Key.Aero Network
Register Free

Results 1 to 29 of 29

Thread: Anniversary of the accident to Vickers Varsity T1 WJ897.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    19

    Anniversary of the accident to Vickers Varsity T1 WJ897.

    My father and uncle were both killed along with 9 other enthusiasts 24 years ago today on 19th August 1984 when their Vickers Varsity WJ897 / G-BDFT crashed near Marchington, Staffordshire.
    I was a teenager at the time, and have only fairly recently embarked on something of a quest to find out as much as I can, not just about the accident, but also about the aircraft and its history. I’ve managed to make contacts with a number of like-minded relatives and friends of the Leicester Aircraft Preservation Group (LAPG) which owned and flew the Varsity during its display career, and have slowly built up something of an archive about the aircraft.
    An elusive part of my search so far has been to establish WJ897’s history before it left RAF service. I’d like very much to build upon the little I know (just that it was stationed at Air Electronics Schools at Hullavington and Topcliffe), particularly with any stories and anecdotes members may have; photos would also be very welcome. My eventual aim is to set up a website about WJ897 and the LAPG as a memorial to my dad, my uncle, and everyone lost that day.
    One missing item which all my research has failed to unearth so far are the Pilot's Notes (I think the document number is AP4331A, although I’ve also seen AP101B-3201-15 referred to in some of the documents I have), the originals having survived. I would very much like to locate these or a copy of them, and any help would be appreciated.
    Next year is the 25th anniversary of the accident; it would be a marvellous tribute to draw together as many relatives and friends of the LAPG as possible to mark the occasion at the site. I’ll happily be a point of contact to help this happen.
    Please also don’t hesitate to contact me if there’s anything you’d like to know about WJ897, I may already have that piece of the jigsaw!
    Deb Lowe (Arnold)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,246
    I remember the incident well, (and recall the great sadness at the time) because I was airborne with Bill Harrison ( the Fairey specialist author) in Jodel, Mike Tango out of Hucknall) heading for Barton airshow where I believe the Varsity was heading and we were told to avoid Marchington. Also if I recall the a/c was based at Syerston.

    Kind regards

    John
    Last edited by John Aeroclub; 20th August 2008 at 17:43.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Barry, Vale of Glamorgan
    Posts
    769
    Recently Kieron Twite posted on the site, Keiron is the son of Mike who also lost his life in the accident.

    Below is the thread

    http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/sho...hlight=varsity
    Dave Charles
    Historian 607 (County of Durham) Squadron

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Somersetshire
    Posts
    77
    AP4331A is indeed the Pilot's Notes for the Varsity T.1. You are welcome to have mine (it's original with amendments to 13/11/1965). Aviation News produced a booklet (Mini-Monograph) on the Varsity, this includes individual aircraft histories. If you wish PM me with your address & I'll send the PN & copy of WJ897's service history.
    Kind regards,
    Bill

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    19

    Varsity WJ897

    The Varsity was on its way to Liverpool Airshow at Speke that day and was flying in formation with a Cessna so that air-to-air photos could be taken. I have a rather poignant photo taken before the aircraft set off from Castle Donnington which shows a document titled “Liverpool Airshow” lying on the navigators workstation. The Varsity had flown from its base which was indeed at RAF Syerston. Its hanger has since been demolished.
    I contacted Keiron when his post appeared (it actually caused me to join the forum!), but he hasn’t replied so far.
    Deb

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,246
    Yes, I now recall it was Liverpool and as we were running late we decided after crossing the Mersey to go to Barton. I have a copy of the Varsity Vol one 101B-3201-1. and the Monograph which feature WJ897 inside the back cover.

    John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    19
    This is the Varsity taken at Syerston.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Either 12 Group or 100 Group
    Posts
    632
    WJ897

    You might get some more info if you post your request on PPRUNE.

    There is a thread currently running about the Varsity over in the Aviation History and Nostalgia section located here;

    http://www.pprune.org/aviation-histo...varsity-3.html
    "The Auster should be recognised for what it is: a gentleman's aerial touring carriage and a nice aeroplane"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    19
    Many thanks to Bill@Ballykellybrat for the Pilots Notes for the Varsity AP4331A-PN; a picture speaks a thousand words (particularly when it has a numbered key!). A true gent.

    This is WJ's flight deck.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    148
    I remember the day well, getting home from school (Year 7) on a rainy day to see it on the news. And that was here in Australia.

    A sad day for aviation preservation.

    For mine, Flypast changed after Mike's tragic death. No ill-respect to Ken Ellis and the crew, for me it was just...well, different.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Leicestershire
    Posts
    33
    I was at Syerston that day we used to set our 1/2 tonne SWB on FCR duties. Seeing WJ897 depart or arrive, always on 25 or 07 - whatever the wind, bought the place alive again. RRB used to turn up in his Roller and we'd watch the doors of 10 shed open and wait for her to fire up. A sad day

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1
    Hi Deb. I've picked up your thread while searching for some details to go with some old (unrelated) gliding photos. On 19/8/84 I was duty pilot at Marchington Gliding Club. The memories are still very vivid. At the time we let our CFI who also witnessed the accident deal with the AAIB and I have read the report. You are very welcome to contact me off line to go through any of what happened at Marchington on that day. I live in Stockport. I am new to Forums, but you should be able to e-mail me. I'll check this site in the meantime.
    Regards
    Peter

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1

    Memorial to Vickers Varsity dead

    Hi, my name's Michaela Twite - my brother is Kieron, who posted a while back about our dad - Michael Twite - who was editor of Flypast when he died in the Marchington Varsity crash.
    By sheer coincidence, a friend has told me about the memorial in August. I've yet to speak to other family members about it, but I'd love to come along. All these years I've wondered about those who also lost relatives and those who survived.
    If anyone has more info about the event, I'd be grateful for it.
    Oh, and anyone who's got any great tips to stop me being scared of flying will also be gratefully received!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    19
    Hi Michaela,
    A PM has been sent. Please also take a look at
    http://wj897-lapg.moonfruit.com
    which you might find interesting!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    3

    hello Debbie

    Hello Debbie,

    you probably wont remember me but I flew in the Varsity with Ron and Roy a week before it crashed.
    I was good friends with your Mum and Dad and first met your Dad when he helped out John at Telescene on Broxtow Lane. We used to go drinking with your parents Ron and Barbara at the Old Rose and often came to the Bungalow.
    I have since been divorced and have remarried and live near London.
    Your mum and dad were very dear friends and we knew you and your sister and brother. Ido hope everyone is OK and found it weird to see this post on here after all these years.
    I still think about the fun times we had with Ron and your mum and wish you all the best of health and hapiness.
    Best regards.

    Richard Thompson

    Quote Originally Posted by WJ897 View Post
    My father and uncle were both killed along with 9 oer enthusiasts 24 years ago today on 19th August 1984 when their Vickers Varsity WJ897 / G-BDFT crashed near Marchington, Staffordshire.
    I was a teenager at the time, and have only fairly recently embarked on something of a quest to find out as much as I can, not just about the accident, but also about the aircraft and its history. I’ve managed to make contacts with a number of like-minded relatives and friends of the Leicester Aircraft Preservation Group (LAPG) which owned and flew the Varsity during its display career, and have slowly built up something of an archive about the aircraft.
    An elusive part of my search so far has been to establish WJ897’s history before it left RAF service. I’d like very much to build upon the little I know (just that it was stationed at Air Electronics Schools at Hullavington and Topcliffe), particularly with any stories and anecdotes members may have; photos would also be very welcome. My eventual aim is to set up a website about WJ897 and the LAPG as a memorial to my dad, my uncle, and everyone lost that day.
    One missing item which all my research has failed to unearth so far are the Pilot's Notes (I think the document number is AP4331A, although I’ve also seen AP101B-3201-15 referred to in some of the documents I have), the originals having survived. I would very much like to locate these or a copy of them, and any help would be appreciated.
    Next year is the 25th anniversary of the accident; it would be a marvellous tribute to draw together as many relatives and friends of the LAPG as possible to mark the occasion at the site. I’ll happily be a point of contact to help this happen.
    Please also don’t hesitate to contact me if there’s anything you’d like to know about WJ897, I may already have that piece of the jigsaw!
    Deb Lowe (Arnold)

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Coventry
    Posts
    2,780
    Hi Richard, welcome to the forum.
    This is quite an old thread and Debbie may not see your message - ie she may no longer visit the forum. If you get no response you could try sending a PM (private message) but use the e-mail option. Hope I'm not 'teaching granny to suck eggs'

    Roger Smith.
    A Blenheim, Beaufighter and Beaufort - together in one Museum. Who'd have thought that possible in 1967?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    3
    Thank you Roger. I am fairly new to this so any help will be appreciated. Have not spoken to Debby's family for 25 to 27 years but still think of her Dad, Ron. Any help to show me how to do a private message will also be welcome. Regards. Richard.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    3

    Hi again Roger

    Hi I have managed to private message Debbie but cannot find an email address for her. Is this something you could please help me with? Thanks again. Richard.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    rainham,essex
    Posts
    5
    Richard see message 14 above and access contact information in WJ897
    website
    Les
    The white heat of new technology

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Coventry
    Posts
    2,780
    Also Richard, when you are sending a PM it gives you the option to send an email instead.

    Roger Smith.
    A Blenheim, Beaufighter and Beaufort - together in one Museum. Who'd have thought that possible in 1967?

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    837
    Quote Originally Posted by WJ897 View Post
    One missing item which all my research has failed to unearth so far are the Pilot's Notes (I think the document number is AP4331A, although I’ve also seen AP101B-3201-15 referred to in some of the documents I have), the originals having survived. I would very much like to locate these or a copy of them, and any help would be appreciated.
    (Arnold)
    Write to the research dept at RAF Museum Hendon, they will retrieve and photocopy the notes for you for a small charge.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    19

    Thanks Everyone!

    Richard has found us, just as the anniversary comes around again. Thanks for pointing him in the right direction. It never ceases to surprise us how events from so long ago continue to touch people today, and how many people had links to the Varsity.
    Deb

  23. #23
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    In The War Room
    Posts
    1,272
    My Dad must've flown on 897 as he was an instructor at Topcliffe & Hullavington, unfortunately his log book housekeeping isn't that good & he has only put down the reporting letter - any idea which letter it went under at these two bases?
    Sometimes it's better to be a bumblebee than it is to be Professor Heinkel.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    19
    Hi Doktor,
    WJ897 carried the letter 'E' on the tail and inside on the navigator's workstation, will that be the reporting letter? I wish we knew more of its history in RAF service.
    Deb

  25. #25
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    In The War Room
    Posts
    1,272
    Unfortunately the code letter was changed from time to time, the only logged flight he had in a Varsity coded E was 26/6/54 from 11 FTS at Swinderby.
    Sometimes it's better to be a bumblebee than it is to be Professor Heinkel.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    305
    Just a small faded memory for you here.

    In the early 1980s my Father and I used to go to the August Bank Holiday Airshow hosted at the Leicester Aero Club (now a defunct Airshow - but a small brilliant one and sadly missed!)

    We were allowed a short visit on and around the Varsity, A memory that comes to mind was of a very affable chap with a handlebar moustache who showed us round.

    I too was sad when the news of the crash came through.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    19
    That would have been Ralph Reid-Buckle, co-pilot. Many of our website photos were taken at the Leicester Airshow; WJ897 was based there until its move to Bottesford, then Syerston.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    near east midlands airport
    Posts
    16
    I had my air radio on at home on 119.65 heard the whole incidnt very distressing felt so helpless

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    1
    Hello Deb.

    My name is tony Harrison,I was a great friend of your dad and your uncle Roy you may remember me as I visited Roy quite often.
    I have tried to get in touch with Roy's son Richard and also Wally a cousin I think.
    It is thirty years this years and I would like to hear from you or anybody that may be able to put me in contact with yourself or Richard.

    With thanks Ton Harrison.

    I am new to this website so I don't know if it will work

    My e mail address is anthonyharrison607@ ymail.com

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

- Part of the    Network -

KEY AERO AVIATION NEWS

MAGAZINES

AVIATION FORUM

SHOP

 

WEBSITES