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Gloster Meteor on Knock Fell
Grid reference NY 725 291
Meteor WD778 took off from RAF Leeming near Northallerton in Yorkshire on the evening of 24 March 1954. Pilot Officer John Briggs and Pilot Officer Derrick Walker (navigating) of 228 OCU were on a cross country exercise.
Upon completion of their exercise the crew began their descent to RAF Leeming under radio guidance through thick cloud. It appears the radio stopped working at about this time because nothing further was heard from the crew and the Meteor which broke off from the controlled descent.
One can only surmise that if the radio was out of service, the two men had perhaps hoped to determine where they were by descending through the cloud and identifying some feature on the ground. Possibly they thought they were nearer to RAF Leeming than they were which could account for why they didn’t bale out in spite of the fuel tanks being almost empty by this time.
They had flown some miles west of the base however and crashed on the moor at Knock Fell in the north Pennines. It was 5 days before the wreck and the two dead crewmen were discovered by a passing gamekeeper.
P/O Walker’s first name is spelled Derek in some accounts.