Gloster Meteor WE904, Millthorpe

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Gloster Meteor WE904, Millthorpe

12 May 1955. Pilot Officer Robert Anthony Tritton aged 19, was an advanced pupil on a solo excercise from RAF Worksop, when his jet fighter dived out of the sky above the village of Millthorpe in Derbyshire. He was killed instantly. The cause of the crash is unknown.

Cunningham quotes a Mr John Knight of Brookside Farm in the village. He and his toddler son had just walked up to the barn, and at the moment he put his hand on the door, the Meteor dived straight into the building. Mr Knight said that the entire barn disappeared in the explosion, leaving just the door and the stone surround, and him and his son standing unharmed behind it. The roof of every building was blown off, yet not one person or animal was injured.

This memorial is just across the road from where the crash occurred.

Peakland Air Crashes – The Central Area (2006), Pat Cunningham

22 comments on “Gloster Meteor WE904, Millthorpe
  1. redrocker_9 says:

    Only 19?
    So young.
    I like this shot~

  2. pasujoba says:

    An incredible tale , but very believable , the human stories behind the crashes are what drives the interest.

  3. pasujoba says:

    An incredible tale , but very believable , the human stories behind the crashes are what drives the interest. The picture by Testchamber is an a welcome addition.

  4. sidewinder54 (Closed For Business) says:

    That’s an incredible story of sadness on the one hand & good fortune on the other.

  5. Tech Owl says:

    That’s quite a memorial compared to some of the others. Nice angle for the shot Ian

  6. andyholmfirth says:

    Amazing story Ian.That’s a really attractive memorial too.

  7. ΞLLΞ∩ says:

    Oh – so sad and touching ….
    Great reminder and shot!
    Have a nice weekend, too!

  8. Tony-H says:

    Another very sad but also interesting story Ian.

    In 1955 the Gloster Meteor was at the end of its service life, having been replaced by transonic Hawker Hunters in front line service, but many were still in use for training (as in this case) and by the reserves.

    I loved the unique droning sound of the Meteor, instantly recognisable. I think there are still a few flying, but haven’t seen one personally for several years now.

  9. stuant63 says:

    A remarkable escape for that guy and his toddler!

  10. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    If only half the people who see this memorial realised the story behind it they may appreciate it a little more.

  11. Gary Shield says:

    Great to read the personal story associated with the memorial Ian, and a superb shot too

  12. Ian D B says:

    Many thanks to ~Cult~Of~One~
    for pointing out the title error.

  13. Roy Siddall says:

    I had just left school ( Dronfield Woodhouse) at 3.15pm with my sister Margaret, walked about 100 yards towards home when I saw in the distance an aircraft go into a steep dive, It then pulled out for a few seconds before going into another steep dive, the next thing I saw was a plume of smoke rising into the air. I turned to my sister and said that has crashed near our house and we both ran all the way home to find devastation on the farm next to ours.
    As we had to go past the crash site to get home we found a flying boot with blood in it aircraft parts stuck in a tree and a stone lintel had been blown through the air into a neighbours roof

  14. Lynn Newton says:

    I found out about this poor man’s demise in the Dronfield Eye a couple of years ago.
    I was born less than 30 hours after this tragedy on 13th May, 1955, in Whitwell, close to Worksop where the boy took off from.

  15. Lynn Newton says:

    I was born on 13th May, 1955 at about 8pm after a long labour. The address of my birth is Holmefield Road.

  16. Michael Morse says:

    Bob was my best friend at school and we were always together. I feel some responsibility for his demise as I had got him to join the Air Training Corps and join me. We lost touch when we left school and when we both joined the Royal Air Force.

    • Ian D B says:

      That’s very sad to read Michael. Thank you for visiting and adding to the memory of PO Tritton.

    • John Cowperthwaite says:

      Mike,I was a thirteen year old schoolboy in Totley, a suburb of Sheffield on that day. I had a good knowledge of military aircraft and later joined the ATC where I scored highly in aircraft recognition.
      At around 3.30 pm, I observed a Gloster Meteor over Totley,heading towards Holmesfield and Millthorpe. It was making a noise like a motorbike and trailing black smoke.
      I only heard of the crash weeks later when I read a small article in the Sheffield Star newspaper. I was unaware that the aircraft had crashed or that my observations that day may be useful until yesterday, when after all these years I came across the accident report, which laid the blame on pilot error. In the light of what I saw I would say that this accident was more likely due to mechanical failure.These facts may help absolve Robert from any blame.

  17. Mike Morse says:

    See my comment above.

  18. Mike Morse says:

    Please publish.

  19. Maxwell Bartrop says:

    Anyone got anymore information about this aircraft? I’m trying to build a model of it as a tribute, I live not far from the former base and as a child live on a farm near to it.

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