on the wrong side of the A30) some thought next to the nearby power lines. Even a chap who claimed to be an eye-witness to the crash itself, didn't know where the memorial was. It's a pity that its location isn't signposted as I guess it would allow a lot more people to see it.
However , well done to all those involved in providing this long overdue memorial. Next time I'm in the area I will take an A-Z!

23rd Jul 2004, 10:25
Perhaps it should be sign posted. I think it would be an excellent idea. Thoughts ?

Trinity 09L
28th Jul 2004, 21:04
Directions; Enter Staines Town from the Crooked Billet roundabout off the A30. Turn right at first traffic lights, then first right and first right again into Waters Drive. Near the end of this road, you will see a park ahead with a steel gate. Park here enter the park and 100 yds to the right is the memorial.

I am assured a signpost will follow is due course. St Marys Church is at the opposite end of the Town near the river Thames, and has the stained glass window. It can also be seen on the web site of Spelthorne Boro Council.

29th Jul 2004, 13:00
Thanks Trinity - I shall be off to see both memorials in the near future.

2nd Aug 2004, 08:58
A very nice gent whom I used to deal with in the steel industry perished on board Papa India,

It is a very nice gesture for those rel's who are still around for this memorial to be placed nearby!


Edited to read correctly, I am guilty of 1st post read, and not having time to read on, but yet I made a comment! apologys Trinty