RAF Gloster Meteors WA791 and VZ518 on Black Hill

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Meteors WA791 and VZ518 on Black Hill

12th April 1951, Four Meteors took off from RAF Linton-on-Ouse near York for a training exercise. The lead pair were Flight Lieutenant David Merryweather Leach (WA791) and Flying Officer Tony Hauxwell (VZ518).

Upon completing the exercise they turned back to base and descending through cloud, Flt Lt Leach reported that he could see what he thought was Leeds through a break in the cloud and he and F/O Hauxwell would continue to lose height. The second pair could not see through the cloud and not being entirely sure of their position radioed their intention to remain at 20,000ft.

After some 5 minutes’ silence the lead pilot of the second pair, Flying Officer Leslie Hayward, attempted to contact Flt Lt Leach without success; the other two jets had descended through cloud and without ever breaking out of the bottom and had flown onto the moor still in formation, leaving two wreckage trails still clearly evident today. What Flt Lt Leach thought was Leeds was probably Stockport and he was thus still to the west of the high ground of the Pennines.

7 comments on “RAF Gloster Meteors WA791 and VZ518 on Black Hill
  1. Tech Owl says:

    That’s some wreckage Ian – I am surprised it is still there after all this time. Great series of shots by the way. How scattered is the wreckage?

  2. Ian D B says:

    Thanks Bryan. The wreckage at this crash site is scattered over about 1/2 km across the moor, perhaps further.

    I’m surprised it hasn’t been gathered into a few larger piles, but then it looks heavy and it’s particularly boggy, so i don’t suppose it’d be easy to carry these bits of wreckage from one place to the other.

  3. b_watson says:

    I like these pictures a lot. They’re so evocative…

  4. pasujoba says:

    Ah , I remember this , it was still like that last time around .

  5. pasujoba says:

    You sneaked this one on Ian . Great colouration in the surrounding moors. Is this from your first visit ? or from a subsequent one ? Its one I/we have been to many many times of course .
    Seen in Military Airplane Crash Sites

    Thank you for sharing

  6. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/pasujoba44]
    hi mate, yeah my first visit when I had no grid ref, just knew that it was somewhere on that part of the moor. I missed the tail as well, so it was good to return. 2nd visit was with you, then have been there with Al and with Richard and I think I showed my mate Graeme from Hebden Bridge around this place.

  7. cgullz says:

    struth that doesn’t help. i think i’ll go back to the beach for a bit.
    fantastic how long you’ve been doing this work Ian.

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