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Meteors WA791 and VZ518 on Sliddens Moss
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.
Photos below taken February 2023.