S.W.A.G History Site Message Board

Welcome aboard to new additional editors Mike Freshney & Matthew Blunt

To access the SWAG Trip site or the Cardiff Airport Blog click the photos below

If you have any information or pictures that you could contribute to the site it would be much appreciated. I can be contacted by email by clicking HERE

Monday, December 22, 2008

St Athan "Battle of Britain" Airshow 16/09/1961

With due credit to a member of Air Britain the following were recorded at the Battle of Britain Airshow.

0-16645 T-33A USAFE RAF Sculthorpe
WJ825 Canberra PR.7
XL587/91 Hunter T.7 229OCU/Chivenor
XM425/R-L Jet Provost T.3 CFS
WA721 Meteor T.7
XL820/L Sycamore HR.14 CFS
XP293 Twin Pioneer CC.2
WF422/M Varsity T.1
(WP201) 7707M Valiant B.1 No.4 SoTT/St Athan
G-ALBO 7708M Britannia No.4 SoTT/St Athan

Historic Aircraft Display
N1671 Defiant I
RI+JK Ju-87G-2

No. 4 School of Technical Training "Maintenance Hangar"
(WK259) 7331M Swift F.3 (reported as Anson)
WH668 7590M Canberra B.2
WN957 7407M Hunter F.5 (reported as WN907, which was 7416M)
WW644 7521M Hunter F.1
XA544 7558M Javelin FAW.1 (reported as XA554, which was 7662M)
XA627 7661M Javelin FAW.1
XA755 7725M Javelin FAW.4
WL505 7705M Vampire FB.9. later to the RAF Museum St Athan annex

Below are copies of the official flying/static programme (thanks to John Adams) on thumbnail to get the full size image

Sunday, December 21, 2008

614 Sqn Aircraft

To complement the Squadron history on the sidebar here is a list of the aircraft used in the Llandow era.

Harvard T.2B
FX314/RAU-J 15/08/47 - 28/11/49 to Helliwells for B service
FX360/7A-X 16/06/50 - 24/06/52 to Aberdeen UAS
FX417/RAU-1/7A-Y 06/09/46 - 07/07/54 to 10MU
KF149/RAU-2/7A-Z 06/09/46 - 12/10/53 to 10MU

Spitfire LF.16e
RW355 06/02/47 - 07/12/47 Cat.E2-FA (Note a)
RW378 08/02/47 - 08/10/48 to 609 Sqn
SL543 16/01/47 - 17/07/48 Cat.AC-FA (Note b)
SL613/RAU-W 06/12/46 - 29/10/48 to 604 Sqn
SL672/RAU-T 22/01/47 - 12/05/49 to 6 MU
SL675 10/04/47 - 17/04/48 Cat.E2-FA (Note c)
SL680/RAU-G 22/07/47 - 21/11/48 to 612 Sqn
SL727 18/03/47 - 08/10/48 to 601 Sqn
TD249 08/06/47 - 21/11/48 to 612 Sqn
TD403 24/10/46 - 25/11/48 to 6 MU (via 38 MU)
TE120/RAU-A 15/01/48 - 16/05/49 to 6 MU
TE208/RAU-F 02/06/47 - 30/09/48 to RCMSDU
TE314 23/06/47 - 07/12/47 Cat.E-FA (Note d)
TE385 10/03/48 - 21/11/48 to 612 Sqn
TE436/RAU-D 10/04/47 - 30/09/48 to 604 Sqn

a. The aircraft was leading a battle formation and during a cross over manouvre it was struck by the No.3 aircraft, TE314. Damage was sustained to the port wing and aileron but the pilot (Pilot Officer David Edward Morgan) stayed in the a/c in an attempt to recover it to base. However, he eventually decided to bale out but abandoned the a/c at too low an altitude and was killed when his parachute did not deploy before he hit the ground. The a/c crashed at Long Sutton, Somerset.

b. The pilot forgot to lower the undercarriage and the a/c belly landed at Llandow, recat E2 on 19/11/48.

c. The a/c was seen to emerge from cloud in a dive and to attempt to level off over the Bristol Channel off Barry, Glamorgan. However, the a/c struck the water and broke up, killing the pilot, Pilot Officer Howard Hughes Evans.

d. This a/c was No.3 in a formation and struck the leader, RW355, as detailed above. The pilot baled out safely at 3500' before it crashed at Long Sutton, Somerset.

Spitfire F.22
PK320/RAU-J/7A-J 27/07/48 - 11/01/51 to AGT Gatwick
PK376 12/08/48 - 15/08/50 Cat.3FA. ReCat.5 02/07/51
PK403/RAU-M 28/07/48 - 18/09/49 Cat.AC-FA (Note e)
PK410 01/09/48 - 06/02/51 to AGT Gatwick
PK434 27/10/49 - 24/07/50 Cat.3R(FA) (Note f)
PK491 09/08/48 - 04/09/50 to 607 Sqn
PK500/7A-C 13/08/48 - 18/01/50 to AGT Gatwick
PK501/RAU-D/7A-D 09/08/48 - 22/09/50 to 607 Sqn
PK542/7A-O 29/07/48 - 19/01/51 to AGT Gatwick
PK604/RAU-E/7A-E 18/08/48 - 17/04/51 to AGT Gatwick
PK619/7A-G 18/08/48 - 24/04/51 to AGT Gatwick
PK624/RAU-T 25/08/48 - 17/01/51 to AGT Gatwick

PK648 22/07/48 - 04/09/50 to 6MU (Note g)
PK667 18/08/48 - 04/09/50 to 607 Sqn

e. The airspeed indicator was not giving accurate readings and the pilot misjudged the approach speed to Llandow, landing the a/c heavily and causing a bounce from which the undercarriage collapsed. ReCat.E on 18/09/49 and scrapped 28/09/49.

f. Suffered repairable airframe damage after brake failure on landing at Llandow.

g. Suffered Cat.3R-SR damage 02/01/50 and repaired on site by 34MU, being handed back 27/01/50.

VZ636/V (T.7) 31/05/50 - 04/02/57 to 12MU
WA687 (T.7) 16/06/50 - 26/08/51 Cat.5FA (Note h)
WG948 (T.7) 31/08/51 - 24/02/52 Cat.3GA (Note i)
WG991/S (T.7) 03/03/52 - 06/02/57 to 12MU
WA766 (F.8) 22/09/55 - 04/02/57 to 12MU

h. On landing at Llandow the a/c touched down well up the runway: the pilot realised he would not be able to stop so raised the undercarriage and the a/c slid into some small trees beyond the overshoot.

i. During start up at Llandow the starter trolley was disconnected from the a/c without first being switched off. The starter cable shorted across a metal hydraulic pipe and ignited some leaking hydraulic fluid. In the subsequent fire the a/c's underside was extensively damaged.

Vampire F.3
VF336 12/07/50 - 21/05/51 Cat.5FA (Note j)
VF338 12/03/51 - 07/05/53 to 27MU
VF341 06/07/50 - 02/04/51 to 608 Sqn
VF342 18/05/51 - 01/11/51 to 601 Sqn
VF344 18/05/51 - 25/02/52 to 608 Sqn
VF348/G 20/11/50 - 01/07/52 Cat.3, ReCat.5C
VG698 27/07/50 - 18/08/51 Cat.3 to Marshall of Cambridge
VT799 06/10/50 - 09/09/51 Cat.5FA (Note k)
VT812 12/07/50 - 14/01/52 to 601 Sqn
VT828 26/01/51 - 17/03/52 to 608 Sqn
VT856 19/04/51 - 19/03/53 to 48MU
VT859 14/07/50 - 21/01/52 to 604 Sqn
VT860/T 01/08/51 - 25/09/52 to 48MU
VV196 06/07/50 - 07/05/51 Cat.5FA (Note l)
VV199 17/07/50 - 27/11/53 to 27MU
VV202 06/07/50 - 01/04/52 to 52 OFU Abingdon
VV203 06/07/50 - 07/01/52 to 604 Sqn
VV205 04/08/50 - 04/01/52 to 608 Sqn

j. Force landed on a beach near RAF Acklington after running out of fuel in poor weather conditions

k. The aircraft was given incorrect bearings by ATC, ran out of fuel, and crashed two miles southwest of Kingsclere, Berkshire. The pilot, Sgt L James, baled out and was unhurt

l. The a/c was pulling out of a dive at about 150' on Pembrey Range when it rolled three times before striking the sea in a shallow dive. It is believed that the a/c entered a high speed stall because the pilot, Sgt Edward Clinton Campbell, who was killed, made too violent a recovery from the initial dive.

Vampire FB.6
VV525/T 01/12/51 - 28/01/57 to 19MU
VZ266/M 06/01/52 - 28/01/57 to 19MU
VZ307 02/12/51 - 03/01/52 to 605 Sqn
VZ353/F 12/01/53 - 04//03/55 to 233 OCU
VZ837/E 01/02/52 - 29/04/55 to 502 Sqn
WA184/C 06/01/52 - 28/01/57 to 19MU
WA291/J to /N 31/12/51 - 28/01/57 to 19MU
WE835 29/09/51 - 08/10/51 Cat.4 to Marshall of Cambridge
WE836/B 29/09/51 - 28/11/54 Cat.5FA (Note m)
WE837/D 29/09/51 - 28/01/57 to 19MU
WE838 29/09/51 - 28/01/57 to 19MU
WG799/A 29/09/51 - 28/01/57 to 19MU

WG829/R 29/09/51 - 18/01/57 to 19MU

m. Collided in midair with 501 Sqn Vampire FB.5 VZ177 near Hamble, Hampshire. The pilot attempted to recover the a/c to Filton but had to abandon it when it became uncontrollable, crashing near Hallen, Gloucestershire. VZ177 crashed near Hamble, the pilot, Pilot Officer Nigel Graeme Palmer was thrown out of the a/c and killed.

NOTE: Some sources have this a/c as being with 501 Sqn at the time.

Vampire FB.9
WR157 10/12/54 - 28/01/57 to 19MU
WR233/B 01/12/54 - 28/01/57 to 19MU
WR253/F 11/02/54 - 28/01/57 to 19MU

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Llandow Air Disaster

At 15:03 on Sunday March 12th 1950 Avro 689 Tudor 5 G-AKBY c/n 1417 approached runway 28 at Llandow. The aircraft was returning rugby fans from the Ireland v Wales international that had taken place the previous day in Dublin where Wales had won the Triple Crown Trophy. At 15:05 the aircraft named “Star Girl” hit the ground approximately half a mile short of the runway in a field at Cross Farm Sigingstone where a group of local lads were playing football.

The aircraft was operated by Fairflight Ltd and was carrying 75 passenegers which included members of Abercarn and Llanharan Rugby Clubs plus 5 crew members. At the time of the crash the weather was reported to be fine and clear with light winds.

Eye-witnesses state that at 15:03 the Avro Tudor was approaching the runway at Llandow aerodrome at an abnormally low altitude with the undercarriage down. The pilot attempted to correct the descent by increasing the power of the engines and brought the nose up. At first the ascent was steady, but the nose continued to lift until it was near vertical, and then the engines stalled.

Two passengers walked away from the wreckage unaided, and a third man although badly injured survived. Eight more survivors of the initial impact would die later in hospital of their injuries.

Much speculation was made regarding the cause of the crash one suggesting it had been a shift in the centre of gravity of the aircraft when passengers baggage moved in the hold during the final approach. After the eight day tribunal the official verdict was recorded as “Cause Unknown”.

At the time this was the Worlds worst air disaster and some say the reason why Llandow was never further developed to become the main passenger airport to serve the public of South Wales.

The wreckage of G-AKBY lying in the field after the crash
One of the first medically trained people to arrive on scene was my Aunt Kate who lived locally and was a nurse serving in the RAF. A memorial stone that she unveiled years later can be found in Sigingstone Village.
The aircraft originally built as an Avro Tudor 2 (c/n 1417) was initially destined to enter service with the RAF as TS903 but this serial was never taken up and it was registered on the civil register as G-AKBY 16th August 1947. The aircraft was used extensively during the Berlin Airlift prior to the fateful day in March 1950 when it was destroyed beyond repair and struck off charge. A photograph of KBY at Berlin-Gatow in 1949 can be found by clicking HERE.
More information on the Police response to the incident can be found at the following link
I would like to hear from anyone who can add any personal experience of this tragic event. Please contact me at
I have received the following from Mr Mark Maunder
"one of the surviving passengers was Mr Gwyn Anthony of Llanelli.
He was a teacher at Llanelli Boys Grammar School when I attended there in the 1970's and he taught Biology. I am not sure whether he is still alive now but he was a very gentle man and never needed to shout at any of the more unruly pupils.
I do remember him telling me once that he survived with another gentleman who was sat beside him, he believed it was because the seats in which they were sitiing had been added in as the aircraft was fully booked. The extra seats had been bolted to the floor of the aircraft and he recalls the majority of other seats just basically breaking away from their fixings during the impact.
He showed me his thumb nail which was a very odd ridged effect and he said that thatwas the only injury he sustained and that it had never grown normally since that time" ..regards Mark Maunder.
IanG (thanks to the South Wales Police Museum for the photographs)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thruxton Jackaroo G-APJV at Rhoose 1970's

The below request was recently made on the main site
ATTENTION all Ex members of SWAPS (Wales Aircraft Museum).
In the late 70's a friend of mine (JGF) discovered an airframe in a hedgerow in a field adjacent to the Museum. He alerted staff there who looked at it and identified it as a Tiger Moth. One chap took the data plate and said he would try to identify it, nothing was heard of it after this. If anyone can remember this and perhaps shed any light on the subject can you please contact me at my email address of ..many thanks IanG
The response :-
I have today (15/12/08) received the following information from Mike Kemp regarding the above:-

"as for the T/Moth hulk I suspect it would in fact have been a Thruxton Jackaroo which was rotting away in the late '60's nr the original fire-station which was roughly at c51' 24.02 x 3' 20.22 along with an old Meteor. I have no idea of the regs but will attempt to find out, there were supposed to have been some a/c remains at c51' 24.09 x 3' 20.55 which would have nr the old Met building the Royal Observer Corps also had an underground Obs' post nr here so maybe Bob Clarke could help on that one"...many thanks (IanG)

With thanks to Malcolm Fillmore on the Air-Britain Information Exchange the history of the Jackaroo is as follows(StuC):

G‑AMTX c/n 83850 ex T7446 (Sold Wiltshire School of Flying 3.4.51) Regd 6.8.52 to The Wiltshire School of Flying Ltd, Thruxton. Not converted but reregd as a Thruxton Jackaroo 11.5.59. The mock‑up non‑flying Jackaroo was painted as G‑AMTX but has been reported as being made up of a collection of bits and pieces. Regn cld as pwfu 18.6.69. This aircraft had been, in fact, regd G‑APJV 1.1.58 (using identity "N7446") to The Wiltshire School of Flying Ltd as a Thruxton Jackaroo. CofA issued 30.1.59. Regd 23.3.59 to Glamorgan Aviation Ltd, Rhoose. Overturned taxying Rhoose 18.4.60 and presumed not rebuilt (but see next entries); CofA lapsed 12.2.61. Regn cld as pwfu 27.10.62. Remains stored Rhoose 4.63.

Further reports state this was seen regularly at Denham in 1961 see picture at

From the Group, and with thanks to Bernard Martin:

As I have already reported, G-APJV was first noted behind the blister hangar (at Denham) - my notebook does not indicate any status. However, when it was logged on 25.7.61 it was outside the Clubhouse area. For those unfamiliar with the Denham airfield layout - the blister was (and still is) on the Northern side and the Clubhouse was (and still is, although long rebuilt) on the Southern side of the airfield. It would seem most unlikely that a substantial wreck would have been trundled across the airfield ! Scanning through BCAN shows that in the 8.6.63 issue, a Rhoose report for 13.4.63 said that the wrecked fuselage of G-APJV was still behind the fire station. HOWEVER, it also says "which crashed last year" and, in that context that meant 1962. Denis Fox was not usually that sloppy in editing to be a year or more out of kilter.That suggests (despite a lack of any CofA details post 12.2.61) that G-APJV may well have been flying during 1962. Certainly, that would explain why it could have been at Denham and then returned to Rhoose in late 1961. It does not make any sense for a wreck to have been transported from Rhoose to Denham and back again.

From John Mead, on the same Group:
"I was shown the Jackaroo fuselage frame, which at that time formed part of the Aerodrome fence, during my first tour of the aerodrome on posting there in 1969. I believe that it stayed there until the site clearance for the BAMC development."