RAF Vickers Valetta VW832, Jordan, 1957.

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RAF Vickers Valetta VW832, Jordan

Please scroll down for updates, photos and memories provided by those who served alongside the men who died in this accident, and by their relatives.

The father of a friend at work was one of the crew members of Valetta VW832 which crashed at Queria in Jordan with the loss of all on board. Flt Lt Wilkinson was aged 36 and from Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire. He had previously served with the RAF during the war as a navigator with Bomber Command.

On the morning of 17th April, 1957, VW832 took off from Aqaba in the south of Jordan heading north east for RAF Habbaniya, which is about 50 miles west of Baghdad, Iraq. There were 23 passengers on board, soldiers with the 10th Royal Hussars mostly.

Valetta VW832 was transferring the troops to RAF Habbaniya as part of the withdrawal of forces, though the British would also have to leave Iraq a couple of years later following the coup in 1958. Jordan had been under British control since the end of WW1, and although later regaining independence, the British maintained military bases there. However, by the mid 50’s, unrest in the Middle East began to make the news and the British were asked to leave Jordan following the Suez Crisis. This was one of the first flights out of Jordan.

Encountering severe air turbulence on take-off, VW832 suffered structural damage to the port wing spar, which caused the wing to disintegrate, and the aircraft crashed in the mountains near Queira, barely twenty miles from Aqaba. There were no survivors.

This photo and the one above are from the London Gazette reporting the tragedy.


They were buried on a rainy day with full military honours at RAF Habbaniya, their bodies being transported to what had been their original destination. After the British left Iraq, their graves were completely neglected. But since 2005, US forces have made good again and have annually placed poppy wreaths on Remembrance Sunday. It is hoped Iraqi forces will maintain the tradition following US withdrawal from the base.

114 Squadron Crew;
Fg Off Cyril Anthony Nash, pilot
Flt Lt Howard Wilkinson, navigator
Sgt Peter John McCarthy, air signaller (wireless op)


Sgt. Goldstraw W.
Cpl. Patterson R.
L/Cpl. McHugh J.
L/Cpl. Worswick N.
L/Cpl. Jewell R.J.
Tpr. Baldwin A.
Tpr. Baldwin N.
Tpr. Bell N.W.
Tpr. Brooke E.G.
Tpr. Butler A.
Tpr. Clarke V.B.
Tpr. Hallam E.
Tpr. Hughes J.
Tpr. Jacklin A.K.D.
Tpr. Johnson R.
Tpr. Macrow A.R.
Tpr. Parsons S.S.
Tpr. Sissons J.
REME att;
Cpl. Beattie R.
L/Cpl. Gunion J.C.,
Cfn. Mugridge D.J.
Cfn. Truss B.S.
Army Catering Corps att;
Cpl. Liddiard P.

Edited photo of Flt Lt Wilkinson from an old newspaper cutting.

These two photos used with kind permission of E. Wild.

Liz’s parents on their wedding day.

Sources vary as to the number of passengers on board, though more recent reports maintain the number was 23.

EDIT 11 May 2015.

Comment by Andrew Hill.

“My father Gerald Hill served with the X Hussars in Jordan, he told me that on the day he was due to fly home he was diagnosed with food poisoning and this is why he was not on flight VW832. He said food poisoning saved my life, but a lot of his friends died that day, after the crash he had to guard the wreckage and finally came home by ship. He passed away in 1998 after a long illness.”

These 4 photos below by Gerald Hill and used with kind permission of Andrew Hill.

RAF Transport Command replaced Dakotas with Valettas (though VW832 was with the Middle East Air Force). The Valetta was based on the Wellington bomber.

EDIT 24 September 2018

I have been contacted by Melanie Andrews, neice of Lance Corporal James Patrick McHugh. She is looking for more photos of her uncle who was killed in the crash. If any readers have any more photos of him, please contact me (email address is on the contact page of this website) and I will upload them with a photo credit. The two below are provided by Melanie and used here with her kind permission. Similarly, if anyone can identify the two other men in the second photo, do let us know.
Thank you,

3 more photos kindly provided by Andrew Hill showing some of the regiment drinking in the mess, copied below.




EDIT 09 JULY 2020
Photo below courtesy of Caroline Gemmell (see comments below) and used with her kind permission.
Caroline says this is “…the altar in Sandhurst Methodist church dedicated to Peter Liddiard. It was commissioned by his mother Iris who was a member of the congregation there, and she died in 2005.”


These photos and the notes have been kindly provided by Nicholas Tedford (first photo) and are used with his kind permission. There are some gaps in indentifying the people in some of them, so if anyone can help give names to these people it would be appreciated.

1 – Nicholas Tedford

2 – Bell? – Teasdale – Tedford – O’Neil – O’nioms – Moarson

3 – TRP Bell – N.T – ? – ?

4 – R.Piece Rest M.T Troop HQ SQD

5 – M Troop and Capt Dawney SGT Dixon

6 – TRP Durant – Buttons – Tedford – Eric Hallum – Eric was on the plane, he was going home for D mob, he was signed to play for Liverpool FC

7 – This is xmas dinner 1956 M.T Troops Table and two facing our table also M.T Troop (Trp Duant – Walker – ? – Eric Hallum – George Lewis (Glasses) ME – Buttons

8 – Prize giving for ? SSM Lomas (White Jacket) CRF – Reme with hands up


Further photo provided by Caroline Gemmell and provided here with her kind permission and the comment;

“Hi again Ian

Here’s a picture of Sgt Peter McCarthy – would you be able to ask if anyone recognises him please? It would be so fab to see some other photos of him,
or even other hear any stories about him
Thank you again for maintaining this invaluable website!

Best wishes, Caroline Gemmell”


UPDATE 21 November 2021
These photos have been kindly sent by Caroline Gemmell who wrote to say she had been in touch with various people who provided them. Caroline says, “The plane & funeral photos were from Dr Christopher Norris who is honorary secretary of RAF Habbaniya Association; the cemetery photos are courtesy of the CWGC,” and she took the photos at The National Memorial Arboretum. They are used here with kind permission.

Valetta VW832 at Aqaba

These three photos were taken at the funerals at Habbaniya.




These two photos show the memorial panels at The National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire. The first has the names of the crew, the second the names of the passengers.




This photo shows the cemetery at Habbinaya before the Gulf War of 1991.

And this photo shows, as Caroline writes, “…the cemetery since repair by the CWGC in 2018 – the boys are in the row of headstones on the left where they are much closer together.”


88 comments on “RAF Vickers Valetta VW832, Jordan, 1957.
  1. mick cooke says:

    a very sad story , but if you didnt tell them ian nobody would know

  2. Ian D B says:

    Thank you very much for your comment!

    I don’t know who the figure is, possibly an investigator from RAF Habbinayah?

  3. helalan says:

    terrible crash. My father was on the plane…Robert Beattie. In fact my mother has always believed there were suspicious circumstances with this crash.

    • Eugene Young says:

      Hello I am doing some family research and think that I maybe related to the pilot.Does Anyone have a picture of him by any chance. His name was Ceril Anthony Nash.


      • David (also a.k.a. Dick) Sheffield says:

        I have a picture somewhere of Tony and me outside our tent in the Canal Zone (Abu Sueir or Fayid – can’t remember which.We were in the same squadron (114) and I flew with him at least once. If I ever find the photo will happily email copy to you.

        • Caroline Gemmell says:

          Hi Dick
          Do you remember my uncle Peter McCarthy in 114 squadron at all & would you have any photos of him? I would really like to know more about him

        • Eugene Young says:

          Hi David
          Just wondering if you ever came across any pics of Tony Nash who was the pilot and was married to my Aunt
          Thanks Eugene

        • Eugene Young says:

          Hi David
          By any chance have you ever come across any pic of Anthony Nash as Tony was my aunts husband

        • Debbie Nash says:

          Hi David, would love to have a copy of the picture you have of Tony and you if you can locate the picture. I’m married to Tony’s son. He was three months old when he lost his father.

      • Melanie says:

        Hi Eugene, Cyril Anthony Nash was my uncle, known to us as uncle Tony, though he died before I was born. I do have photos. How are you related?

        • Eugene says:

          Hi Melanie
          Cyril Anthony Nask was married to my Aunt and she was completely broken hearted after the event and never really got over it .
          My email address if you would like to contact me is
          Kind regards

        • Eugene Young says:

          Hi Melanie
          Cyril Anthony Nash was married to my Aunt and she was completely broken hearted after the event and never really got over it .
          My email address if you would like to contact me is
          Kind regards

  4. Ian D B says:

    Hi helalan. I seem to recall reading something similar during my research into this. And there was a discrepancy regarding the numbers of people on board, but that’s not unusual. It was indeed a terrible crash, an enormous loss of life. Thanks for dropping by and sharing, it’s always good to hear from the relatives of those involved.

  5. Duncan Grant says:

    I had many encounters with the RAF Middle East Valettas whilst serving at RAF Idris in 1955/56. They had a good record as a hard working and reliably safe workhorse which adds to the poignancy of the incident in Jordan.

  6. Andrew Hill says:


    My father Gerald Hill served with the X Hussars in Jordan, he told me that on the day he was due to fly home he was diagnosed with food poisoning and this is why he was not on flight VW832. He said food poisoning saved my life, but a lot of his friends died that day, after the crash he had to guard the wreckage and finally came home by ship. He passed away in 1998 after a long illness.

    • Ian D B says:

      What a story to tell! Thanks Andrew, and for the photo, will add this to the main text above.

    • Linda Glover says:

      My cousin James (Jimmy) Sissons was on that plane. We were told that he wasn’t originally due to be on that flight – but his CO, knowing how much Jimmy wanted to get home, offered him a place vacated by someone who was ill. A sad twist of fate. I wonder whether it was your father’s place he took.

  7. Chris Hughes says:

    I was a member of the MEAF Band, and we happened to be in Habbaniyah when this accident happened. The funerals were spread over two days and we played for both. A harrowing experience, slow-marching in the rain, in white tropical uniforms to the enormous graves… I remember the ‘dots’ on my music disappearing as the ink ran… Each RAF lorry carrying coffins had an eight man (I think) escort slow-marching on either side, with arms reversed.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Chris,
      Your words paint a vivid picture. Detail like the dots on your music sheet running in the rain… priceless.
      Thank you so much for commenting.

    • Chris Elliott says:

      My father was a pallbearer at the funerals. He always said they picked him because they wanted the tallest – he was 6’4″. He didnt speak much about it but did say he was terrified of slipping.

    • MR Stephen G WALTON says:

      My Dad who was on National Service at Habbaniya at the time remembers this incident well and recalls the coffins being brought in for burial. He worked on the plateau and he is currently treasurer of the RAF Habbaniya Association. His name is Gerald ‘Brum’ Walton and was there from 55/57 He also remembers the lorry crash which killed ‘Doughy’ Baker when he was struck by a gas bottle when the lorry overturned.

  8. Peter Davidson says:

    My brother was serving with the army (REME) at Aqaba when this crash happened, and I remember his account in his letter home (I was 13 at the time)of his task of welding up coffins for the victims. He was very much affected by the experience.

  9. Derek Rennie says:

    I was there as a member of the 10th Hussars.
    The saddest thing was that the Baldwin twins were on that plane. Army regulations at the time were that twins were never to travel anywhere together. The twins kicked up such a fuss about being separated that those in charge relented and allowed them to fly together.
    Another of those killed was Trooper Jock Hughes. I have 2 photos of him taken the night before the flight at a party. He was to be demobbed as soon as he reached England. I wish there was some way to reach his remaining kin so that I could pass the photos on.

  10. Alan Powney says:

    If anyone has some more information about this sad day, could you please let me know. I am Alan Powney secretary Shiners Club 10th Royal Hussars (PWO) I will be writing an article for our expanding website and newsletter and woul be very interested in any personal stories.
    Thank you.

  11. Martin Griffiths says:

    to Alan Powney my name is Martin Griffiths I was in the 14 Armoured workshop REME Aqaba at the time of this nasty accident I went with a group of other men to the site as we were summoned
    to quickly bury the remains as vultures were coming in.This was not a pleasant task as you can imagine. However an instruction
    from the war graves commission said that we had to dig up the bodies again and place the remains in the appropriate number of coffins this was an even more unpleasant task because of the smell which was terrible. the remains were taken I know not where.

    • Caroline Gemmell says:

      Hi Martin
      Were the bodies identified before burying? Just wondering how it could have been done in such a rush, and also as they are all in 7 plots at Habbaniya. Sorry to be tedious about this.
      Thanks & regards, Caroline

      • Hello caroline In response to your question.Asfar as I can remember many of the bodies where disintegrated and on the second day we had to dig up the remains and place an appropriate number of parts into 27 metal coffins which were then sealed by welding before departure.A very sad experience as I knew some of the REME lads

  12. Paul Badham says:

    My father John Badham was also summoned to guard the remains I do have a few photos of the wreckage with a few soldiers in the background. He served in the Royal Artlillery 187 LAA Battery

    • Derek J.K. Rennie says:

      Hi Paul, I only had one stint guarding the crash site. It was quite enough for me as I had a best friend who perished in it. It had to be one of the saddest days of my life. His name was Trooper Hughes of the 10th Royal Hussars.

  13. Gerald escott 23083201 Cpl RAOC says:

    I served in Aqaba at 626 Ordnance Depot from April 1955 to June 1957 and played soccer and basket ball against the ‘Shiney 10th’
    We were all shocked to hear about the crash, I believe the twins were from Swansea. When it was my turn to fly to Habbanya a lad on the flight became a bit upset and had to be calmed down by the crew.
    I had spent Christmas 1956 at home in Cardiff and returned to Aqaba via Athens and Cyprus on Civvy aircraft. From Cyprus to Habbanya we flew in a Valetta. An hour into our flight one of the passengers, a REME Warrant Officer informed the crew that oil was leaking from one of the engines and we returned to Nicosia. As we landed the engine seized. A bit unnerving by when it was time to take off again we just had to ‘soldier on’.
    On my way to Egypt in April 1955 we were in an Avro-York and a short while after leaving Tobruk one of the engines caught fire and we were lucky to get back to Tobruk where we stayed overnight and flew on to Egypt mid afternoon. I guess I must have been ‘one of the lucky ones’.

    • Gerald escott 23083201 Cpl RAOC says:

      I served in Aqaba at 626 Ordnance Depot from April 1955 to June 1957. I remember the 10 Hussars well and played soccer and basketball against them. Everyone in the Garrison was shocked to hear about the crash, I believe the twins were from Swansea. When it was my turn to fly to Habbanya one of the passengers became a bit upset and had to be calmed down by the crew. I had spent Christmas 1956 back home in Cardiff and returned to Aqaba in early January 1957 via AthenS and Cyprus in Civvy aircraft. From Cyprus to Habbanya we flew in a Valetta. About half an hour into the flight one of the passengers, a REME Warrant Officer informed the crew that oil was leaking from one of the engines and we returned to Nicosia. Just as we touched down the engine seized, a bit unnerving but when it was time to continue our journey to Habbanya, we just had to ‘Soldier on’.
      On my way to Egypt in April 1955, we were in an Avro-York and a short while after leaving Tobruk one of the engines caught fire. We were lucky to get back to Tobruk where we stayed overnight to have the engine replaced and then we carried on to Egypt. I guess I was one of the ‘lucky ones’.

    • MICHAEL DUDMAN says:

      Hi Gerald.
      This was a sad day in 57 and I knew one lad that was due to travel on this aircraft but at the last moment was taken off the flight.
      Would love to email you on life in 626 56/7 as I 84 time is short and I have never found any other guys who served with me.

      • Steve Wyche says:

        Hi Michael
        My dad Archie Wyche was due to fly on this plane but at the last minute swapped with someone else who needed to get home sooner. Was this the lad you remember? I think he has some photos of his time over there. I’ll ask him if I can scan them

        • Alan Mclaren says:

          Hi Steve
          My name is Alan Mclaren. My father was Robert Beattie from Carlisle. My father swapped with someone to get back early to see me who was born a month before. I live in Australia and I have been back to Carlisle a number of times. On one occasion I got to meet the man that gave up his seat on the plane for my father. It must have been your father. I have a number of photos of the time spent over there.

  14. Caroline Gemmell says:

    I am very glad to find this detailed report on the accident – my uncle (whom I never knew) was the wireless operator, Peter McCarthy. He was my dad’s only brother, and dad had left the RAF the year before (after 8 years) as he was so concerned about the poor attitude to maintenance and safety, which he said had carried on from the war. Their mother was so upset, she got rid of anything to do with Peter, so I would really appreciate seeing any photos or information on him as I am researching our family history. Dad went on to become a captain with British Airways for over 25 years

  15. Michael Goldstraw says:

    My father was Sgt Walter Goldstraw who was on this plane. I don’t remember too much about it as I was young when he died. I was told he was due to fly out the day before but he swapped with another soldier allowing him to get back to see his wife and young child earlier. I have been to the National Arboretum in Stafford to see where the names of the people who died in the crash are on a memorial.

  16. michael. dudman. says:

    Mike Dudman.

    I was in 626 Ord Depot in 1957 on that fateful day and Jordie Richardson and I was ordered to get as many ambulances ready for an emergency. We already had heard that an aircraft had lost a wing and crashed. Before we had the ambulances ready for the crash site, Capt.Robinson stood the operation down informing us that there were no survivors. Some days later Jordie and I loaded the planes parts into two Bedford trucks and sheeted these over ready to be sent to Farnborough, it was sad handling these pieces. Months later Jordie, me and the rest of 626 left Aqaba being on the rear party and headed for Aden, Mombasa and then home to Southampton. About 10 years ago my wife took me on a surprise holiday back to Aqaba and when we came down the road near the crash site I thought of those unfortunate young guys and their families, I hope they and their families are at peace, God bless.

  17. Derek Rennie says:

    In sad reflection of that time I clearly remember flying out of Cyprus to go to Aqaba on a Valetta plane. It was an anxious flight as everything rattled and the seats had no cushioning just bare metal with a belt to hold you in. It did not help that another Valetta crashed in Cyprus around that time. You may have been on the m.v. Devonshire that my regiment (10th Hussars) left on to go home via Capetown but was turned around and came back from Mombasa as Nasser had opened up the Suez Canal.

  18. Melanie Andrews says:


    I’m so pleased I came across this article and the details of this accident. My uncle was L/Cpl J. McHugh. I never knew him but my Mom, who’s now 87yrs old, was very close to her brother who died on that fateful day and often speaks of him. I’ve taken her to the National Memorial Arboretum so that she could see his name and she broke down in tears. She has never really got over losing Jimmy and we only have one photo of him in the family. I’ve read through all the comments with mixed emotions and would dearly love to make contact with anyone who may have any photo’s of the Jimmy McHugh.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Melanie,
      Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased you found this page though it’s saddening to read of your Mum at the National Memorial Arboretum.
      I was there myself just the week before last, looking up the names of some post- war crews killed in air crashes. What struck me most was the big, curving empty wall, waiting to have the names of future military dead chiselled in.

      It would be great if someone has any more photos of Lance Corporal McHugh for your family. It’s happened before via these pages, I was provided with one of my dad! So I’d be happy to add the photo you do have already to this page if you wish? Entirely your call, but if you’d like to, my email address is on the contact page of this site. Send me a copy and I will upload it in the main text and comments.

      • Melanie Andrews says:

        Hi Ian

        Thank you for your reply. I’d be more than happy to email you a photo of Jimmy and sincerely hope there’s someone out there who has photo’s of him that they are willing to share with me.
        I tend to go to the NMA each year and will be taking a group of Beavers, Cubs and Scouts there on Oct 13th. I feel I can now share a personal story with them when I place a cross at the wall.

        Thank you so much for this article, it really has been important to us, as a family, to find this information.

        Kind regards


    • Guy Mitchell says:

      Hi Melanie,Merry Xmas.I’m Patricia,James McHughs daughter,your cousin.I moved to Australia in 1959 and have some photos to share with you.Its hectic at the moment(Xmas day)and will keep in touch

  19. Ian D B says:

    Page edit – photos added to the main text of Lance Corporal James Patrick McHugh via his neice Melanie Andrews. If anyone has any more photos of him, or can identify the other two men in the second photo, please let us know.

    • stephen p parkes says:

      Hi there, ref j mchugh photo my father Fred parkes middle jimmy webb
      left i have a couple of photos with j mchugh in from my father
      just need email address.

      • Guy Mitchell says:

        Hi Stephen, I’m Guy Mitchell, husband of James McHughs daughter,Melanie’s cousin.
        Since 2019 we’ve visited Our newfound relatives, twice,from Australia, since finding them through this site.What a Xmas present that was.
        If you have any more pictures of Jimmy that would be great.

  20. Guy Mitchell says:

    My wife is James McHugh’s daughter,Patricia,who moved to Australia in 1959 and naturally is Melanie’s cousin.We do have more photos that we will happily pass on.Merry Xmas.

  21. Marty Fleet says:

    My uncle was the pilot. I know he had 2 children, Stephen and David. Does anyone know of their whereabouts?

  22. Adam Shannag says:

    It is interesting to see that people still remember their loved ones after more than 60 years. I’m a local Jordanian, living all the way in the North, but I’ve never heard about this tragedy in local news or history books, so I spent a lot of time in the last 2 years searching for information.

    – The Queria Air Disaster

    ~ The Deadliest Aviation Accident on Jordanian soil, RIP To all 26 occupants ~

    • Marty Fleet says:

      My sister and I have now met up with our cousins and their wives. We had been looking for more than 30 years!! It was brilliant to see them and well worth the wait, although it would have been lovely 30 years ago!!

  23. Eugene Young says:

    Hi David
    Just wondering if you ever came across any pics of Tony Nash who was the pilot and was married to my Aunt
    Thanks Eugene

  24. Derek Rennie says:

    I have commented about this incident before but perhaps I forgot to mention that the R.E.M.E. were tasked with making a metal casket for each of the killed in that crash. Common sense would dictate that may not have have happened for each passenger due to the severity of the crash. But at least some caskets were made for remains. Now that was in the fifties, surely modern technology could be used to find them and transport them home. After all scientists have been mapping underground remains of Stonehenge for the past few years!!!!
    Unbelievable that ANY British government would not make the effort to try and find these fallen soldiers.

  25. Ian D B says:

    Happy new year everyone.

    Andrew Hill has kindly provided 3 more photos, these showing some of the lads drinking in the mess. They are included at the foot of the main narrative above (with today’s date).

  26. Alan Mclaren says:

    Hi My name is Alan Mclaren (Beattie) son of Cpl Robert Beattie who was on that fatal flight. He was not scheduled to be on the flight but took someone elses seat to get back to the UK to see me. (Just 1 month old). I have remains from the wreckage of my fathers belongings. I am now in Australia and my mother is still alive. She often recounts the time she was in town (Carlisle) when she saw the headlines of the crash and the name of Carlisle soldier killed. Sadly it was days later she got the death notice from the army. Even sadder getting a written letter from my father some weeks later, a letter he had written the night before the flight. In that letter, of which i have, he writes about falling down the back stairs of a double decker bus and rolling out of the back and being hit and killed by a lorry. ( a bit eerie).I have bits and pieces my mother gave to me. I have often wondered why I have the urge to sing and play guitar, then i found a program from the officers mess that has Robert Beattie as a guest artist ( singer). The jigsaw puzzle falls into place. There are many things I wish to know, reading some of the stories adds more reality to tragic event.

  27. Caroline Gemmell says:

    Welcome Alan – I’m the niece of Peter McCarthy, who was one of the RAF crew on that flight. This webpage is one of the few links to Peter, so is very valuable to me. I’m still hoping that somebody from 84 squadron at that time will appear with some Information about him!
    I have also found church altar in Sandhurst dedicated to Cpl Peter Liddiard that I can upload Ian?

    • Ian D B says:

      Thank you Caroline, yes if you would like to send me a photo of it I will add it to the main text above.

  28. Ian D B says:

    Page updated with a photo of the memorial to Cpl. Liddiard at Sandhurst Methodist Church, kindly provided by Caroline Gemmel. Please see the main text above.

    • Christine Banks nee Liddiard says:

      Hi I am Peter Liddiards sister I have just come across this website. Me and my brother Derek have lots of memories of Peter. I was 11 when he died and still remember the day we had the telegram.It would rely be nice to have contacts with the families .

  29. Christopher John Waring. (10th Hussars) says:

    I was on the second Valetta out of Aqaba on the 17th April 1957′,As part of the advance party I had come down from Maan that morning. When we arrived at Aqaba we were assembled and told that the earlier plane had suffered “minor problems” and, if we wanted, we could stand down and remain in Aqaba. Of course we all wanted to go home so boarded the aircraft. It was a very bumpy flight to Habbanya. The sole officer on board who probably knew about the crash made extensive use of the sick bag. We were never told of the crash.

  30. Ian D B says:

    Hello everyone and happy new year! It is just over 11 years since I started this page about Valetta VW832.

    Some new photos today provided by Nicholas Tedford and used with his kind permission. The photos are at the foot of the main narrative above.


  31. Ian D B says:

    Page updated 27 February 2021

  32. Alan Mclaren says:

    Hi Steve. My father Robert Beatie took someone else’s seat on that flight to come home early to see his new child ….me. Maybe it was your father.

  33. David Sheffield says:

    Hi Caroline Sorry to say I did not know Peter. I left the squadron in August 1956. How ironic that he lost his life after surviving active service during the war. Belated but sincere condolences. Dick

  34. Rebecca flanagan says:

    Hi I have loads of beautiful letters to my mother from tpr Alan butler they were dating but unfortunately he never made it home he was 20 she was 17 would there b a picture of him I’d love to see who my mum was in love with

    • Nick tedford says:

      Did not know him Rebecca , but if you have his squadron and troop that would shorten your search from about 500 or so to about 30 and someone in that troop may have a photo of the troop even if they can’t remember his name.may just jog a memory . Best of luck. Nick

      • Rebecca flanagan says:

        Alan butler was on the plane that crashed Valetta VW832 1 of the 23 10th Royal hussers who never made it home wish I could ever see a picture

  35. Peter Leonard Andrews says:

    Hi my name is Peter L Andrews. I was also on the second flight out.I had been taken off the first and fatal flight for guard duty. Standing on the camp gate seeing the aircraft take off and moments later hearing that it had crashed was perhaps the most upsetting thing that has ever happened to me. It took several years for me to talk about it as I suffered mild P.T.S.D. as a result.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Peter, thank you for adding your recollection and feelings of seeing that, and apologies for my very late reply.

  36. Ian D B says:

    This comment is added just to notify those following this page of the new photos added today. They are at the end of the main narrative above, dated 21.11.21

  37. George Dowling says:

    I am Trooper George Alfie DOWLING Service number 23211075 , 10th Royal Hussars. I am 85 now but remember this tragic event well. I went on the Empire Ken to Jordan in 1954. I was the ‘Batman’ for Captain Russell the Adjutant for the Regiment. I was listed for this flight to travel home to be de-mobbed and went to the farewell drinks the night before. I am in one the the photos at the back left on this site. Later I looked on the Squadron orders and saw my name had been taken off the flight to be replaced by Sgt Goldstraw as he needed to return at short notice on compassionate grounds. I shook hands with him before he left and wished him all the best. I remember one of my other mates was taken off the flight too.
    The following morning I found Out the aircraft had crashed with no survivors. I nearly fainted with shock.
    I was later repatriated quite a while later a month or two. I made my way back to my parents in Wiltshire and they were shocked to see me. It transpired that they had been informed by the Police that I had been killed and were heartbroken that their only Son was dead. You can imagine their surprise to see me walking up the garden path having returned from the dead ! I have lead a full and happy life living with my Wife in Chichester , West Sussex and we have just celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary.
    My thoughts will always remain with my friends who were tragically lost on this flight, may they rest in peace.
    ( This post was written with the assistance of my Son in Law, Jon Ford , who has provided his email to aid communication)

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi George, thank you so much for adding your memories of this terrible accident. I can’t imagine what your parents went through.

      I am pleased you spotted yourself in one of the photos above.

      Congratulations to you and your wife celebrating your 45th wedding anniversary!


    • Roy Wylde RAF 4181984 says:

      I was at RAF Habbaniya in 1957 and took part in both funeral services as a bearer. A very sad occaision which I still think about. Little did we realise that in July 14th 1958 we would be caught up in a revolution that killed the king and we never went back to our proper jobs until I left in December.

  38. Susan Bennett says:

    Would anyone have any photos of my father. Tom Onions of the 10th Royal Hussars based in Aqaba in 1956. My dad returned home to get married in May 1956. A year just before that tragic plane crash.
    My dads best friend was one of the passengers killed in the crash. I did not know his name. My dad passed away in November and we are trying to find any photos of him in the hussars. I would have been about 6 Months old when this happened. My dad never mentioned anything about the crash.
    My name is Susan and my Moms name is Jean. There is a photo of my dad above with empire Ken 1956. My dad is on the font row in the middle. There is another photo number 4. My dad is at the back with a cigarette in his mouth and a glass of beer in one hand and a bottle in the other.

  39. David Hardie says:

    My father John Hardie, aka Pat was on the same flight one week before the crash, he was very lucky not to be flying out a week later. Unfortunately he passed away 2 years ago, I’m sure he would of recognised a few people in the photographs.

    David Hardie

  40. I have added to my website the names and photos of the headstones of the 24 passengers and 3 aircrew who lost their lives in the Valetta crash and were buried at RAF Habbaniya

    • Caroline Gemmell says:

      Your website is outstanding!! Thank you for the link – it was very emotional to finally see my uncle’s gravestone (and everyone else on VW832)

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