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de Havilland Vampire WA400
Flying Officer Lawrance Leslie Beckford survived the crash landing he made here on July 25 1951 in his de Havilland Vampire jet. For a long time the location was unknown but it was rediscovered in 2004 by John Ownsworth* according to Cunningham.
F/O Lawrence had undertaken a series of high speed manoeuvres and was heading back to base at RAF Finningly. However, either he had taken a wrong compass bearing or his compass was out of order, but the pilot realised he was lost and his Vampire was running out of fuel. Faced with the choice of climbing to a sufficient height to bale out, or descending through a break in the cloud to put down on the ground, F/O Lawrence chose the latter. He passed over Sugworth Hall (circled above) and made a wheels-up landing on Strines Moor. He managed to avoid striking any of the numerous boulders on the moor, and safely got out of his jet whereupon it burst into flames.
Not much is left today, this piece of molten metal was the largest bit.
Details from Peakland Air Crashes – The Central Area, Pat Cunningham, 2006.
*John Ownsworth has collected bits of wreckage from the moors over the years and taken them home with him. In the most recent piece I found relating to him (2009) he was hoping the local council would create a museum exhibition of the things stored in his home and which is mostly of unexploded bombs and stuff he has bought privately. I can’t help but think that if a home (i.e. a museum) for the aircrash debris cannot be found then the remains should be taken back to where they came from, perhaps broken up to prevent other people taking away some recognisable piece that takes their fancy.
This page on the BBC has a video clip showing Mr Ownsworth’s collection, which as I say is mostly ordnance. However, the cockpit in the video at 43 seconds was taken from the crash site in the photo below, where two Sabres collided into each over Kinder Scout in 1954 with the loss of both pilots.